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 Packs/Gu/Water Bladders 
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
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Location: Lakes Region, NH
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 Packs/Gu/Water Bladders
While at the hut yesterday I saw a hiker outside with a most unusual pack on. It was white and light, almost see through, with looked liked a sailing cloth type of material. It looked like a bag more than a pack. Some type of lightweight pack I assume, anyone know hat I am talking about?

2nd-anyone use GU for hiking?? I've been using them for years and like that they fill you up and give you a boost of energy. I have tried other brands (Powerbar/Cliffshots) but didn't like the taste. The problem has become that they upset my stomach quite a bit. Part of the draw was to avoid digging in pack for food, when I could pull a Gu out of my pocket, and be on my way. Anyone suffer from stomach upset from this?

3rd- I use an EMS bladder bag and have been for several years- but notice that drinking water from a tube again leaves me feeling ill. I think it is the air you suck in as you are drinking, that leaves me feeling gross. Wasn't sure if anyone also had issues with it. I like the convenience of not having to dig water bottles out of my pack, but yesterday I was ready to throw the bag over the wall! I also find I have ongoing issues with the spout either coming off the tube, it failing and leaking water, etc. I have tried different kinds but have yet to find one I like.


Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:47 am
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I tried using bladders but just didn't dig them. I also had to believe there was a better way to work with Nalgene bottles. And I have found it! I learned this trick from BobC. I have my normal winter bottle parka/holder. I just attach it to my right side pack strap so that it slides up and down the strap. This way I can reach down, pull it up a couple inches which allows me to unzip it with ease....no reaching behind you, no fumbling with a pocket to return it.

I have never used GU before. I know some people who do (and a couple who on a hike I have seen use nothing BUT GU...no lunch or anything.) I am slowly becoming weary of anything that claims power boots like that. I don't know, but if they contain caffine I would probably pass. I had it brought home to me yesterday that caffine is NOT the right kind of stimulant for sustained hiking. If the GU doesn't contain caffine then ignore what I just wrote. :lol:

Brian


Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:56 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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GU upsets my stomach. Always has. Well, I tried it only once, but that was enough for me.

I'm torn between a solution like Brian's for the Nalgenes and the bladder. I'm not fan of things hanging off my pack, though his (BobC's) solution sounds like the only one I've heard of that might work for me. I really like the convenience of having the water always at the immediate ready with the bladder. Only problem I've ever had was not washing the tube thoroughly (can you say G-R-O-S-S?!) and leaning against the bite valve and making a watery mess. Solved the former with a new regiment for cleaning that involves routing the tube after each use and hanging carefully to dry. Solved the latter w/a gift from Cathie (tired of listening to me bitch and complain, most likely) which is an on/off valve that fits between the hose end and the bite valve. Works great.

I don't use the bladder in winter. One good thing about having to dig out the water bottles is that it forces me to stop hiking at least long enough to do it...I tend to hit the trail and go go go.

Dunno about the pack you saw, unless it was one of those super lights like this:

http://www.prolitegear.com/site/ultrali ... packs.html

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Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:27 pm
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I use a bladder, camelbak brand and the mouth piece has a cover and on/off valve. I use it for hiking and hunting and never have had any issues. I also carry a Naglene for lunch stop, find it easier. I clean and dry my bladder after each use, have heard of some that store it in a freezer.


Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:47 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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I have seen the Gu but not tried it yet. I may have to check it out. I'm partial to Cliff Bars but even they give me indigestion from time to time. I think it has to do with my stomach trying to digest food so quickly while hiking. In the summer I have an old school camel back that I wear under my pack. I'm sure it would be more comfortable to have a pack with the bladder built in (like my frame pack), but I'm partial to by day pack. We've had many miles together. I find I have to replace the bite valve every so often as it wears out and drips. The best part is I can swap out the bite valve and attach the water filter tube, backfilling the bladder through the hose and only having to hold onto the filter.


Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:29 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Gu = nasty. Nuff said. And yes it has caffeine in it.

I have a camelbak but i rarely use it. I don't like the way the water tastes from it. I usually carry 2 water bottles at least, and a gatorade spare in my bag. One nalgene dangles from the bag so its in easy reach, and i can swap it out later if need be.

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Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:58 pm
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I use a Camelbak 3-liter bladder in the summer, and sometimes I still hang the nalgene bottle off the shoulder strap, if I need a little more water than 3 liters. Or, sometimes I just put two liters in the bladder and 1 liter of gatorade in the nalgene bottle...don't like putting gatorade in the bladder because it's too hard to clean. Never had any problems from the air in the bladder tube though.

I actually learned that trick (strapping my nalgene bottle holder to the shoulder strap) from Tim (bikehikeskifish).

As for GU, I used to use it a lot but wasn't really sure if it helped much or not. I did buy some on a whim before my recent backpacking trip with Brian, and I do like how you can keep them handy and have a quick snack. As for whether it really gives you "energy", I doubt it. Caffeine does not equal energy. The body turns food into energy, so my recommendation would be just to eat a lot during your hike. Another trick I like to use is to hang one of those slimmer nalgene bottles off the side of my pack and keep snacks in their like trail mix (I'm talking about the ones with a screw top, where you can flip up the bite valve to drink). I take the straw out, of course, and use it for a snack holder. I clip it to my pack with a carabiner.

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Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:22 pm
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Never tried the Gu, and dont know what is in it, but would imagine its a lot of b-vitamins. I would bet there is a little bit of iron in it too, and that is what upsets your stomach. My girlfriend takes a multivitamin for women over 50, because the regular one for women has iron which upsets her stomach.


Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:12 am
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I use a platypus bladder, the one that opens completely at the top so I can really clean inside. I also am religious about hanging it up to dry... Saw that some keep them in the freezer so they don't grow the nasty stuff. Haven't tried it yet. I also have a smaller camel back bladder that has a fairly large opening. Its nice because it also has a membrane between the front and the back so it doesn't get real fat like bladders can. Both have locks on the mouth piece and the tubes are completely detachable from the bladder.

GU... haven't tried that. Generally stick to homemade trail mix and the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I also found these bars that are mostly nuts and seeds in the organic section at my local Hannofords. They are tasty!


Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:34 pm
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I've used Gu and Cliffshots and Honeystingers for years - primarily for cycling since they can be swallowed with minimal chewing while riding - important since chewing interrupts your breathing. They work for me for sure. When I started hiking, I carried over many items from cycling - some clothes, and definitely food. I do enjoy a nice sandwich on the summit, but for on-the-trail hiking, the energy gels / syrups work well. The only negative is that it is impossible to eat them in such a way that there is zero sticky residue :)

For hydration bladders, there are some simple rules to keep the nasties away:

1. Water and ONLY water goes in the bladder - no growth medium helps
2. Do not blow black into the bladder, introducing bacteria or crumbs of whatever you just ate.
3. Empty and shake as much water out as possible and either
4. Hang to dry, or
5. Freeze

If it does get nasty at all, fill it with warm water and 1 or 2 drops of bleach. shake / massage / wiggle it to make sure it gets everywhere. Rinse, alternating hot and cold water which breaks surface tension of bleach and removes the taste.

I will freeze it during a season of high-use, and hang dry it as winter comes and I switch to the bottle cozie method Brian and BobC mention.

Tim

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:00 am
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Mountain Maestro
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I also like using a bladder in the summer. The only problem I have with bladders, is not knowing how much I have left- unless I take the pack off often to check. So, I carry a small water bottle as a back up. I also throw it in the freezer between hikes (rinse first). I find you have a better chance of staying hydrated using a bladder. It's just easier to drink from.
I like to toggle between Gu's and Shotbloks on hikes. Only a couple per hike. They provide electrolytes that I'm not getting from my water in the bladder. Bringing a gatorade bottle would do the job as well.
I use the bottle cozies in Winter. Another nice thing about the cozies, if you don't have the zippered waist pockets on your pack, the cozies are a great place to stores snacks. I use to carry two of them. On one side I had water, on the other snacks. Both in easy access.
The PBR's I keep wrapped in a battery powered cooler in the pack. :wink:

Petch

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:32 am
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I use a bladder 3 seasons and have never had an issue of any sort. I do put Gatorade in it and I do blow back after taking a drink. The key is just keeping it clean. I also do the occasional bleach rinse and hang it to dry after EVERY use. I also clean the tube 2 or 3 times with an opened wire coat hanger and a small piece of rag soaked with bleach and water. Again, never a single problem with bad tastes.

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:36 am
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I never have to clean my (water) bladder, Joe ;) because I never get it dirty.

Tim

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:28 am
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 Re: Packs/Gu/Water Bladders
hiking lady wrote:
While at the hut yesterday I saw a hiker outside with a most unusual pack on. It was white and light, almost see through, with looked liked a sailing cloth type of material. It looked like a bag more than a pack. Some type of lightweight pack I assume, anyone know hat I am talking about?


I am pretty sure the material was cuben fiber. It has been around for a few years and is still state of the art material for ultralight hikers and UL backpackers.

UL backpackers get their base weight down very low [sub 10 pounds I believe is the convential goal]. This allows them to use frameless packs. Some packs have a sleeve for their CCF pad to add some structure.

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Last edited by Tom_Murphy on Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:01 am
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 Re: Packs/Gu/Water Bladders
hiking lady wrote:
I use an EMS bladder bag and have been for several years- but notice that drinking water from a tube again leaves me feeling ill. I think it is the air you suck in as you are drinking, that leaves me feeling gross. Wasn't sure if anyone also had issues with it. I like the convenience of not having to dig water bottles out of my pack, but yesterday I was ready to throw the bag over the wall! I also find I have ongoing issues with the spout either coming off the tube, it failing and leaking water, etc. I have tried different kinds but have yet to find one I like.


+1 for Tim's comments

1. water only, any sugars in bladders are an invitation to bacteria

2. no blow back

3. rinse and drain thoroughly after each use

4. As needed, fill and add a teaspoon of bleach, let sit overnight, rinse thoroughly.

5. As needed, fill and add Efferdent Denture Cleanser Tablet. Do not seal because the tablet will produce a gas [the bubbles] that could rupture the bladder if the cover was tight. Let sit overnight, rinse thouroughly.

DO NOT do steps 4 & 5 at the same time. Trust me on that one. One after the other is fine though.

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:15 am
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