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Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback


Postby Sheryl » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:53 pm

I'm hiking the West Highland Way – plus the Kelvin Way (out of Glasgow) and Ben Nevis -- over 9 days in late September. It's my first multi-day hike in Scotland.

I don't want to carry a pack over 40L. I won't carry camping or cooking gear. I’m looking at the Osprey Farpoint 40, Osprey Stratos 36 (with optional camelback) or North Face Overhaul 40. Anyone have experience with those? Recommendations? I'm a small woman, if that makes a difference.

I've never hiked with a camelback. Thoughts on that vs. 2 water bottles?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Gythral » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:15 pm

I don't know any of the packs you are looking at, but question if you need 40L for any of the things you are looking at doing?
I overnight using a 25L pack & you are looking to carry nothing but a few spare clothes, & a lunch!

As for the 'camelback' , I took a lot of convincing to try that type of system out, now if I'm wearing a sack I prefer it, only downside is you cannot see how much is left in it, but that should not be an issue on the WHW in late Sept. :)
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:48 pm

I definitely prefer a "Camelbak", without a doubt I keep myself better hydrated when using it, though as said, have a glance at how much is left now and then if its warm!

The only time I use a bottle instead is in winter, when the tube can freeze, and I like to carry a flask of soup as part of my liquid, meaning I can't justify the weight of as much water.


My preferred "Camelbak" is actually the Platypus Big Zip Hoser 2. Nowt wrong with Camelbak themselves, but the Platy is easier to use with a big wide opening, and seems to last for longer.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Gythral » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:57 pm

Regarding Winter - I have a neoprene cover for the tube, but find that letting the water flow back into the bladder ensures that there is nothing to freeze (probably wont work in extreme cold)
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:02 pm

Gythral wrote:Regarding Winter - I have a neoprene cover for the tube, but find that letting the water flow back into the bladder ensures that there is nothing to freeze (probably wont work in extreme cold)


Both good points. Neoprene helps, but "blowing bubbles" to send the water back so it doesn't freeze is also a very valid technique!! :lol:
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby walkingpoles » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:22 pm

For contrast, I prefer bottles, simply because I hate not knowing how much water I've left. I am also afraid to sit on my bag if there is a bladder inside. And you can throw the bottles in a bin after a couple of uses and buy a new one and don't feel obliged to use them till they leak :wink: Depending on the trustfulness of the streams I try not to carry water in the highlands but use a bottle to drink right from streams. That's a bit harder with a platypus. Both systems work. There are also merits for mixed strategy of a 5dl bottle "iron reserve" next to a bladder.

All the backpacks will do the trick. If I were you I'd go in a store to try them out. There you can feel the difference of their impact on your back, which is worth paying more than online. And like boots, it's better to use it a couple of times before starting the WHW.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby BobMcBob » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:30 pm

If you're not carrying camping gear then I assume you'll be staying somewhere each night, in which case 40L is probably overkill.

I'm in the bottles camp. I've tried a bladder but I didn't like it - firstly it ran out on me too early because I had no idea how much was left in it. Secondly it was nigh-on impossible to refill from a stream, and thirdly the plastic bladder and tube imparted an unpleasant taste on the water. I prefer Sigg bottles, I've had mine for over 20 years. On my Osprey Talon 22 I can reach round, grab one from a side pocket, get a drink, and return it to the pocket without removing the sack. Somehow drinking a good cold mouthful from a bottle is much more refreshing than sucking lukewarm plasticky dregs through a straw :)
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby BobMcBob » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:33 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Both good points. Neoprene helps, but "blowing bubbles" to send the water back so it doesn't freeze is also a very valid technique!! :lol:


NB, neoprene contains a variety of unpleasant volatile organic compounds that will find their way into your mouth if you suck through it. I wouldn't let it within arms' length of anything I was going to ingest.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:20 pm

BobMcBob wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Both good points. Neoprene helps, but "blowing bubbles" to send the water back so it doesn't freeze is also a very valid technique!! :lol:


NB, neoprene contains a variety of unpleasant volatile organic compounds that will find their way into your mouth if you suck through it. I wouldn't let it within arms' length of anything I was going to ingest.



The neoprene is just around the plastic tube, so the water you drink never gets close to touching it.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Robinho08 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:47 pm

With a hydration bladder you can drink little, but often without taking off your rucksack. Making it easier to stay hydrated.

I prefer the Osprey hydration bladders a to the Camelback efforts. The bite valves are less prone to leak and have hard plastic backs so they don't get that rounded shape against your back.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:27 pm

Have to say I'm with Bob on this one. I've never had a bladder, I'm either carrying my flask of coffee (probably appreciated by my fellow walkers :wink: ) or a Sigg bottle, the latter very good at keeping drinks chilled. But they don't last forever, I'm on my second one now, in 40 years :lol: I keep sterilising tablets for when the water source is low down or suspect, but hardly ever use them.

Personal preference, but I also like to stop for a drink, take off the sack, soak in the views etc.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Iainm » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:48 am

I used a camelbak for a while, but ditched it in favour of bottles. I found it was making the water taste of plastic and it was useless in winter. I binned it after it emptied its contents in my pack during a wild camping trip.

I now use soft drink water bottles in the side pockets of my osprey talon pack which allows you to access the bottles without taking off your pack.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Ben Nachie » Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:30 pm

I used a Camelbak type thing until I saw the green stuff that grew in the tube if I left it a bit long.

Now I use a Sawyer water bottle with filter, or just drink straight from the burns.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:39 pm

Ben Nachie wrote:I used a Camelbak type thing until I saw the green stuff that grew in the tube if I left it a bit long.

Now I use a Sawyer water bottle with filter, or just drink straight from the burns.


Helps to keep it in the freezer! The better brands (Camelbak, Source, Platypus) are much better at avoiding green stuff due to treatments/materials they use, and don't taste at all plasticky in my experience.
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Re: Advice on backpacks, water bottles vs. camelback

Postby chickadee » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:45 pm

I use an Osprey 1.5L reservoir for day walking and refill when I'm out. The only downside is not being able to see how much you're drinking... but everything else is a massive advantage over bottles. I drink more often because it's much easier, whereas with bottles I kept forgetting to stop, get the bottle out and drink. So I wasn't hydrated enough. I have an Osprey backpack so it fits in nicely there and it's brilliant. I wouldn't be without it now. The first hike I did with it was like a revelation! (Was Goatfell and was roasting sunny day... definitely needed lots of water!)

I still take a bottle of Lucozade alongside the water because I need the sugar, but having the reservoir thing frees up space for that bottle.
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