Hydrating in caves .......

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Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 13, 2008 10:48 pm

What are you guys using? I have 3 camel bak's , but I don't want to ruin them on snags, mud in the zippers, etc. Im not worried that they aren't water proof becuase i have several 5 liter sealline drybags that i put stuff in, as well as 2 small dry boxes. I did a 9 hour 6 mile cave trip 2 weeks ago and I took my 100oz camelbak HAWG pack, as well as a hip pack with two 32 oz nalgene's and as I was walking out of the exit, I finished off all 164 oz of water. I sweat like crazy when I am active, and I have to hydrate constantly. guys I cave with have those dry packs that are like a drybag, only its a back pack, but there is no way to have a water hose coming out after you roll it up and clip it.

I just dont want to ruin my pack. I use it for day trips while hiking and what not..............

suggestions?
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby NZcaver » Sep 14, 2008 12:10 am

I normally use a regular 1 or 1.5 liter Nalgene bottle when caving. The 1.5 is great for warmer climates when I need to hydrate more, but I tend to deliberately under-hydrate myself a little when caving. I prefer not to carry my own pee out unless I really have to go. :oops: (I carry a little rolled up Platypus bag which I can use for that if necessary.)

I cave with the large Swaygo pack :kewl: and yes, it would be tough to roll it closed properly with a tube hanging out. I once tried using a hydration bladder and tube when caving with my old Lost Creek pack, but I just found it too awkward. I've seen other cavers with hydration tubes hanging out, but not very often.

For above ground hiking etc, it's a different story. I love my current hydration system, but it took me a while to find one I was really happy with. Since you opened the door and mentioned Camelbaks :wink: here's my 2 cents. I've gone through a few generations of Camelbak, including my last one which is the black 3 liter military-type HAWG with the modular Hydrolok attachments. Camelbaks have never really seemed taste-free to me, and my older ones progressively got worse and worse even with proper care. The military one I got about a year ago is a really nice looking setup, and I desperately wanted it to work for me. Alas, no matter how much I told myself that taste didn't matter, that particular system (purchased brand new and sealed) was positively vile. It tasted like rubber.

Anyhoo, while trying to reseach options for trying to remove the taste I stumbled on the solution. A different brand of hydration bladder! I now own a couple made by Source Vagabond, an Israeli company which makes a nice taste-free system incorporating a layer called Grunge Guard. So far, it's working great. They can be found marketed under the name Deuter. Note that with most of these models you can open up the whole top of the bladder, making a it really easy to fill it and also to clean it. Source also make models for the US military under their own brand. I have a 3 liter one of these, and a 2 liter one which came in a High Sierra brand backpack.

There is one possible downside with these. The bite valves are a different design from other types, and in some cases they have been known to develop a slow leak after prolonged use. People sometimes choose to replace them with standard Camelbak valves or other types. The parts are generally interchangeable. I was happy doing this switch with my 2 liter model, but my 3 liter military system works fine using its original valve - a new simple design similar to sucky tops on bottled water containers.

So in answer to your original caving question, you could maybe try a non-waterproof type cordura caving pack like a Lost Creek model. Then you can put dry bags/cases inside it for those items you need to keep dry. The top of the (non-waterproof) pack can then be rolled down and secured with your hydration tube hanging out the top. You could even thread it though the brass grommet that many of these packs have in the bottom as a drain hole. You could also shroud your hydration tube with tubular nylon webbing and get a bite valve cover (if you don't already have one). I'd still find it a hassle to have a tube hanging out while caving, but to each his own. Good luck!
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Mike Hood » Sep 14, 2008 7:50 am

I keep it simple and stick a bottle of Gatorade into each of the inner sleeves of my cave pack.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Squirrel Girl » Sep 14, 2008 9:01 am

I wouldn't bother with a Camelbak in a cave. I'd just have a bottle in my pack. But I use one all the time when mountain biking. I got the optional tube with the wire in it (to keep it in place) and with a thin neoprene cover. It's designed to keep the water temperature more uniform, but it's also somewhat protective.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 14, 2008 9:32 am

I think I have seen these lost creek canvas bags, and I wouldn't mind having one. I am not sure which model I have seen, is there a specific model number?

The problem with ONLY carrying bottles, Lugging around 5 nalgene bottles on long cave trips doesnt sound like a lot of fun to me...........extremely bulky.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Squirrel Girl » Sep 14, 2008 11:26 am

Chads93GT wrote:I think I have seen these lost creek canvas bags, and I wouldn't mind having one. I am not sure which model I have seen, is there a specific model number?

The problem with ONLY carrying bottles, Lugging around 5 nalgene bottles on long cave trips doesnt sound like a lot of fun to me...........extremely bulky.

It was the folks here on cave chat that convinced me I could trust Nalgene and Platypus flexible water bottles (bags).
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Illinois Caver » Sep 14, 2008 12:57 pm

I started using the Camelbaks in '97 and personally, I am sold on them. My first one was a 50oz model with a very basic pack. Nothing extra, just something I could wear on my back.

I now have a 70oz bladder, but still use the basic pack with nothing but shoulder straps and sternum strap. I have found them to be "bombproof" in my caving adventures. I've replaced the bladder a few times because after awhile it does leave a "taste." I haven't had a leak, but once and that was when I accidently was pinching the mouthpiece while in a crawl and I hadn't latched it up on my suit. The bladders have held up exceptionally well.

I like carrying it, because I told filled completely so it can easily "squish" flatter in crawlway. I'm not sure you can get the old pack anymore, but I like it because it doesn't have zippers, straps, or anything that can get caught up.

Just my two cents.

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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Squirrel Girl » Sep 14, 2008 2:09 pm

Illinois Caver wrote: I've replaced the bladder a few times because after awhile it does leave a "taste."


Bleach.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby NZcaver » Sep 14, 2008 2:14 pm

Chads93GT wrote:I think I have seen these lost creek canvas bags, and I wouldn't mind having one. I am not sure which model I have seen, is there a specific model number?

The problem with ONLY carrying bottles, Lugging around 5 nalgene bottles on long cave trips doesnt sound like a lot of fun to me...........extremely bulky.

Check out the Lost Creek packs website here. The pack I have in the Monster TAG. With apologies to Anmar (the owner), that pack is now one of my seldom-used spares after switching to the large Swaygo. But lots of cavers happily use Lost Creek packs and other cordura/nylon ones so it might be worth you checking some out.

Like Barbara said, you could also consider the Platypus and Nalgene flexible water bottles (really just thick plastic bags with screw tops). They work well.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby NZcaver » Sep 14, 2008 2:18 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
Illinois Caver wrote: I've replaced the bladder a few times because after awhile it does leave a "taste."


Bleach.

Tried that in my Camelbaks, along with various other treatments using soap, vinegar, lemon juice, cleaning tablets, and other substances. Nothing really seemed to work 100% for me. Still the best solution I've found is to just retire the Camelbak and find a bladder made of superior material like the Source models and numerous others now on the market.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby ian mckenzie » Sep 14, 2008 2:25 pm

Add a capful of Sambuca to your litre of water; not enough to give it any kick, but certainly tastes fine.
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Evan G » Sep 15, 2008 9:59 pm

Personally I don't like the Camelback or platypus bags. I use a MSR Hydration System or Dromedary bag.

Here is the link for them: http://www.msrgear.com/hydration/systems.asp

MSR Hydration System

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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Chads93GT » Sep 16, 2008 8:11 am

Evan wrote:Personally I don't like the Camelback or platypus bags. I use a MSR Hydration System or Dromedary bag.

Here is the link for them: http://www.msrgear.com/hydration/systems.asp

MSR Hydration System

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Evan, is that the same bag you had with you when you came to visit a few weeks ago? Those look a lot more durable than camelbak's bags. Where have you been? lol answer your myspace comment har har
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Re: Hydrating in caves .......

Postby Evan G » Sep 18, 2008 4:16 pm

Chad wrote:Evan, is that the same bag you had with you when you came to visit a few weeks ago?


Yes and no, the central water was a MSR Dromedary 4 liter bag but the line and tip out of it was a Gregory. The complexity of the camelback and MSR bite flow tip are difficult to clean in a cave. I found a cheap Wal-Mart Gregory was easy to clean and better in the cave environment. I have been slowly devolving a pack that has similar properties of the Swaygo but the ability of camelback. Know longer do I carry the solid Nalgene bottle because I enjoy that the more you drink the smaller the bladder gets in the pack which can be an added benefit for cavers.


Chad wrote:Where have you been?


Incredibility busy! I'll be out for MVOR and the chili cook off.
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