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Hydration: Bottle or Pack?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I have at least 3 different sized hydration packs but hardly ever use them. Most of my rides are 1-2 hours and I find that 1 large bottle on the frame is plenty of water. Last Sunday I went on an intermediate level group ride with the CT chapter of NEMBA. It was about 8 miles, probably 2/3 of it single track. Out of 18 riders who started, I was the only one without a hydration pack.

I prefer carrying water and tools, pump, spare tube... on the frame, not my back.

Someone told me that I was stressing my seat and post by carrying my tools in the seat pack, but I don't really buy that. If my 225lbs doesn't bust it, it's not gonna break from a couple of allen wrenches, a tube, a compass, car keys and a multi-tool.

So how do you hydrate on the trail?

What about you roadies?
post #2 of 33
Camelback. I. holds more. B. Keeps it cold.
post #3 of 33
I keep meaning to use the camelbak when on the bike, but just grab the bottle and mount it to the frame....I'm a mountain biker who spends most of his time in the asphalt jungle. I often have to refill during an outing, usually no more than 11 miles at a time.
post #4 of 33
I am a rodie, and I use bottles. For my 55 mile excursion on Sunday I took two 24oz water bottles on the frame, and put a 16oz gatorade and two Powerbars in the back pouch of my jersey. I have been cautioned about hydration packs because they are hot to carry around all day on your back and really put a stop to good having good ventilation.

For my 25 mile rides after work I usually carry two 20oz bottles just for the heck it. I rarely finish both of them. Last night I was pushing it really hard to get back before dark and still only went through one full bottle and a little less than half of the other.

Later

GREG
post #5 of 33
Due to the terrain where I ride (mt), I really can't imagine not carrying:

water
multi tool
(2) tubes
lube
chain links
(2) tire wrenches
air pump
etc

B/c of the need to carry this much, I definitely use a hydration pack. And quite honestly, I hardly notice its there.
post #6 of 33
I plan on ~16 oz/hour, and if I can refill, I'd much prefer a bottle over a pack b/c it ventilates better and is lighter than carrying 48-100 oz for a 2-3 hour ride. For instance, if I'm climbing Mt. Tam, there's a water faucet at about 500', which I use to top off. It's <1 hour to the top from that faucet, so I figure 24 oz. is just fine.

If you can't refill, then I'd still rather have bottles on the road. On trail, I prefer the Camelbak b/c the bottles get dirty or fly out. For epic rides, there's nothing like a Camelbak (but it gets heavy when full).
post #7 of 33
Camelbak for the long, bottles in back shirt pockets for the others. My experience is that the Camelbak keeps my back and the water cool.

Prefer to use back of shirt pockets and stop along the way to buy replacement water and/or sports drink.

I just don't like to put anything on the bike itself.

Another thing about the Camelbak is that I can sip while riding without having to stop or look down.
post #8 of 33
I use a Camelbak Rocket for MTB. I get tired of a muddy water bottle nozzle. Not to mention, I've had quite a few water bottle brackets break, bend, loosen, etc. from the repeated bouncing on my rides. During MTB races I have used water bottles either handed off to me or stashed at a convenient location. I've been using Camelbaks on my MTB since about 1995. It feels weird without one on.

I'm not a big road rider. I do usually use water bottles on road rides. Unless, it requires I carry more than 36oz. of fluid, then Camelbak. One reason I carry bottles on road rides, is that I carry a Pedro's pack under my seat with a spare road inner tube, a multi-tool, and a CO2 inflator. I also carry tools in my Camelbak, but I guess its just faster than switching out the MTB tubes for road tubes. Also, I had another Pedro's pack on my MTB (made from recycled tubes), it tore along where the tube was stitched to the nylon.
post #9 of 33
On the road, I usually use bottles unless it is a long ride away from any sources of water. On short rides (about two hours or less) I don't bother with energy drink, but always use energy drink on longer rides (2 to 8 hours).

On a mountain bike I usually use a camelbak. It's easier because tubes, tools, pump, etc are in the pack. Also, some of the areas were I ride are open range - cow s..t on a low riding water bottle is, well, ...... (I also have to ride with my mouth closed in some of these areas).
post #10 of 33
Water (the stuff I need) in a pack where I can get to it easily. Tube, tools, patch kit, pump (the stuff I hope I don't need) on the frame.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post
On the road, I usually use bottles unless it is a long ride away from any sources of water. On short rides (about two hours or less) I don't bother with energy drink, but always use energy drink on longer rides (2 to 8 hours).

On a mountain bike I usually use a camelbak. It's easier because tubes, tools, pump, etc are in the pack. Also, some of the areas were I ride are open range - cow stuff on a low riding water bottle mouthpiece is, well, ...... (I also have to ride with my mouth closed in some of these areas).
I'll remember never to ride with wifey in those areas. She has a speech impediment - she needs to stop talking every so often so she can breath.
post #12 of 33
On a quick morning ride I'll take water bottles, but anything more than that and I take a camelback. I have a 50 oz and a 72 oz. Most days the 50 is okay but the 72 is awesome on those longer rides or the rides on a really hot day.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
So how do you hydrate on the trail?

What about you roadies?
Water bottles/seat pack=straight 205 skis.

Hydration Pack=modern skis.

A couple of points to consider. It is better to have the extra weight of gear and water on the body instead of the bike. Second it is way easier to stay hydrated with a tube that you can flip into your mouth instead of reaching for a bottle and then fumbling to put it back into its cage. Thirdly you can carry a max of 56oz. of water with two bottles. A smaller camelback holds 70oz. Mid size is 100 oz. Do the math.

Plus you can carry so much more gear in a backpack than a seat pack.

However, if you are a rigid rodie traditionaist what matters is style over function.
post #14 of 33
I use both. Spare tubes, mini pump, and a patch kit along with the bladder go into my backpack. Plus it never hurts to have a bottle.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
. I have been cautioned about hydration packs because they are hot to carry around all day on your back and really put a stop to good having good ventilation.
Not so. Ask yourself: what percentage of my body is covered by the pack. Then compare carrying 70oz of water v's 54oz and being able to sip while you ride. I do use bottles for short rides, but always wear my pack, because it contains all of my repair gear, spare clothes and a light in case if get stuck ridig after dark.
post #16 of 33
Road - bottles

Mountain - camelback
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
Road - bottles

Mountain - camelback
Tradition.
Or...
What works.

May as well debate the virtues of long straight skis v's mid fats. :
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
It is better to have the extra weight of gear and water on the body instead of the bike.
Bull. Weight is weight. It takes the same amount of power to move regardless of where it's located (on you or the bike).

Additionally, a bottle on the seat tube provides some level of aerodynamic advantage as it breaks up the airflow over the rear wheel. MANY folks I know NEVER go out without a bottle on the seat tube (even if it's empty) for just this purpose. Also, if you are carrying just one bottle, put it on the seat tube...

Hydration pack on road bikers = a fred (fred = bicycle jong).
post #19 of 33

I don't know sh!t about skis, but I know sh!t about bikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
Bull. Weight is weight. It takes the same amount of power to move regardless of where it's located (on you or the bike).

Additionally, a bottle on the seat tube provides some level of aerodynamic advantage as it breaks up the airflow over the rear wheel. MANY folks I know NEVER go out without a bottle on the seat tube (even if it's empty) for just this purpose. Also, if you are carrying just one bottle, put it on the seat tube...

Hydration pack on road bikers = a fred (fred = bicycle jong).
Such is tradition. Re. style. I understand. But the OP was asking about the trail. IMO roadies will someday adopt the hydration pack as the way to go. Just as they did re. wearing helmets. : Technology moves on. What works best is what prevails despite tradition.

Now I will agree that for roadies where the weight lies makes little diff., but for mtn biking it does. Keep the bike light. Easier to handle and carry. So say the science boys. The science boys also point out that hydration is the key to performance. And 24 oz. bottles don't work as well as a tube connected to a 70 oz bladder. Hey, but what do I know. I'll leave the science to the science boys/girls.

Reminds me of the time my wife and I rescued a roadie, who was climbing Sonora pass. We were picknicing at 9000'. Not only was he running a 52/46 with an 11/23 in back, but he only had two water bottles. Of course he was dry at the 9000' foot level. The guy was about dead and we offered him a coke and water. He was most grateful. My wife agreed with me that the smart thing to do for such a ride was to have a triple and a hydration pack. Maybe even a 12 -26 in back and a 100 oz. bladder with a 24 oz bottle of gatorade on the down tube.

Hey, but that's just me.
post #20 of 33
Off-road, it's usually a hydration pack.

On-road, it's almost always bottles: a pair of Polar insulated models in the 24 oz. size. I also have a ZĂ©fal Magnum bottle when I want volume rather than cold (it holds 30-or-so ounces).

I've tried road riding with a hydration pack, and it always feels off to me. Part of it is that I sweat a lot (genetics are a bitch), and the hydration pack traps sweat and heat on an area where I'm usually cooling off a lot. I've tried freezing the pack, which works for a little while, but then thaws and becomes more warm water on my back - yuck!

I know of a few road riders down this way who swear by hydration packs and have no cages on their bikes ("the weight of a bike is more critical than the weight of the rider" and "it's more aero" being the key reasons to go that way), but it's just not my style (and unless the weight is rotational, then weight is, indeed, just weight). I need my body to function properly, and part of that is cooling off properly during the summer heat.

Regarding roadies starting to wear helmets: many recreational riders were wearing them long before the UCI mandated they be worn in all competitions. Granted, they've become more of a status item since the UCI got into the rules and regulations of headgear.

But let's also face it: if not for road racers being forced into wearing helmets that actually protect (as opposed to the old leather "hairnet"), the tech of the helmet has improved many times over. Since the UCI rules went into effect, you've seen improvements in weight, aerodynamics, material usage, and safety. Helmets have come along way since the Bell B1 and the original Giro helmets of the mid-1980s.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
Not only was he running a 52/46 with an 11/23 in back, but he only had two water bottles. Of course he was dry at the 9000' foot level. The guy was about dead and we offered him a coke and water. He was most grateful. My wife agreed with me that the smart thing to do for such a ride was to have a triple and a hydration pack. Maybe even a 12 -26 in back and a 100 oz. bladder with a 24 oz bottle of gatorade on the down tube.

Hey, but that's just me.
Well, it sounds like this guy wasn't riding smart in many, many ways.

The gearing was a natural area to address: with a 50/34 compact double and an 11/26 or 11/28 cassette, he'd have all the gearing he'd need for such a ride.

And with regard to hydration: he very likely didn't properly hydrate before the ride, and got caught somewhat empty-handed once he got to altitude. If riding unsupported in rural areas where available supplies (including potable water) are few and far between, I either:

a. ride with an extra couple of bottle cages mounted behind the seat (triathlon style); or
b. ride with an extra bottle or two of water in my jersey pocket (and these are usually just 20-24 oz. bottles, non-bike-specific); or
c. ride with my Camelback, as well as some bottles on the frame (the bottles will have something like Hammer HEED or Perpetuem in them for energy).

Granted, the hydration pack is usually my last-resort thing, but I'll ride with it on long-distance rides that leave rest stops to chance (e.g. riding through National Forest lands).

But I also make sure that my overall nutrition picture is sound going into such rides, and that includes hydrating properly well ahead of a big ride.
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
24 oz. bottles don't work as well as a tube connected to a 70 oz bladder.
Get in an evenly matched group, add 3 pounds of liquid/pack weight, head up a few 3 mile/1200' climbs, and see how you do compared to your buddies.

For the science guys, if each climb takes 20 minutes (1200 seconds), and the 3 lbs. adds 1.5% to your total bike/body weight going uphill how many seconds behind will you be on each climb given the same power output?

If you lose 18 seconds (or whatever) on every climb it gets old really quickly, especially if the group is competitive.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
Get in an evenly matched group, add 3 pounds of liquid/pack weight, head up a few 3 mile/1200' climbs, and see how you do compared to your buddies.

For the science guys, if each climb takes 20 minutes (1200 seconds), and the 3 lbs. adds 1.5% to your total bike/body weight going uphill how many seconds behind will you be on each climb given the same power output?

If you lose 18 seconds (or whatever) on every climb it gets old really quickly, especially if the group is competitive.
Here's your answer....

http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

17 seconds. (good guess w/18)

Assumptions
157 and 160 lbs "rider" weight.
Hands on the tops
Bike weight 17.5
Slope of road 7.6% (1200'/15840' = 0.07575757)
250 watts

157 lb rider = 22 mins 13 seconds
160 lb rider = 22 mins 30 seconds

Notice it makes no difference in the time if the weight is on the bike or the rider.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
Here's your answer....

http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

17 seconds. (good guess w/18)

Assumptions
157 and 160 lbs "rider" weight.
Hands on the tops
Bike weight 17.5
Slope of road 7.6% (1200'/15840' = 0.07575757)
250 watts

157 lb rider = 22 mins 13 seconds
160 lb rider = 22 mins 30 seconds

Notice it makes no difference in the time if the weight is on the bike or the rider.
I'll agree with you there.


One should ask how much extra weight does a pack weigh v's bottles/cages.


Also is there a performance gain fom being able to sip from a quick placed tube v's having to reach down, grab bottle, open, gulp, close, reach down and replace bottle? Bear in mind that you use one arm for this whole process. IMO there is a perfornace loss here. Imagine that we are talking about doing this scnerio on a long climb and it happens more than once. What if we also toss in the "staying hydrated" factor. I think there is more to consider than the extra weight of the pack. A hydrated 180lb rider/bike combo is gonna ride better than a poorly hydrated 177lb rider/ bike combo.
post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
I don't feel that the extra weight of a 24 oz. water bottle and a few tools compromises my bike's handling on the trail any more than the weight of a camelback on my back does. Also, I tend to stuff more stuff, as well as more water into the back pack = more weight. I tend to think the pack will make me hotter in the summer, although that my not be the case. Sometimes on long, hot rides I use both camelback and bottle. The camelback for drinking and the bottle for pouring water over my head to cool down.
post #26 of 33
MTBer, camelback always. A pack designed for riding is actually very cool, and I can hold 100oz and all my gear in the pack.

IF I have a day off my typical Ride is a 20 mile plus ride which is a pretty long ride on trail.
post #27 of 33
You guys are way over-analyzing this (says Captain Obvious). Do what works for you. The performance gains/losses you guys are looking at are so insignificant they don't matter. I think most of us are riding for fun. FWIW though, when I'm not, when I'm doing a mountain bike race, I use bottles.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
I have been cautioned about hydration packs because they are hot to carry around all day on your back and really put a stop to good having good ventilation.
To a small extent I agree. But, Camelbak makes some designs that have a 'H' shaped insert that props the pack off your back. The air is then supposed to flow under the pack like a scoop. I don't think it works particularly well. I took mine out because it limited the room in my pack (Camelbak Rocket). I still prefer a pack over bottles. Its easier when you are bouncing around to get the tube, compared to ride with one hand and use a water bottle.

The argument I hear about using water bottles in MTB is largely about knocking body geometry off in the technical courses. I'm so used to a pack this isn't an issue for me. I use a sternum strap to help keep the pack from shifting. Also a lot of the pro-expert racers like to get bottle hand offs from someone on the course to save weight. (When the rules allow this). A lot of these racers won't carry any extra gear. If something breaks, its either game over, or salavge something from someone on the sidelines. (against the rules but its still done)

Overall I still prefer a hydration pack. Like someone else said, its hard to carry 70-100oz of fluid in bottles. Unless you have 7 bottle brackets. This is important when doing something like the Slick-Rock trail in Moab's heat!
post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
You guys are way over-analyzing this (says Captain Obvious). Do what works for you. The performance gains/losses you guys are looking at are so insignificant they don't matter. I think most of us are riding for fun. FWIW though, when I'm not, when I'm doing a mountain bike race, I use bottles.
Over-analyzing??? You ever see the ski instruction forums here on epicski?:
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post
its hard to carry 70-100oz of fluid in bottles. Unless you have 7 bottle brackets. This is important when doing something like the Slick-Rock trail in Moab's heat!
I have a friend that used to live out there. He carried two 100-ouncers! :
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