Camel Back For Any Backpack
Hydration is something I cannot stress enough when traveling. Typically I find myself meandering around on trails toting water bottles in my backpack which make it both bulky and heavy not to mention multiple bottles tend to make it a bit harder to navigate a small bag. I finally decided to transform my “go bag” with a hydration reservoir, a simple 2 liter container which slide into a single pocket of your bag and allows water to flow on demand through a glorified jumbo straw.
I have been looking into hydration backpacks for a while or Camel Back Backpacks as most refer to them. One thing which always was a turn off to me in concern to these however was the cost with a good bag which allows for additional storage ranging from $30 all the way to $100. Facts were, I already had a really nice backpack for day hikes so there was no need to get an additional one just for a single feature. I wanted to use this one so I began looking into the camel pack reservoir itself and how I could install one in my own bag.
Well it isn’t rocket science I found out quickly. You simply purchase one for between $9 and $20 at any store with sporting goods and follow 3 short instructions.
Step 1 - Fill the Reservoir - to do this you simply unscrew the opening on the front of most camel backs and place water inside then secure the cap tis it sits even with the sill.
Step 2 - Place Reservoir Into Backpack - it is suggested that you have a dedicated pocket to your reservoir so nothing can puncture the liner of the bag itself. Once you place it in an upright position you zip the pockets with the hose “straw” still visible on the outside of the pocket. On backpacks that have a space for the hose you can then secure the hose through that area to complete the process for those which do not you will want to find a way to loop the hose so it will not dangle.
Step 3 - Drink - to do this most have a pull or bite valve which allows water to flow only when you are doing one of these actions keeping it from leaking during non-use times.
I decided upon the Outdoor Products brand for my reservoir. The material seemed durable and the reinforced handle for loading and unloading had many an advantage over some of the other packs I had seen. The cost ranges between stores and you can find this one for as low as $9.95 or as high as $17.95. I opted to not go for the insulated gel version of this product because I will not have an area to cool it before or after hikes, but would probably recommend that option to those which need colder water. The gel alternative typically retails for around $19 across the board.
When I got the product home it was easy to assemble and place in my backpack. A quick snip of a couple of pieces of packing tape and I was ready to go for the first fill.
It is recommended that you rinse the reservoir before filling for the first time and proper cleaning instructions mention scrubbing all parts with baking soda and water then shaking and rinsing then following with a solution of 1 cup water and 1 tsp lemon juice inside shaking and emptying. This solution assures that everything is fully sanitized in all parts and upon drying can be used.
This product is designed for water only and not recommended for alcohol, protein shakes, dairy or soft drinks. The sugars in these can be corrosive to the materials used and should be avoided. That was ok with me however, as this is my hiking pack and I do not intend on using it for other purposes. And while mainlining 2 liters of coffee might sound great…. Not so much the right choice for doing so…
I was so pleased to finally address my need for hydration without having to change everything about my routine or supplies. The pack allows me to still tow my camera and tripods without overcrowding, possibly scuffing my gear or having a lid which doesn’t seem to close (like so many water bottles seem to do). Perfect price and perfect fit for my lifestyle.
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