Logan is doing a lot more hiking these days and had asked for my thoughts about hydration packs. Here’s what I came up with:
- They’re great! Hydration can make the difference between a good hike and a bad one. Having your water easily accessible makes it a lot easier to stay hydrated.
- Camelbak is the most popular but there are other brands of hydration packs.
- Just because you decide you want a Camelbak, you don’t need to limit yourself to Camelbak branded backpacks. Lots of packs have a separate pouch designed for hydration packs or you could just throw it into a normal backpack too. It is nice if the spot for your pouch has a little loop to hang the hydration pack from. The straw connects at the bottom of the pouch and without that hanger loop, the pouch can slouch down and cut off the water.
- Keep your pouch clean! It can be really tricky to keep mold from growing in the pouches when you’re not using them. Some people just keep them in the freezer between uses but since I only use mine a handful of times each year, I prefer to fully dry them out. I recommend getting a cleaning kit. You can use things from around the house like coat hangers but these kits work really well and aren’t too expensive. I hang and dry my pouches after every hike and then use the cleaning tablets every once in a while.
- You can buy new bite valves in case yours gets really dirty, is used by a gross human or if it just wears out.