man with hydration pack

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HYDRATION PACK

Anyone who gives a hydration pack soon understands the advantages of having one. You don’t need to reach for a bottle and you will tend to drink smaller amounts on a more regular basis. These are just a couple of reasons why hydration packs are good at keeping you hydrated whether you are out hiking or simply fishing. I wouldn’t go kayak fishing without my hydration pack. It’s convenient and I know I am looking after myself. It is easy to get dehydrated without knowing. Hydration packs are excellent for snowboarding and the like. There really isn’t any outdoor activity where you won’t benefit from having a hydration pack.

CHOOSING A HYDRATION PACK

Choosing a hydration pack is a pretty simple process. For most of us looking for something we can use for an extended period, a 2-litre hydration pack is sufficient. That might be a little bulky if you are a sports fanatic and you don’t need yours all day long. In that case, I’d go with a 1-litre hydration pack.

Just in case you didn’t know, many backpacks have a sleeve on the back side. This sleeve can be used to insert a hydration pack inner. Nevertheless, most hydration packs come with their own small backpack that includes pockets and extra places to put your things. I like those smaller backpacks because they generally have a design that suits outdoor activities whereas that is not always the case with all backpacks.

Deciding which hydration pack is best for you is a pretty straightforward process as long as it is a brand name product. I wouldn’t buy a hydration pack that doesn’t have a name you don’t know or one that isn’t well established. There isn’t too much to the inner workings of a hydration pack but you do want one that will last.

The bladder, hose and suction tip need to be reliable. The advantage of a full hydration pack is that you have clips to hold the drinking hose on the shoulder of your choice. The bag needs to be strong and durable. I don’t know how many bags, suitcases and backpacks I bought until I finally learnt my lesson. Look in my closet at home and you will only find brand name goods. I’ve had them all for years. It’s like shoes, there is nothing like having something for a long time that looks as good as it did, if not better, with time. I’ve got a few pairs of shoes like that, and I’ve got a backpack and a suitcase that are the same. It just goes to show that some products wear better than others.

When it comes to hydration packs you want to use for outdoor activities, such as fishing, camping and the like, you can get a quality hydration bladder with a sophisticated backpack made of quality materials from a brand name known for quality for around $40. That’s not bad at all.

SOME TIPS TO USING HYDRATION PACKS

Hydration packs are pretty easy to use. There isn’t too much more than filling them with your liquid and using them except making sure you drain out as much liquid as possible when you are not using them. It’s okay to keep some amount of water in the bag if you are not using it for an extended period, just make sure you don’t drink that water. Rinse the hydration pack and add a fresh fluid each time you use it.

When using a hydration pack in really cold weather, it is a good idea to make sure you blow the liquid back into the reservoir so that you don’t get ice forming in the sip tube. I recommend filling your reservoir with warm liquid in really cold weather.

In really hot weather, I like to freeze the reservoir and my fluids. You need to be careful if you are going to do this because liquids expand when they turn into ice. I recommend leaving about 1/4 empty before freezing. An ice pack on your back with something icy cold to drink is really enjoyable when you are out in hot weather.

That’s about it. Warm drinks in the winter and icy cold drinks in the summer. My hydration pack does more than keeping me hydrated, it helps keep me warm and cool as I need it.

 


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Jake Taylor
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Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.