View Full Version : Water Freezing

01-27-2009, 10:59 AM
What are you guys and gals doing to keep you water from freezing on multiple day hikes on the Presi Trav?

I'm in PA and it's cold, but nothing like up in NH this time of year. I've been hiking and camping a lot for prep for my traverse in late February. I've found that my bladder has been freezing. The water in the bladder hasn't froze yet but the straw and mouthpiece have been freezing up thus rendering it useless.

I learned quickly to blow the water back in but after a while the mouth piece is still freezing up.

I imagine these things will be useless on the traverse.

Can you winterize them? Or what sort of water apparatus would you suggest?

I've been reading through the forum as much as I can, there's some great advice/information here as well as some great experience. I've seen a few people advise to take hot water since it won't freeze as fast.


01-27-2009, 11:36 AM

Read thru the above post. You'll find some suggestions.

Bill O
01-27-2009, 02:29 PM
Don't bring a bladder for a winter traverse. Its not worth it.

Standard wide mouth Nalgene or equivalent is the way to go. Wide mouth is good because they can still be opened if minor freezing starts to occur. Also, if itis going to be at the bottom of your sleeping bag you want to be confident about the seal.

KD Talbot
01-27-2009, 04:48 PM
As Bill says the bladders are pretty much useless in winter. I concur: a wide mouth nalgene upside down in your insulator, that way when the ice forms it forms in the bottom of the bottle and you can still drink from the top. If you carry more than one bottle, and you should, keep the other one wrapped up and near your body in your pack or it will freeze, too.

Last Saturday the ham in my sandwich froze. I found out the defrost in my car will toast the bread before it thaws the ham. I'm always learning. ;)


01-27-2009, 05:08 PM
I found out years ago that a frozen Italian sub sandwich has no taste.

(this is classified as a News Flash in our family)

01-27-2009, 09:19 PM
Tim and I got *insulated* water bladders for Christmas this year. My mouthpiece/hose has frozen up three weekends in a row even though I *swear* I blow the water from the hose every time. Tim's has never frozen up, so I must be doing something wrong.

That being said, I'm not taking any more chances. Nalgene bottle and insulated bottle holder is the way that I'm going from now on.

Other pearls of wisdom... crunchy granola bars are OK in winter, chewy ones will break your teeth. Cheese is *gross* after it freezes. Jerky doesn't really seem to freeze at all.

That's all I've got! Good luck and have fun!

Bill O
01-27-2009, 09:26 PM
I'd take my chances with an insulated bladder on a dayhike in the 20s, maybe colder. But never on a winter multi-day.

01-27-2009, 10:44 PM
Thanks everyone for the valuable insights. Stupid me purchased an insulated bladder this evening. I'll return it though.

I love bladders so I can have easy access to the mouthpiece whenever I feel thirsty. But if it freezes, it's pointless and unnecessary weight.

Where do you guys keep your nalgenes for easy access? I don't want to have to take my pack off each time I want a sip of water.

01-28-2009, 12:20 PM
I have an insulated tube for my bladder and it has never frozen up. This is for day hikes and I have always found a bladder works fine. Even if the tube freezes it is easy to thaw out to get at the water. The bladder never freezes up since it is next to your body. On an overnight would be a different situation.

01-28-2009, 12:26 PM
I keep two insulated upside-down 1 L Nalgene bottles strapped to my pack....attach them around your shoulder straps, near your waist. This way, they hang down by your hips and you can easily get to them without having to take off your pack. They also stay out of your legs this way too.

I also keep one more 1L insulated Nalgene inside of my pack, and a large thermos of boiling water inside wool socks, inside my pack. Therefore, I have two easy access Nalgenes, a spare Nalgene in my pack, and a thermos (which stays hot much, much longer than insulated Nalgenes) in my pack.

Yes, that's a lot, but keep in mind I'm usually carrying for two.

Also, the easy access Nalgenes contain warm hot chocolate and warm apple cider. This provides more calories and carbs (good for cold weather hiking), and Alex and I both drink much, much more of this than just plain water (tastes better!). Naturally wanting to drink more of this ensures we stay properly hydrated. I've found that if I just carry water, I have to nag Alex (and myself) to drink enough.

EDITED TO ADD: DUh, should've read the OP before posting....the above is good for dayhikes, I've never tried a traverse. Hope it's helpful anyway, sorry.

01-28-2009, 12:57 PM
I'm the same way about drinking. If I have to stop to drink, I'll be dehydrated in no time.

Here's how I carry my Nalgene (http://www.nalgene-outdoor.com/store/detail.aspx?ID=1063)

Mine has a velcro loop which I can slide right onto my pack's waist strap.