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Thread: Hiking bladder freezing

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  1. #1
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    Default Hiking bladder freezing

    I bought a camelbak bladder for my hiking pack this summer and also got the tube that allows you to bend it in the directions you want and has a little insulation. With how good this tube kept things cool in the summer, I was hoping it would keep things from freezing in the winter. I have found out I was wrong. On the Hancocks the tube froze and I thawed it out in my jacket. After that, blowing air back into the tube kept if from freezing back up. Later in the week on Waumbek, it was frozen within a mile even with trying to blow air back into the tube after noticing some slush. On Monadnock a couple days later it froze most of the way up after a long period of no use while at the top. I had to struggle just to get a little liquid through.

    Has anyone else had better luck with theirs, or do they have a tube that works better? I don't really want to have to use warm liquids while hiking just to keep drinking and I like the ergo bend on the valve. Camelbak has another tube I think with insulation, but it doesn't look any thicker than what I have. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Bladders are generally not recommended for winter hiking. Some formal leaders (AMC) will not allow you on their trips with them. I've had mind freeze while XC skiing, even with insulation. I had another hiker with me once have his freeze. That said, I know at least one person (a grid hiker no less) that manages to use it. Not sure he does so on all days and in all conditions, but I have seen it in action in winter more than one time. Typically, one takes Nalgenes in a bottle insulator.

    Tim

  3. #3
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    I was hopoing it would work, but it seems to have its limitations. Both days it worked for the most part were pretty cold and quite windy. The day it didn't work well at all it was just cold (never got above 9 degrees). I had bottles of gatorade in my pack that were fine (like I always do) luckily. Normally I just intend to use those to fill the bladder though. I might try once or twice more to see if I can find something that makes it last longer. Just nice having the option to take lots of small drinks and not have to stop to get out a bottle.

  4. #4
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    See also:

    http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=1538 where I include a photo of the Nalgene+cozy in action - very easy to grab, drink, return while walking (Not, I admit, as easy as the hydration bladder + tube.)

    http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=4479

    http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=3530 (Rocket21 is the grid hiker I mentioned above - he uses a Platypus with better luck than the Camelbak)

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 12-28-2011 at 10:11 AM.

  5. #5
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    It's funny I came across this post, as I've been trying to create something to keep mine from freezing as well. I find that in the winter I do not drink or eat enough when hiking, as I don't want to stop, or don't stop for very long to keep from getting too cold. I just hate to take anyhting out of my pack when I'm cold : ( My tube freezes up and then I just don't drink (except when taking a real break which isn't very often). I've been considering making some kind of 'cover' or wrap for my tube, from old fleece and wool socks. Might sound silly, but if it helps even a little it would be nice. Especially since I don't plan on giving up winter hiking anytime soon! Not sure if it'll work, but I can't drink only hot chocolate with Bailey's in it!

  6. #6
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    Assuming the temps are well below freezing I would steer clear of bladders in the winter. They are just too hard to manage and keep from freezing.

    Good old fashioned large mouth nalgenes are the way to go.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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