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General Gear Discussion The General Gear Discussion forum is for the discussion of traditional and lightweight (ultralight) backpacking gear that is not covered in other Practical Backpacking™ forums. [Please post about Backpacks, Shelters, Sleeping Gear, Backcountry Kitchen (Food, Stoves) in those respective forum areas.]

View Poll Results: Which do you most often use for your backpacking drinking water?
Bottles 29 38.16%
Bladder 13 17.11%
Both on same trip 34 44.74%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-03-2013, 03:01 PM
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KalalauRich KalalauRich is offline
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Backpack: Go Lite Pinnacle
Sleeping Gear: Coolmax blanket and bliss nylon sleep sack
Shelter: Triple bliss hammock
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Oahu, Hawaii
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by GGervin

I wonder if the top opening was sealed properly. The only thing I could think of that would make a disappearing mystery leak like that would be a problem with the top plug (the old ones like mine snapped in place, the new ones screw in). If that wasn't sealed properly, I have no doubt pressure against the bladder from inside the pack would force water out the top and create a "mystery" leak. I'd think a puncture leak or a bladder/hose fit problem would continue to leak or get worse.

I was using a Golite Pinnacle and had the bladder inserted into the sleeve in the pack. Perhaps the sleeve put pressure on where the hose inserts into the bladder. I have yet to try to duplicate the leak by putting the bladder into the full pack. I do have the one with the screw on lid.

I don't use a bladder because of the extra weight and because where I hike, there is usually plenty of water. I often hike carrying less than a half a liter.
I am also fortunate that I am able to drink from most of the streams where I backpack without having to treat/filter the water.


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Old 11-11-2013, 12:50 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 23
I use both the 1 ltr bottle hangs off my waist strap where it joins the backlpack, its real handy there as I can reach it.
I also have a 2.5 ltr bladder which fits in a sleeve in my pack. Its not leaked yet but I dont like that first shot of warm water you get on sunny days, or the fact that I Have to delve into the pack to see how much water I have in it. But I do like the convenient was it dispenses water if I can hang it up in camp.
Before I owned it I used to carry a wine bag for camp where more water was needed, it didnt weigh alot or take up much room. In some ways I think it is better than the bladder I have now.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:59 AM
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Slosteppin Slosteppin is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Grand Traverse County, MI
Posts: 165
I've been using Platypus bladders for over 10 years. I have never had one leak. I like water handy at night so years ago I would keep a full bladder, with the hose, in the tent. Twice I flooded the tent when I sat on the bladder. I started keeping the bladder just outside the tent door.
I did have the problem of not knowing how much water I had.

Instead of carrying a 2 L bladder inside the pack I started carrying two one L bladders in the side water bottle pockets, one on each side. When one runs empty it is easy to switch the hose to the other side and I know then I only have one liter left.

The water filter I use now has an adapter to fit Nalgene bottles. IMO, Nalgene bottles are heavy but Nalgene Cantenes are not much heavier than one L Platys. When backpacking I carry two one L Nalgene Cantenes and filter directly into the collapsible Cantenes. If I'm starting a long hot and dry section of trail I might carry both Cantenes full as well as the two Platys.

When I'm doing trail building or maintenance I carry a one liter bladder with hose and two water bottles inside the pack. I use the bladder and hose hiking to and between work areas. I drink from the bottles for lunch and while working.
We all develop our own methods. What works for me may not work for others.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:35 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
Originally Posted by KalalauRich
I have yet to try to duplicate the leak...


Maybe I'm beating a dead horse since this was a couple of months ago, and you've said you don't really use bladders anyway...

Also, can't begin to imagine why this didn't occur to me in the first place, but: fill your bladder with air, submerge it in the bathtub and look for bubbles. If it's a puncture or something permanent, the bubble trail will show you what and where. If no bubble trail, the leak really is intermittent, and would almost have to be related to the screw top. Not that a screw top issue is any less significant. If you should happen to try this, I hope you'll get back to us and let us know. Just a matter of curiosity.

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Old 12-09-2013, 09:49 AM
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FirstRWD FirstRWD is offline
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Backpack: Detours 40L or Bike Panniers
Sleeping Gear: Homemade Synthetic Quilt
Shelter: North Face Mica FL 2
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: WI
Posts: 85
^ That's a great idea.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:11 AM
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dustin dustin is offline
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Backpack: Golite Jam
Sleeping Gear: Golite quilt
Shelter: SMD Gatewood Cape
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lakewood, CO
Posts: 36
I've been using a Geigerrig bladder inside my pack since they're extremely durable, I can snap my filter into it and I tend to drink more if it's right on my shoulder strap. I don't always pressurize it, but sometimes I'll squeeze a little air into it while I'm walking to get some lumbar support or to insulate the water from my sweaty back.

At night, I put it into a stuff sack and use it as an adjustable pillow. Since I am mostly a side-sleeper and can inflate the air chamber to the right height. The weight of the water helps keep it in place. And, I can grab a sip overnight, which is nice.

I don't worry about it leaking overnight because I don't have a floor. Besides the air mat would float, right? I only worry about me leaking overnight.

The only real negative so far is that the air bulb can --and did-- pop off and bounce away, but at least it still worked as a regular bladder. The weekend after my bulb ditched me, I used an ancient Platy that had de-laminated or something, but fortunately the stuff sack it was oozing on held off the moisture.

I'm going to get a new bulb and retire that old Platy.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:25 AM
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IdahoSkies IdahoSkies is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 28
I'm a bottle guy. I carried Nalgene's for years, but have transitioned to "aquifine/soda bottles." The fact that one can only use unflavored water steered me off them, and they seemed like a hassle. From reading the earlier posts, that just confirms my views. Bottles it.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:13 AM
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Davinci Davinci is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 11
I like the convenience of using the hose to drink but I'm not comfortable with the bladder for a few reasons. Hard to fill with a tightly loaded pack and I'm reticent to have the bladder leak onto my gear. My main reason for not using a bladder is that I can't monitor how much liquid I'm using/have left. I use a Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene - 32 fl. oz. with a hole drilled into the top. The hose is fitted through the top. The hole is slightly smaller then the diameter of the hose and I've had no leaking problems. The cantene is stowed in an outside pocket. I've thought of installing a threaded nipple into the cap and attaching hose to either side, but so far that has been unnecessary. I carry a few of the cantenes and can put the modified cap on any of the cantenes easily. I feel I get the best of both. I can easily drink while hiking, I can see how much liquid I have left and there's little risk my gear gets wet.

Last edited by Davinci : 10-13-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:58 AM
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Haclil Haclil is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posts: 150
I go with bladders and bottles, my bladders being both Platys and Liquipaks.
I have the sausage-shaped Liquipaks which zip into nylon belts. They’re great as they weigh nothing. (The trek store must have found them buried deep in their storeroom!) I’ve added Camelbak drinking tubes. Usually I sling the belt part over the top ends of my packframe and then suspend the bladder part over my chest. If I ditch my pack to go exploring I simply switch the Liquipak to my waist. All in all a very handy arangement.
With Platys I’ll sometimes carry an empty in case I need extra capacity later in the trip. Like others of you I also find it a fair pillow. I like the way the empties fold flat—sometimes on the home stretch I’ll need extra space for some found object of interest if not some jerk’s campsite litter.
Leaks in Platys do occur in my experience. I find a reliable patch is a little square cut from clear plastic sheeting glued with ever-so-little superglue. For any future leaks I’ve started carrying a bicycle tube patch that comes with a sticky side.
My bottles are the old dependable PET bottles. I’ll use an empty or a partial empty to sit on, laying it on it’s side, when there are no handy rocks around (or to go down on one knee where the ground is unfriendly).
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:44 AM
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tacbear tacbear is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 17
I use both. I have always used Camelback brand....since my Military days and never had a leak (knock on wood).

I usually carry a 70oz bladder in my pack and 2 24oz Smartwater bottles in the side pockets. I don't always fill the bladder to capacity...usually carry about 40oz so it takes less room.

I sip out of the bladder while moving and use the bottles for my MH meals.

I use my First Need water purifier pump connected to a Sawyer mini filter as a ultralight (7oz) system for filling mt bottles. By using the Sawyer filter instead of the First Need filter I save almost a pound. I fill my bladder directly through the drinking tube so I don't have to remove it from my pack!
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