Thursday, July 05, 2007

Water Your Preferences?

The phrase "hydration system" is ample proof that camping gear lingo has gotten completely ridiculous. What does this phrase really mean? Basically - water bottle! I suppose the fancier the name the more you can charge for it, right?

My "hydration system" started out as a simple, 1 litre Nalgene bottle. There's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it simple! In fact, I still have the same bottle. They pretty much last forever unless you run over them with your car or something. The bottle worked fine, and held water just like I wanted it to.

Then a few years ago some friends of mine gave me a 2 litre Platypus water bladder. (Cue chorus of angels...) Suddenly I could drink without breaking my stride or occupying my hands. Some may call it 'fancy-shmancy', but I call it progress.

Then again, the bladder system isn't perfect either. Both bottles and bladders have their problems. This is how I see it:
Problems with water bottles:
  • You have to stop and fish it out of a pack or pocket every time you drink.

  • There are lids or caps to unscrew, which always manage to leap out of my hand into the muddiest part of the track.

  • The bottle continues to take up just as much space empty as it did full, which bladders don't.
Problems with bladder systems:
  • The tube can be hard to clean and get grimy or even mouldy.

  • The zip-loc style filling system on mine can be outrageously hard to close.

  • Somehow, when you least expect it, something will lean against the mouthpiece and open the flow of water all over your pack.

  • They cost a lot more than a water bottle.
For me, the convenience of hands-free water consumption is worth the negatives. I'm curious to see what others think about this - so please leave me some comments. Are you a bladder-sucker or a bottle-chugger?

4 comments:

Big Kev said...

I tried a "bladder system" but it was a bit of a Princess and the Pea experience so now it's bottles every time. Good excuse to stop, get my breath back and take in the view. Besides, a black Sigg Oval just looks so darn cool :o)

sally in norfolk said...

Definitely a bladder sucker :-)

Jocelyn said...

I loooove my platypus, so much easier than stopping to get my water bottle and making my boyfriend wait since I drink more water than he does.

I still haven't put a film canister around my nozzle...but I think its about time.

Betsy Rocks said...

gotta go with the water bladder during the hike and the water bottles at camp. the bladders are the best for what they do, but theirs nothing like cuddling up to a nalgene filled with hot water while winter camping and waking up to water that's NOT frozen!