Hydration equipment / packs for epic rides

That is an interesting system…well thought out. Might be a bit overkill for what I am looking for, but I’ll check into it more thanks.

I am registered for the Rift and plan to use my Chase vest for extra water and nutrition. I haven’t focussed on the distance between aid stations so don’t know how much overkill two bottles and best may be. Hope to see you there.

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The longest distance between feed zones is 48km (between feed 2 & 3), but a good portion of that will also be climbing.

And then it is 42km between the last two feed zones.

So nothing terribly unreasonable…I’m really tempted to just go with two large bottles, but don’t know if I can carry enough food / supplies in my pockets.

We’ll see…just sent my wife the link for the Chase pack for my bday.

I tend to use a collapsable 1L bladder/bottles like this:

SoftBottle™ | 1.0L | Bottles | Platypus.

  1. It holds more than a full liter
  2. It fits in a jersey pocket much better than a bottle.
  3. once it’s empty, it basically weighs nothing and takes up no space.

I did DK (now “Unbound”) in 2018 when temps were above 100F, and I would’ve cooked if I’d had a vest or pack on. I ran a frame pack big enough to hold a 1.5 liter bladder, and ran the hose up my stem. That just held water, and I had two 1 liter bottles with Skratch on the bike. Planning to do the same this year, if the event happens. Heat management can be such an issue at this race, in my mind it’s preferable to have the water on the bike and not my back.

Frame bags are the way to go. On all my rides, I use a gas tank bag for food.


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It might be a good idea to have one bottle of plain water unless you regularly drink the heavy carb drinks each ride and know you love it. I did century last weekend and used one 1L bottle of the Skratch Super Fuel (400 cal, 100g carbs) and one 1L bottle of Skratch Hydration Mix. I use Skratch Hydration most rides, but was new to Super Fuel. It was fairly warm where I am (75F and sunny) and when I got to the top of a decently steep climb towards the end of my ride, my mouth was so dry and sticky even though I had been drinking the whole way up and still had mix in both my bottles. I chugged from a water fountain for several minutes and just the plain water seemed to revive me and quench my thirst.

Yeah, I’ve used a top tube back for super long rides before…my biggest issue is that I have a fairly narrow Q and my knees end up brushing against it, especially out of the saddle.

But mine is also a pretty squared off design…a tapered one might world better. Thanks for the link.

I just empty and rinse my bladder with soapy water, then hang it up to dry empty. Use a couple of caps of bleach in warm water every few rides. They also make cleaning tablets. If I were really paranoid I’d use some kind of oxygenated cleaner you can buy at homebrewing supply places. That stuff will turn your skin into soap–it’ll definitely kill any nasties in your hydration bladder. lol

While I don’t like adding mix to a water bladder, if I do then I wash it out with sterilising tabs (whatever your local sterilising agent for baby feeding bottles is), rinse then store in the freezer.

So somewhere like Iceland consider a water filter like the MSR Trailshot - a couple of hundred grammes but means you can refill at the trailside should you start to get low.

Depending on the route and the length between resupply I switch between bottles on the bike and hydration pack. Sometimes it’s a case of what’s the best option, others it’s what’s the least worst option. Trail food is always in stem cells for ease of access, something like the Revelate Feed Bag.

For most riders the answer is yes. Here is the hydration pack I’ve used every time I rode DK. Except the first time…anyhow, it works well. Holds just the right amount. I don’t advocate riding with some big arsed back pack like most of the up-scale bike backpacks that are purpose designed for events like DK. They are too bulky. They generate a TON of aero drag. They keep you super hot through the day.

With your bottle holders and a liter and a half on your back you’re probably ok.

Plus, these mubasel hydration packs are affordable. I have 5 of them. Freeze the bladders and put them in the drop bag. At the rest stop…one comes off & the other goes on. They’re cheap enough that you can just bin it with a clear conscience.

No. It’s either impossible to get them out & take a drink on the fly or just another donation to the Prairie Water Bottle Project.

All your bottles are going to get covered in dust/mud. :smiley: Many times I’ve seen the water bottle cage on the bottom of the down tube populated with a spare/parts kit.


Another alternative for a low profile pack


I’ve used this for Leadville and for long winter rides when I need to cover the pack with layers.

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I was an LP in a firm & we owned Camelbak for quite a while…parting on what (I hope) were very favorable terms for both of us. Camelbak is a great company & I think they don’t get enough credit for the work they do for those in the military.

I’ve had an early model of the pack you linked for years & would rec it w/o reservation…just a few words of comparison, though…

Since I acquired the pack above camelbak have added a chest clip and changed the bite valve design. Both good changes!

The Mubasel has 500ml more capacity in the bladder. It also has more storage capacity. You can stuff your phone in the mubasel…not sure you could in the camelbak. On the other hand the Mubasel is also bulkier & weighs 500ml of water more than the camelbak.

The camelbak may feel a little restrictive if you have broad shoulders. This probably isn’t a problem for most cyclists.

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No need for this race…water is clean enough to refill straight from the river your cross…pure Icelandic glacier water. Which is kinda another reason why I am double-thinking the hydration pack. If I can carry enough food plus spares / tools on me, plus have room to peel off any layers I may not need, I’ll likely do that. From the pics I have seen from 2019, not a lot of people used packs.

But I don’t want to blow the race on going minimalist and finding myself stuck out there!! I’d rather suck it up with a hydration pack and be sure I finish.


This one is very nice. They have a smaller one also.

Since Im a big boy, I plan on running bottles till first aid station at unbound and then adding the hydration pack on top of bottles.

That is what I did in 2019…worked well for me, but I don’t typically drink a lot.

just be prepared to change your mind and start with the pack if the day is predicted to be hot.

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Fair enough. I grew up on a farm with an unfiltered, untreated water supply so am fine with drinking straight from streams, etc. not everyone is though so thought I’d mention it. Remember you might need to filter the glacial grit out, just depends on the river. I can’t remember having any problems when we were in Iceland and away from the tourist hot spots.

Cheap or not, that is remarkably wasteful and exceedingly unfriendly to environment with nothing biodegrading or recycling.

If I need to carry more liquid a couple roll up bottles in back pockets allow me to refill bike bottles easily and squish down the empty ones to reuse.