Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Moderators: Cowboy, Jackson, chris@cycleoregon

Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby jesatt » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:09 pm

Since we are required to carry 2 20 oz water bottles or the equivalent hydration pack on the ride I am curious as to experiences of others with water bottles vs. hydration packs.


Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:12 am

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby mytrot » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:50 pm


I have used the two bottle system last year and it worked well. CO last year had enough water stops that two were always plenty for me even on the hillyor warmer days.

A couple of my friends ride with packs so I got one to try. Even though it is 70 oz it seems very light. It gives you some extra room for gear and is easier to use on the uphills as you don't have to reach between your legs.

Either will certainly work fine so I think its just personal choice. I partly got mine for unorganized rides where I want to have a little more fluids when I don't have good refill spots.

Posts: 405
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:40 pm
Location: Albany, OR

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Sandra » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:29 pm

John, I have a pack & used it for two CO's, only because it was easy to
drink going up hills, but two bottles is enough. I now just stop and drink if it's a really steep one. Some people use them but take the inside out and put their extra stuff inside instead of for water. I have a
stretchy cargo net from REI that hooks under my seat that I use for any extra clothes. I also use it for group rides that may not have enough water stops....but CO always has enough.
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:05 pm

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby dougnlis » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:00 pm

I've done both. Both work. I find it handy to have a bottle with sports drink - whatever is being given at water stops - in addition to plain water whether the water is in a second bottle or on my back. Electrolytes help, but can be more than you need mile after mile. It is also easy to pack more water than you need if you have a hydration back as the stops come up regularly and support vehicles with water pass by often should you be in a screaming need. You have all summer to work out your best system around a course with a stop every couple of hours where you can refill.
Steel is Real
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:56 pm
Location: Portland OR

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Force 5 Robert » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:36 pm

The last 2 CO's on my recumbent I used a single Polar bottle with sports drink and ice (if available). In my bag I carried a 50 oz bladder about half full of ice (if available) and water. I would only have to refill the bottle with sports drinks on the hottest days - and the water in my bag stayed nice and cool all day until the end. If it was a super hot day and we passed through a town I would stop at a store and buy a bag of ice and put some on my bottles and bag... then pass the ice bag around to the rest of the peeps. :)

My 1st CO in 2006 I tried the 2 bottle thing and found that one or the other would get too warm by the time I needed it. :(
User avatar
Force 5 Robert
Posts: 532
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:46 pm
Location: PDX

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Chuck B. » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:50 pm

I carry both. I have a CamelBak Mule hydration pack with a 70 oz. bladder that I fill with water, and two bottles on the bike that I fill with whatever sports drink is available at the water and rest stops. I find that I drink more with the hose on the pack within easy reach, as opposed to having to reach down for the bottles.

I got in the habit of carrying both partly because I do most of my riding alone when I'm at home, so I can carry extra tubes, food, clothes, etc. in the pack...
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
Chuck B.
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Eastern Oregon

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby jesatt » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:18 am

Thanks for all the input. I will try different combos while training through the summer. I particularly like the idea of perhaps wearing a pack with plain water and carrying one or two bottles with electrolytes.

Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:12 am

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby PdxMark » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:30 pm

If you do opt for a pack, it's still very good to have a water bottle along to drink from while in camp.
If it ain't fixed, it's broken.
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:43 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Lazlo » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:53 pm

I like a Camelback for water, and I save the water bottles for sports drink. I, too, find that I drink more when I don't have to reach for a bottle. The backpack doesn't bother me, and it adds some storage space.
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:48 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby pjmsj211 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:18 pm

I find that I hydrate much more regularly with a bladder than with water bottles. Although water bottles aren't necessarily difficult, it's just that a bladder is so easy. I have a bladder than is very light and allows me to pop in sun screen etc. On shorter rides bottles are fine but for CO, I really want to be hydrating.

Pat Mc
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:42 am
Location: Eugene, OR

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby aktiv » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:57 pm

I'm not a fan of packs in general; I rarely train with one, but I always carry a 100oz pack with me on the CO rides. I also have an empty bottle on the bike that I use as a cup at the rest stops.

A large pack full of water is just a great thing to have should it get warm during your ride. I drink more from the tube than I would from a bottle.

The pack covers your back from the direct sun; this makes a bigger difference than you think.

It's also a little bit of protection in an accident - I went through one occasion while mountain bike riding where a cheap pack would have saved the backside of a $70 jersey. :-)

Again, not really a fan of packs, but a hydration pack is de riguer for a CO day for me.


Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:19 am

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby capthawk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:08 am

I always chucle when I see 2 almost full 20oz water bottles mounted on a lightweight $4000+ bike at rest stops. All that extra liquid equals several thousand dollars worth of extra bike costs to achive your "ultalight" bike. Most rest stops are only about 15 miles apart. (But all bets are off if it is one of those 100 degree days)
It's always sunny at 35,000 ft
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:17 pm
Location: Ca

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Tender Chunks » Sat May 16, 2009 5:42 pm

I use two 20 oz water bottles, one filled with "aid", other water, both mounted on vertical components of frame, thank you. I like the weight down low, for more stability, plus I hate having anything on my back. Knowing there is water coming up, I'll dump water on uphills, or dump it over my head if it is hot, as long as I'm sure to have enough liquids to get over any intervening hills. I like not having to do the whole bladder cleaning thing. OK, well I have a few beers at night, but that is different......
Tender Chunks
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:08 pm
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby Alex from Eugene » Sat May 16, 2009 9:54 pm

Maybe it's because I sweat, but I hate having something on my back while riding - when mtn biking or commuting I have a big fanny pack for this reason (the actual fanny isn't small, either). Any organized ride I have been on (including COs and CO weekends) had plenty of water stops, so capacity isn't the issue.

Two 20 oz bottles is probably overkill but the CO organizers recommend it and you would be glad of it if a waterstop ran out on a 105 degree day :shock: (like the CO weekend 3 years ago returning from Oakland to Eugene). If it gets that hot, keep moving and do like the pros - squirt water from your bottle down your neck and back. Try doing that with a hydration pack!

I do use a backpack with a hydration bladder when backpacking and it's sure convenient to be able to suck water on demand - but I have no difficulty using a water bottle on a bike so will continue to do that.
Alex from Eugene
"work to eat, eat to live, live to ride, ride to work"
User avatar
Alex from Eugene
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:25 pm
Location: Skinner's Mudhole

Re: Water Bottles or Hydration Pack?

Postby HelenaTaranto » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:24 pm

I think the Water Bottle will for fine. Nature is batter :D
But I do use a backpack with a hydration bladder, just in case of emergency.
Might as well read this http://weightwoo.com/eat-stop-eat
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:19 am

Return to 2009 Week Ride - September 12-19