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  1. #1
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    Carrying water where there is no water

    In my ongoing plan for the Maah Daah Hey in ND this fall, my biggest concern is water. From everything I've gathered about the trail, there is no water along the route except for the campsites, and even that might not be good (taste and availability).
    So I've made the decision to carry all my water for 3 days 2 nights.


    My questions:
    1. How much do I need? ( I'm guessing 4-5 gallons)
    2. How do I carry it (container)? (Planing on using a single 3rd wheel trailer with rack and paniers to carry all my gear)

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    LOL that thing holds 6 gallons! Isn't that like 50 pounds?

  4. #4
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    MSR Dromedary

    I like MSR Dromedary bags. I've strapped one 4L Dromedary on each side of my ExtraWheel trailer (older style) for 2-night trips where I didn't think I would find water. Plus, you can freeze them to keep the beer cold.

    I use the old "1 gallon per person per day" theory, so I wouldn't bring much more than 3 gallons, especially if I thought I may be able to top off at campsites.

  5. #5
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    I don't think my back would agree with that :O

  6. #6
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    Mate, can you give me the run down on temps, terain, type of food you'll be eating and whether it's a casual ride or a race?

    Al

  7. #7
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    For carrying water,

    large dromendary bags (like MSR, Platypus) or washed out 3L or 5L wine bags that come out of wine boxes. That way your weight for containers is low and size shrinks throughout the ride.

  8. #8
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    I think you would be good with 3 gallons. 4 to play it safe (and also to factor in if you are cooking or not). Iíve only done one bikepacking excursion (though plenty of backpacking and canoe tripping) and I took about 2 gallons for an overnight and long second day. I definitely could have taken less. But I live in New Mexico, so I am always conscious of running out.

    I think the idea of freezing water is a great one Ė then locate them in the base of the trailer. That will keep it stable and you can cover it with items to hide it from the sun (and pack any food/beer around it to keep those things cold Ė at least for that first day). Me, Iím of the mind to not buy equipment if you donít need it, so for the items I put in my trailer, I would probably reuse old gallon milk containers (again, frozen). You can crush these down after you use them as well so they donít take up valuable real estate (and they are still reusable after that). I also have a 2-gallon collapsible water container and they are pretty affordable and light.

    For my trip, I carried all my gear on the bike (panniers mainly). I had a 1.5l camelback, and 4 other liter bottles Ė two on the frame and two on the fork. Then a few additional liter bottles in my panniers. Worked out fine. If I had a trailer, I probably would have squirreled some of these heavier things on that to get it off the bike itself.

    Sounds like a great adventure!

  9. #9
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    I have rarely had to carry lots of water, but when I have its because I was sure there would be no water available. In those circumstances, where water is critical to survival I have carried multiple water containers to give me some redundancy just in case one gets damaged. You don't want to put all of your eggs in the one basket! Ortlieb make some extremely sturdy rubber impregnated canvas water carriers that hold 4L. They are bombproof and also make a good pillow in hot environments.

    I generally plan for needing about 4L per day. But in extreme temps with hard riding you could need twice that.

  10. #10
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    I have a 6 litre pack tap

    Sea To Summit - Adventure, Outdoor, Camping, Hiking, Gear and Accessories, Perth, Australia

    doubles as a pillow

    I always have a 3 litre bladder and 700ml bidon and bust this out when it gets a bit dry

  11. #11
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    Camping out I work on taking six to seven litres per day where I cannot get water during the day and/or at camp.

    On longer rides where I can facing up to five days between water sources I use 10L Ortlieb Water Bags but have heard good things about the MSR Dromedary bags as well.



    Andrew

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    Water weight....

    Quote Originally Posted by Barheet View Post
    LOL that thing holds 6 gallons! Isn't that like 50 pounds?
    8.35 pounds per gallon x 6.6 gallon capacity....makes it 55.11 pounds not including the weight of the bag itself.

    1 liter weighs 2.2 pounds or 1000 grams (1Kg)

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    Collapable camp container

    Try using a 5 gallon collapable water conatiner.

  14. #14
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    The weight difference between a full 3 liter bag and a half full 6 liter bag is less than 50 grams. So just get the 6 liter or you will wish you did. Expect it to weigh about 13.5 lbs full.

  15. #15
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    I prefer a somewhat redundant storage system, i.e. don't carry any one large vessel. 2.5 L Platypus bottles are the mainstay. 2L soda bottle cap fits. And each one is a hydration bladder if you have the hose kit (adapter). Bomber warranty, forever replacement if any leakage/issue.

    Dromedary bags are overkill. Big, inefficient cap/dispenser. Too much time spent reducing that horrid plastic taste they come with.

  16. #16
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    Those plastic milk bottles usually don't have strong caps - they will burst under pressure. PET bottles are better for burst pressure but not so good on abrasion, yet many bicycle riders use them.

    As others have said; If you carry all your water in one container and it brakes .. you have NO water! Take at least two containers and split the water between the containers. For teh same reason don't run one down to empty while the others are full - spred teh water lod between the containers to reduce the stress on yourself if one brakes.

  17. #17
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    Good point on the redundancy. Trip has been postponed til next year due to not enough dough and time to sort out the logistics.

  18. #18
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    try ask someone who works in military
    they surely have the necessary tools for those kind of trips

  19. #19
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    Not necessarily for your situation, but this might interest some.

    On extended trips, I take two wine cask bladders as well as biddons and a large soda bottle ... and an MSR Expedition water filter with a Nalogen bottle to collect and then decanter the water.

    One of the wine cask bladders is marked as unprocessed water and that is all it is used for, if needed as a last resort. Here in Oz, it is either droughts or floods and every creek has an intermittent flow. After both droughts and floods several water borne conditions can affect humans, not to mention the problems from feral animals, particularly dogs.

    So, no matter what water I see if the situation is difficult, I can still take. I process all found water here in the SE of OZ. Hydatids, Liver Fluke, Leptospirosis and Brucillosis amongst other nasties are found here.

    Bad unprocessed water can be processed later or dumped when better or cleaner water is found. Even green water can be filtered twice and boiled for 8 minutes into a crystal clear lifesaver. It is also very comforting having lots of water and knowing that I can deal with any water no matter how bad.

    The guys that do extended trips through the centre of Oz, can haul 50tlts between watering points. About 14-15 lts is the most I'll haul on the tops of ridges where I know water can be hard to find.

    It was here on MTBR, that I read one of the best tips ever for filtering water. Fitting a paper coffee filter held on with a rubber band, over the inlet to the water filter. This has reduced the maintenance of the ceramic filter considerably. Take lots of paper filters, they weigh nothing.

    The MSR filter can filter 1lt per minute, when well maintained.






    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 09-11-2012 at 03:42 PM.

  20. #20
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    Just a thought...

    Carrying 3+ days worth of water is going to turn this from a potentially fun singletrack excursion with some camping along the way, into a slog from start to finish.

    The climbing on the MDH is not extended, more like short and punchy. On extended climbs you might be able to gear down and grunt up, but for these kinds of climbs, loaded with *that much* water, you will be walking next to your bike.

    No biggie--you're still outside, and maybe that's all that matters.

    If I were you I'd be looking into cutting that load in half by filtering from the river at ~halfway.

    Or, maybe even have the shuttle company that operates out of Medora drop a few gallons for you at campsites in advance. I'd think this latter option would be eminently doable if you spent a bit of time figuring out where you'll camp each night.

    MC

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Just a thought...

    Carrying 3+ days worth of water is going to turn this from a potentially fun singletrack excursion with some camping along the way, into a slog from start to finish.

    The climbing on the MDH is not extended, more like short and punchy. On extended climbs you might be able to gear down and grunt up, but for these kinds of climbs, loaded with *that much* water, you will be walking next to your bike.

    No biggie--you're still outside, and maybe that's all that matters.

    If I were you I'd be looking into cutting that load in half by filtering from the river at ~halfway.

    Or, maybe even have the shuttle company that operates out of Medora drop a few gallons for you at campsites in advance. I'd think this latter option would be eminently doable if you spent a bit of time figuring out where you'll camp each night.

    MC
    I know there is a river, but I'm not really counting on it as a sure thing. I'm planning on buying a decent filter to go along with me in case I need it. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
    As for support, I want to go at this without outside support.

  22. #22
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    I use the same filter as Wild Wassa and it is good but I rarely use it. I'll carry up to 6 x 1.5 litre bottles. Except in mid summer one bottle should last a day, but you have to pace yourself. 1 gallon sounds a bit extravagant.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    I know there is a river, but I'm not really counting on it as a sure thing. I'm planning on buying a decent filter to go along with me in case I need it. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
    As for support, I want to go at this without outside support.

    Call or email Dakota Cyclery That's where you'll get the best info.

    Yes, they provide support in all forms for the MDH (even just a shuttle to one end of the trail),, but they're also far and away the most knowledgeable folks regarding the MDH.

    With all the fracking going on in western North Dakota, I don't know if I'd trust a filter. And definitely make sure you're carrying plenty of water with you if that's the route you want to go. I've hiked in both the north and south units of TRNP, and have easily gone through 5-6 l of water in 8 hours of hiking. If the temps are in the upper 90's/low 100's plus absolutely no tree cover, I tend to sweat a lot.

  24. #24
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    Like Aushiker I carry 10 litre Ortlieb water bags as here in Australia extended tours can see you many days in between towns. As my touring to date has been mainly on road I use a two wheeled Carry Freedom Y-frame trailer to carry it. I plan to get a water filter like Wild Wassa due to once running low and sampling water in a stream and finding it not tasting too good. Luckily I had no ill effects.

  25. #25
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    3-4 gallons of water... hmm.

    1 gallon is 4 quarts I believe; so using the USGI stuff; you would have 8x 2qt canteens.....I seem to remember they had a collapsible bladder that holds alot?

    Collapsible Canteen, 5 Quart , U.S. G.I. - $14.95 :: Colemans Military Surplus LLC - Your one-stop US and European Army/Navy surplus store with products for hunting, camping, emergency preparedness, and survival gear

    two of these will give you the capacity of 10 quarts; which equates to 2 and a half gallons of water, and then with water bottles or camelbak holding the remaining half a gallon of water, that will give you 3 gallons of water? with a rack, I think you might be able to mount two of those 5 qt bladder bags on the sides or inside the panniers; or on the bottom of the trailer.. OR you can try to find a way to mount a single 5 gallon blue jerry can onto the trailer, but it might be overkill...

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