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  1. #1
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    To Camelbak or not

    I'm doing a bunch of NUE series events (100miles events) this year, I did local endurance racing but they laps on small loop where most of the NUE events will be one griant loop. I was wondering, are guys running paks? We get two bag drops along the way so I was gonna just throw 2 bottles in each drop bag and run two scoops of Infinit per bottle which would meet my calorie intake per hour in one bottle.

    The problem I'm running into is starting with 2 bottles (1 hour per bottle) with 2 bag drops only gives me 6 hours of nutrition, I'm planning on being on the bike 8-10 hours. So I think I will carry 4 baggys of drink mix to at the aid stations.

    Now the camel can carry 4 hours of nutrition, but it is so heavy. Loaded I think was like 10 pounds (Lugo model 100oz).

    In short I guess I'm just asking what other people are doing.

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  2. #2
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    Disclaimer: I work at Osprey Packs but am not attempting to sell you a pack here.

    For races of 100+ miles where the duration is 8-10 hours I have found that a lightweight pack carrying just necessities has been a huge benefit. I usually just go with bottles on shorter races or where refilling each lap is easy but carrying enough water that I can drink constantly without worrying about running low has kept me from losing steam or even cramping up. The other advantage is that you can have your nutrition in the bottles and just plain water in the hydration pack. Sometimes it is refreshing to drink just plain water in between sips off the nutrition drinks. I also like to have some room for an ultra-light rain jacket and some arm and/or leg warmers for the mountain rides where temps can change quickly. It might feel funny at first if you're not used to wearing a pack but becomes totally natural after a few rides.

  3. #3
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    I like this thread.. I do some long (60-100 mile races) Ouachita/Leadville etc.. each year and have always wore a pack. But recently I have been considering doing only bottles. I have been riding with 2 bottles on the bike and 1 in my jersey pocket and it seems to be pretty good. Although a pack doesn't bother me at all.. Im in the middle on this one too.

  4. #4
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    I like bottles so the bike can carry the weight of them. With two bottles on the bike you can cover a lot of ground and most NUE events are going to have plenty of well stocked rest stops. I did the Fools Gold last year and was happy with one large bottle and one small bottle. Plenty of rest stops to fill up and pick up food.

  5. #5
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    Another option that I'm experimenting with right now is using a frame bag to hold a bladder. Revelate Designs makes a frame bag called the Tangle or Tagle that hangs under the top tube that is the perfect size for a 3L bladder and tools/food. It has a hose port at the front too.
    I'm playing right now with figuring out how to stow the hose so it's out of the way. Haven't get that figured out yet....but, you still have room on many frames for at least a downtube bottle.

  6. #6
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    To Camelbak or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Benajah View Post
    Another option that I'm experimenting with right now is using a frame bag to hold a bladder. Revelate Designs makes a frame bag called the Tangle or Tagle that hangs under the top tube that is the perfect size for a 3L bladder and tools/food. It has a hose port at the front too.
    I'm playing right now with figuring out how to stow the hose so it's out of the way. Haven't get that figured out yet....but, you still have room on many frames for at least a downtube bottle.
    Interesting idea! I've been looking at the Tangle for bikepacking, but I never thought about using it for endurance races.
    I wonder if you could use some wire to hold the hose in place.

    Los
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslos View Post
    Interesting idea! I've been looking at the Tangle for bikepacking, but I never thought about using it for endurance races.
    I wonder if you could use some wire to hold the hose in place.

    Los
    That's what I'm messing with...wire, rubber bands, bungees, etc. TBH the most promising thing right now seems to be a little thing I got from Osprey packs. With their hydration systems, the mouthpiece has a magnet on it, and the magnet pair is meant to fit on your sternum strap on a backpack.
    I'm racing Saturday, but Sunday I think I'm going to go tool around with that magnet wired to my handlebars, with my osprey bladder stuffed in the frame bag, and see if it's manageable to lead the hose out and have it sit there. I've been using that Osprey system as a backpack for a while, and it's good and secure, in the sense that the magnet
    Is strong. It's never vibrated loose when used as a backpack system. Handlebars may be a different story.

  8. #8
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    Frame bags are great for bike packing but the wrong tool for the single day endurance race IMHO.

    Think about what you will do in terms of rest stops.

    At the start of a 100 mile race you will likely want two full bottles (or depending on course and heat you may choose to go with less water or put an extra bottle in your pocket for slightly more capacity). Water is heavy and more then 50 ounces is crazy unless you are in a desert. Much better to carry less water and plan two quick rest stops in the race.

    At some point in the race you will pit stop to pickup food and water. Consider the time to fill bottles vs. time to deal with camel pack bladders and/or the time to deal with bladders in frame bags. The bottles will win out by a large margin in terms of speed at refill time.

    IMHO frame bag for single bag racing is way more trouble then it is worth.

  9. #9
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    I think it just depends on what you want to carry and what you're used to. A pack has it's advantages - you can carry more water (sometimes it's wise to not depend 100% on aid stations) and you can carry more tools, spare tubes/parts, extra clothing, food etc.
    For people who are minimalist and want to go as light as possible, that will probably be too much and bottles in frame and a few bare essentials in jersey pockets will suffice.

    Personally, since we're talking about ~100 mile races, I'd want to err on the side of being over prepared than under.

  10. #10
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    Small frame bag to carry a bladder or extra bottles. I HATE having the water weight on my back/shoulders.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    Small frame bag to carry a bladder or extra bottles. I HATE having the water weight on my back/shoulders.
    ever look into Wingnut packs? It's still sort of on your back but much lower. Good reviews but being a small biz they don't have a large footprint. I'm waffling between the hyper2.5 and 3 due to bladder sizes and a few other minor things.

  12. #12
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    Camelbak has one where the bladder is in the lumbar belt. Better but still what in off my back.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  13. #13
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    I carry a bottle filled with whatever strength Perpetuem mix will get me through the race, and two bottles on the bike. I'm not afraid to stop and fill bottles, 10 minutes rest won't hurt my overall time that much anyway when we're talking hours. I dislike a Camelback on my back unless it's more an adventure ride and not a race, during a race I hope that if I totally lose it someone will drag my carcass home.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Frame bags are great for bike packing but the wrong tool for the single day endurance race IMHO.

    Think about what you will do in terms of rest stops.

    At the start of a 100 mile race you will likely want two full bottles (or depending on course and heat you may choose to go with less water or put an extra bottle in your pocket for slightly more capacity). Water is heavy and more then 50 ounces is crazy unless you are in a desert. Much better to carry less water and plan two quick rest stops in the race.

    At some point in the race you will pit stop to pickup food and water. Consider the time to fill bottles vs. time to deal with camel pack bladders and/or the time to deal with bladders in frame bags. The bottles will win out by a large margin in terms of speed at refill time.

    IMHO frame bag for single bag racing is way more trouble then it is worth.
    You have a point but I'm more playing with this not so much as a "bottles versus camelbak" thing as much as just a bladder alternative to having it on my back, and I'm not really thinking of supported ultras with this as much as unsupported ones or the ones with aid stations more than a few hours apart.
    Last edited by Benajah; 02-15-2013 at 02:55 PM.

  15. #15
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    If most of the course is rough, I carry a small Camelbak that is light and rests high enough on my back to provide easy access to jersey pockets.

    If the course has numerous smooth sections, I prefer bottles, since it's easier to monitor intake. I use Zefal Magnum 33 ounce bottles. Big!

    If aid stations are pretty far apart like you seem to be describing, I take a minute at the station to drink a full bottle of what they have on hand before leaving (but I'm pretty happy with just about any energy drink).

    My findings: Packs seem horrid at the start of the race, but if small enough, they "disappear" for me once the racing begins!
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  16. #16
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    I 100% prefer to keep weight off of my back......So if at all possible I try to go with bottles on the bike and gels in my jersey pockets....But, most full suspension bikes only have one good bottle mount and you're forced to carry a pack......The two bottle thing works great on a hardtail.

    So.....Like suggested earlier, not knowing all the details of the course and distance to pit stops etc.......Small hydration pack (like 50 oz) and one good bottle works every time.
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  17. #17
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    I quit using a back as I could not get liquid into my mouth fast enough. Sucking on the hose while trying to breath was a problem. I've since been carrying two bottles or more. Will carry a cheap one to pitch (to a crowd or leave at an aid station) when I want to carry more than 2.

    Go with what you are used to using.

    Quote Originally Posted by sslos View Post
    I wonder if you could use some wire to hold the hose in place.

    Los
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  18. #18
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    I tried not using a backpack bladder system for a season, i carried 1 bottle on the bike and 2 in jersey pockets. My full sus only allows for 1 bottle in the triangle. It worked okay but i did lose a bottle on a really tech section. I now have the smallest Osprey bag, Viper i think it's called, and i love it. Just water in the pack with space for an ultralight rain jacket and vest, bottle on my bike with drink mix of choice. if you havent tried the really small bags it is much different from the mondo 100 oz bags.

  19. #19
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    While I use a hydration pack with multi-hour nutrition bottles for training, if I can get water bottles on the course, I will ditch the pack. Dropping the weight, a cooler back, and being able to know how much water you go through are my reasons. A tight fitting jersey can hold water bottles pretty well.

  20. #20
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    I am doing 4 endurance events this year around my normal XC race series. I switched to a full suspension this year from my hardtail I raced last year. So I only have one bottle holder on the bike. So I will have to race with some kind of pack. I got an Osprey Viper7 to try out and its not too bad. I can carry 70oz and still have a bottle on the frame. I don't think refilling it will be too bad. I might lose a little time but I don't think I will be playing for the win any way. There was a time when I would have a pack for all my rides. But I changed over to bottles a few years ago and I liked it allot better. Now I hate having a pack on. But I don't have any choice now.

  21. #21
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    I use the Osprey Viper 7 and love it. The magnet thing is awesome. I found I can get it filled up fairly quick at aid stations especially if there is a helpful aid worker helping. It all boils down to youth and how in shape you are, how long you can go without water. I tend to need a lot of water, so there is no way I could do bottles. I think since some guys are a lot faster they can connect the dots (aid station to aid station) faster and get to the drink before breaking down. Becoming dehydrated is not fun. I've had to get I.V's before at the end of races on hot days. Last 100 miler I was so paranoid I drank too much water and was stopping to piss every 5 mins, there for a stretch.

  22. #22
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    What about the ShowersPass Vel Au as an alternative? Goes under the seat, but seems like a relatively polished alternative to a hydration pack.

    Introducing VelEau | Showers Pass

  23. #23
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    For races with aid stations I go with the bottles and carry baggies of Infinit to refill. I have a Wingnut and love it, but refilling a bladder in a race, with mix, is a pita. It rarely mixes well and I've had it clog the tube before.
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  24. #24
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    Ive seen saddle bottle holders that hold two bottle behind your saddle

    like this one

    XLab Carbon Wing Rear Mount System | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    holds two bottles and a small pack for tools etc.....keeps the weight off your back gives an extra two possible bottle spaces

    or this Tacx Saddle Clamp for Bottle Cage | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com would give you a 3rd bottle cage
    Last edited by Andrewfuzzy; 02-19-2013 at 04:27 AM.

  25. #25
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    I got this idea off this forum years ago (from Shiggy maybe?) and it has worked great -- a platypus 1 liter bladder in the middle back pocket of a good, snug, lycra race jersey, and use the normal hydration hose clipped to the front of your jersey. I've ridden for 7 hours and over 100 miles with two large bottles of water and that liter bladder with out refilling (I did finish the ride dry though). The outside pockets are still usable for food or whatever and the weight-and-non-breathing-sweat-inducing bladder is low on the back. More than the weight, I always hated how packs interfered with ventilation/perspiration. Using the bladder in this manner, I have significant water carrying capacity and the sort of ventilation I like/need. I even use the bladder, usually filled only 1/3 to 1/2 volume, for XC racing (1 to 2 hours) as it's easier to drink from the hose than from a bottle when the pace is high and the terrain is rough. Finally, I never put anything that bacterial can use for food in a bladder -- so only water and even then I take pains to make sure it fully dries out as fast as possible to prevent microbe/fungal growth. You're just asking for trouble putting sugar/fuel in a bladder...
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  26. #26
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    I'd say it's a tossup. Definitely easier to refill a water bottle but it's nice to have a pack to put a tube, tools, snacks etc in. Depends what's most comfortable for you. I wear a Dakine hydration pack but events that I've raced in are only ~15 km long.

  27. #27
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    I have a full suspension so I need to carry a camelbak. I actually prefer a camelbak over bottles during XC races because it's easier to drink from. I don't have to wait until smooth sections of trail or slow down to take a sip of water. I can maintain 100% focus on the trail. I use a small pack and vary the amount of water I carry based on how long I will be racing for.

    This year I have more than one camelbak so for lap races and those races that allow camelbak drops, I will just switch out the packs and go.

  28. #28
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    Awesome info guys. The VelEau is pretty slick. I picked one up from REI and plan on testing it this weekend to see if it is viable for my use. I use a very low osmolality mix so I'm not worried about the mix becoming clogged and bumps should keep it pretty mixed up. I think I will keep one bottle on-board as well. The only issue I see with the VelEau is its lack of storage for a tube but I will work something out for that.

    Again thanks for the help.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sslos View Post
    Interesting idea! I've been looking at the Tangle for bikepacking, but I never thought about using it for endurance races.
    I wonder if you could use some wire to hold the hose in place.

    Los
    This is a product you can buy ( or at least you could last year). It's fairly expensive for what it is, but it does work pretty well.

    Showers Pass VelEau | Showers Pass

    I had one on my bike that got stolen last summer. Didn't have it long enough to race with, but it worked fine on long training rides.

    Personally, I need something with a tube because I just don't drink enough if I just use bottles.
    After my bike got stolen, I switched to using a pack. It's just simpler and easier. I got one with a pressurized bladder, which I really like because
    you can spray water on your legs/head. Thats' the one thing you can do with bottles that is difficult to do with a Camelback.

    Hydration Packs with In-line water Filters and Pack Bladders by Geigerrig

    I'd really like to ride w/o a pack, but I never found a solution that worked for me.
    Last edited by bbense; 02-21-2013 at 09:24 AM.

  30. #30
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    I switch up depending on conditions but realizing I need a smaller pack option that I can get to Jersey pockets with.

    Anyone have any experience with Osprey viper 4 and the camelbak rogue? both under a pound and could still hold a pump and some tools. Would like to hold 60+ ounces water. For training trail rides Likely keep using my larger Osprey for ability to hold extra gear like raincoat and a full lunch so the smaller will really be for races with aid stations.

    Will the viper and rogue both fit a pump?
    Last edited by HEMIjer; 02-19-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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  31. #31
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    I have the tiny Blackburn pump, good for atleast getting you on your way in an emergency. It will fit probably. See for me at ORAMM 63 miles in Pisgah, I filled up the Osprey 7 to the brim at each of the 5 aid stations and still ran out at the end and was feeling not so good. It was the middle of summer, but not what I would call a hot day.

  32. #32
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    As a rule of thumb you want to unload your back as much as you can. The more gear and water you can strap to your back the less pressure you'll get on your lower back and the less weight you'll carry every time you get off the saddle. So get the biggest bottle you can fit on your bike and get creative with strapping a bladder or a bottle to your stem.

    NOTE ON NUTRITION AND BAG DROPS: some powders like Perpetuem turn bad quickly if mixed and warmed up by the sun. I had some sorry experiences on 12 hours and 24 hours adventure races. You may want to mix powder and water on the spot because if your bottle waits for 6 hours in the sun you may get a barely palatable mixture that has lost much of its nutritional content.

  33. #33
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    which small pak

    Quote Originally Posted by barrelquest View Post
    I have the tiny Blackburn pump, good for atleast getting you on your way in an emergency. It will fit probably. See for me at ORAMM 63 miles in Pisgah, I filled up the Osprey 7 to the brim at each of the 5 aid stations and still ran out at the end and was feeling not so good. It was the middle of summer, but not what I would call a hot day.
    Interesting one of the races I really am thinking about something smaller to get the weight off my back for the climbs this year.

    I currently use a Osprey Raptor 14 and have been looking at the viper series. Does it sit high, mid, or low on your back. My experience so far with the Isprey packs is they adjust really well.

    Also question on weight if anyone knows if these look accurate. Backcountry lists the wieght of the following as:

    Viper 4 - 15 oz
    Viper 5 - 1 Lb
    viper 7 - 11oz (but not sure that can be right)
    Camelbak rogue is listed as 9.5 oz

    Right now leaning toward the Rogue for a couple reasons seems. Pump area, and reviews noting they got more in the pak than the space lists, where other reviews list osprey is running small. One drawbak is I have had Osprey and Camelbak and find the adjustment for fit on opsrey best but maybe camelbak has improved recently.
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  34. #34
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    Go for the osprey cause of the magnet : ) they are super adjustable and comfortable all around. I did the whole, "worrying about extra water weight going minimal thing" you know, going to go faster on climbs because I don't have all that water. Yeah becoming dehydrated and losing 50% of your strength later in the day squashes that idea. Take it from me, once I became so severely dehydrated on a long race I was sick as a dog for 2 days after, and just plain old sick for an entire week. I don't mess around anymore. Of course I know I am never winning, more just racing to finish or best my own times. I am also a proponent of ice water So I typically fill my pack with ice and some water and keeps the back cool and also lasts along time, atleast past one fill up. Some say ice water does not soak in well, but I say screw that its refreshing and gives me a major boost. I don't know how anyone drinks from a bottle on single track, fire roads yeah. It all comes down to how well you can hydrate pre race, fitness, temperature ,length of race, difficulty and distance between aid stations.

  35. #35
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    i just about always use a camelbak. even on the fast xc events that are only an hour. i have a smaller one for the short events so the weight is hardly noticeable i like to drink when i am thirsty not having to wait for a kinda smooth section which could be 20-30 minutes away.

    i have kind of a beast of a bag. the camelbak mule mini i think it is. holds 3liters. i fill it up and have two bottles in my jersey pocket and one on my bike. i can ride for 8 hours depending on the heat without ever stopping. all of my bottles have mix in them and i drink one every other hour and drink hopefully 750ml of water on the off hours along with some shot bloks or something of that nature. works like a charm for me. rest stops can really add up to alot of time what we think is 2 minutes is probably closer to 8 you do that 4 or 5 times and you could shave off a half hour off your 50 miler.

    yes the bag is heavy to start out but after the 4 hour mark when i have gotten ride of half of the water you can hardly notice it. plus near the end when i can really tell how light it is it really motivates me to ride hard.

  36. #36
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    Re: To Camelbak or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Benajah View Post
    That's what I'm messing with...wire, rubber bands, bungees, etc. TBH the most promising thing right now seems to be a little thing I got from Osprey packs. I've been using that Osprey system as a backpack for a while, and it's good and secure, in the sense that the magnet
    Is strong. It's never vibrated loose when used as a backpack system. Handlebars may be a different story.
    Checkout my solution to the hydration hose dilema here: Hydration Station_how to manage your hose

    Frame mounted bladders aren't for everyone, but I find them delightful

  37. #37
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    I think it all depends on how the feed stations are set up. Will a pair of bottles be enough between each one. I look at a pack as an option if the feed stations are few and far between or not very well stocked. I would always prefer to ride with bottles as NOT wearing a pack seems to let me vent heat better. But sometimes, it's still not the best idea.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    The VelEau is pretty slick. I picked one up from REI and plan on testing it this weekend to see if it is viable for my use. The only issue I see with the VelEau is its lack of storage for a tube but I will work something out for that.
    That's the big reason I didn't bother to replace mine after it got stolen. If it had about 2x the storage space for a flat/tools kit, I think it would be ideal for racing at least. Since I would still need a pack for more adventurous rides, it didn't really solve the problem well enough to justify the expense.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbense View Post
    That's the big reason I didn't bother to replace mine after it got stolen. If it had about 2x the storage space for a flat/tools kit, I think it would be ideal for racing at least. Since I would still need a pack for more adventurous rides, it didn't really solve the problem well enough to justify the expense.
    Yeah that is what I was afraid of and why I got it from REI so it can be returned EZ. Since my GF can sew, I'm thinking of modding it a bit.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomegrownMN View Post
    Checkout my solution to the hydration hose dilema here: Hydration Station_how to manage your hose


    Frame mounted bladders aren't for everyone, but I find them delightful
    That's pretty slick! Thanks. I'm at work and heading over to the security office now to get an ID badge reel.

  41. #41
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    Wait 'til she's your wife. The sewing will stop ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    Yeah that is what I was afraid of and why I got it from REI so it can be returned EZ. Since my GF can sew, I'm thinking of modding it a bit.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by criscobike View Post
    I think it all depends on how the feed stations are set up. Will a pair of bottles be enough between each one. I look at a pack as an option if the feed stations are few and far between or not very well stocked. I would always prefer to ride with bottles as NOT wearing a pack seems to let me vent heat better. But sometimes, it's still not the best idea.
    ^^This.

    I know on some of the hundred milers it can take me more than 2 hours between the aid stations. Plus as I've always used a FS I can only fit one bottle on the bike. So my decision has always been to use a bottle on the bike with mix and then a 50oz Camelbak with water. I'm racing NUE SS this year so the bike can fit two bottles, so I need to decide what I'm going to do.
    Last edited by 6thElement; 02-26-2013 at 04:13 PM.
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  43. #43
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    I have been using a Golite Racesleeve. Its basically a holder for a bladder (I use a 100 oz. camelbak bladder) and that is it. No frills, nothing fancy, just what it is. I put the basics (co2 pump, biketool and tube) in my jersey pockets or in a seatbag. In addition, I will also use two bottles if its a long race. I try to drink consistently too because we all know that once the liquid gets warm nobody wants it. Many times I have suffered to the next stop because I couldn't handle warm water or sport mix. Nobody wants to be famous on Youtube for projectile puking!

  44. #44
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    I am currently looking at getting the osprey viper 5. Its listed at a weight of 1lb. Does that include the 70oz reservoir
    (empty) as well?
    2015 Pivot Mach 4. XX1, Guide ultimate, NOX wheels, Next SL, KS LEV integra dropper. 24.56lbs

  45. #45
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    I have friends that use the King Cage Top Cap water bottle mount on frames that can only hold one bottle. It replaces your stem top cap, and has mounts for a bottle cage. I've yet to see a bottle get ejected, and puts a bottle in a convenient location.

    I don't have enough posts to be able to post a link, just Google "king cage top cap cage mount".

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by gks333 View Post
    I am currently looking at getting the osprey viper 5. Its listed at a weight of 1lb. Does that include the 70oz reservoir
    (empty) as well?
    No, pack weights are listed without the reservoir. An empty reservoir is about 10oz

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ospreypacks View Post
    No, pack weights are listed without the reservoir. An empty reservoir is about 10oz
    Thanks for the info. I think I will be pulling the trigger on the viper 5 here in the next week or 2.
    2015 Pivot Mach 4. XX1, Guide ultimate, NOX wheels, Next SL, KS LEV integra dropper. 24.56lbs

  48. #48
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    Lots of unsupported miles here.
    Usually I rely on the Camelbak MULE NV if I'm MTB or a Classic if I'm on the road/don't have multiple layers with me. Weight usually isn't the issue here as the back does ok with it. I'm more irritated by the straps causing skin irritation usually on my neck.

    I've been playing around with my Jandd Frame Pack and a 2L bladder shoved in it. It works, but then I'm loosing a place to put an extra layer and/or food. . . For really long days I do both the pack on the back and the pack on the bike and drink out of the pack first.

  49. #49
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    Just bought a Camebak Charge LR got a good deal on a 2013 model 30% off.

    Ive yet to use it, but have tried it on and it's noticeable (or should that be not) how much less weight you feel on you back with the Lumbar reservoir. Personally the pack will hold everything I'd want to take and if 2 litres of liquid isn't enough take a Bottle on the bike and refill the reservoir when it's empty (they do a 3litre reservoir too) I currently use a Camelbak Mule.

  50. #50
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    I'm liking this platypus 1.8 liter bladder in the middle back pocket and then also a water bottle or two if I can. they also have a 2 liter and a 3 liter. you could just make your middle pocket a little longer.

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