Hydration ideas: Help keep water UNFROZEN on cold fatbike rides- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hydration ideas: Help keep water UNFROZEN on cold fatbike rides

    Fatbike rides on sub-freezing days: I use a camelbak with an insulated tube. Even so, water freezes in the line. Any ideas on how to stay hydrated otherwise? Thoughts on keeping water moving?

    I like to sip every ten minutes or so. I've tried blowing air back up the line - but a small amount of water ALWAYS remains (or gathers) in the bite valve and freezes. I usually have to take the hose off and hold it in my armpit to thaw.

    I haven't tried water bottles but seems like they'd suffer the same fate - especially in the lower teens, single digits, and below.

    I welcome thoughts and suggestions! What are you doing to keep your water liquid?

    Signed
    Frozen in Boston

  2. #2
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    I had this same experience Monday night (just south of Boston!!). Last year I out the camelback under my outer layer (wind jacket) and this did the trick. I forgot to do this the other night but will try again this weekend. Hopefully wil work like last winter

  3. #3
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    I ski with a hydration pack and I've never run into much of a freezing problem. I think the orientation of the hose matters. Mine runs over my shoulder, so the valve is pointed down. When you drink, you can squeeze the valve with your hand before putting it away. Most of the water drains back into the bladder, while the bit in the valve drains out. Maybe the valve design has an effect as well. I think some trap water more than others.

  4. #4
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    Have you tried wearing the hydration pack under your outermost layer, and keeping most of the hose inside as well? That works pretty well for me, along with 'clearing' the hose after each sip, which is essential.

    I ended up with an insulated bike bottle from a race last weekend and took it on last night's ride. Had it on the handlebars in a stem bag for the whole ride in 20 temps and it worked great the whole time - no clogging or freezing. Stuck the bike in an uninsulated garage all night, and forgot to grab the bottle. Temps got down into the teens. Went out this morning and the nozzle opened no problem and water poured out. I was impressed.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  5. #5
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    Body heat and purge the tube.
    :thumbsup:It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  6. #6
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    Drink, then blow into the nipple so the water goes back into the reservoir. Tube is clear and can't freeze.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

    16' Trek 8.4 DS
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    and I'm OK admitting..
    16' Sturgis

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  7. #7
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    hot water in an insulated bottle.

  8. #8
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    I must not have read the whole OP question. Blowing back works on my Camelback.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

    16' Trek 8.4 DS
    16' Farley 7
    and I'm OK admitting..
    16' Sturgis

    Minneapolis MN

  9. #9
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    I use a Nalgene bottle in an insulated carrier similar to this: Water Bottle Parka? | Outdoor Research | Designed By Adventure | Outdoor Clothing & Gear

    This is the same system I use for winter hiking, and can be out for 4+ hours in sub-freezing temps and have no issues with water freezing.

    If it is a shorter ride where one 32oz Nalgene will meet my needs, I'll carry it in my Salsa Anything Cage on the down tube. If it is a longer ride, I'll carry two of them in a backpack.
    Crashing mountain bikes since 1990.

  10. #10
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    Frame bag and a couple flip top thermoses....

  11. #11
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    Two radical alternatives.

    Pre-hydrate.

    I pound a liter or so before the ride. No frozen crap for me.

    A shot or two of your favorite high octane scotch, vodka, etc acts as a great, tasty antifreeze...

    Or, yeah, all the boring stuff everyone else already said.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  12. #12
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    After purging the tube keep the valve clipped up on the shoulder strap so the water drains away from it. That and keeping it under my wind jacket usually works for me.
    Latitude 61

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    hot water in an insulated bottle.
    Did this today except the water was at room temp when I left the house. 2 hour ride at about 18F. Lots of insulated bike water bottles out there. This was a Camelbak big chill. Did the same the other day but was about 8F when I left the house. The spout froze up and I had to take the lid off to drink after about an hour and a half. Something like a Hydro Flask, I have one that fits in my cage, would keep something warm for hours. Not the most efficient source, but liquid.

  14. #14
    Back in NH
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    if you are going to use bottles put them in the cage upside down. it will keep the valve from freezing.

  15. #15
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    I have done that. It does help, but if the bottle is not insulated, the whole thing will freeze up. Bottles in jersey pockets under jacket work well too, just not the easiest things to get at.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Two radical alternatives.

    Pre-hydrate.

    I pound a liter or so before the ride. No frozen crap for me.

    A shot or two of your favorite high octane scotch, vodka, etc acts as a great, tasty antifreeze...

    Or, yeah, all the boring stuff everyone else already said.
    This. If I know I'm only going out for an hour or two, I'll often pre-hydrate throughout the day and don't take any water at all. You're not going to die, nor even become de-hydrated, if you're well hydrated before you hit the trail and it's not super-long ride in cool temps.

    But this is a good reminder that I need to start adding bourbon into my training regimen as well....
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    hot water in an insulated bottle.
    Quote Originally Posted by boo bear View Post
    i use a nalgene bottle in an insulated carrier similar to this: water bottle parka? | outdoor research | designed by adventure | outdoor clothing & gear

    this is the same system i use for winter hiking, and can be out for 4+ hours in sub-freezing temps and have no issues with water freezing.

    If it is a shorter ride where one 32oz nalgene will meet my needs, i'll carry it in my salsa anything cage on the down tube. If it is a longer ride, i'll carry two of them in a backpack.
    Quote Originally Posted by mendoncyclesmith View Post
    two radical alternatives.

    Pre-hydrate.

    I pound a liter or so before the ride. No frozen crap for me.

    A shot or two of your favorite high octane scotch, vodka, etc acts as a great, tasty antifreeze...

    Or, yeah, all the boring stuff everyone else already said.
    +1
    +1
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    -f
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  18. #18
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    Only problem for me with the pre hydrate routine is then I have to de hydrate out on the trail. And I hate doing that in the cold.
    Latitude 61

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    Only problem for me with the pre hydrate routine is then I have to de hydrate out on the trail. And I hate doing that in the cold.
    Yep, it's a give and take. But I'd rather pass water than kidney stones.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  20. #20
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    Fairly simple: Use a winter camelback. They have sheaths with zippers that the insulated hose is kept in, so it's not exposed to the elements.

    CamelBak | PHANTOM LR Sidecountry Lumbar Ski Hydration Pack

    Be sure to look at the front-side picture, you'll get an idea how the hose works.

    I found a similar model on closeout at a shop in oklahoma when I was down for training and scooped it up, perfect winter pack. The only time I had an issue was on a ride where I left the zipper open by mistake with a little of the bite-valve hanging out, and of course around zero or colder it'll freeze and jam the rest (although you can often yank the bike valve off and simply suck from the hose in that situation ) Other than that, I've probably used this down to about -15F or so with no issues.

    Insulated hoses do pretty much nothing, except when you put the camelback underneath your jersey or jacket, which racers do around here. During a race you make enough heat that you keep the water warm. The only other thing to remember is to blow air back through the hose after drinking, because that's what freezes. The "race" camelback is usually pretty minimalist, but that helps increase the heat transfer from your back to the bladder. I'm not sure how they handle the actual bite valve, because as you say, if it's exposed it's going to lose a lot of heat out of it. Underneath a jacket or jersey they probably shove it down their shirt or something when not in use.

    Otherwise, if you really want to increase the water's ability to stay liquid, put it in said winter camelback at a luke-warm temp (I can't stand hot water). It will take many hours for that water to cool down and freeze on your back.

    Insulated bottles are ok, but they don't hold much water and logistically get to be kind of a PITA if you have more than one, plus putting them on the bike in a holder vs. in a frame-bag exposes them to the air and colder temps again. They also are kind of difficult to use in a race (when inside a frame bag). I like the bottles+frame bag for shorter group rides, but not so much for longer stuff or when I know I'm going to be exerting much more.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  21. #21
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    I use a CamelBak Bootlegger under my soft-shell. I've used it below zero without any freezing and without needing to purge the hose. Once or twice in very cold temps I forgot to zip my jacket all the way back up and the bite valve started to freeze, but this is rare. It's very low profile, so I can wear it under a jacket that otherwise fits me well.

    There's an opening for the hose to exit lower in the pack so it can be run under the arm rather than over the shoulder. I only have to unzip my jacket slightly to access it. It's also more comfortable for me this way because my jacket doesn't press the hose on top of my shoulder.

    The only real downside is the lack of storage, but a frame bag works well to carry everything I need.

    Bootlegger? | Camelbak Official Store

  22. #22
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    My times! Water, crystal light and white rum or vodca. (Long story)

    Geiger rig sells a "garage insulator" you put a hand warmer in and keeps the tube warm. Those neoprene insulators are a joke.
    Fatbike, XC bike, Gravel Bike....

  23. #23
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    Don't blow back in the hose, just squeeze the bite valve while holding the hose straight up. Give it a little shake to clear the valve. Blowing back blows CO2 into your bladder and hose and helps grow nastiness.

    As others have said, wear your outer layer over your pack and hose.

  24. #24
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    Two scoops of Hammer (or other) tropical flavored powder and two shots of rum in a 1.5 L bladder. It encourages me to drink more often when riding in the cold.
    "Wait- I am confused" - SDMTB'er

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Don't blow back in the hose, just squeeze the bite valve while holding the hose straight up.
    Some of us like to ride while using it...actually, that's kind of the point of a camelback
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  26. #26
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    I add a shot or two of Fireball and blow it back into the camelbak after I take a drink.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Some of us like to ride while using it...actually, that's kind of the point of a camelback
    Are you saying you can't ride one-handed?

  28. #28
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    Thanks for the responses. Will try the 'bak under my top layer next ride and hopefully report back with results.

    Will also consider pre-hydration as well as "consider" the vodka modification.

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk

  29. #29
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    I have used the PowderBak with a lot of success. Like others have said, it goes under your clothes, but this one is actually designed to. It has a "Vest", which seems to help keep me warm as well. In fact I can add snow to the bladder, and my body heat will melt it making more water on long rides. It seems to run smaller than Camelbak recommends though.

    CamelBak | MEN'S POWDERBAK Hydration system that's actually integrated into a full-zip mid-layer

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ger View Post
    I have used the PowderBak with a lot of success. Like others have said, it goes under your clothes, but this one is actually designed to. It has a "Vest", which seems to help keep me warm as well. In fact I can add snow to the bladder, and my body heat will melt it making more water on long rides. It seems to run smaller than Camelbak recommends though.

    CamelBak | MEN'S POWDERBAK Hydration system that's actually integrated into a full-zip mid-layer
    The Bootlegger is designed to go under your outer layer as well and includes an insulated bite valve. At $55 it's almost half the cost of the PowderBak.

    Other then the reservoir being 0.5L larger, I can't really see a benefit to it over the Bootlegger.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbyVT View Post
    The Bootlegger is designed to go under your outer layer as well and includes an insulated bite valve. At $55 it's almost half the cost of the PowderBak.

    Other then the reservoir being 0.5L larger, I can't really see a benefit to it over the Bootlegger.
    My wife got a Bootlegger about a month ago, and has been using it for backcountry skiing and biking. So far she's happy with it.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  32. #32
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    I fill my Camelback with hot water before the ride. I've done the blow back thing but if you don't drink for 15-20 minutes yes that little bit in the valve freezes. So blow the water back then I tuck the bite valve under my clothing at the neckline. Body heat keeps it fully thawed. Haven't tried tucking the valve without blowing the line clear yet....

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbyVT View Post
    The Bootlegger is designed to go under your outer layer as well and includes an insulated bite valve. At $55 it's almost half the cost of the PowderBak.

    Other then the reservoir being 0.5L larger, I can't really see a benefit to it over the Bootlegger.
    Well, nobody really pays retail for a Camelbak do they?

    And I do kind of like the vest part when it's cold. Depends on what you want.

  34. #34
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    The powderbak looks good. They need to make it in 100 oz though.

  35. #35
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    yes, hydration pack under your outer layer and try running the hose underneath the shoulder/armpit, this will keep the hose from freezing without having to blow water back into the bladder. I keep the valve tucked in, only unzip when i'm about to drink.

  36. #36
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    I've ridden a snowmobile with a insulated hose Camelback in my Dakine Heli pack for years. Blowback works for me.

    I now use it on my bike mostly when I am commuting so I don't use it alot but it works.

    The powderbak looks good. They need to make it in 100 oz though.

    It would have to be an awfully long, hot, and remote ride for me to strap 7 pounds of water on my back.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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    16' Farley 7
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  37. #37
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_G View Post
    I've ridden a snowmobile with a insulated hose Camelback in my Dakine Heli pack for years. Blowback works for me.

    I now use it on my bike mostly when I am commuting so I don't use it alot but it works.

    The powderbak looks good. They need to make it in 100 oz though.

    It would have to be an awfully long, hot, and remote ride for me to strap 7 pounds of water on my back.
    7 lbs(+ weight of pack) is too heavy on your back??
    5+ hours in cold temps and I want more than 70 oz of water. Overnight trip, definitely 100 oz and I'll be planning on finding water or melting snow at camp.

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