Water Bottles vs. Water Bladders?

Matt W.

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I recently took a wilderness training class designed for adult leaders taking cub scouts out into the wilderness. In the class the instructor was really high on Nalgene type water bottles, and pretty low on water bladders. His reasoning brought up some good points.

Water bladders leak
Water bladders tubes and bite valves freeze
Water bladders have one function / use

Bottles can be filled with hot water and thrown into a sleeping bag to warm someone up.
Bottles are durable
Bottles are a visible way to ensure both you and others are getting enough fluids.
Bottles can be used to carry stuff and are more versatile than a bladder.

I know that I sure enjoy the flexibility of having that hose hanging off my shoulder and grabbing water whenever I want. However, I have had CamelBaks leak and I have had bite valves and hoses freeze…

I’m not sure I am ready to give up the bladder, but I think I may modify my kit a bit.

My current bladder is a 4L MSR Dromlite with the Dromlite hydration kit Due to my leaking CamelBak experience and frozen tube adventure I did insulate the Dromlite tube. I also include the original lid so the bladder is still useful if hose / valve freeze. (For those not familiar with the Dromlite lid it is a screw on cap with a nipple that pops up that you can drink / pour out of).

I plan to experiment with adding a 16oz or 32oz Nalgene bottle. Debating were to carry it at this point, but we will see how it goes.

The instructors insisted the water bottle was a critical piece of survival gear due to their ability to warm folks up and measure hydration. I can see this when taking kids outs and being responsible for their well-being, just debating the value for me. What say you guys? Perhaps a Rokslide logo Nalgene will spin out of this? :)
 

hammer0419

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I agree they are more durable but they are pretty much no bigger than 1L. So having to carry my 4L bladder or 4 bottles? Bottles are gonna be heavier, don't compress so would take up more room. I know many myself included have a spare bladder in the pack. I have had one bottle with me many times but 3 to 4 large ones to replace my bladder?? Ill pass.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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I agree they are more durable but they are pretty much no bigger than 1L. So having to carry my 4L bladder or 4 bottles? Bottles are gonna be heavier, don't compress so would take up more room. I know many myself included have a spare bladder in the pack. I have had one bottle with me many times but 3 to 4 large ones to replace my bladder?? Ill pass.
I wouldn't give up my bladder, but am considering adding just one bottle to the mix so I have the option of both.
I used to take a 96oz Nalgene Wide-Mouth Cantene as my back up, or if I knew I was headed some where with limited water. However those Cantenes by Nalgene are not the most durable things..... This last season my hunting partner and I carried one spare between us and used the Platypus Water Tank. Worked pretty slick.
 

justin davis

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Yea as much as a bladder is nice I get tired of them and most often end up carrying just water bottles. I carry the white plastic big nalgenes. 48 oz ones. Bladders for me are great for drinking on the move. But I have gotten a fair amount of leaks and the hose freezing up on cold hunts is annoying.
 

Lawnboi

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I carry both for reasons you mentioned. I carry one 2l drom light with a hose or a 6l drom bag if i will be staying in one spot for a while or water is hard to come by. I always keep the bladder full. If its real cold i dont take the hose. And i always carry a 32oz wide mouth nalgene as well.

Much easier to fill the nalgene and drop a water purifying tablet in there. They wont break. I can use them to keep my feet warm. Wont freeze on me. If im in an area with really dirty water or silty shallow streams the bottle can be used as a pre filter. I can fill the bottle with a coffee filter, then filter it from the bottle to keep my filter out of the dirt of the stream or puddle in some cases.

So many uses for a bottle, but i still carry a bladder. One of both is what I like.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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Yea as much as a bladder is nice I get tired of them and most often end up carrying just water bottles. I carry the white plastic big nalgenes. 48 oz ones. Bladders for me are great for drinking on the move. But I have gotten a fair amount of leaks and the hose freezing up on cold hunts is annoying.
How do you carry your bottles?

Perhaps my new plan...
4L MSR Dromlite with the Dromlite hydration kit and back up cap
Platypus Water Tank 1 gallon (shared camp item)
32oz Nalgene type Bottle..

This gives me lots of options and versatility.. Just not sure how I would carry the bottle. If using the bladder w/ tube I'll just hang it off pack, if using the Dromlite as a water storage device, I'll have to play with just how I would carry the bottle so that I could easily access it and yet not have it in the way...
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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I carry both for reasons you mentioned. I carry one 2l drom light with a hose or a 6l drom bag if i will be staying in one spot for a while or water is hard to come by. I always keep the bladder full. If its real cold i dont take the hose. And i always carry a 32oz wide mouth nalgene as well.

Much easier to fill the nalgene and drop a water purifying tablet in there. They wont break. I can use them to keep my feet warm. Wont freeze on me. If im in an area with really dirty water or silty shallow streams the bottle can be used as a pre filter. I can fill the bottle with a coffee filter, then filter it from the bottle to keep my filter out of the dirt of the stream or puddle in some cases.

So many uses for a bottle, but i still carry a bladder. One of both is what I like.
I think this is where I am at now. At the same class I mentioned above the instructors said to just use bleach instead of purifying tablets. Get a small high quality little container, fill it with bleach and add a few drops (based on container size) and your good to go. Cheaper and taste better than most tablets. Someone has to make bleach tablets, sure would be a heck of a lot more convenient than hauling bleach around....
 

Lawnboi

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High country, the platy water tank is junk! I threw mine out after its first use. I would reccomend skipping that one.

MSR bladders are almost as leak proof as a nalgene as well.

I carry my bottle in one of the side pockets of my T1. Im thinking of ordering a KU bottle pouch and fixing a way to rig it to the side of my t1. Hey kifaru you should make a bottle pouch like the KU with the 3 bar slider for use on the pals webbing of the hunting packs. Id buy one of those in a hurry.

carrying both is what i will continue to do. Having 4 or 5 bottles is too cumbersome when empty
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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High country, the platy water tank is junk! I threw mine out after its first use. I would recommend skipping that one.
Weird, we used one this year on both our spring bear hunt and our Aug sheep hunt. Buddy then took it on his Sept Moose hunt. Probably has 21 field days and it is going strong. We really liked it. What failed on yours?
 

Lawnboi

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Weird, we used one this year on both our spring bear hunt and our Aug sheep hunt. Buddy then took it on his Sept Moose hunt. Probably has 21 field days and it is going strong. We really liked it. What failed on yours?

I took a digger and dumped the whole gallon in my pack and down my legs (zipper failed). Also i developed a hole after a few days. Platy bladders are light, but i have had 4 of them that i have punctured or have stress cracked . I now only run the MSR's. Pain in the butt to fill too, and to get water out of compared to hanging my drom bag from a tree and using the spout.

It didnt help that when it failed, i was 5 miles from the vehicle in an area where i had to walk 1.5 miles to get water, that may be part of the reason for my hatred tward them lol.
 
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Matt W.

Matt W.

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Understood. We never did it haul it full in a pack. We just used it in camp for holding cooking water, so maybe that is where we differed. When I used to use the Nalgene Cantenes they would sprout holes so I know your frustration. Perhaps pairing an extra 2L Dromlite with my 4L Dromlite might be a better option for me. ???
 

sodak

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I usually carry in water in a camelback. I always try and hike/camp/hunt near a water source. I stuff the nagaline wide mouth bottles with cliff bars, socks, matches, etc. and then set up camp and fill the water bottles with camp water with iodine. My thought is that once I deplete my camelback/bladders, I'll have treated water ready to go. The treated water fills my camelback and can be used to pack "stuff" items when I leave camp to save on space.

Just my method that I found to work for me with how I hunt/camp.
 

Lawnboi

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Understood. We never did it haul it full in a pack. We just used it in camp for holding cooking water, so maybe that is where we differed. When I used to use the Nalgene Cantenes they would sprout holes so I know your frustration. Perhaps pairing an extra 2L Dromlite with my 4L Dromlite might be a better option for me. ???

Thats exactly what I do when i plan on staying in one place for a while. Except i have a 6l regular drom bag. The regular drom bags are dang near bullet proof. Plus the drom bags are super convenient and pretty spill proof when it comes to a camp bladder. Just hang it on something and your good to go.

When im out and about, ill drink out of the nalgene all day long as water is prevalent, If its not then i tap into the extra 2l i have in my bag. I like to have 3l with me unless i know the area very well.
 

dotman

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If you get the shower kit for the drom bag you can ditch the shower tube and then have an on/off valve for filling small bladders or a nalgen. I have this on a 6l dromlite I use for storage. I think I may convert my hydration line to filter and then keep all bladders as dirty. I can fill a nalgen from this setup.

MSR Sweetwater drops are just bleach and last I knew that doesn't kill giardia.
 

Shrek

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I think this is where I am at now. At the same class I mentioned above the instructors said to just use bleach instead of purifying tablets. Get a small high quality little container, fill it with bleach and add a few drops (based on container size) and your good to go. Cheaper and taste better than most tablets. Someone has to make bleach tablets, sure would be a heck of a lot more convenient than hauling bleach around....

I was told to use powdered pool bleach. Makes sense to me. Not liquid so not as likely to leak in your pack.
 

Lawnboi

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I use chlorine tabs. Katadyn or Coleman there both the same, but the Coleman ones can be had at Wally world for pretty cheap
 

Lawnboi

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Does anyone else have any interest in seeing kifaru come out with a bottle pocket like the KU, except made off 500d with a couple 3 bar slides to attach to the pals on the hunting packs?
 

Matt Cashell

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If you are in an area with a lot of water, a nalgene and a Steripen make for a lightweight solution. Easy to treat on the go. I prefer bladders in areas with less water and warmer temps. I prefer bottles in the cold.
 

squeekieslayer

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I use a platypus big zip (never had a problem ever) when it is hot out. But most of the time, I use the water bottles that are like 4 bucks a case. they are made from "eco" plastic and are super thin and pack to nothing when empty. I love to have the ability to just dip it in a spring or high mountain creek and drink rather than pull apart my bag.

Joe
 
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