This Month's Gear Guru Question:by Backcountry Bob
Q. Summer is here - can you give me some good pointers to select a hydration unit? CamelBak, and other name brands too (famous to others). My usage will be mainly running and hiking. Also, what "bite valve" would be best? Thanks Guru!
A. Hi Mike,
There certainly is no shortage of hydration packs available today and I think we have almost all of them! What you need to think about when choosing a pack is how long you want to be out for and how much you want to carry. The experts say you can expect to lose up to one liter per hour while running or hiking, due to perspiration and respiration. Your body can only absorb that same amount per hour though, and few people who hike all day will ever carry that much water anyway. You are going to be working at a deficit, no matter what.
What I like to carry is no more than 2 liters; this weighs 4 lbs, which is a lot to carry in a little hydration pack. I never carry that much for running; I usually prefer to carry just a liter because I don't like the weight bouncing around on my back. This brings me to my point...I prefer a small CamelBak Classic for running because it's low profile, very simple, and has a lightweight design so I hardly notice it's there.
Unfortunately, it comes up a little (lot) short when it comes to hiking because it can't carry anything more than a windbreaker. I feel like I really need two separate packs: one smaller pack for running and a larger (both in storage and water capacity) pack for hiking. When hiking I usually bring more water, some food, extra clothing, and a waterproof shell jacket in case of rain. I need to have at least 1500 cu in of storage but not a whole lot more. Interestingly enough, Trail Runner magazine voted the CamelBak Rim Runner the best pack for hiking and running! These guys are serious runners! They claim its incredible suspension allows it to conform to your body for easy running - with smaller loads the pack can cinch down via compression straps. Read more here: http://www.camelbak.com/rec/media.cfm?media_id=120
It really comes down to personal choice, and as far as bite valves you can't beat CamelBak's simple and proven design - stay away from mechanical types. Good luck and happy hiking/running.
This month's Gear Guru question was submitted by Mike. He will receive a Nalgene bottle for his question. Enjoy Mike!
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