Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => General Questions and Answers => Topic started by: Flash on July 15, 2011, 09:59:56 PM

Title: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Flash on July 15, 2011, 09:59:56 PM
My son and I are hoping to stay in the High Chisos in mid-August (if it ever rains enough!  :eusa_pray:) and are trying to plan how to carry enough water for 2 or 3 nights.  :eusa_think: So guys, how does a mere mortal carry that much water?  :eusa_doh: Do you just drop a couple gallon Ozarka jugs in your pack and go? Strap/lash a 2.5 gallon container to your frame?  :willynilly: How's it done?  :eusa_eh:

PS - I imagine that at his point, Boot Spring and all others are likely bone dry...  :eusa_boohoo:
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 15, 2011, 10:51:31 PM
This has been discussed in detail but I can't readily find the thread.  I lean toward more smaller containers in the pack,  as well as a couple of liters outside the pack with one handy while hiking.  This allows for more even weight distribution and better knowledge on exactly where you are in water consumption.  Two liter soda bottles are very sturdy, work great and are very cost effective if you or someone you know drinks soda water.

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Raoul Duke on July 16, 2011, 08:38:35 AM
"Camelback" style bladders are also very effective, because they are pliable and can conform to fit almost any packing situation.  A standard one holds about 3 liters of water and takes up a surprisingly small amount of room.  I usually take one of these along with numerous 1-liter lexan bottles.
 
I would avoid gallon plastic jugs of water because they are difficult to pack and take up lost of room even after the water is gone.  As pointed out above, smaller containers allow you to better distribute the water load in your pack.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: elhombre on July 16, 2011, 09:01:10 AM
We have had these bags for 10 years now and have not had one leak yet.  We have bought the spigot cap for each one because if you tighten the original one down too tight, it tends to bust the plastic lip.

http://www.amazon.com/MSR-Dromedary-Handle-Liter-Black/dp/B000XRHDN2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310824155&sr=8-1

Campmor has them also.  http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___87707

The nice thing about them is that they roll up when empty in your pack.  And some water filter systems come with a plastic cap fitting which inserts into the mouth so that it takes only one person to fill up a bag with pumped water.  We bought the "dromlite" version once, but it was truly light weight and made us think it wouldn't hold up to being crammed into a pack with pointy stuff too well.   Finally, you don't have to fill them up all the way so they only take up the minimun amount of space needed in your pack.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Cookie on July 16, 2011, 09:39:35 AM
Flash- How old is your son? That will make a difference on how much water YOU carry. My daughter is 7 so she carries minimal weight, maybe a liter in her pack with a few snacks. Me and my husband(EL Hombre) split the rest of everything. I love the camelback systems too.

I am a firm believer in making your water work for you. We bring the individual Gatorade powders to add to a 20 oz. Gatorade we bring with us. We usually drink at least 2 a day on backpacking trips. If you are sweating a lot  and it's hot, you need to get some electrolytes in you with your water. There are several brands to try and they don't take up a lot of room. It's also nice to drink something besides water when you are out on a multi-night trip. Check out this thread

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert/electrolytes/ (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/hiking-the-desert/electrolytes/)

If you don't have hiking poles.....GET THEM!! They ease 15-20 % of the weight on your knees and ankles. If you are hauling water up to the rim for 2-3 nights, I would not hike without them.

~Cookie
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Flash on July 16, 2011, 12:18:09 PM
elhombre - The MSR Dromedary bag looks great. Hmm 4 or 6 liters... :eusa_think:

Cookie - My son is 13, 80-lbs, wirey, but athletic. A couple Gatorades each sounds like a good idea.

QS - Those electrolytes are an interesting idea.

Al - I have a 3L hydration pouch, plus a bunch of 1/2 L and 1 L bottles.

Thanks to all for the input!  :icon_mrgreen:
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 16, 2011, 10:12:10 PM
elhombre - The MSR Dromedary bag looks great. Hmm 4 or 6 liters... :eusa_think:

Cookie - My son is 13, 80-lbs, wirey, but athletic. A couple Gatorades each sounds like a good idea.

QS - Those electrolytes are an interesting idea.

Al - I have a 3L hydration pouch, plus a bunch of 1/2 L and 1 L bottles.

Thanks to all for the input!  :icon_mrgreen:

I have a MSR 4 liter Dromedary bag and it is great.  If you are going to buy one I would buy the 6 liter rather than the 4 liter if you plan extended hikes.  You don't have to fill it up all the way unless you need to.  You can strap it on the outside of your pack so it doesn't shift while hiking.  There is an attachment you can buy to pump water through a filter directly into the bag which is real nice when hiking for several days and you need to refill.  Please report back after your hike!

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 16, 2011, 11:14:39 PM
P.S. Having taken numerous 3 or 4 day zone camping trips in the desert I still don't have the experience to hydrate directly off of a large bladder while hiking.  The concern is consuming water more rapidly than realized.  The large bladder should be considered reserve water and its use measured because of the importance of knowing how much water you have at all times. If you get one, consider the bladder your tank and meter it through 1-liter bottles.  That way you always know where you stand on water without unpleasant surprises later in the hike. 

Bang for the buck it's still hard to beat a 2 liter soda bottle for weight vs. water capacity! When empty put the empty bottle in a trash bag with the other spent camping residue tied to the outside of the pack.

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: mule ears on July 17, 2011, 07:28:23 AM

Bang for the buck it's still hard to beat a 2 liter soda bottle for weight vs. water capacity! When empty put the empty bottle in a trash bag with the other spent camping residue tied to the outside of the pack.

Al

Al is right about cost and weight with the soda bottles.  They are hard to pack because they are round.  I am also a fan of multiple containers in case one springs a leak, you won't be out of water all of a sudden.  I have been using the 2 liter Platypus bottles (they used to be 80 oz. or 2.5 liters but they may have changed them to 70 oz. now) as my reservoirs and filling a 1 liter soda bottle up as the drinking bottle.  The nice thing about the Platys, aside from light weight and they are totally flat when empty, is they are lens shaped so pack nicely in the pack next to each other.  Cost is about the same per liter as the MSR Drom bags.

(http://40yearsofwalking.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/the-water-load-dscn0367.jpg?w=640&h=480)

This is 11 liters for 2 plus days, 23 pounds just in water!  But only 6 oz. in containers.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 17, 2011, 11:53:31 PM
ME, a step up from soda bottles for sure.  Excellent advice as always!

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: JRD on July 18, 2011, 09:26:51 PM
Keep in mind, if you are coming from lower altitude and higher humidity (which of course you are) if you don't up your water intake as soon as you get into the area you will be already dehydrated at the trail head.

I try to drink like crazy in the days before heading out and then try to float my back-teeth before hitting the trail.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Flash on July 18, 2011, 10:38:28 PM
So far purchased:

2 - 3-liter Osprey hydration units
1 - MSR 10-liter dromedary
2 - 2-liter Platypus bottles

Total of 20-liters ==> 5 gallons  :icon_eek:

Okay, time to hide the credit card...  :icon_rolleyes:

Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 18, 2011, 10:48:18 PM
So far purchased:

2 - 3-liter Osprey hydration units
1 - MSR 10-liter dromedary
2 - 2-liter Platypus bottles

Total of 20-liters ==> 5 gallons  :icon_eek:

Okay, time to hide the credit card...  :icon_rolleyes:

Money in the bank.  Water is golden in the desert. 

Load the kid up, he'll thank you later!

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: JRD on July 18, 2011, 11:16:22 PM
43 pounds of water?
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Flash on July 18, 2011, 11:43:21 PM
43 pounds of water?

... for two people for two+ days  :icon_smile:
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on July 19, 2011, 12:14:45 AM
Been there, done that.  Just don't plan on setting any speed records.  The first time was a 3+ day hike through the bowl in GUMO.  Having no shame I must admit we each carried a 2.5 gallon water container purchased from the grocery store and a couple of 1-liter Nalgene containers to supplement.  It was a hell hike up from Pine Springs but we had no worries once we gained the elevation and consumed some of the water. 

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Homer67 on July 19, 2011, 10:59:02 AM
A good idea may be to bivy when one must carry a heavy load of water. We did this on our last trip...it was a lot of fun, but I admit, I did sleep with the shovel nearby the first few nights!

Two one-gal jugs fit nicely in the bottom of my pack; I pair this with a 2-L hydration bladder and a 20 oz bottle on the side (for those ____ade or lemonade packs).
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: eddie on July 19, 2011, 12:45:25 PM
The last time I went out I rigged a small satchel that I got at the army-navy surplus store so that I could carry three liters of water in front, with about seven liters in my pack on back. I hooked it to the rings on my shoulder straps and I also had a flap on the bottom that fit under my waist belt to keep it from flopping. Getting even this small amount of water off my back made everything feel a little more balanced.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: RichardM on July 19, 2011, 05:06:37 PM
The last time I went out I rigged a small satchel that I got at the army-navy surplus store so that I could carry three liters of water in front, with about seven liters in my pack on back. I hooked it to the rings on my shoulder straps and I also had a flap on the bottom that fit under my waist belt to keep it from flopping. Getting even this small amount of water off my back made everything feel a little more balanced.

Not to be confused with this setup:

Reminds me of my "aquapack" for summer camping in Big Bend. :icon_biggrin: (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/Aquapack.jpg)
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: PacingTheCage on July 20, 2011, 10:43:13 AM
 :rolling:
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Karleen on July 20, 2011, 03:51:36 PM
...from mule ears...., "23 pounds just in water!"

I am DEFINITELY gonna get us some of those Platypus containers...
We carried 23 lbs of water for the day hike to Emory Peak last month (June 2011) -- that was for the 6 of us, tho.
We had water bottles, canteens & bota bags.
Definitely put our heavy packs & water bottles in the bear boxes at the top of Pinnacles.
We ended up with a 1-liter water bottle extra for each of us on that day hike.
But I would so much rather have too much than not enough! Especially considering we're 'flat land-ers' without much hiking experience, and an 8 year old boy with us!

Maybe we'll just wait for cooler, wetter weather for our next trip to Big Bend!!

Karleen
Conroe, TX
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: jim2 on July 20, 2011, 06:16:07 PM
The last time I went out I rigged a small satchel that I got at the army-navy surplus store so that I could carry three liters of water in front, with about seven liters in my pack on back. I hooked it to the rings on my shoulder straps and I also had a flap on the bottom that fit under my waist belt to keep it from flopping. Getting even this small amount of water off my back made everything feel a little more balanced.

Not to be confused with this setup:

Reminds me of my "aquapack" for summer camping in Big Bend. :icon_biggrin: (http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/Aquapack.jpg)
that's a nice sabal minor.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: iCe on July 24, 2011, 09:41:19 AM
I like the Platypus and MSR bags ( I have each) because when they are empty they don't take up a lot of space. "Jugs" are fine though... I would rather someone have water than not have water because the bags cost more than they care to or can spend.

When I hike the desert floor I always have a Camelback full of nice cold water. I think that it helps keep my core temp down by absorbing heat. I might be wrong about that but I get away with a fairly quick pass in sometimes brutal temperatures. The only time that I've hiked in the basin was during September and the summer had been pretty wet. There was water "all over the place". It was cool on the way up and almost frosty at the top (low 40's). I carried a lot of water for only 2 days. 2 gallons is the "requisite amount" plus a days ration for "getting lost and I lost my spreadsheet (drive crash) so I can't recall exactly how much water that I carried but it was way too much. Due to cool temps (I guess) I didn't actually need 3 gallons Not even close. It was cool enough that even with a heavy pack I didn't sweat a lot. Two was plenty with some left over at the end, which is a good thing. BTW- don't over load your pack. I went with a lighter weight pack but put way too much weight in it and the straps were brutal.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Flash on August 15, 2011, 09:58:32 PM
So far purchased:

2 - 3-liter Osprey hydration units
1 - MSR 10-liter dromedary
2 - 2-liter Platypus bottles

Total of 20-liters ==> 5 gallons  :icon_eek:


Follow up on our August 10-11th overnighter at the Smokey Creek Trail junction on the Dodson Trail: My son and I each carried a 3-liter hydration bladder in our packs. I carried the 10-liter MSR Dromedary in the sleeping bag compartment of my pack. My son carried the two 2-liter Platypus bottles inside his pack. Each of us carried an empty water bottle for drinking in camp to help measure out the use of the water. We figured 3-liters each for the hike in. Once we made camp, we refilled the Osprey hydration packs for the return trip and then left them alone. The remaining water was for our cooking and general consumption prior to the return trip back to the car. We really liked the Platypus bottles because they fit so well inside my son's pack (seemed to disappear against the sides) and were easy to pour from as well. The Dromedary was a big old beast, but did great job, especially with the spigot valve.  We thought we had cut it close on the amount of water we brought, but it turned out we still had 2.5 liters when we returned, so we felt we had been an ok margin, considering how hot it had gotten in the late afternoon.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: Al on August 15, 2011, 11:28:23 PM
Thanks, I was going to ask but bit my tongue.  Mule Ears is the man when it comes to optimizing one's pack.  Water good.  Water in the desert is golden!

Al
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: mule ears on August 16, 2011, 07:38:04 AM
Flash thanks for that update/review.  It is always good to know exactly how much water it takes in certain conditions and a controlled measurement like yours is the best way to do it. 

I came up with my 5 liters a day personal requirement (in temperatures up to the low 90's or so) one March when base camping at Smoky Spring and doing some exploration of the area.  With the low flow of that spring, collecting water was slow and so I was very aware of how much we were using in a normal routine (eating, hiking, general drinking).  We were not trying to conserve water just doing regular activities in some fairly hot conditions (highs in the 90's).  Ever since it has been incredibly accurate for me when planning long waterless stretches to know what I need to carry.

When it is cooler out, 4 liters a day is fine but once it gets above the 60's then the 5 is just right.  Your roughly 8.5 liters for really hot conditions seems a very reasonable number.  You also were smart and disciplined to use a smaller bottle to fill out of the larger ones so you could monitor where you were.  My general rule of thumb, for a 5 liter day, is one for breakfast, one during the morning, one for lunch, one for the afternoon and one for dinner.

Of course, as they say, your mileage may vary, a good reason to check it from time to time.
Title: Re: Carrying Large Quantities of Water on Your Back
Post by: iCe on August 16, 2011, 07:54:46 AM
Not to divert from the topic but if you haven't noticed the blog link in Mule Ears sig line you are missing out on some great info and awesome images.