Winter Hydration

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
User avatar
herdbull
Posts: 398
Joined: 6/6/2011
14er Checklist (58)

Winter Hydration

Postby herdbull » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:13 pm

So what's everyone using to take water with them on extended hikes in below freezing temps? By extended I would say 5-6+ hours. Quantity of water would be in the say 60oz-90oz range.

Hydration bladders run the risk of the mouthpiece and tube freezing up but they do keep the bladder closest to the body and somewhat protected by all the gear in the backpack. You could always blow the water back into the bladder each time emptying the tube but that seems like a big inconvenience. Water bottles can be used with insulated holders or insulated bottles themselves but are much smaller.

Any thoughts :?:
User avatar
schrund
Posts: 381
Joined: 6/6/2008
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (1)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby schrund » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:22 pm

I went with a BCA Alp 40 http://www.backcountryaccess.com/product/alp-40/. It stores the hose inside a zippered compartment inside the shoulder strap. I haven't had it freeze yet.
We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams... as "wild". Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness".
-Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Chief
User avatar
TeamDino5280
Posts: 170
Joined: 6/19/2009
14er Checklist Not Entered
13er Checklist (3)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby TeamDino5280 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:28 pm

I usually do two 32Oz nalgenes with insulated sleeves and make sure they are wrapped with my other layers deep in my pack. I sometimes carry a stove on longer winter (or really cold) hikes so if needed I could melt snow. Or, I carry a thermos (on top of the two nalgenes) with hot tea. Another thing that works as a double whammy is to use Gatorade or other electrolyte drinks because it has a slightly lower freezing temperature than water and provides electrolytes. I never use a bladder in winter too much of a pain in the ass and unreliable.
User avatar
nyker
Posts: 1811
Joined: 12/5/2007
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (6)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby nyker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:02 pm

They do make insulated tubes for the hoses in camelbacks and similar bladders, which helps.

I would always have backup bottles with me in case the bladder leaked or froze.
User avatar
jaymz
Posts: 979
Joined: 6/6/2006
14er Checklist Not Entered

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby jaymz » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:15 pm

I recall someone at one point suggesting a tiny dash of vodka in your water - obviously not enough to affect your mental state, but enough to lower the freezing temp. Anyone ever try that, or was I being "punk'd"?
"Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy." - Psalm 98:8
"Nature is a choir..." - Timothy Keller
User avatar
DaveSwink
Posts: 892
Joined: 9/21/2006
14er Checklist (37)
14ers in Winter (12)
13er Checklist (4)

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby DaveSwink » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:54 pm

I have hiked several times with folks who insisted on using a bladder in temps below the 20s. Neoprene over hoses, hoses run through the pack strap, mouthpiece tucked into their jacket, blah, blah. The setup freezes everytime, they dehydrate, try to drink straight from the bladder and spill water on themselves instead, it's boring.

IMHO, bladders are just not worth the effort/risk below 20 degrees. Bottles in pack side pockets are almost as bad. I have not experienced more than marginal freezing in bottles stored inside my pack, and turning them upside down makes even that minor freezing unimportant.

I have had partners use the insulated bottle jackets with success, but I don't care for the extra weight unless it's necessary.
User avatar
nyker
Posts: 1811
Joined: 12/5/2007
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (6)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby nyker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:09 pm

Dex wrote:
nyker wrote:
They do make insulated tubes for the hoses in camelbacks and similar bladders, which helps.



I use that also, but when my tube froze I didn't have it.


Hence my second comment: ;-)


nyker wrote:They do make insulated tubes for the hoses in camelbacks and similar bladders, which helps.

I would always have backup bottles with me in case the bladder leaked or froze.
User avatar
Johnson
Posts: 1399
Joined: 9/14/2008
14er Checklist (58)
13er Checklist (41)

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby Johnson » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:39 pm

Tubes freeze. Done.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

"I would be doing myself a disservice and every member of this band if I didn't perform the hell out of this." - Gene
User avatar
RyGuy
Posts: 344
Joined: 5/30/2011
14er Checklist (58)
14ers in Winter (17)
13er Checklist (78)

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby RyGuy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:59 pm

herdbull wrote:So what's everyone using to take water with them on extended hikes in below freezing temps? By extended I would say 5-6+ hours. Quantity of water would be in the say 60oz-90oz range.

Hydration bladders run the risk of the mouthpiece and tube freezing up but they do keep the bladder closest to the body and somewhat protected by all the gear in the backpack. You could always blow the water back into the bladder each time emptying the tube but that seems like a big inconvenience. Water bottles can be used with insulated holders or insulated bottles themselves but are much smaller.

Any thoughts :?:

I don't use bladders/tubes at all in winter. The biggest issue is the tube freezing of course. Even with insulation, it really isn't wise. I made that mistake once on Grizzly Peak D with a buddy and will never use a bladder in winter again. I have the insulated Camelbak tube, and also threw 4 hand warmers in my pack to help ensure the water stayed liquid. When we started hiking, it was before sunrise and the temps were about 20F. It was a nice day, but the temperatures were slowly dropping and the wind was picking up as a cold front moved in. We were good for about 1.5 hours but by the time we reached the summit, it was about 5F and high (45+ MPH) winds. My tube completely froze up and my only option for water was to detach the tube, and put it under my layers against my chest to thaw. Took about 30 minutes, but then the problem there is it then got my under layers wet as it thawed. I re-connected it and begin the return trip. The temps were still in the single digits and high winds. The tube froze this time after only about 30 minutes or so. I needed water, so I pulled the bladder out only to discover that the water in there was also starting to freeze. Due to the high winds, I pretty much couldn't drink much from the bladder, and ended up getting more of an ice apron instead. I decided to just book it back to Loveland Pass, but ended up without water for another 2 hours. I was pretty de-hydrated when I got back to the car, and by that time the bladder was mostly frozen.

So my solution to this was to use Nalgenes, and a combination of starting out with hot water and insulation to help keep it that way for the day. (The "insulation" also serves other needs as well to be efficient with weight)

To start, I have a 5x4' fleece blanket that I line my pack with. The blanket is doubled up to provide better insulation on the outside walls. It also doubles as insulation to go with my bivy sack in an emergency. With the pack now largely insulated, I boil all the water in my 3 nalgenes at the trailhead in my MSR Reactor stove. Takes only about 2-4 mins per Nalgene depending on temperatures outside. I always have a backup pair of Smartwool Heavy cushion mountaineering socks I carry with me and they just happen to fit over the Nalgenes perfectly, and provide good insulation against the cold. I then place the hot Nalgenes with sock insulation into the pack. I also pack the MSR stove itself so I can boil more water from snow if needed. The Nalgenes, Stove and blanket sit at the bottom of my pack, and then other gear can sit on top.

I've been using this method for 10-11 climbs now and it works great. I had one climb where the temps were about 10-15F most of the day. The water in one Nalgene was still "luke" warm after I got back to the car 7 hours later. It had just sat in the pack and wasn't needed. The other added benefit of having the Nalgenes keep your pack warm is you can toss bars, blox gels etc above them, and they won't be hard as a rock during the climb. No need to use your pockets to try and thaw them. I also have found it helps storing headlamp/SPOT/GPS/Cell phone near the Nalgenes since they all benefit from not being frozen as well.

-Ryan
"Climbing mountains is the only thing I know that combines the best of the physical, spiritual, and emotional world all rolled into one." -Steve Gladbach
User avatar
Oman
Posts: 927
Joined: 10/4/2006
14er Checklist (57)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby Oman » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:23 pm

I like to ski / winter hike with a thermos of hot chocolate, mate', or tomato soup. Hot liquids on a cold day -- mmm.

For long days out, I've had good luck with this thermos.
http://www.rei.com/product/811181/rei-bullet-vacuum-bottle-1-liter
A half-liter thermos is better for short (<4 hours) days.
User avatar
BobbyFinn
Posts: 443
Joined: 7/14/2008
14er Checklist (58)
14ers in Winter (18)
13er Checklist (402)

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby BobbyFinn » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:36 pm

dswink wrote:I have hiked several times with folks who insisted on using a bladder in temps below the 20s. Neoprene over hoses, hoses run through the pack strap, mouthpiece tucked into their jacket, blah, blah. The setup freezes everytime, they dehydrate, try to drink straight from the bladder and spill water on themselves instead, it's boring.


That was me for a season or two. I was stubborn. I got dehydrated a lot.

dswink wrote:IMHO, bladders are just not worth the effort/risk below 20 degrees. Bottles in pack side pockets are almost as bad. I have not experienced more than marginal freezing in bottles stored inside my pack, and turning them upside down makes even that minor freezing unimportant.


I use 2, sometimes 3, liter-size Vitamin Water bottles for winter/cold hikes. Usually they are full of water plus one of those electrolyte tablets. They are narrower than nalgene or gatorade bottles so they fit into my insulated bottle holders easily. I once watched a buddy's nalgene bounce down a couloir after he thought he got it into his insulated holder...

Only once has one of my bottles iced up a bit, but it didn't freeze all the way. That was after about 8 hours of low 20 degree temps, and the water started out cold. I hang one on my chest strap for easy access and I put one in my pack.

It works for me.
"Mind what you have learned. Save you it can." - Yoda
"Rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength." - Paul Arel
User avatar
jsdratm
Posts: 509
Joined: 6/26/2011
14er Checklist (24)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (38)
Contact:

Re: Winter Hydration

Postby jsdratm » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:23 am

Last year I used my camelbak and had to drink every so often or it would freeze up. For this year I got one of these:

http://www.rei.com/product/402058/nalgene-space-saver-bottle-64-fl-oz

The only trouble is that it can be a bit of a pain to get it out of the pack if it is really cold and windy.

Return to “Gear, Climbing Prep, Safety, etc.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 43 guests