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Winter 14er water storage...

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Winter 14er water storage...

Postby ironman11 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:36 pm

I was wondering what is the best way to store fluids for a day trip up a 14er during the winter. I have experimented during winter hikes on the A.T., but it was never 30 mph sustained winds and 8 degrees. What is the best way carry water during a winter ascent?

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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby SurfNTurf » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:40 pm

The primary methods I've seen are in an insulated koozie ($10-12), wrapped in extra layers inside your pack, or next to your body zipped underneath your jacket. I prefer a combination of methods 1 and 2. Most people forego carrying bladders in the winter because water freezes in the tube.
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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby Tory Wells » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:49 pm

Thermos.

Or just leave it in the car and drink it when you get back.
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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:58 pm

While a bladder hose is usually out in winter, I actually use my Platypus bladders to store extra water inside my pack, vertically against my back so it won't freeze. They sell caps that you can put on bladders so the bag can be capped and the hose stays at home. I carry a small bottle (usually 20oz Gatorade bottle) inside my jacket or in the pocket of my ski pants, while climbing. Keeping that bottle against my body usually keeps it from freezing. Refilling the "front" bottle every once in a while isn't a big deal and easy if you're using a wide-mouth bottle for ease of transfer.

Why do I stick with the bladder in the pack method? It's light. Period.

On big days or if it's really, really cold, I use a Nalgene+koozie on the outside of my hip belt. For overnights, I use all Nalgene bottles because I'll probably be melting snow and don't want to freeze a bladder. At night, I put it all inside my sleeping bag after I've melted snow into warm water.
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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby RJansen77 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:59 pm

SurfNTurf wrote:The primary methods I've seen are in an insulated koozie ($10-12), wrapped in extra layers inside your pack, or next to your body zipped underneath your jacket. I prefer a combination of methods 1 and 2. Most people forego carrying bladders in the winter because water freezes in the tube.


I've resorted primarily to method 2 so far, and it has worked fairly well, (though having a water bottle between your waist strap and stomach can be quite uncomfortable, and it can make you look fat :lol: ).

I've stayed away from bladders as my "insulated" tube continuously freezes. Despite this, if you must carry a bladder I would suggest keeping the tube down your jacket or shirt when you're not drinking out of it, as this can help keep it from freezing.
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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby 14erRunner » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:01 pm

A 1 liter Nissan thermos is the ticket. I boil my water the night before and it is still too hot to drink the following day. I'll then add snow to stretch it out a bit and cool it off (put the snow in the lid/cup).

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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby Scott P » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:08 pm

I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby TomPierce » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:22 pm

My system is essentially the same as Bill's. I have a Nalgene in an OR Bottle Parka velcroed to my pack's hip belt. That's where I keep a liter of Cytomax that I've mixed the night before. I prefer to have it close at hand so I have little excuse for not hydrating. But in the pack, closest to my body, is a Platypus bladder. No hose at all, just a 2.5L bladder with a plastic cap. (Tip 1: Paint the top of the cap with a red magic marker; drop that white cap in the snow during a blizzard? Good luck finding it.) So as the day goes on I'm draining my hip belt liter as I go up, then eventually I find a sheltered spot to top off the bottle with water from the bladder. I don't mix Cytomax powder into the topped off bottle; I suppose I could but I'm pretty lazy. (Tip 2: If it's a bitterly cold day trip and you're starting from your house, fill the bottle and bladder with hot water. By the time you drink it'll be warm at most, and as the day goes on it'll gradually cool.) This system is the lightest I've found, waaaay lighter than multiple bottles, even lighter than using old Gatorade bottles. And as you drink the fluids your pack volume gets freed up, vs using bottles.

Tip 3: ALWAYS keep your pack in the interior of your car as you drive up. Why pre-freeze your load??

I've been out in windchills to -40F for sure, perhaps more, and I have yet to have any significant freezing issues. If it's colder than that? Four words come to mind: Hot Toddies at home. :lol:

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Re: Winter 14er water storage...

Postby 14erRunner » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:29 pm

Cool test Scott, thanks for sharing. I'll use a Nalgene with insulated covering often as well, but that is only after boiling the water that I pour in it. It stays plenty warm enough to drink during the first half of the day and I drink that first. After that is gone, then I know I always have the Nissan thermos of very hot drink for the remainder of the day. The Nissan thermos is reasonably light (not much heavier, if at all heavier than the Nalgene/insulated cover combo), and the performance is far superior to any other thermos I have used.

I know some people use bladders with a certain degree of success, but I am very leery of this in the Winter, not only because of the issue of freezing, but they are more likely to leak or fail, which in the Winter could be disasterous.

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