oo often, we’ve heard the phrase “hydration packs” being bandied about, but how many of us really take the time out to find out what they are? What do we really know about hydration packs and, once we’ve come to grips with their importance, how should we go about getting ourselves one?
WHAT WE’LL GET FROM HYDRATION PACKS
There are a number of reasons why having a hydration pack is essential for anyone who spends a lot of time (and activity) outdoors. Depending on the type of activity you will engage in, there are various options available for you. However, you should first know what to expect from these packs so you will be guided accordingly when you have to choose one for yourself.
Stay fresh and Cool: In any activity, keeping a cool and level head is probably the best way to go about things. If you are hot, bothered, sweaty, parched and thirsty, who knows what could go wrong, especially if you are in a competitive or challenging situation?
Convenience and Efficiency: Doesn’t it annoy you when, whenever you feel parched or you feel the need to wet your lips and throat a bit, you have to stop what you’re doing and reach for that bottle of water in your pack? It is especially cramps one’s style, particularly when, say, for example, he is in the middle of navigating a tricky terrain on his mountain bike. It uses up a lot of time and effort. With a hydration pack, it is easier to get that much needed sip of water without breaking stride, so to speak.
Health and Performance: A well-hydrated individual will still be able to push himself further and faster. Keeping oneself hydrated will improve his performance on the trail or on the hike, whatever outdoor activity he is heavily engaged in.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HYDRATION PACK
Determining which exact hydration pack would be perfect for your needs takes a lot of thought. Some people would think it completely over the top to think too much about it; after all, it is not rocket science. However, in the end, you would appreciate your care and caution in your choice when you discover how much your well-chosen hydration pack will improve your overall experience.
- Size and Storage: How big should the pack be? The answer to this question would be determined largely by the purpose it is meant for or, to be more precise, the type of activity you will be doing. If you are going to need it for that simple afternoon biking, running or hiking jaunt, a small-sized hydration pack would do. If it is a day-long hiking activity where you would expect to bring other stuff along, you should probably look for a hydration pack with some more storage space. If, however, you expect to go on an adventure that could take you a couple to several days, there are backpacks you can purchase that already have a built-in hydration pack.
- Capacity: Nowadays, hydration packs are sold in various water capacities or reservoir volume, most of them measured in ounces. Again, just like in the size consideration, you should consider the type of activity. The more strenuous it is, the more water you will need. The length of time you expect to spend outdoors would also count, as well as the location of the activity. If you will be hiking in an area with no immediate water source nearby, make sure you have a hydration pack with a large enough capacity that will see you through until you get to the next water stop.
- User-Friendly Hydration Filling System: First, look at how the pack will be filled with water. Filling systems of hydration packs vary. While some will make use of top seals, others will feature screw-on lids. The size of the opening would also count. If it is big, filling it up would take faster. Smaller-sized openings will take ages for the pack to fill up, wasting precious minutes you could have spent on the road or trail. You wouldn’t want a pack that would leak, so you should check if there is an added bite valve with a turn-off knob.
- Drinking System: How you drink from the hydration pack should also count, so you should also check out the mouthpiece through which you will be sucking the water. Do you have to bite into the mouthpiece before water is released, or do you simply sip or suck right off the bat? See if the tube would be flexible and long enough, so you wouldn’t have a hard time getting a drink when you need it. Make it a point to see that the tube would be easily accessible and you wouldn’t have to twist and turn just to get to it.
- Perfect Fit: The hydration pack should also fit you snugly. They come in various sizes, which will fit people of various ages and body dimensions. If the pack happens to be quite heavy, you might want to choose one that comes with padded shoulders and adjustable straps. Remember, you should also think about your comfort when carrying these hydration packs.
STAY COOL, STAY FRESH, STAY HYDRATED
Many would agree that, during outdoor trips, water is more essential than food to keep you going. Do not make the mistake of ignoring how you would have your hydration supply and concentrating solely on your stash of food and energy bars. Get the proper hydration pack so you wouldn’t have to worry about getting dehydrated and completely ruining your whole adventure.