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Old 22nd February 2014, 12:09   #1
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Default Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move

PRELUDE
Drink plenty of water & that helps to keep away the unnecessary accumulation of minerals that is in excess of what the body requires. Yes Sir...I'm aware of it, but when I ask someone what happens I don't drink plenty of water, people always say, "oh!! that is dehydration". And when you ask them what happens due to dehydration, no one gave me a precise answer or may be there's more than one, but unanimously people say, "Oh! there's plenty of things that can go wrong". Truth is, not many of them know including the most seasonal, experienced & senior riders know this & it's no surprise as I'm still learning. And finally I had to learn the hard way & here's to share, pls read on...for the impatient ones, please jump to CHOICES, you'll still not miss anything on review

Hydration packs are waste of money, you can carry water in 2X1 liter bottles which can also serve as good balance in your tail/saddle bag. Even the toughest rider would take a break for every 300 Km for refuel & at that time, one can drink water, otherwise, taking a break every now & then wastes lot of time. Even a 1 minute stop during a ride delays you by atleast 15 minutes in reaching your destination. These hydration packs are nothing but fancy show offs...these were precisely my thoughts, all that changed during...

THE INCIDENT
2013 Dec...an unforgettable month, just like Sep 2011. Why? If Sep 2011 was my honey moon period with C250R to RJ, then, Dec 2013 was a Winter vacation with C250R all the way from South West coast, Mangalore all the way up to Port Okha & Koteshwar & Narayan Sarovar (missed Lakpat though) without missing Navalakhi. As usual, never thought of taking adequate breaks for water, may be because I could survive Jaipur, Delhi & AP's heat during Jun 2012 for over a week on road, may be over confidence? Whatever it is, it only had water when body required water utmost urgent.

Don't remember the date, I was riding from Dwaraka towards Jamnagar & by evening around 4:30ish (remember I've already been on road for nearly a week now) I feel very sleepy. I know I had good sleep previous night, but I still feel sleepy & I'm unable to have my natural concentration on the road. However, I keep my focus with little difficulty. And that is when Tom was in my thoughts...
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I decided to take a break & sleep if required. I pull over near a Dhaba & finish off the remaining half liter water that I had. Felt like having some more & hence bought a liter of water & started gulping. Couldn't believe till date, when I removed the bottle from mouth, I had emptied almost 90% of the bottle!!! Finished the remaining & bought another liter of bottle & then started riding again. Shortly later, I suddenly realize I didn't feel sleepy anymore, what I felt sleepy earlier was blackout Needless to say, I learned my lesson the hard way & decided that no more trips without a hydration pack.

CHOICES
Quite obvious, the choices are very limited when one needs THE BEST. CAMELBAK, without a doubt, they're the leaders. However, I couldn't get myself to convince on the price. Way too expensive. Wife was encouraging to do some juggad or go back traditional ways to carry water bottle. Truth is...LAZINESS for water breaks, rides me harder than the motorcycle I ride. I knew, if I don't buy the hydration pack now, sooner or later, I'll become fool by repeating my mistake.

So I started looking for alternatives without compromising the quality; Options were Decathlon & Viaterra; obviously I chose Viattera as I know the kind of high quality products they make (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ew-thread.html (The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread)). As a person who is constantly looking to buy products meeting my needs rather than style or sea of features, all I wanted was something to carry about 1.5+ liters; they had hydration pack 2L.

Got in touch with them, found they have run out of stock & suggested me to get in touch with Spartan Pro Gear, Chennai, who stocks them. Called SPG & asked them to reserve one for me to pick up on last Friday & boom...I now have it

http://www.viaterra.in/Products/VIAT...d-2288017.aspx

PRODUCT REVIEW
Let's start with pictures that are self explanatory
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At last this one...please pay a special attention to this one. There's something more to come...
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Last edited by aargee : 25th February 2014 at 22:49.
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Old 25th February 2014, 21:26   #2
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Default The Testing Begins...

And I had to work last weekend & didn't want to miss the opportunity to test either. So, I kept filling & filling & kept using. It was during that extensive usage I found the bite valve from Viaterra is no good for me. Why?

The bite valve from Viaterra had to be pulled up to release the lock to consume water & pushed down to lock from preventing water dripping. Now, some of them might like this feature, however, it becomes really cumbersome, IF, there's a need to consume water without removing the helmet. Add to that, after 2 days of testing & drinking nearly 15 liters of water, the push-pull had become medium-tight from hard-tight. So I was really sure that, this nozzle might become loose, if not immediately, but in course of, say, 7-8 rides.

Now compare this with CAMELBAK, where one has to simply bite & suck to let the water flow which is an awesome simple & effective mechanism. Only a person who has undergone the troubles will understand the real pain. One should certainly go through the CAMELBAK story - http://www.camelbak.com/en/Sports-Re...Our-Story.aspx

Especially when you have helmet with chin covered, taking the tube through the cramped space, over & above, one has to pull up, suck & then push it down. Didn't sound like a simple to use method to me. Was little disappointed with my choice. First time I ever felt, no wonder CAMELBAK is this expensive, don't know how much they might have spent on R&D just for the bite valve. For someone who is willing to do the pull-suck-push, yes, this might be a good option, but not me.

I thought of dumping this & go back to CAMELBAK, without minding the cost. My Son was eyeing on this for all the while, thought, I'll dump this on him & buy a CAMELBAK, never mind the cost. We're Indians & JUGGAD always flows through our blood, thought I'll try something before giving up completely.

Searched online, found that CAMELBAK sells accessories & BITE VALVE being one of them. Ordered one immediately & got it delivered the very next day

Though I had to compromise on the "T" or inverted "L" shaped nozzle, but I'm quite happy with my juggad...win some, lose some probably.

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Tested inside helmet (stationary ofcourse) & was quite happy & felt the simple bite-suck is far superior to pull-suck-push mechanism.

Last edited by aargee : 25th February 2014 at 21:33.
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Old 25th February 2014, 21:38   #3
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Default Let's try some more test

Let's try filling water & see how much does this pouch holds

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Last edited by aargee : 25th February 2014 at 22:48.
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Old 25th February 2014, 22:22   #4
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Default Concluding Part

In terms of product quality, it will be waste of space to keep saying it again & again. Just one sentence - It's hard & surprise to believe that this high quality product is made in India or atleast made in our country.

Stitches, quality of material used, fit & finish, zippers, buckle, nozzle, tube, bag, hook & loop, bladder, plastics...everything perfect 5/5. Absolute perfection or slightly over engineered to carry just 2L of water

Occasionally I never felt there's something on my back, the bag is so comfortable that it elegantly hangs on the back without any discomfort

Price is something that is quite attractive for the quality of the product

What could be improved?
Well there's always a room for improvement & the below are my opinion & need not necessarily be the scope for improvement as they may be fine for few folks
  • The mechanical operation of nozzle has to be changed. IMHO, it has to be designed or made simple operation for riders to use on the road.
  • Instead of straight nozzle, there has to be a T or inverted "L" shaped nozzle so that it becomes easy fit inside the motorcycle helmet (much unlike the bike helmet)
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Old 26th February 2014, 11:06   #5
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

Aargee how much did the bite valve cost you? I need to replace mine as well (its developed a small crack, though it still works perfectly - just that the crack oozes water when you bite/squeeze the valve).

The L shaped nozzle has a twist-type locking mechanism (in yellow). Also, the shape makes it much easier to get it under the chin of your helmet and into your mouth that straight on as in your jugaad. But at least your don't have to do the push pull with your teeth anymore. That's a huge plus.

Btw, you can buy the L shaped lock valve nozzle separately as well. But I'm guessing that and the bite valve would separately be almost as expensive as the entire Viaterra pack. Last I checked just the bite valve (the one you bought) was some 400-50 bucks. he L shaped nozzle with HydroLok (its a patented technology) will be much more.

Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move-camelback_day34.jpg

How much did this Viaterra pack cost you? I think my CamelBak cost me around 2.5K some 3 odd years ago. Friend of mine got it from Australia.

Last edited by ebonho : 26th February 2014 at 11:12.
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Old 26th February 2014, 11:28   #6
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

I honestly think these are useful only during treks to optimize how water is stored. I tried using one of these when I used to cycle regularly and found them a pain to use. I have tried both Camelbak and the Decathlon hydration packs. Sucking water was quite an effort and put me off completely. Best to have some sort of bottle holders and keep sipping once every 15 mins. Its easier to have bottle holders on cycles than on bikes, but I think it's doable.
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Old 26th February 2014, 11:55   #7
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
I honestly think these are useful only during treks to optimize how water is stored. I tried using one of these when I used to cycle regularly and found them a pain to use. I have tried both Camelbak and the Decathlon hydration packs. Sucking water was quite an effort and put me off completely. Best to have some sort of bottle holders and keep sipping once every 15 mins. Its easier to have bottle holders on cycles than on bikes, but I think it's doable.
Different usage needs. You cannot do that on a bike at 80+ kmph and a full face helmet on. Sure you can stop and do the same. But that's what CamelBaks are meant to bypass. Water on the move.
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Old 26th February 2014, 12:20   #8
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

I use the Camelbak stoway 2 Ltr unit, with insulation layer for Sac, pipe and bite valve, keeps the water warm in cold conditions and spill safe while tucking it inside the sleeping bag or quilt. Works perfect for my daughter during long drive, no issue of spilling water at the back in the car.

I also have a day backpack, which is compatible with the sac, and perfect for a day walk or outing
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Old 26th February 2014, 12:36   #9
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
Aargee how much did the bite valve...Friend of mine got it from Australia.
Sir, I hope I cover everything you asked, pls let me know otherwise. Thanks

Viaterra - http://www.viaterra.in/Products/VIAT...d-2288017.aspx

CAMELBAK - http://www.camelbakindia.com/cbi/bbb (Yes now available in India) and inverted "L" shape nozzle is not available :(

Quote:
You cannot do that on a bike at 80+ kmph and a full face helmet on. Sure you can stop and do the same
And yes, fully support your statement
I had enough of this issue especially with day long rides!!! Anywhere in South India or upto 10 hours of ride is OK with me, but anything beyond that, I'm not willing to take chances anymore. Like I said, learned the lesson hard way!

Last edited by aargee : 26th February 2014 at 12:38.
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Old 26th February 2014, 13:02   #10
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoombiee View Post
I honestly think these are useful only during treks to optimize how water is stored. I tried using one of these when I used to cycle regularly and found them a pain to use. I have tried both Camelbak and the Decathlon hydration packs. Sucking water was quite an effort and put me off completely. Best to have some sort of bottle holders and keep sipping once every 15 mins. Its easier to have bottle holders on cycles than on bikes, but I think it's doable.
I have a Quechua CamelBak bought from Decathlon on Aug,2011 which I specifically bought for my 19 days motorcycle trip to Leh ( Delhi-Leh-Delhi) and would say it was by-far the most used & important (VFM) accessory apart from my balaclava which comes a close second.
I was the only one among my friends who was not hit by AMS and had least fatigue @EOD .I always kept myself hydrated which many people underestimate. Mine holds a tad lower than a liter and I used to fill-up whenever we stopped.

Small story:
I keep all by bike documents in the additional chamber along with a DSLR attached to a lens. Once I was about to loose this midway to Rangdum, completely forgot due to absent-mindedness of the aura/vistas around. When a through gentleman in an car suddenly stopped from behind and handed it over to me uttering my name since I had all my documents there. I expreseed my gratitude to him.

The convenience of sipping water whenever you want while riding/biking and also carrying some additional things is a great boon specially for tourers like me. I now carry it everywhere I go when it is more than a days trip and would highly recommend it.

N.B. - The best use of this Camelpak is when you mix a small sachet of Gatorade (lemon) flavor with it. Relinquishes your thirst to a great extent specially in North summers where you don't find coconut water that easily like in South.
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Old 26th February 2014, 14:21   #11
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Default Re: Keep yourself hydrated while on the move - My experiences on buying a hydration p

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
CAMELBAK - http://www.camelbakindia.com/cbi/bbb (Yes now available in India) and inverted "L" shape nozzle is not available :(
I've seen it being sold on ebay. Try there. And please bro, I'm not a "sir" - doc would do just fine. Shubz-itis is catching on Team BHP.
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Old 26th February 2014, 19:49   #12
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Default Re: Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move

Just like you aargee I too have learned the need to keep ourselves hydrated the hard way.

It was just another early Saturday morning short BLR-Mysore-BLR spin and it was a last minute plan(like always) and naturally, I thought I will buy water on the way. Mistake#1. Started riding and stopped in a CCD in Mysore Road and had a Cappuccino. That was the first liquid I was having on that day. Mistake#2. Just like always I was too immersed in that misty early morning ride that I did'nt bother to stop and buy water. Infact I completly forgot about it.Mistake#3. So I reached Mysore took some snaps and U turned back to BLR. Still I was not feeling thirsty and the thought of buying water completely escaped me! By the time it was 11'o clock ish, on the way back. Within some 30 minutes I experienced a near complete drain of energy. Muscles started to cramp, vision started blurring and Yes! I started feeling thirsty. So I stopped on a roadside bakery and bought a liter of water.

All this time, just before sipping the water I was clueless as to why all these are happening! It is just a small routine ride for god's sake! Then after gulping down half of that bottle and a few minutes under the fan, muscles began to relax and vision was restored! At that very moment, like the apple that fell on Newton's head, the fact dawned upon me. It was pure dehydration. A lesson learnt well! For the rest of the ride my energy level was back to normal and I was feeling like I got a shot of N20! This happened a couple of years back and I was not aware of any hydration packs back then.

Hydration breaks became more frequent on rides since that incident. And now I have a B-Twin Hydration Bag 9.2 From Decathlon with a 2L bladder and another 7L of usable space for knick knacks. It is a good VFM product with loads of useful features. I regularly use the pack on my rides now so that I can carry water and other essentials without having to carry a big backpack. And this thing fits snugly with the 2 securing clips at the chest level and another at the lower torso level. Owing to its sung fit, I had the laugh of my life when a boy at the Hotel where I was having my breakfast during a ride asked me: "Ethu yenna saaar parachute-aa..??" meaning "Sir, is this a Parachute?".

I would strongly suggest a hydration pack to every one who is serious about long rides, just because, even though we would think that we can stop in between and have a sip every hour or so, we seldom do it. As the step involves stopping the bike, taking out the bottle from the saddle bag/tail bag, drinking and putting it back, it will make us keep the hydration breaks to the minimum and before even we realizing it, dehydration would be setting in. Badly.

@aargee, Thanks for the info on the Camelbak bite valve. Even the B-Twin one is having a lock valve like the via-terra which is extremely uncomfortable to operate with the lid on. Can you please briefly explain how to change the existing valve? Can we just pull it off and push the Camelbak one in?

And the small plastic loop inside the bladder is for keeping the bladder cap from falling off while opened and refilling. And Yes, this loop will become a pain in the bottom while putting back the cap after filling it with water to the brim.
Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move-img_1249.jpg

Last edited by man_of_steel : 26th February 2014 at 19:54.
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Old 26th February 2014, 22:29   #13
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Default Re: Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move

Quote:
Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post

@aargee, Thanks for the info on the Camelbak bite valve. Even the B-Twin one is having a lock valve like the via-terra which is extremely uncomfortable to operate with the lid on. Can you please briefly explain how to change the existing valve? Can we just pull it off and push the Camelbak one in?
Attachment 1212609
It is a B-Twin bladder, the valve is pretty easy to change however require's a little effort to pull it out. You would need to pull it out and then keep turn it around and then pull. However im not too sure what Aargee's method's was.
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Old 27th February 2014, 07:29   #14
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Default Re: Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move

All of us do the 3 mistakes you mentioned, just that no one dares to admit like we do

Quote:
Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post
Can you please briefly explain how to change the existing valve? Can we just pull it off and push the Camelbak one in?
Yes, that's all it needs. The pull-bite-suck-push is at the tip of another nozzle vent that is open always. So you have to pull the pull-bite valve hard so that it comes out.

Squeezing & pushing in CAMELBAK bite valve is little tricky. It took nearly 15 minutes for me to push the bite valve to the open nozzle. After that everything will fall in place easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by man_of_steel View Post
And the small plastic loop inside the bladder is for keeping the bladder cap from falling off while opened and refilling. And Yes, this loop will become a pain in the bottom while putting back the cap after filling it with water to the brim.
Instead, all it needed was to tie a quality nylon rope at both neck & cap, yes, it affects the hygiene, or may be a plastic fastener to the neck of the filling vent.

I personally feel there has to be hook strapped to the neck of the bladder so that filling water becomes little more easier.

Last edited by aargee : 27th February 2014 at 07:30.
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Old 27th February 2014, 13:18   #15
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Default Re: Hydration Pack Review: Keep yourself hydrated on the move

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Yes, that's all it needs. The pull-bite-suck-push is at the tip of another nozzle vent that is open always. So you have to pull the pull-bite valve hard so that it comes out.

Squeezing & pushing in CAMELBAK bite valve is little tricky. It took nearly 15 minutes for me to push the bite valve to the open nozzle. After that everything will fall in place easily.
Cool! Will try pulling the lock valve out. But I will be unable to go for long rides for the next 2-3 months, so I will just wait and check if Camelbak is coming with an L shape valve as accessory. It would be more ideal or else I will go for this.
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