Long distance: water bladder or can bike ?
Pluses and minuses
It is not easy to choose between a water bladder and a can bike. Several arguments appear in favor of one or the other. We can say that it really depends on people habits...
The advantages of water bladder (Camelback)
- The fact that you can have the hands free and that you do not have to look away from the road when using it.
- The taste of plastic is much less pronounced than with a traditional can bike.
- The capacity can be greater: you reach 1.5 to 2 liters with a water bladder against 0.75 liters for the largest cans ... but then you have to carry it!
- The water bladder is also useful to carry a few tools, mobile phone, or cereal bars
- Maintenance can be done with pills disinfectant
The disadvantages of the water bladder
- The water flow is insufficient, it is hard to drink a lot and fast. You have to pump hard to have a sufficient liquid intake.
- It is hard to guess the amount of water that is ingested. You imagine you drinked a lot but when you open the bag, you can notice that you only drinked a little.
- The liquid temperature rises quickly in the pipe with the heat, it quickly becomes unpleasant to drink.
- The mass of 1.5 kg to 2 kg can be annoying when skating on long distances. Some will be bothered by having a bag in the back. Personally, I hardly feel it. The bag is located very high between the shoulders. Straps must be correctly adjusted.
- It is best not to put sweet liquids in your water bladder (fruit juice for example).
The advantages of the can bike
- You can quickly check how much fluid remains in the can through a level or transparency. Thus, you manage better your hydration over time.
- The water flow also seems more important, limiting the time the breath is "blocked" for hydration...
- The container can contain a wide variety of liquids
- It is easier to clean than the water bladder
Issues net with a can bike
- That damn taste of plastic that comes very quickly between the washes. It does not really help to appreciate your drink!
- The fear that the bottle falls or slips off the belt when taking it. Not good having to stop to pick it up!
- The discomfort in the back when it is on a belt
- Sealing is often worse in comparison with a water bladder.
And you? What is your opinion? Do not hesitate to contact us to participate...
Antoine Lesavre ( aka "Tonyo" - winner in solo of the 24 Heures du Mans 2010)
"I would add my thoughts to make this choice as a solo skater in the 24 Hours Roller of Le Mans :
If your staff is available 24/24 on the track, the volume of water may be reduced at ~ 25cl per lap. You can also alternate with "empty" laps. The liquid remains relatively cool. No danger if you do not know the remaining volume because the laps come back quickly. The water supply organization can top up.
If the budget allows, the fact of using several Camelback can vary the flavors and the densities of liquids. The water bladder will be used both as a supplying bag and for liquids.
The Camelback is really comfortable (even more so in running). You almost forget it on your back compared to a belt that fidgeting all the time.
However, if you want to switch to liquid salty (soup...), the can becomes mandatory.
Before the problem of supply, I would say that the crucial point is to define the role of staff (24/24?) and communication (telephone, walkie...). For example, put coolers filled with prepared cans reduces the work of your staff. "
XSFred, former speed and long distance skater
"The camelback is useful in long drive or long hike because you store all kinds of stuff. The extra capacity is a plus. But in a race, weight is disadvantageous in comparison with a belt. Maintenance of the watter bladder is tedious. It is excluded to fill it with fruit juice for example.
In warm weather, its large surface keeps the sweat in the back. The container can be advantageously replaced by PVC bottle of water and reused as many times as you want with tap water (or mixture that goes). It lets you choose the ideal capacity for each lap or training.
The belt-can with the can towards the right (too bad for lefties) is consistent with a small backpack. You can play with modularity and choose the size of bag according to the lengh of our long distance raid. You have an easy access to your bottle.
Basically, the camelback is only good if your girlfriend offered it :-) "
Useful linksWritten and translated by Alfathor
Photos: Camelback, PUC
Thanks to Tonyo and XSFred