Monday, March 04, 2013

Why I've got the hump with my camelbak and will be using my old Sigg instead

I switched from this old sigg to the 2l camelbak a couple of years ago. The bladder has a number of advantages over the bottle,

  • bigger capacity (my camel: 2L, my Sigg: 1L)
  • easy to keep sipping, keeps you well hydrated without breaking your step
  • massive filling cap, easy to fill
  • 'deflates' as you drink, making space
  • generally takes little space in the rucksack because the water 'moves' to the shape of the space it has

However, I've become fed up with it and have been taking my old dented sigg out on shorter walks recently. These are the reasons:

  • tube grows mould inside it very easily, impossible to clean once this has happened
  • bite valve gets weak and drippy, leading to damp patches on clothing or the need to fasten it somewhere high
  • tainted taste to the water, even with a new tube fitted
  • high maintenance; to prevent the mould, Camelbak recommend a cleaning regime involving bleach and lots of rinsing

I'm a fan of low maintenance things. (read: I'm lazy) My Sigg has never been treated to anything other than a quick rinse and a prop upside down on the drainer. Sometimes it's been left half-full in the rucker for ages with no ill-effects.

I suffered the mouldy tube problem with the Camel, I'm happy to accept that this was my fault for not cleaning it properly, but it had only had plain water in it, so the material it's made of is obviously susceptible. After failed attempts to clean it, I bought another tube for the best part of a tenner. I've kept this one clear of the mould by cleaning and drying the thing after use, but I have to say that it still gives a taste to the water in it (the bladder itself seems clean, and is easy to clean given the big opening).

The drippy bite valve is easy to fix too, either by lodging the valve high up (eg tying it to the rucksack shoulder strap) or buying a new one.

But all of this is all a bit of a pain (and expensive). I've had the Sigg for years and no problems at all. I've not looked after it and the water tastes perfectly clean.

So I have a couple of disadvantages to get over. The Sigg has a lower capacity. Even two of these will not be enough for a long walk on a hot day. I've just invested in a 1.5L bottle giving me 2.5L altogether.

I'll have to make sure that I reach for the bottle regularly which is a bit of a nuisance.

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