I am particularly fond of using Hydration Pack for outdoor pursuits like trekking and Cycling. During the winter season, the drop in temperature can be unsettling. Using a hydration Pack in sub-zero temperature can be difficult. The freezing temperature can cause your hydration pack to fail. The critical parts of the pack can become blocked with ice.
Not discouraged, I tried a few hacks I learned over the years in making full use of my Deuter 2.0 Litre Bladder. The following 5 step results have helped me in hassle free winter hydration bladder use.
Step 1. Weatherize the drink tube and Bladder Pouch, protect the bite valve. Use thermally insulated bladder bag and tube covers for your hydration bladder. Neoprene insulation cover for your tube works best. They are a cheaper alternative than buying the more expensive branded hydration bladder kit (with insulation support ) by Camelbak, Deuter.
Alternatively, you can wrap the water bladder in a warm fleece inside the backpack. Although a proper insulation cover will work best. This is because of the thermally insulated material used on the cover.
If money is not an object, splurge on a thermally insulated covered hydration backpack kit. We recommend Camelbak and Deuter brands.
Step 2. With your thermal insulation in place, fill your bladder with warm or room temperature water. This way it will take longer to cool down. Using warm water has better results.
Step 3. Keep the bite valve locked once used. Remember to lower the water back to the bladder each time used. Lock it as soon you fill the system in the morning or anytime it’s not in use. This helps to prevent water from being forced into the tube or spilling out due to compression of the bladder.
Step 4. Blowback the water back into your bladder to prevent freezing. Practice good tube clearing technique by blowing air back into the tube before to avoid tube freezing. The only downside is that it can introduce bacteria into the bladder, making the water start to taste funny.
Step 5. Remember to run the tube under your jacket or down your arm under the jacket. Keep it from being exposed when not in use. Tuck the bite valve inside the jacket when not in use without fail. This will ensure the bite valve and the tube do not thaw under extreme weather. Due care needs to be taken in keeping all the parts of hydration pack warm.
Trekking Tip: If the bite valve freezes up, place it under your arm or under the jacket. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes. This should help in de-thawing it.