I always stop to take my water bottle out of my side pocket, drink, and put the bottle back in the pocket; takes a total of maybe 5 minutes, and I drink about once an hour. In the course of a 8-hour hiking day, I "waste" (as most consider such halts) about 40 minutes a day - but never seem to arrive at camp "too late" to do everything I have to do and even seem to have an hour or two of daylight to relax and enjoy the sunset.
Don't overthink this. Five minutes an hour doesn't really make a critical difference about 95% of the time.
As far as weight, I'm currently evaluating the Platypus Quickdraw. I've had some design issues with a non-threaded outlet, and lids that aren't tethered to the Duolock bottle I use for drinking, but in terms of overall ease of use, I like it - the fact that the filter, Platypus dirty water container, and a Platypus Duolock bottle weighs 5.3 ounces complete; 2 bottles raise that to 7 ounces.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
The only time not being able to grab water and go quickly has been an issue for me is when hiking with other people. Some of them like to keep on the move, and I like to stay in a group, so I've had to play catch-up.
The journey is more important than the destination.
Loc: Portland, OR
The major reason I like having a drinking tube attached to a 2 liter Platypus in my pack that i can grab and drink from at once, as opposed to a water bottle in my side pocket that I must stop and remove so I can drink from it, is that I find I am more willing to drink water the moment I feel thirsty regardless of whatever else is going on with the trail or my surroundings. So, I stay better hydrated.
I agree that it provides more "even" hydration; I tried it for a year or two. It also required (for me) attention during a longer trip to keep nasties from starting to grow in the reservoir and tube. Eventually I decided the hassle wasn't worth it, and strictly out of personal preference went back to bottles in a side pocket.
In the past year or so I have been forcing myself to stop on longer hikes, at east 5 minutes per hour. That few minutes of recovery really helps me. I find I can go my daily distance with less pain as the indiscretions of my misspent youth come back to haunt me. It's fair to note I'm not going to win any competition for speed or distance.
Like Glenn, I prefer a water bottle in my side pack pocket. But I can also take the bottle out of the pocket, drink, and replace it without taking my pack off, so there's that. I can do this on the move, but generally prefer to stop for a sec to take a drink, take a look around, then continue on my way after putting the bottle away.
When you start lightening your load, you also hear a lot of "fast and light" nonsense, as if the two are somehow inextricably bound together. I'm pretty serious about going light - but there's nothing wrong with being "slow and light" - I prove it every hike I take.
"Like Glenn, I prefer a water bottle in my side pack pocket."
I attached a molle water bottle holder to my backpack shoulder strap. It's the most convenient place for me.
I wrapped a piece of velcro strap around the backpack shoulder strap two or three times around. I did two such straps, one a little higher than the other. I then hung the molle water bottle holder. It holds a 20oz gatorade bottle although I'm sure larger bottles would work also.
I go back and forth, mostly depending on the pack. I don't really have a preference anymore except that I want water available at my shoulder. There are advantages to each, of course.
The side pockets on my packs have been either too shallow or way too deep for bottles, so having the hose on my shoulder was great for sipping on the go. Having the bladder in the pack also kept that weight centered next to the middle of my back and provided a little padding. However, since I couldn't see my water level, I always assumed I had less than I did and ended up drinking less. I also didn't love digging the bladder out of my pack to refill and there was always a little worry that it would leak. Again.
The last couple of years, I have been using a SmartWater bottle that was about to be tossed by one of my teenagers. I also nabbed a carabiner clip (from the same teen) that grabs the neck of the bottle. I liked clipping this to my shoulder strap with a little shock cord for the bottom. I could still drink on the go, and since I could see the water, I knew I should sip a bit more. I actually like carrying the water weight on the front.
Both systems attach to my filer; the bottle screws on and the bladder needs an extra tube. If I drop my pack on the straps, either system puts the nozzle into the dirt. I have protective caps for each, which help, but only if I use them.
My newest pack has bottle pockets on the straps as well as side pockets that work better for bottles, plus a removable hydration sleeve. So, I have options and will probably debate myself before each trip.
I use a 500 ml camelback bottle with a hose with bite valve attached. I place it in the side pocket and the hose is clipped to the shoulder strap. I can take a drink without removing the bottle. I have reserve bottles in the pack so I can refill the small bottle as required. Works well for me.
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