Drinks on the go........


A short day hike is always more enjoyable when properly dressed and equipped. A comfortable hat and stout boots help keep your top and bottom ready for the trail. A small pack with rudimentary safety items like a flash light and whistle and a means of starting a fire are a must, as is water.

Water for a short trip is best carried. There are some great portable filters on the market that can make the most questionable water potable but bringing water from the safety of your kitchen tap is by far the easiest and most affordable. The canteen has been a standard issue item for all travelers for eons. Roman soldiers carried crocks of water that would stay cool through capillary action. Bedouin tribes have used goat skins as water vessels, and Viking Norsemen used both not to be out done. Canteens have been made of wood, metal and plastic but until recently they were almost always carried on shoulder or hip. It worked but was not always conducive to the rigors of the day.

Sam filters water with a Katadyn Microfilter

Modern man had a simple and effective solution, "hydration packs". Really just a new age version of the fore mentioned containers. Companies like PLATYPUS and CAMELBACK produce sophisticated hydration systems well suited for any outdoor activity and in a choice of colors and styles to keep you hanging cool and trendy with the over dressed wanna bes.

The systems I use are equally tough and versatile (and good looking) at a fraction of the price.

A trip to your local MART store's sporting goods section will reveal a number of hydration packs-bags-bladders that are equally well thought out but for a fraction of the price. You will of course have to get over the fact that the fancy name brand is missing but hell, when I'm thirsty I'll drink from a muddy puddle if I must (and I have).

# 1 Son and me sippin from hydration tubes.

Look for these features in any hydration system regardless of price:

1) The water carrier itself should be generously sized.

2) The filling end should have a wide opening to accommodate easy and fast filling, cleaning and addition of ice cubes.

3) The drinking valve should be positive closing and not leak. Bite style valves will leak if you bite so hard as to eat them. Be gentile with these soft cushy ends and they will give you years of service.

4) Hoses should be removable for cleaning.

5) The bag should be made of material that can withstand extremes of heat and cold.

Now to the carrier pack:

1) It should be made of Strong material but be soft and comfortable where it contacts the body.

2) It should fit, don't laugh I've seen many bags that were made for children only, TRY IT ON!

3) extra pockets are a plus, make sure anything you put in these pockets wont puncture the bags integrity.

4) Never...Never...Never use your hydration system to carry such sticky mixtures as Kool-Aid or Ice Tea mix. The sugar is very hard to clean from these bags/tubes. WATER ONLY!

I must have five or six different styles and sizes of hydration packs One for anything I have in mind to do, from hiking, camping to fly fishing or just tooling around on my motorcycle. I have no reason to go thirsty or broke. Compare systems in person, ask sale persons about the differences between styles and TRY THEM ON. You'll find a hydration pack that suits your needs and your pocket book.

Safe Travels