March 26, 2010, Newsletter Issue #291: Hydration Packs

Tip of the Week

So you live in Texas, and you’ve decided to take a ski trip to Copper Mountain. On your first day at the slopes, you find yourself feeling a bit light headed. That can happen at 10,000 feet; especially if you are not acclimated. In some cases, that tipsy feeling might be due to altitude sickness. However, it is often the result of dehydration. Carrying a water bottle is not plausible on a ski slope. Returning to the lodge to drink more water is just not fun. However, there is a simple solution: A hydration backpack. These backpacks come with a hose that allows you a hands-free method of hydration. While they are definitely a convenience, here are some things to consider.

First of all, while hikers might choose 100 oz hydration packs, these are not necessary for skiers, who have a chance to refill the bladder in the middle of the day. In fact, 100 oz will make the pack far too heavy. A 40 to 50 oz pack is more than sufficient. The bladder itself should be composed of a breathable, antibacterial material. If it is not, the water is going to taste pretty darn funny. Look for large shoulder straps. Smaller straps are going to dig into your shoulders. For winter sports, the bladder should have an insulated bladder sleeve, as well as foam insulation around the hose. This helps prevent winter freeze up.

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