hydration systems

does anyone know of a hydration system for kayaks. I would like to attach to rear deck. Getting tired of losing momentum or being blown backwards when i nee a drink.

Thanks; PhilM

Mount a bladder on your PFD
I don’t use this type of setup, but it’s common… to have a bladder hydration system like a Camelpak attached to the back of a pfd.

The mouthpiece/hose attaches to the front and is always there when you need a drink.

Same thing is used by some buddies I go mountainbiking with… although they don’t need a pfd :-).

I think camelbak makes a short one
The longer camel backs stop working if you have them pressed too hard against your seat back.

One of the guys around here has a short one that rides high on his back above his seat. It is a CamelBak - but I’ve not seen that type for sale.

When paddling I’ve got to lean forward to get a drink from mine.

EBag had some of the Camelbak Mules normally $79.00 for $39.00 recently, they hold 3 liters and some gear. I began with a 2 liter bike one from Dick’s and then picked up the 3 liter Mule on sale on line.

These packs help me to walk with less lower back pain. They also save money because I just bring in bottled water from the stuff delivered to my home and then I don’t pay $1.69 a day to the ganufs who run the food court here at work.

One of the accounting instructors told me that my Camelbak was obviously better made than whatever it is he uses. I don’t know. It does what I asked it to do and it does it well.

The adjustments on them seem to work well for big people as well as normal and small people.

Now if they would just make a waterproof one that would add to personal floatation as well!

Anchor Points, Location
Just make sure that anything you attach to your PFD is anchored at two points on the side as well as at the shoulders. With just shoulder point anchors, you can be upside down and suddenly realize that there are a few pounds of water hanging off your back. I did this - it wasn’t fun.

As to where to store it - I have a Platypus that fits beautifully in behind my seat, under the bungies etc that I use to keep my back band from flopping around, and coil the tube by my hip. If I want it to stay accessible and figure that it won’t be a real wet time period, I just run the tube under the skirt and leave it in my lap. I can roll etc with it back there and it doesn’t slap around on me.

How do you keep these clean?
They seem to get slimy coatings in them that ordinary water bottles don’t get. I stopped using the ones I have because of the maintenance factor compared to regular water bottles. Maybe I’m just too lazy when it comes to this.

i use the Un-Bottle by camel, which i attach to the back of my PFD.


they sell cleaning kits
At Dicks and at more high end outfitter places as well.

I like that idea one of you had about of keeping the water under the seat.

I think you can order the cleaning supplies online as well, maybe even from Ebag.

I put mine on over my PFD so I can shake it off if need be.

However I don’t expect to be rolling my kayak - I’m not superwoman. Quite the opposite. I admire those of you who can and do roll though - but even if I do become fit enough, I just don’t think I want to roll.

Nine years ago I nearly died from too much asthma meds and prednisone. I couldn’t walk and talk at the same time most of the time. I’m not Ms. Fit USA but I count my blessings but perhaps I am a misfit.

baking soda
I have a regular old camelbak. The bladder instructions say to use baking soda to clean it out, and occasionally store diluted lemon juice in it to get rid of that plastic taste. The worst thing to do is come home tired and leave a sugar based drink (gatorade etc) in it, and leave it in the car/sun etc. Once it gets “slimy”, it is twice as hard to clean again. Best to throw it in the freezer and tend to it later when you have more time/energy.

Periodic rinsing/scrubbing with diluted chlorine, and drying them in the sun when you can, will help keep the Platypus or Camelback systems clean. This is as long as you just use them for water. Putting sugared drinks or juice in them makes it harder - those things are probably best in a hard bottle.

Or you can take the “city” option. Our municipal water supply has tons of chlorine in it because of all the year-round geese on our reservoir. All I have to do is just use city water and I never have major maintenance.

I carry a small 1 1/2 liter camelback (just the bladder) under my PFD, PFD cinched up to hold the bladder in place. rides fine there and haven’t had any trouble with getting tangled in tubing or with rolls. Works for me.

crystal lite …
i don’t drink enough unless the ‘water’ is flavored. so i use crystal lite or gator aid. no problem cleaning the Un-Bottle … the wide mouth makes getting lots of chlorinated water inside for rinsing.

Denture tablets work great

– Last Updated: Sep-26-05 5:35 PM EST –

Just use mint fizzing denture cleaning tablets. They are inexpensive and easy to find, easy to use, they disinfect, and leave a minty flavor. No need to mess with chorline and the potential after taste.

pfd hydrator
kokatat, lotus designs and platypus all make pfd hydrators…they just strap onto the back of your pfd-completely out of the way…

love my lotus!

Let the kayak carry it!!!
Why pack it when you have a perfectly good boat to carry it! L

You folks must not need to carry 3L or more like we do down here!

Most of the “Classic” type CamelBak and equivalents work well enough. Take a look at CamelBak’s “Unbottle”. Comes in 70 and 100 oz sizes.

These have proven very handy. I keep mine behind the seat (run tube out under skirt over coaming). Some keep them on rear deck, front deck, cockpit floor, under deck bag,…

Just rinse and keep DRY NM

How do you keep them dry?
They don’t drain as easily as a hard plastic bottle.

That is what I use…
but take it one step better.

J & J Canoes and other outfitters sell a fabric necklace (goes around your neck) with a stiffiner in it that connects together with velcro. They also sell a stiff tube that is bendable that attaches to your bladder tube.

You attach a piece of velcro to the tube and that connects to the necklace.

The necklace and or the tube can be bent in any direction which allows you to keep it right in front of your mouth so all you have to do is open your mouth and grab it.

I just lay the bladder on the floor between my legs.

Almost all canoe and kayak racers use this method which allows you to never miss a stroke.

If you are touring you can just unvelcro it and leave the tube under one of your front bungees.

You can either use a bite valve or what I prefer is leaving the tube open and using one of those clamp shut off valves.



bnystrom (and another post above) recommended freezing the bladder and tube between uses (i.e. keep it in the freezer). Works great. I also have a heavy gauge plastic coated copper electrical wire that is about 3’ long and will slide through the tube to loosen up the mold.


Low cost option…
That attaches easily to PFDo or deck:


Some thoughts…

– Last Updated: Sep-26-05 9:15 PM EST –

Cleaning a hydration bladder is easier than you might think. A chlorine bleach solution of 5 parts water and 1 part bleach will work well for any food storage item. Rinse well with warm water, and allow to dry. If you don’t like bleach, try either a denture cleaning tab, or powdered sterilizer. The sterilizer you can pick up at a shop that sells wine or beer making supplies, or you can ask your local bartender for a baggie of it (they use it to sterilize the glasses). Once again, you’ll want to rinse well with warm water. I highly recommend buying the Cleaning Kit from CamelBak.
The drying rack in ingenious, and the tube brush is absolutely necessary for those of us who leave it wet in your car for a week.
For those of you who want to consider strapping the hydration bladder to or under the deck, or to a thwart or under a seat; the Tube Extender Kit from CamelBak is very useful. It adds an extra 40 inches.
My favorite CamelBak is the UnBottle 100 oz. (3 Liter) bladder.
Mine is the older version without the cool wide mouth opening, but this thing is great. You can attach it to just about any pack, or deck, or thwart. I know some probably think 3 liters is too much, but there have been times, when it has been nice to have that much, and I can always not totally fill it. You can’t add water to a full 50 oz, but I can put only 50 oz in my 100 oz.
Hope this helps,