I did a search, found one thread from 8 years ago. Am wondering if there are any new thoughts. I’m trying to get away from using bottles. They get lost, get hot in the sun if you attach it to the deck, if you have a skirt can’t put it inside the cockpit. I like the idea of the camelback style system.

Those of you who do long distance racing what kind of hydration do you do?

water bladder in kayak
You can add a water reservoir to many PFDs and some of the surfski PFDs have a long narrow pocket in the back to hold a “standard” camelback.

That said, I don’t like the weight of a water bladder on my back for long, multi-day trips. After a few days it feels to me like you are wearing a lead flak jacket, making it easy to slump when you get tired and making excellent posture more difficult. Your milage may vary.

For racing and very long trips I prefer to place a water bladder behind the seat (I use a dromedary bag with hydration kit. I bring additional dromedary bags to carry sufficient water for the trip). The weight is low, and helps to add stability. I thread the drinking tube up the sprayskirt tube, with a quick-disconnect to make it easy to jump out of the kayak quickly. Some people prefer to drill a hole in the deck to make a tight fit with the drinking tube, to avoid this issue.

If you don’t wear your water on your back you do need to give some thought to how you are connected to the drinking tube, and practice disconnecting. Jumping out of your kayak quickly, only to discover that you are still tethered to the kayak, can bruise your ego, and much worse, depending on the situation.

Greg Stamer

I use a bladder lying on the floor
in front of the seat.

Sometimes I use a holder around my neck that has a velcro closure, and another velcro that holds the tube that also has velcro. It depends if PFD’s are required or not. If they are, I usually just bring the tube up inside the PFD

In canoes we use a jug in a holder on the floor in front of the seat with a tube.

Jack L

Insulated water jug…
I have a 1/2 gallon insulated water jug (Coleman brand) that I got FREE at Bass Pro a few years back, Toyota was there promoting their newest 4Runner, gave them a spare e-mail I don’t use and I got a free jug!

With about 1/3 ice and the rest water, it stays COLD for many hours on the water. I usually have a small soft cooler with a soda or something else when I get sick of water.

But I also paddle a 13’ rec boat (bow and stern bulkheads/hatches too) so I have cockpit room for this.

I drop mine behind my seat and bring the tube around the side. At the moment I’m sticking it under the bungee cord on the side I use to hold my paddle when getting in and out of the water.

Now in the same vein, what is the least amount of unpure water that can get you sick?

I’m talking about a regular stream or river, nothing so toxic that it’ll grow the 3 eyed fish from the Simpsons.

Sometimes as I’m paddling the mouthpiece of the tube will get splased and have river water on it. I usually just spit out the first mouthful of water I pull in. Have their been any studies done or does anyone have any expeiriance with this?

Long distance racers might not use the
same system as long distance ocean paddlers. I see you mentioned kayak and skirt.

There are hydration systems that clip on to your PFD. Far easier than bungeeing a camelbak under deck rigging…which for some insane reason I am still doing.


divide up the water…
a small or partially filled hydration pack on your back with additional water bottles in day hatch. Use the hydration pack for quick sips and in rough conditions and use the water in your hatch for longer breaks. Reasonable weight on back, no hoses to snag and plenty of water for longer trips.

Hydration pouch. The four liter version opens up at the top for easy cleaning, and sits up right behind the seat. Tube goes up the tunnel. I don’t care if my water is hot or cold. Some do. I have on occasion caught myself drinking too much water with this arrangement so I only do it for races and paddles over 20 miles or so.

Ryan L.

hydration bladder
In surf ski races some put a bladder under bungees under their legs, others behind on the back deck and others on the pfd. I prefer the back deck vs the pfd for the lower center of gravity and less weight swinging when you rotate. You can velcro or clip the hose to your pfd and drink while you paddle. I’ve seen some race kayaks that have a thru-hull fitting for the hydration tube and keep the bag behind their seat.

Thanks for the replies
Some good advice to help me in my decision. I’m leaning towards the Kokotat Tributary. I don’t need to carry a great deal of water and I like the simplicity and ease of their system. Was really trying to avoid anything that attached to the boat.

I’m with you and…
…KayakMedic on this one. I tried bottles, bags on the deck, bags behind the seat, bags between my legs, etc. Call me a bagman. I tried lots of stuff before getting the Tributary.

For me, wearing my water is so much better and I highly recommend it. Doesn’t matter if it’s Kokatat or somebody else. Put on your PFD and go. If you don’t wear a PFD then you can choose any hydration method that strikes your fancy.

Swim? No bladder or tube flopping around in the way. Deck and cockpit are clear. Crawl back in and go. If you wear a PFD I respectfully suggest that you wear your water, too.

If you have a requirement for your water being cold understand that your body does not. Water is a gotta-have. Cold water is a nice-to-have.



the technical answer
Is one drop, but you will probably be fine. You can also get a flesh eating bateria from any warm waterway and a cut, but you probably won’t.

Ryan L.

surf ski
For my V12, I tried the bladder on the aft deck, but it raised the center of gravity, and reduced stability. I now clip the bladder in the well in front of the footplate (if your legs are long there might not be enough space). The hydration tube has to run between the rudder pedals, and between your legs, which can be a PIA if it moves around. I placed some small string loops as tube guides (one on top of the Anderson bailer and another on the leash attachment point, both on the centerline of the ski), that helps to keep the tube from wandering.

If you swim often, it can be a hassle to deal with being clipped to the boat. On one occasion I fell off the ski, the tubing got twisted and was yanked so hard that the fittings separated, spilling all my water. Not good. In looking at the attachment points, the hose had deteriorated. I cut the tubing past the damage and wrapped all joints with duct tape. No problems since (but I inspect it often now).

Even with the hassles, for most conditions I’m not a fan of carrying the weight on my back.

Greg Stamer

water tube from day hatch
As Greg mentions some prefer to have the water in the day hatch and drill a hole for the tube.

I am one of them and I seal the tube with an “O” ring to prevent leaks.

Details here: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com.au/search/label/water%20bladder