Giving up the Bottle

I’ve given up the bottle.  Never again will I take a swig of cool refreshing liquid from the neck of my flask and walk away satisfied.  Not that I have given up the drink, that would be unthinkable, I have merely updated my drinking method on the hill.  For years I’ve seen walkers sipping from little plastic tubes that mysteriously disappeared into their rucksacks.  All the adverts tell us that hydration is the key.  Apparently we don’t know when to drink, thirst is unreliable, no it takes the advertising men and doctors in white coats to tell us how to imbibe that most primeval and essential of liquids, water.  That is, of course, if one is so technologically backward as to actually drink crude ordinary water.  The TV ads tell us modern man requires to be hydrated by sophisticated modern types of water.  There are liquids called electrolytes with names like Go he man Go!  Or Jet Fuel.   I thought electrolyte was something you put in batteries but apparently I am mistaken.

So I walked into my local outdoor shop, apparently walking is something I can still manage without an instruction manual, although I’m sure I’ll find I’ve been doing that wrong too, and purchased a bladder type thing with a tube coming out the end.  “Of course,” the shop assistant told me, in a vain attempt to sell me more stuff I don’t need, “Your rucksack might not be compatible.”  I’m putting a bag of water into it, it’s a bag with another bag going into it how can that not be compatible.  I solved the none compatible problem by tying the thing in my bag with some string and set off up a hill.  Now surely I would become some kind of hydrated superman, sipping my way across the landscape with lightning speed.

My first attempt with the reverse urinary device was a disaster; I didn’t put the lid on tight enough and found my sack full of three pints of water after about half a mile.  Undeterred I preserved, filled it up from stream and carried on.  Soon I was merrily sipping water from my little tub and feeling quite in tune with the modern age when, unaccountably, the thing refused to supply me any more liquid.  I sucked for all I was worth but nothing came.  I stopped and shuggled the thing about and eventually got water. How a plastic bladder with a tube coming out cannot let you suck water out is beyond me.

Now I find it works some of the time but other times leaves you turning blue trying to extract a drop of the stuff from your back pack. I’m sure it is a very fine device in itself, although I can’t avoid the observation that it looks like some terrible medical equipment that if you fell awkwardly on to it you might accidentally give yourself an enema. I could take it back to the shop and explain the problem but they would only look at me as though I was some pathetic moron who doesn’t know how to suck.  Does anyone else have this problem with these things?  I’m obviously doing it wrong!


4 responses to “Giving up the Bottle

  1. Heartily agree with you on this one too! I’ve always listened to my body for when it wants to eat, drink or whatever (I have to admit to ignoring it when it says it doesn’t want to eat and just forcing it to ‘cos I enjoy it 😉 ).

    Now, doctors are saying what I’ve thought all along – we actually should only drink when we feel thirsty as our bodies know what’s what! I also think a lot of people who complain of cramp on the hill are probably drinking far too much and washing all their nutrients out of their systems.

    I drink around 1/3 litre of warm black coffee in winter – and that’s only ‘cos it’s nice to have a warm drink. In summer, if it’s really hot, I might drink up to a litre of water and some coffee. I haven’t dropped dead yet as you can tell! 😉

    At the end of the day, all this ‘drink this, drink that’ and telling people to BUY water, is just folks out to make money from us!

  2. There was an article in the BMJ earlier this year about the whole science behind energy drinks and hydration and as Carol says, the conclusion was that thirst is an ample indicator of needing to drink. As for the electrolytes, they can be helpful if you are sweating a lot, but no need in normal activity.
    What bladder did you get out of interest? Some of the Camelback ones have an off switch? Or the hose might just be getting twisted?
    Stick with the bottle if you are happy with it!

  3. Thanks Justpoppingout. It’s a treckmates model, cheap and cheerful I’d say, no switch off mechanism. I can see the point of these thngs as you can drink without stopping but mine still defies physics and goes dry on me.

  4. You say that you have tied the bladder into your rucksack, however what orientation is it, and what do you mean by tied?
    I always orient mine upside down so to speak (hose connection at the bottom), ensuring any excess bag is rolled up and no folds anywhere near the bottom. It would sound like you might have a fold somewhere, so you have sucked the water out between the hose connection and the fold, but the fold stops the rest of the water moving down. Hence why I asked about the way it is tied in, is the string causing it to fold?
    I don’t know if your bag has them, but my bag has those awful sidepockets that are kinda part of the bag (not the sticky out sewn on type), which are next to useless at holding anything, however I have discovered they hold my platypus quite well (I only discovered this on my last trip, despite 5 years of owning the thing!!)

    Anyway, hope this helps you,


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