If you enjoy sporty activities such as running, cycling, or hiking, then you’ll understand that hydration is key, and that you need to have access to water at all times.
Perhaps you love the great outdoors, and you just want to be out in nature. If you are going somewhere where there isn’t a reliable and safe supply of water, then you’ll need to take all the water you need for the day with you when you go.
Lugging around canteens and extra bottles of water is one option, but they are a lot to carry. Alternatively, if you store your bottles in your backpack, then you have to keep stopping every time you want a sip of water. What you need is a hydration pack.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what hydration packs are, how to use hydration pack bite valves, and how they could be the perfect adventure companion for helping you to stay hydrated while on the go.
What Is a Hydration Pack?
Hydration packs are becoming more and more popular as they offer the wearer instant access to their water. Bite valves take that instant access one step further. But how effective are they, really?
Water weighs around 2.2 pounds per liter, and if you’re going to be physically exerting yourself for an extended period, then you’re most likely going to need more than one. Therefore, it makes sense that you carry this load on your shoulders.
Hydration packs allow you to do just that. They are usually carried on your shoulders and essentially look like backpacks that are designed to not only carry water but also give you free and easy access to the water inside.
A backpack that is sold as a hydration pack contains a certain size reservoir, which usually carries between one and three liters of water.
Bite Valve vs. Push Cap
Your hydration pack will have a hose attached to it that allows you to access your water supply while wearing your pack on your shoulders, so you don’t have to keep stopping and starting, every time you want a drink.
Some packs will have somewhere that you can tuck the hose in, such as on the front of the shoulder strap, allowing you easy access to the mouthpiece. Some even have magnetic attachments that hold your hose in place right in front of your body on the chest strap. This allows the most convenient hands-free access.
You will often have a choice of mouthpieces, which come in the form of bite valves and push caps.
How to Use Hydration Pack Push Caps
You will most likely have come across push caps before as they are often found on shop-bought energy drinks and sometimes on bottles of water. If you are wondering how to use hydration pack push caps, it is pretty simple.
Using your hands or teeth, you pull the uppermost part of the cap outwards before sucking the water through. Pushing the cap back in then secures the water seal to prevent any leaks.
- More robust
- Allows uninhibited flow of water if needed
- Can be stiff to use
- Needs at least one hand to access water
How to Use Hydration Pack Bite Valve
Bite valves are rare, and you are unlikely to have come across one before unless you have had a reusable water bottle or a hydration pack that features one.
A bite valve works exactly the way you think it might. You gently bite or squeeze the mouthpiece with your lips, which opens up a slit that allows water to escape. No amount of sucking will let the water come through the valve unless you are biting down on it. It’s a strange sensation at first, which feels like sucking water through clenched teeth, but it’s not hard and doesn’t take long to get used to.
Some bite valves will also have a backup switch or dial that turns the water off. This is to prevent leaking or dripping as a backup should your bite valve become damaged from wear and tear.
- Allows hands-free water access
- Prone to leaks after extended use
- Not best suited to freezing conditions
Before choosing which type of valve you want, you should think about how you are going to use your hydration pack. If you’re going camping and hiking, then a push cap may be a better option as you can also access your water supply for washing needs, and having a hand that is free to open the cap won’t present a problem.
Bite valves are generally becoming the preferred choice in hydration packs these days as they are the easiest to use while on the move due to their hands-free access. If you are looking for a hydration pack to accompany you while exercising, then look no further than a bite valve, ideally with a magnetic attachment to secure the mouthpiece to your chest.