Understanding Hydration Packs

January 12, 2014

Understanding Hydration Packs
Table of Contents

Hydration is one of the most important things to keep in mind when exercising. Studies from the American College of Sports Medicine reveal that workouts are negatively affected once 2% of your regular body weight is lost through dehydration and sweat. Hydration packs conveniently allow people to avoid this issue. In this guide, you'll learn the importance of hydration packs so you can properly stay hydrated.

Assess your Water Needs

Everyone has a different amount of water they should consume in order to stay adequately hydrated. The amount of water can depend on level of intensity and temperature while exercising. If the temperature is high while working out, you'll sweat more and need to hydrate often so you won't feel depleted. This depleted feeling can come in the form of dizziness, dry mouth, thirst, and headache. Likewise, a high intensity workout will cause you to sweat more than a walk around your neighborhood. Ideally, you should drink around 15-20 ounces of water one to two hours before your workout then 8-10 ounces right before your workout which is around one glass of water. This will ensure proper hydration before your exercise regimen.

Ditch the Water Bottle

Being adequately hydrated before your workout is great but what about during your workout? Activities like long distance running and cycling are lengthy and require constant hydration to keep your energy levels high and prevent dehydration symptoms. Here's where hydration packs come in handy. They are incredibly convenient to handle and even provide storage for workout essentials.

In addition, you may be in the zone while working out, or trying to maintain a certain heart rate zone. When you pause to reach for your water bottle and fumble to unscrew the cap, you get distracted from your workout. Hydration packs let you seamlessly hydrate yourself while you maintain your workout.

How do they Work?

Hydration packs come in the form of backpacks or waist packs, similar to the appearance of a fanny pack. The pack works by having a plastic or rubber 'bladder' that can be filled with liquid. The bladder has a small cap for easy filling and a hose attached to it for consuming the liquid. The hose extends past your shoulder so you can easily reach it with your mouth in a hands-free fashion. Most hydration packs have hoses with a bite valve. When the wearer bites down on the valve, water can be sucked from the pack to your mouth.

Different Activities, Different Packs

It's important to keep in mind what activity you'll be doing while using a hydration pack. There are numerous sizes to suit your needs. Hydration packs can hold anywhere from one to three liters They can also provide handy storage for any exercise essentials such as energy gels, car keys, wallet, maps, and cell phone. If you intend to use your hydration pack for hiking, it'd be wise to use a pack that has many storage pockets for minor medical supplies, food, and maps. On the other hand, a hydration pack used for long distance cycling or running should be lightweight and shouldn't require as many storage pockets as a hiking pack.

Other Features

The following are convenient, extra features that will make your hydration pack your new favorite exercise accessory:

  • Adjustable straps.
  • Flexible design for free movement.
  • Built-in safety whistle.
  • Compression straps for better balance, comfort, and weight transfer.
  • Sunglasses pocket.
  • Heavy duty pockets for headlamps, extra layers, trekking poles, and special tools.

Clean Often

Using your mouth to suck the water hose means bacteria can breed on the various parts of a hydration pack. To prevent any possible mold or smells, you should rinse out and dry your hydration pack bladder after each use. However, it's completely understandable to forget a couple times, especially after a draining workout. In this case, you can pour a solution of warm water and a half-teaspoon of bleach directly into the bladder. Shake the bladder to thoroughly distribute the solution inside. You can clean the hose by squeezing the bite valve to release the solution.

To get rid of that unpleasant bleach taste, mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a liter of water and follow the same process. Fill the bladder with the baking soda solution and squeeze it out through the bite valve. Most importantly, thoroughly dry the bladder! You don't want either solution to fester inside.

Healthy, Hydrated, and Happy

Chase dehydration away with a hydration pack. When you're already pushing yourself physically, you need to sufficiently hydrate yourself so you can perform at your best. It's highly dangerous and extremely hazardous to your well-being to be dehydrated. With a hydration pack, you'll have the right tools to nourish your body.

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