If you're serious about riding or competing, you should strongly consider adding a hydration pack to your collection of riding gear. Considering the human body is comprised of over 50% water, and the sweat you lose through perspiration while riding or training is roughly 95% water, this loss is constantly depleting your body of it's critical fluids, sodium and electrolytes, so it's important you have a way of replenishing these vital nutrients during a long ride or race.
If you're still not sold on the reason(s) why you need a hydration system, remember, if you don't have a way of replenishing lost fluids while on a ride, you may develop muscle cramps, at which point, if you don't have a means of rehydrating yourself, it's possible to experience several potentially dangerous conditions which include confusion, and a decreased sense of consciousness that could lead to death, so it's critical you have a way of maintaining a healthy level of hydration while riding.
Why A Hydration System Is Important
As mentioned above, the human body is made up of over 50% water, so the need for maintaining proper hydration during marathon moto's, or long distance loops should be obvious, although if you're not sure YOU really need to worry about this, we're going to go over a few points for you to consider below.
At it's very simplest, maintaining your body's hydration levels is critical to your basic survival. Furthermore, being properly hydrated can increase your overall performance, so it's important to have a way of hydrating oneself on long rides, and this is equally important whether you're training on a bicycle, or practicing or competing on a motorcycle.
In addition to maintaining your safety, the performance benefits that you'll experience when you maintain proper hydration are much better than in a dehydrated state.
If you've never worn a hydration pack, there are a multitude to choose from, from the sleekest which are only designed to carry a drinking bladder with little or nothing more, to packs such as the OGIO Baja 1650 that's large enough to carry a helmet, and additional gear if need be, and even better is that most of these are comfortable to wear, and can even provide cooling benefits via the bodies ability to absorb the coolness from the drinking bladder's cool liquid within.
Additional Benefits of Wearing A Hydration Pack
In addition to enabling you to carry fluids for drinking, hydration packs often come in handy for a multitude of uses, of which we've highlighted several below that may spark ideas of additional uses which you could benefit from.
- They provide additional impact protection whether worn under or over a chest and back protector combination, or without a roost deflector entirely.
- The larger packs provide a way of carrying spare spark plugs, inner tubes and tools you may need trail side, without worrying about the stuff NOT being with you when you reach your destination, as the larger hydration packs often have several secure, and zippered pockets for storing valuables.
- You can securely carry your cell phone, MP3 or IPod and listen to your favorite tunes while gassing it across the expanses.
- The larger units can provide a way of transporting rescue gear and supplies if it becomes necessary to reach a fallen rider.
- When worn against the body vs outside a chest protector, a full hydration bladder can provide cooling benefits for the rider due to the close proximity of a cool drinking bladder to the rider.
How to Ensure You Get Clean Tasting Water
After use of a CAMELBAK, or any of the other various available drinking systems, so you don't get nasty tasting water through the hose the next time you use it, it's important that the bladder and drinking tube are rinsed and aired after each use.
Although there are purpose built hangers for drying, and airing out a drinking bladder, as well as there are available bladder cleaning kits, one of the best methods is to just rinse the bladder with clean water, then using your hands, gently press all the water and air out the bladder, finally placing the bladder in a zip-lock bag and tossing it in the freezer until you need it again, as doing this will provide you with fresh, and clean tasting water the next time you use it. Just Remember; Hydrate or Die.