Extreme temperatures and dry air take a toll on the body, which is especially pronounced when exercising outdoors. Hikers, cyclists, and anyone following an outdoors fitness routine has to tote water for quick hydration, and hydration packs make bringing a drink along much more convenient. However, you need to know the basics of using and cleaning this convenient option for both a long bottle life and prevention of foul odors or other contamination.
Why Is Added Convenience Important?
The traditional way to carry water during outdoor exercise is the canteen or sports bottle. The former is cumbersome and typically uses a shoulder strap, which is annoying with the up and down motion of walking or running. Sports bottles are likewise cumbersome. They are best suited for cycling, but even this requires removing the bottle from its holster and uncapping it before you can take a drink.
Hydration packs allow you to get a drink without stopping. Any trainer will tell you that maintaining a certain heart rate during your exercise, even during rest periods, is necessary for optimal gains in cardiovascular fitness. Hydration packs come as a stand-alone water reservoir that fits in your backpack or as a pack with its own cargo space. You'll have over 70 ounces of water handy alongside an after-workout energy bar and first aid supplies.
Maintaining Hydration Packs
Before the first use, you need to rinse the reservoir several times. Use warm water to flush away any dust or other debris from the manufacturing process. You should remove the reservoir to fill it, and replace it with the tube end facing down. The tube should run up between the shoulder straps. It is operated fully by mouth. Simply squeeze the tube with your teeth to release the cap and suck as you would a straw.
After use, hang the reservoir upside down after removing the lid. Lightly rinse the reservoir before each use to ensure the best taste. Depending on the quality of your selection, most packs and reservoirs are guaranteed for life. Choose hydration packs in the appropriate size for your outdoor pursuits.