How to choose a water bladder

Which water pouch Select?

Unlike reusable water bottles, water bladders are still relatively unknown. Although less attractive, this accessory offers several advantages to all sportsmen and women, whatever their level.

Water bladders let you drink water while continuing your activity. Whether running, cycling or hiking, water bladders adapt to all your favourite sports and guarantee you hydration at every moment of your physical activity. Decathlon invites you to discover the specific features of this essential item, as well as our advice on which water bladder to choose.

hiking water bladder

Why use a water bladder?

Water bladders, sometimes referred to as camelbaks after one of the brands that sell them, is a perfect alternative to water bottles for sporting activities of varying lengths. It provides a large capacity of water – at least one litre – and makes it easy to keep hydrated using the pipette.

Water bladders are very practical to carry as you can place them in your rucksack or purpose-designed waistcoat. It can help you with all your outdoor activities, such as cycling, hiking, trekking, running and more. This means you can hydrate continuously, without needing to stop.

Water bladder

Make up of a water bladder

Most models of water bladder available on the market have three main sections:

- a reservoir made from supple material (polyurethane, ethylene, polyethylene, etc.) designed to hold the water.
- a supple tube that transfers the water from the reservoir to your mouth.
- a pipette through which you can drink the water whenever you want.

The water bladder is flat so it can fit easily in your backpack, but also so that the weight is evenly distributed across your back. Because of the large capacity, you need to protect your lumbar muscles and joints.

camelback water bladder

Which water pouch to choose: the essential technical characteristics

Before buying your water bladder, you need to be aware of certain criteria that will enable you to benefit from your accessory.

Ease of use
The main purpose of a water bladder is to provide you with water whenever you want while walking or running, so it needs to be easy to use. So, make sure you choose a model that can be filled quickly and easily, with a solid, watertight opening and closing system.

A good flow of water
The water bladder must be able to meet your fluid requirements, which are between 1 and 1.5 litres of water per day for an adult. However, these needs increase considerably depending on the physical activity you engage in, as well as the weather conditions (heat, dry weather, etc.).

To be able to use your water bladder correctly and optimally, the tube and pipette must ensure that the water flows smoothly.

Durability and watertightness
Watertightness is one of the essential qualities of a water bladder. As such, it should be made with a fabric that is both robust and supple at the same time.

It's essential that your accessory doesn't allow water to seep out and risk damaging the contents of your bag.

And the more waterproof and robust your water bladder, the longer and more regularly you'll be able to use it.

Which water pouch to choose: CAPACITY

It is important to consider the volume of water your water bladder can hold in relation to the duration of your activity or expedition.

1-litre water bladder
Water bladders with a capacity of 1 litre or 1.5 litres cover the daily water requirements recommended by health authorities. So, they are ideal for outings lasting between 1 and 3 hours, such as hikes.

2-litre water bladder
This capacity provides a larger-than-average quantity of water, and is perfectly suited to organised half-day excursions.

3-litre water bladder
This type of water bladder is designed for people who enjoy intense sporting activities, but also for long outings that last a day, for example. This volume of water ensures that you don't suffer from dehydration, which could have serious consequences for your body.

cycling water bladder

Which water pouch to choose: what are you using it for?

Although we've already discussed the conditions under which a water bladder can be used, it's worth looking at them in more detail.

Hiking is an activity that is attracting more and more enthusiasts as it allows you to discover incredible and unknown landscapes while engaging in physical activity, the degree of difficulty of which can be chosen and adapted to suit your abilities.

If you do this exercise regularly, why not swap your water bottle for a water bladder. The practicality of this accessory will soon make it indispensable to you!

Hydrating while cycling poses a real logistical problem. If you have a water bottle, you know that you need to stop to be able to drink. With a water bladder, you can now have a drink without stopping in your tracks.

If you are a running enthusiast, You probably encounter the same problems as a cyclist when you want to have a drink of water as you need to regularly stop your activity to use a bottle. A water bladder really helps you continue your run, and as a result keep making progress.

How to look after a water bladder

Like a lot of equipment, it's essential to maintain your water bladder regularly. This not only stops the spread of bacteria and bad odours, but also means you can use it for a long time. Here are some steps to follow to clean your material as well as possible:

- After each use, clean your water bladder by hand using clear water and a little bit of soap.
- You can also use a cleaning kit specially designed for looking after water bladders.
- Once clean, leave your water bladder to dry outside before reusing.
- It is also recommended to regularly disinfect your water bladder. Every 3 months or so, leave it to soak in a mixture of clear water and mild disinfectant to avoid damaging its components.

hiking water bladder

How to repair a water bladder

With repeated use, your water bladder can suffer from wear and tear. But that doesn't mean you have to get rid of it! If you have a hole in your water bladder, you can prevent leaks by using waterproof self-adhesive patches.

After drying your water bladder properly, apply a patch to the leak to be repaired, hold it in place for five minutes, and it will be as good as new.

These patches can also be used on inflatable mattresses. You can find repair kits at Decathlon.

Water bladder bottle

Water bladder vs bottle: Which one to choose?

While the reusable water bottle is easier to maintain, the water bladder is still more practical to use when you're on the move. They can also hold up to three litres of water, so you don't have to worry about filling them up, especially when you're away for a whole day.

And for the same capacity, a water bottle weighs more than a water bag. This is because the materials used in the design of a water bottle (stainless steel, glass, aluminium, etc.) tend to make it heavier. A 1-litre water bladder will therefore be heavier to carry than a water bottle of similar volume.

However, for occasional, non-sporting use, a water bottle is obviously more suitable.

Complete your equipment with a hydration pack

Treat yourself to equipment that's totally adapted to your water bladder with our hydration packs. They are especially designed for trail running with pockets for storing up to 15 litres of water. What's more, they don't add weight to the load of the liquid you're already carrying. The hydration pack is easily secured to your back using side straps and chest straps that can be closed, which ensures optimum comfort.

Now that you've got all the information you need to know about which water bladder to choose, push your limits and embark on new expeditions!

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