Author Topic: How much water to carry?  (Read 3256 times)

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Offline Dreux

How much water to carry?
« on: April 29, 2015, 05:19:14 pm »
Leaving on June 10th west to east doing the TranAm route solo/ self supporting (mostly camping, no cooking) and I'm wondering how much water I should be prepared to carry.
I riding a Surly Cross Check that has 2 standard water bottle mounts along with handlebar bag and rear panniers. I also have the option of mounting bottle cages on the fork where there are braze-ons. I know I throw the Gatorade bottle in the pannier or topside on the rack, but I was thinking the fork mounts would better distribute the weight low and forward. Thoughts?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: How much water to carry?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 05:58:18 pm »
You'll figure out how much water (or other fluids) you need within a few days.  I normally go through a 24 oz. water bottle every 5-25 miles; more going uphill and in heat, less flat and cool, and downhill is virtually free.  I almost always start with two full bottles.

Check your route for the day's ride and adjust as needed.  When your route map says "no services for (>30) miles, think about adding extra.  I took a 2 liter collapsible Platypus flask that takes up almost no room empty, and only ran out of water once when I'd filled it.

Most of the time you'll be able to find water every 25-30 miles in the eastern U.S., at gas stations, diners, parks, etc.  It's more of a challenge out west, where you may go 50-75 miles without a good refill option.  You may want to take a water filter to purify water from streams, but be careful about what's upstream and -- especially in arid areas -- don't count on the dotted line on the map having water when you need it.

Offline DaveB

Re: How much water to carry?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 09:30:00 pm »
 Give a lot of consideration to a Camelback or similar backpack-type water reservoir.  Even the small ones hold the equivalent of two water bottles and the big ones up to four.  They also make drinking more convenient and thus less likely to be ignored until you are dehydrated.  I have used one on long rides and was very happy to have it.

Offline John Nelson

Re: How much water to carry?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 11:12:54 pm »
90% of the time, two large water bottles are enough. 8% of the time, a third bottle will be appreciated. 2% of the time, you'll need even more, especially if you dry camp. I wouldn't worry about making more than two easily accessible, and I wouldn't bother with fork-mounted cages. You'd be better off using those mounts for a front rack and panniers.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: How much water to carry?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 08:50:17 am »
Give a lot of consideration to a Camelback or similar backpack-type water reservoir.  Even the small ones hold the equivalent of two water bottles and the big ones up to four.  They also make drinking more convenient and thus less likely to be ignored until you are dehydrated.  I have used one on long rides and was very happy to have it.

+1. I use two bottles plus a small CamelBack. 40 oz. I believe. For my first tour I didn't use one and instead took three standard bottles. That often proved not enough, especially in hot, humid weather. My second tour was in southern Spain. I ended up buying a small CamelBack about a week into the tour because it was warm and there were often long distances between services. I thought I would hate having it on my back, but it did not bother me a bit. They are also handy in camp if you are not close to a water source. I think the big ones now go up to 100 oz., if not more.

Offline staehpj1

Re: How much water to carry?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 01:27:58 pm »
On the TA, I used two bottles in the cages and supplemented with extra water in the panniers when I needed to.  I did also carry a Platypus two liter bladder for when I needed extra, but  I mostly re-used sport drink bottles for the extra capacity when I needed it.  That way I could pick them up or discard them as needed.

I prefer to do it that way rather than add a bunch of extra cages and bottles that won't be needed most of the way.

Years later on the ST, when I had started packing ultra light and no longer used panniers, I started carrying the extra water bottles in a backpack or sometimes just in a jersey pocket.  Given that it was  only a day here and there that I needed to carry a full days worth of water I found it worked out well enough.