I have nevertheless ditched my bladder after a few weeks on the PCT, mainly for 4 reasons:
- The bladder, when it’s full, takes up some volume in my backpack’s main compartment, making it somewhat less accessible. On a typical thru-hiking day, I will take all the gear out of my pack and put it back several times a day, and having it perfectly positionned is key to having a comfortable hike. In that context, I find that having the bladder there in the middle is too unpractical.
- Since you can’t see the bladder, you don’t know how much water you have consumed. That can be tricky and leaves you with only two options: either you take the water you need, drink it as you go and face the risk of being short, or you take more than you need and carry too much weight…
- Sooner or later, as you take your pack off on your frequent brakes, or even only at camp, the hose of your bladder is gonna end up brushing the floor. This will result in the nozzle getting dusty in no time, and you’ll end up chewing sand.
- When it’s time to refill, taking the bladder out of the pack when it’s empty is fairly easy, all you have to do is pull. But once it’s full, putting it back in place with all the gear in the pack is nearly impossible. This means that each time you need to refill you’ll have to take all your gear out of your pack.