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cpoit 01-25-2021 11:16 AM

Stopping water tube from freezing
Hiked Tabletop this weekend on Friday night/Saturday morning. The conditions were pretty extreme. I have a camelback setup with the neoprene sleeve covering the tube however, the water kept freezing. I kept drawing from it every 5 minutes to prevent this, but on the summit that stopped working and I had 0 water on the trip back out since the line remained frozen. Does anyone have any ideas they have used to prevent this from happening? I tried keeping the tube in my coat, but it was just too cold for the neoprene sleeve.


DSettahr 01-25-2021 07:42 PM

Honestly, I've never bothered with water bladders in winter for this exact reason.

My winter day pack has a couple of heavy duty gear attachment points (webbing) sewn into the waist belt. I use these loops to hang Nalgene coozies from- 2 to 4 of them depending on my needs and how long I expect the hike to take. That way they are right at my hips for easy access, nearly as convenient as a bladder and hose system even if not quite exactly the same.

If you don't have an attachment point on your waist belt that will work, you could try hanging a Nalgen coozie or two from your chest strap- I've seen others do it before, and I've also done it myself on occasion.

TCD 01-25-2021 09:53 PM

I put the water bottle in my pack, close to my body. For really extreme, you could put in a coozie with a chemical heater, inside your pack.

Wldrns 01-25-2021 11:04 PM

If you use Nalgene bottles (I do), do not carry them right side up. Water will freeze from the top down, so right side up will have ice under the lid when you unscrew it. Carry the bottle upside down and the ice will not form under the lid. I keep my bottles in insulated coozies too, or in my pack next to my back.

I never have liked water bladders, mainly because I can't easily gauge how much fluid I am taking in, as I can do with a Nalgene.

DSettahr 01-25-2021 11:18 PM

Another trick is to mix in a powdered drink mix (powdered Gatorade or similar). This prevents the liquid from freezing solid in all but the most extreme conditions. You do still get some freezing with prolonged exposure to cold, but it is generally of the slushy (and more easily consumed) variety than the solid rock-hard ice variety.

stripperguy 01-25-2021 11:25 PM

I do quite a bit of back country skiing (AT gear) and faced the same issue years ago.
I abandoned the bladder and tube due to the freeze up issues.
Best to keep your water inside your jacket, if the temps are low and your day is long.
If you know your heat transfer theory, you know that you can't avoid losing heat for hours on end. There are laws!
Most winter activity does have a convenient, relaible heat source though...
I'm surprised that no commercial manufacturers make a jacket with an internal bladder and supply tube.

Neil 01-26-2021 07:04 AM

When the temps are low I fill a nalgene with boiling water at home and slip it into a cozy, which I then put into a small cooler for the 2 1/2 hr drive to the trailhead. The cozy goes into my pack surrounded by insulating clothing. Even when the temp never rises above zero F on a 12-hour hike my water doesn't freeze.
In winter my water consumption is much less than in summer anyway (maybe a quarter) so I don't miss the hose.

Justin 01-26-2021 08:43 AM

I put antifreeze in my bladder, works great & adds a wonderful taste. ;)

tenderfoot 01-26-2021 12:12 PM

So the only tips I can add is a wool sock serves as a cozi, if your feet are big enough not to have the bottle warp the sock. Usually a new sock, but hey you do what works (mental image of Justin sipping his antifreeze while I sip yesterdays-sock-tea). We too boil some water prior to trip. We have one double walled thermos style water bottle which rides inside the pack. When we are at a halfway point we take it out and add the boiling water to the nalgenes we carry externally. Big fan of "simple" so no bladders.

DuctTape 01-26-2021 02:13 PM


Originally Posted by Justin (Post 284480)
I put antifreeze in my bladder, works great & adds a wonderful taste. ;)

Alcohol is an anti-freeze.

Golddragon214 01-26-2021 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by DuctTape (Post 284487)
Alcohol is an anti-freeze.

Except Beer, Beer will freeze. So you must drink it as soon as possible.:rolleyes:

Makwa 01-26-2021 09:35 PM

I use liter Nalgenes in wool socks with hand warmers between the bottles and socks. Placed inside my pack. Never had any frozen water. Also use electrolyte mix or Gatorade since I heard about it freezing less but I have never seen any scientific data to back up that claim.

Bonus to using socks... they serve as an emergency pair of socks. Coozies are just extra weight that you're carrying around that serve zero purpose once you are out of water.

Justin 01-26-2021 09:40 PM


Originally Posted by Golddragon214 (Post 284488)
Except Beer, Beer will freeze. So you must drink it as soon as possible.:rolleyes:

Inexperienced rookies are everywhere! :dance:

Banjoe 01-27-2021 08:09 AM

I've always gone for the socks and/or extra mittens instead of the coozies, When skiing to campsites I will also put the bottles in my winter boots, making sure they are secure and can't fall out of the boot.
My drive is often too far to still have hot water when I get to my destination so I have filled quart jars with water and used a microwave at a Stewarts or another inconvenience store along the way to at least get it better than just warm before transferring it to water bottles that I don't want to microwave.

Neil 01-28-2021 06:17 AM

The combined weight of an empty one-liter lexan nalgene plus cozy pushes 3/4 pound, with the cozy weighing about 1/4 lb. Some people prefer gator-aid bottles and socks to save weight. The combined cost of a nalgene and cozy is somewhere around $20-25.

One of the advantages of the cozies for those who want their water handy is that the Velcro tab allows you to hook them onto your sternum strap or hip belt. I used to do that and the bottle was surprisingly unobtrusive but I drink so little in winter that I don't mind keeping my nalgene in my pack. I've seen people with two hooked on, one with water, the other with gator aid.

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