Winter Hydration Ideas

Like most people, the last thing I want to do on a cold winter ride is take a big long sip of ICE cold bone chilling water. I prefer having body temperature or warmer liquids while on a winter ride. One method that worked for me in the past is to simply use a small insulated thermos like a Klean Kanteen 16oz insulated bottle directly into a good bike frame mounted bottle cage. This system works good for short casual rides that allow actual water stops, stopping just off the trail to get a few sips of hot tea or lemon water while taking a look around and enjoying the beautiful winter scene. Sometimes you require a bit more liquid or the temperatures really drop and then I use my OR(Outdoor Research) water bottle parka, these are a really great lightweight option as you can use a standard 1 liter bottle or a small sports bottle inside, or if the temps are really cold I use the parka in conjunction with my insulated Klean Kanteen for double the freeze protection. The OR water bottle parka was manufactured for use on the waist band of a backpack, it does require either the use of a Salsa anything cage to mount it to a bike or you can get crafty and sew on some additional Velcro straps to mount it on your handlebars, stem and fork crown. The third option works great for the racers out there or anyone else that likes to take frequent small sips of water while actually still riding on the bike, similar to how you would normally do throughout the rest of the year. This option is all about wearing a small Camelbak under your outer layer riding jacket. The Camelbak should be worn directly on top of your base layer close to your skin to utilize the endless amounts of heat generated by your body furnace. Keep the hose and bite valve tucked inside your jacket, and after taking a sip *BLOW THE REMAINING WATER LEFT IN THE TUBE BACK INTO THE WATER BLADDER* to prevent the hose from freezing solid, which can easily happen because there is such a small amount of liquid sitting dormant between sips that it can start to freeze solid in a couple minutes, leaving your hydration system useless. I have modified my hydration pack to use my body heat to actually warm the water in the bladder. For the folks that like to ride where it is super cold and stay out for extended periods there is also a useful product called the “HydroHeater” from a company called Arctic Innovations. This product is a great insurance policy for your hydration packs hose and valve in extreme cold. It is a battery powered heat trace cable that runs the length of your hydration hose and includes a neoprene hose insulation. It will thaw a frozen hose by simply pressing a button. Remember to stay Hydrated! It is REALLY easy to forget to drink in the cold because people normally think they only get thirsty when it is hot outside. Keep drinking

One thought on “Winter Hydration Ideas

  • I’m new to fat Biking and I did my first winter ride last night. It was a real surprise when my bite valve sound crunchy and nothing came out. Honestly, just never thought about it.

    Great article. I think I’m going to try the small thermos options and see how that goes. I may end up with a second one in my backpack.

    Thanks for the sage advice!


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