The remote arid lands of the United States’ West have always called strongly to me – the sandstone canyon country of the Colorado Plateau, the broad detritus-filled valleys and formidable ranges of the Great Basin, and the cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert to name a few. These characteristically dry landscapes all exude a unique, powerful beauty and a particularly intimidating shared aura arising from the scarcity of water. Beyond that, broad swaths of these regions are sparsely inhabited, and that remoteness combined with the aridity can be especially challenging for anyone looking to adventure in the backcountry, whether it’s for single- or multiple-day outings. But in many areas, the water is out there if you know where to find it and plan your route with that in mind, and in this article, I am going to walk through my process for planning out trips in the desert.
For bicycle tours and endurance races, backpacks are a great way to carry water. The problem is, they can get heavy very quickly, and tend to move around a lot while riding in rough terrain. If you’re carrying all your gear on your bike and only need to carry your water on your back, that solves some problems but a backpack will still sit much further off your back. Hydration vests solve this problem but many have a reduced water bladder capacity. PeDALED’s answer is the Odyssey Hydro Vest, which combines a 1.5L bladder with a cooler bag to keep your water and your core temperature cool.
-Adjustable shoulder straps/fit
-Front closure with 2 buckles, adjustable in both height and width
-Reflective bands and logo on the back
-Large mesh pocket on the back, 2 in the front to carry soft flasks or food
-3 zippered pockets
-Insulated cooler bag
-1.5-liter hydration bladder with hose
See more at PeDALED.
One of the most difficult problems to solve on extended bicycle tours, particularly in the desert, is carrying enough water. Sure, hydration bladders work, as well as “soft” canteens, bladders, Nalgene bottles, and standard cycling bottles, yet a bladder that is integrated into a framebag would be ideal. A few small companies have toyed with this concept but none have brought it to fruition, until now. Apidura just announced their new roll-top 1.5L bladder, specifically designed for full-frame bags thanks to its tapered design. This puts the water weight as close to the bottom bracket as possible, in an area that is often underutilized.
Apidura has a full compatibility chart on their website but from the looks of things, the bladder will fit just about any full frame pack. Retail for this bladder is $51 and they’re in stock now at Apidura and your local dealer.
See more at Apidura.