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Finally! Warm weather! Dusty trails! Long days! You’ve started shedding the winter kilos and you’ve give the trusty steed a once-over… but what about your hydration pack? When’s the last time you peered into its murky depths? Here’s a couple of quick tips to get things squared away before your next ride.

Clean it – get into every pocket and crevice and pull everything out of your bag. Stick it in the laundry sink filled with warm soapy water and get busy with a scrubbing brush. Rinse with fresh water, and hang on the line to dry.

Repack it – when’s the last time you actually checked what tools you carried in your pack? You do carry tools in your pack, right? If you’ve updated your bike, lent tools to mates who rely on your good graces or taken stuff out to fix your bike, chances are when push comes to broken in the bush, you’ll be in for a walk home.

Multitool.jpg

The basics are easy; a multitool with a chain breaking component will get you out of most scrapes, but add these things in for good measure;

Tyre lever with duct tape wrapped around it;

Small ziplock bag with tyre boot, glueless patches, a couple of chain joining links to suit your drivetrain, old photo ID with emergency deets in texta and clear-taped over;

Pump and tube.

We add a tubeless tyre plug kit, a cool old cassette cracker that works without a chainwhip, zip ties and a phone. Stash it securely – the pump can live in with the bladder if you’re stuck for room – and you’re almost ready.

Water it – there is one and only one thing you should ever put in your hydration pack, and that is water. End of story. Every ‘energy drink’ you care to name will make a mouldy mess of even the most treated plastic blasdders in short order, so avoid at all costs. If you need a supplementary drink, pack a bottle.

You can either store it full and discard and reill before riding, or use a bladder drying implement to keep air circulating around the bladder. Pop your valve off and put it in a pocket of your pack, to make sure your hose dries out as well.

Fit it – your bag will work best mounted lower on your back, and secured with waist and chest straps. Don’t forget that you can tighten it as the water load drops over the day.

And that’s it! We’d love to see your best hydration pack tips, too – share them to our Facebook page!

Bicycling Australia

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