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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    86

    Camelbak care question

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    I have a new Camelbak Aurora and just used it for the first time ever. It took me a long time to decide to do a Camelbak because they just seem like ideal germ green houses. What tips do Camelbak (or other hydration systems) users have about keeping it clean?
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5 WSD

    2011 Trek FX7.2--What can I say? It was on sale!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    I haven't used mine in ages. When I first bought it, I also bought two bottle brushes that were made for it. The larger one was for cleaning out the bladder and the smaller one was for the tube. They also sold a plastic thing that goes inside the bladder and holds it open to help it dry out completely.

    I always cleaned it with dish soap and water.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    +1 on the drink tube cleaning brush. Well worth the price, just make sure you get the right size (the one for hoses that attach to bladders, not for the larger diameter, shorter length straws that go inside the bottles).

    I don't find the big brush very useful. Doesn't get into the corners. If you can buy the tube brush separately, that's what I'd do, but they may sell them only as a set. Best way I know to clean the inside of the reservoir is to shake a few tablespoons full of baking soda into it, then put a damp (not wet) dish rag inside, close the stopper and shake vigorously. The baking soda will coat the damp rag and act as a mild abrasive to scrub the inside of the reservoir. A little baking soda on the drink tube brush helps, too. Then just rinse and hang it on a clothesline with something inside it to separate the sides (wooden spoon, spatula, chopstick are possibilities depending on the size and shape) so it can dry completely.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    We use Camelbacks all the time. To keep it clean, I have a 2 fold system. First, we store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag.. It prevents mold growth. When you are done using it, rinse it out with hot water and let it drain through the hose. Every month or so, I use denture tabs to clean them. Just throw 2 tabs in the bladder and fill it with warm water. Make sure you get the water with the dissolved tab into the hose. Let it sit for a few hours. Drain and rinse. Then back in the freezer. I have been doing this for years and have not had any issues.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,957
    I did the the same basic thing with my Camelbak and never had a problem with it. I would also put electrolytes in my water but never had problems with mold. It may have been Rocknrollgirl who advised me on this, I no longer remember. The freezer solution was the only one I was every comfortable with - especially after starting to put "stuff" in my water
    Last edited by Catrin; 05-29-2015 at 05:53 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    774
    I use mine for longer rides (like 80-100km) and once home, I rinsed it off properly, then add a few drops of javex, shake it well and let the water run through the hose and rinse twice and hang it on clothesline for it to dry. So far so good. Writing it takes almost as much time as doing the job.

    In fact, it has been stored for too long...gotta get it out for a long ride on Sunday. May need to wash it again, just to be safe.
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    What is javex?



    I have always had trouble with mold in the hoses if I don't brush them out. Even when I never put anything in them but water. Even when I hang them promptly after use, and even if I pull off the bite valve, which is a lot easier and less destructive with some styles than with others. Some of the newer styles with the quick-connect valves, it's not even possible to open both ends of the hose (some of them, the valve is on the reservoir side, others, the valve is on the hose side) - the quick connect has to be cut off to be replaced if it breaks. So I *highly* recommend the brush.

    It probably has a lot to do with ambient humidity. If you live in a dry climate, things will dry quickly, maybe quick enough that mold won't grow. In my climate, it takes a minimum of three days, often longer, for all the water droplets to dry from the inside of a hose that's open at both ends and hung vertically. Mold WILL grow under those conditions.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 05-29-2015 at 07:17 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    774
    Javel water.
    Helene
    Riding a 2014 Specialized Amira LS4 Expert - aka The Zebra!
    2015 Specialized Crux e5 - aka Bora Bora bike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Quote Originally Posted by Helene2013 View Post
    Javel water.
    OK, I googled.

    For the Americans here: Javel water is chlorine bleach, Javex is a brand name.

    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Freeze it. I only use water in my hydration bladders, to cut down on maintenance, and store them in the fridge or freezer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    86
    When you clean the tube, do you remove the bite valve? Seems like it would be hard but otherwise, I'm not sure you are going to get anything you want done.

    These are some great tips.
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5 WSD

    2011 Trek FX7.2--What can I say? It was on sale!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Yes I'm pretty sure I used to remove the bite valve for cleaning.

    I never thought about freezing the bladder before, but I will definitely do that going forward. Since I don't use my camelback often I like to clean it when I take it out of the closet before a mountain bike ride, and I don't always have time for that. But if it's in the freezer then it's ready to go without cleaning.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    The Camelbak-style bite valves, that are the female piece to the male hose, come off pretty easily, and those I do remove.

    The Hydrapak-style bite valves, that are the male piece to the female hose, those don't really come off without either loosening the hose so much it won't seal any more, or just cutting it off and shortening the hose. With all the internal hard parts, they're pretty near impossible to clean, too - I wipe them out with Q-tips as best I can and just plan on replacing them when they look too gross.

    You can brush the drink tube all the way up to the bite valve even if you can't remove the valve. When I'm drying a hose with the bite valve still attached, I hang it bite valve up, since drainage seems to be more important than evaporation in how quickly it dries, and I just give the valve a squeeze and the whole thing a shake whenever I happen to walk by and think about it.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I don't take anything apart. Just run the hot water through, partially fill the bladder, shake it around, drain the hose and in the freezer. We don't hang them to dry, it would take a week. If you use the denture tabs same thing. Toss them in, fill the bladder with warm water, shake it around, run some through the hose, let it it sit. Come back later run it through the hose, rinse well with water, in the freezer.

    Done.

 

 

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