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Hydration packs a good idea for Europe travels?

I have been interested in getting a hydration pack (camelback) for my trip to Italy and France this coming September. I dont see many people talking about this specifically, and I'm wondering what the pro's and con's might be for taking one of these as a day pack? Any ideas? Anyone tried using a hydration pack? Thanks!

Posted by
1167 posts

Unless you are planning on doing some strenuous activity in an area where water is not available you should not need to carry water with you.

Posted by
9363 posts

I find the idea of carrying several liters of lukewarm (or worse) water on my back while I'm touring nauseating. I wouldn't want to deal with the weight, for one thing, and you can obtain fresh water virtually anywhere. If you were hiking in the wilderness for a whole day or something, that would be different, but as a day pack in Europe? No.

Posted by
12040 posts

I use a camelback for hiking and biking, but I'm not sure if they make the best daypacks. The smaller versions usually don't have much storage space. You get more room with the larger models, but they can be somewhat unwieldy in crowded areas. If you're a heavy sweater, though, and dehydration is a serious concern, it might be worth it if you get hit with an Indian summer.

Posted by
5 posts

I personally like having a water bottle along when I don't have a chance to stop. What seems to work well is the Platypus bottle. It folds up to practically nothing when its empty, but can be extremely useful when it's hot outside.

Posted by
163 posts

From London down to Rome, we were surprised at the good quality tap water we found everywhere. We rarely had to buy water, just found the nearest fountain or filled up in our motel rooms. I would not waste space with a hydration pack, unless, as previous posters mentioned - you will be doing a high level of physical activity in a place that no water is available.

Posted by
875 posts

We took the indivual powder packs of Gatorade to be mixed in bottled water, and that worked well for my husband who tends to get dehydrated easily.

Posted by
780 posts

Nothing else shouts better "I'm American! Ive got Money and other good stuff on me! Rob me!" than wearing a camelbak.

Posted by
15564 posts

In Europe, most Europeans will drink water when they are thirsty. They don't carry around huge bottles of water.

Only in America are we taught that thirst doesn't matter...we need to hydrate all day long.

When are we going to learn?

Posted by
23431 posts

I kind of echo Frank's comments. You are not headed to a third world country where you have concerns about find quality drinking water. I do think you would look a little silly with a camelback.

Posted by
9001 posts

Frank and Frank II both said it well. I am thinking all you need is to wear a pair of cammies and you will look like a soldier on R&R from Iraq, except they would be smarter and know not wear something like this anywhere in Europe.

Thinking back, I do not believe I have ever seen someone wear a camelback walking through any city.

It will look so silly, to begin with, and one just does not need to be sucking on water from morning til night. Unless you desire to see and visit lots of toilets on your travels.

Would you wear this at home there in Chandler?

Posted by
3313 posts

I saw a family of four carrying Camelbacks in Pisa.

I know I insist that no one cares what you look like in Europe, but this - along with umbrella hats - does make you look ridiculous.

Posted by
163 posts

lol....love the comments from both Franks and Doug! Ryan, I think you've gotten your answer!

Posted by
368 posts

You had me snickering to myself at work with the umbrella hat comment, Doug.

Seriously, why do people wear (let alone buy) those?

Posted by
15564 posts

Jon...the umbrella hats? That's easy...they need their hands free for their water bottles.

Posted by
12040 posts

I'll defend people wearing camelbacks to a certain extent... for some of us who are prone to excessive sweating, dehydration and heat injuries are real concerns in hot weather. And in certain parts of Europe, water fountains are few and far between. If I ever traveled to Italy and Spain in the heat of summer (which I would never do voluntarily), I wouldn't care how silly a camelback made me look. I've suffered heat injuries before, and if looking a little out of place with a camelback is the price to pay to avoid IV fluid therapy while lying in an ice bath again, then so be it.

Posted by
9363 posts

But Tom, Ryan is traveling in September -- not exactly the heat of summer. Anyway, you could carry a day pack with a water bottle in it. It would be lighter and less likely to make your back sweat than a hydration pack.

Posted by
1493 posts

Ryan, I think this is really a generational thing.

I loaned my daughter (27yo) and her fiance our RS microfiber daypacks for their trip 2 years ago. They took 1 and a camelback. They were so thrilled with the use of a camel back during their travels that they gave my husband, 14yo son and I camel backs for xmas before our trip last summer - sure that we would prefer to use them.

My husband and I chose to take our RS daypacks while my 14yo took the camelback. I think we all felt we made the right choice!

The camelbacks can really vary as far as size and how much "stuff" they will hold. The pro is you always have water available - the con is the weight of that water.

To add to others comments - drinking water is really readily available in Rome, but I didn't find it so readily available anywhere else in Italy or France.

Posted by
2349 posts

The camelback has a lesser known companion to help with over-hydration. It's called the Hollow Leg. I won't go into details, but it's just another good reason to wear pants instead of shorts.

Posted by
21 posts

Good ideas from most of you, and its sounds like that time of year, that it might be overkill to take a camelback. I must say that I dont have a camelback at this point, but I would definately use one here in Chandler as I live in the desert. The positive side is that the shape and form of camelbacks do greatly appeal to me, and if empty would provide an optimal daypack, while still having the option to fill with water if necessary. The downside is that it might be the type of bag the brings attention to myself as a tourist, but I'm afraid that Im going to look like a tourist no matter what I do... lol. Thank you all for your feedback thus far.

Posted by
1449 posts

Ryan, I have Ricks Civitas day pack. Its lightweight and holds what I need while I'm out and about. On the side there is a mesh holder for a water bottle. I buy one when I arrive, then just refill it with tap water as I go (better than paying 1E or more each time I want water).

Posted by
881 posts

Ryan,

I've used one that was very discreet. Bottled water costs about the same in Europe (as it's not cheap here either), but it's readily available. I did like the camel pack, but the water 1 got lukewarm, 2 weighed a lot, and 3 the insulation for the pack makes your back awful hot. Kind of defeats the purpose.

I really like my pack, but I prefer a small water bottle in my shoulder bag/backpack for Europe.