View Full Version : Hydration systems for Thunder Ranch July Class

Double Naught Spy
February 1, 2001, 11:00 AM
As a Texas native, I figured I can handle the July heat during the defensive handgun class. It was suggested to me by the nice lady on the phone that I might consider a Camelbak or comparable hydration product. No details were given. I see Botach Tactical is now having a sale on Camelbak.

Do people actually wear these while shooting or do they take them off and drop them under a tree somewhere? If that is the case, I have a fine canteen. I have read most the previous posts and no one seemed to talk about what they did with the packs during actual shooting class or if they continued to wear them or not. Some people talked about the advantages of the larger hydration/pack systems because they could carry some additional gear along. Is that necessary or is just the water system itself what is needed?

Given the costs of the class and everything else, the cost of the hydration system is not a real issue here. The most expensive one I looked at was less than $100 and I would have potential uses for it after the class, but after the class is not the issue. I am just looking for the right tool for the class job. Thoughts, suggestions, etc. would be gladly welcomed.

February 1, 2001, 11:37 AM
I, too, have been very curious about these products. I have no idea if they would be needed for a defensive firearms course (my first response is 'no')- they seem more geared towards providing hydration to those on the go...i mean, REALLY on the go, like endurance type sports where you can't stop to take a swig and don't want to encumber yourself with a bottle/canteen.



February 1, 2001, 11:56 AM
I must say I love my Camelback. In fact I dont know anyone who owns one and doesnt like it. Get the classic model.

February 1, 2001, 12:15 PM
An instructor used a Camelbak system (worn on his back) during a rifle class I took in April of 2000. It did get rather warm (even up here in Pennsylvania) and because he was running the shoothouse, he was stuck in one place for a decent amount of time so the Camelbak was very convenient.

I have two Camelbak systems, a Pakteen for use in my internal frame week-long pack and a HAWG for day trips or three-day weekend camping trips. I am very happy with both systems and would recommend them to anyone, so if you do decide to buy one, you won't be disappointed.

My opinion, on using them at a firearms class, is that you won't need them for carrying gear if you are dressed appropriately. At my rifle class you already had most of the stuff you needed on your belt (handgun, spare mags). You probably already have a belt hanger for your hearing protection and your eye protection will stay on your head.
The only thing I could not carry on my belt was spare ammo, but because I was wearing BDU pants, I was able to stick the loaded stripper clips into the cargo pockets and go from there. You probably already own BDUs so if you wear them to your class, you can stick spare ammo, candy bars or whatever in the numerous pockets at your disposal.

As an aside, Blackhawk has dropped the Camelbak line and gone with its own proprietary hydration line called "Hydro Storm" or something like that. I'm happy as a clam with my Camelbaks so I don't know why they decided to drop that line from their offerings.



February 1, 2001, 09:06 PM
My opinion, and this is all really a personal decision, was to go with the Storm. It has most of the advantages of the Pakteen, in that you can stuff it into a full-size ruck, but can be worn alone also and won't get in your way when you run/jump/slither. Get some of the little clips to hold the hose on the shoulder strap. You can put powdered sport drink mix and ice + water into it in the morning and it'll stay cool most of the day. Definitely get one of the drying racks, unless you like drinking the results of biology experiments. :-)

February 1, 2001, 11:13 PM
I use/used one when I shoot here in Pa in the summer months. It does come in handy. I could take a drink and keep loading mags or have hands free to run drills. Bought from Blackhawk-- the military line of Camelbak. I have the stealth model was $75. Also use it when moutain biking. The only problem I had was with a leaky bite valve. One e-mail to customer service at camelbak cured that problem fast. Free valve was on its way it two days. Blackhawk(excellent tactical gear by the way) has brought out their own line HYDRASTORM (Hydrastorm.com) don't need a new one yet but would definately buy from them. No BS lifetime warranty. One problem though :( Don't try using a shoulder rig and a camelbak or hydrastorm together. It turns into a mess of straps!!! Found this out while filming my SURVIVOR video!! Hope this helps---DAROGUE1

Rich Lucibella
February 2, 2001, 08:26 AM
Ditto, on the others' comments. You won't regret purchase of a Camelback.

Clint will set up water in the rest areas, but the Camelback can go with you to the line, in the sims and on the trails. I consider it a must as there isn't always an opportunity to run to the shed for a drink. Agree with Erick, the 70 or 100 oz is the ticket. Drop it into the Camelback Blowfish and you'll have plenty of room for all gear you'll need at the line. The only other item needed will be your Ammo box and, if you'd like, a ground mat.

Double Naught Spy
February 2, 2001, 02:11 PM
Thanks all for the replies. I still haven't made a purchase yet, but probably will in the next month or so. I checked out REI this morning, then checked prices on the web for the same Camelbak Products. I tried on a HAWG and found I had good arm movement in it (and probably looked like a goon doing stretches and robot dance arm moves), but got home and figured out it was last year's model. Nothing is wrong with last year's model, only I want to compare it with this year's to see the differences. The Blowfish was also well liked. And YES, I had thought the 100 oz size would be optimal given Texas heat and the fact that TR is on the edge of the Chihuahua Desert.

Rich, I especially appreciate your comments on how things function at TR.

Steve Smith
February 2, 2001, 03:44 PM
I bought a HAWG back in the summer. I filled it with ice at 7 am, then added a little water to begin the melting. I had cold water 'till nightfall, and I had been in the sun for a large part of the day, being RO at our range.

February 3, 2001, 07:04 PM
Camelbak was dropped by Blackhawk for reasons that I won't get into here for professional reasons; I will simply say that Camelbak is really unhappy with The new Blackhawk line of hydration systems.

The new distributer is Eagle Industries in the US so any Eagle dealer will still be able to get you a Camelbak. Some of the new desgins for 2001 are improvements over older, famillier designs. I have seen none that I am not impressed with.

All the World's Finest!

February 5, 2001, 09:00 AM
Ah the Blowfish. My girlfriend has the Blowfish Camelback. I use the Ridge Runner. I prefer the Blowfish over the HAWG.

February 5, 2001, 03:03 PM
I've been using the CamelBak for years and it's served me great. Buy it because you won't regret it and you'll never run out of uses for it.

February 6, 2001, 11:45 AM
Definitely get a hydration system. It's one less thing you have to carry with your hands when moving up and down the firing line. It's convenient to take a drink from the tube when you're reloading your mags - there's not always enough time to do both with only two hands.

February 9, 2001, 10:48 PM
I've only had good times with my Camelbak, I used it the entire time in the SFAUC (Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat) course. I look forward to getting a Hydrastorm.

My wife has a web-sight (www.gogetemgear.com) that carries Blackhawk gear and Hydrastorms. It is open to everyone. She does offer a special discount (20% off) to active and prior military, police, EMS and S&R.

Blackhawk dropped Camelbak for 1 simple reason, they came up with a better product. Blackhawk has an excellent R&D staff that really listens to us. After the recieved enough input from people they came up with the "better mousetrap" so to speak. Here is their description of the product -- "The BlackHawk designed “HydraStorm™” systems is the highest performing, strongest and toughest Hydration systems available in the world!

Here’s why:

- HydraStorm™ reservoirs are designed and built with absolute abuse in mind

We have used customer’s input, designer’s input, performance testing input and above all else, common sense, to determine the features you need and want!

All HydraStorm™ reservoirs contain the following features:

1. FDA approved Polyurethane. Taste free, odor free & UV stable materials. You can run over it with your truck and it will not burst or leak. Now that’s strong!

2. FDA-approved Polyurethane laminated to NyTaneon™ Nylon on all back panels to increase strength, and stability. This prevents chafing, wear & tear as well as increased product life.

3. Internal baffle to keep reservoir streamlined. Adds stability during extreme maneuvers: running, jumping, etc.

4. Tactical Black screw top w/lanyard. Great for cleaning, scooping up water from streams, adding ice bars/cubes etc.

5. Screw on/Screw off exit port for easy on-off capability of tubes, tube extender kits, and extra purification pumps. This is also an excellent feature for cleaning and retro- fitting.

6. StormLok On-Off valve. This is a great feature…..Gotta Have it! Many systems today leak your precious water out of the tube or your bite valve gets squashed while not in use. The HydraStorm™ shut off valve is located and attaches to our Delta-Bite Valve. Allow peace of mind knowing that your water is still in your reservoir and not in the bottom of your pack. All you do is bite and pull. Works Great!

7. Storm-Flow Delta Bite Valve™ – Most bite valves are round in shape and don’t always allow you to get the optimum bite position. HydraStorm™ Delta valve is triangle shaped which creates the proper bite position every time.

8. All rounded corners for quick/efficient cleaning. This is a time saving feature. Get to all the edges easily and quickly with HydraStorm curved corners. No place for gunk to hide. Remember clean water is good water.
All HydraStorm Carriers/Packs are designed for a lifetime of use under the worst conditions and will not fall apart. Our packs are built with double stitching and quadruple Stitching, rugged materials,heavy duty straps, and Closed cell foam padding.

Hope this helped.


February 9, 2001, 11:47 PM
I can attest to the need for hydration problem. I attended Thunder Ranch in Sept. and temps were up in the 90's everyday. At times shooting intermissions were more for getting a drink than for reloading. Nobody wore a "camelback" when I attended. All the instructors were aware of the need for hydration and made sure - pushed the issue - to have the students to drink plenty of water.
Enjoy your time at TR. I know I did - enuff to return again someday. Clint and his team are top-notch. Be prepared to invest in addional ammo. Our class actually got ahead of schedule and progressed beyond the planned curriculum (sp?). A ride into town for additional ammo was need by the entire class.

February 12, 2001, 06:19 PM
I have a Hydrastorm Predator. First rate piece of gear. Carries my spotting scope, rangefinder, ammo and data book in addition to 100 oz. of fluid. Joe Bob says check it out!

February 17, 2001, 04:22 AM
Just a note on the Hydrastorm's strength. Click HERE (http://albums.photopoint.com/j/ViewPhoto?u=1092947&a=11487921&p=41167966) to see one getting run over (yes it's a full bladder)


February 21, 2001, 10:17 PM
There is a little more to it than Blackhawk just happening to come out with a better product but the Hydrastorms do seem to be a great collection of the best features of all of the sytems that were available put together into one (plus a few new treats).

I had a pleasant conversation about these hydration systems with Mike Noell (President of Blackhawk) this evening. He gave me alot of insight into the industry and hydration systems in general as well as the background between what happened with Camelbak. He is a very approachable guy and good to work with. If there are questions you want to know that I can

The bottom line is that The Hydrastorm appears to be a real deal product and there will certainly be a feud running for a while between Camelbak and Hydrastorm (Blackhawk). If anybody ever has any questions about the difference, I am a Camelbak dealer and I am going to stock Hydrastorm too (maybe get a chance to do some one on one sparing between the two); just ask me.

High Performance Tactical Gear!

February 22, 2001, 01:41 PM
For those who have used both Hydrastorm and Camelbak, in your opinion, would it be worth the time and money to upgrade from a Camelbak to a Hydrastorm?

Just wondering. Like I said above, I have two Camelbak units that see frequent use (sometimes daily, I have to dry one while the other is being used!). Thus, not being just an occasional user, I was wondering if the "advantages" are worth the upgrade.


Navy joe
February 22, 2001, 02:46 PM
Both seem to be nice hands free water bottles, but it seems a stretch to label any of their features "tactical". I feel the word is getting way overused and every product from folding pocketknives to water jugs must be designed and used by a CIA/SEAL operator/assasin/scout-sniper. Would the real Walter Mitty please stand up. Anybody else feel the same? Milk jug full of water, canteen, or even a "tactical electrolyte replenishment system"; make sure you get plenty of water out in that Texas sun.

February 23, 2001, 12:42 AM

Much as I would love to say "Rush right out and get one now!" Unless your bladders are leaking or your activities are extremly hard on your hydration systems, I'd have to say wait. I upgraded, but my reasons were; I had killed bladders before so I needed an extra strong one, my son needed one -- so he inherited mine, my wife cut me an excellent deal :) and I dig cool gear :D

Seriously, if your systems are working fine, buy something you need with that money, like bullets. A compromise may be just getting a bite valve that doesn't leak.

If you do decide to get one, point your browser twords the link below :)

Have a good one!