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Camelback or just bottles

Noob to Ragbrai. Wondering what people feel is best. It may just be a preference or logical breakdown. Thanks

18 Replies

Bob Kidd, April 27, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Wondering that myself. Looks at the pictures from other years I don’t see many Camelbacks.


SFC JKL 2, April 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Bottles, unless you just like carrying a sweaty pack on your back. You’ll rarely go more than 3 miles without seeing something to eat or drink and every town has free water (normally on the way out) if you want to be cheap.


“Bicycle Bill”, April 28, 2017 at 12:03 am

I prefer bottles.  Easier to carry, easier to refill, and you can carry more than one with different contents in each (plain water, electrolyte replacement drink, peppermint schnapps on BRR … you know).

And then there’s something a little more romantic about sharing a bidon with that attractive lady you encountered along the way than there is in passing a Camelbak tube back and forth …. if you even could do such a thing.



Surlyman!, April 28, 2017 at 7:09 am

Water Bottles are the way to go in my opinion. Carry 2, one to dump on your head and the other in your mouth!


Nico ZZZ, April 28, 2017 at 7:44 am

Two bottles. One with water (to drink or pour on the neck/head/arms to cool off or wash hands after a roadside repair) and the other with NUUN or similar. Free water in most towns from a fire hydrant/PVC contraption somewhere just off the main street, and there often is water or drinks to buy along the road. I usually stop if it is a kid-run stand…have a chat with the kid and parents/grandparents. Always a good break.

Ride On!


hnschipper, April 28, 2017 at 8:48 am

In past years, I always carried two bottles. Last year, I started wearing a Camelbak. I broke my thumb 9 weeks before RAGBRAI and had a pin in my thumb on last year’s ride. I had to wear a splint. It was very difficult for me to pull a water bottle out of the cage while riding, so Camelbak it was! It will likely be the Cambelbak route for me again this year – we discovered last fall that when I broke my thumb, I also tore the ligament. I had to have surgery to repair the ligament, and it still isn’t fully healed yet – I have about half the strength in my right hand as I do in my left hand. Still difficult to pull a water bottle out of the cage while riding.


Ken Reed, April 28, 2017 at 10:25 am

Bottles for sure. I have seen folks ride with Camelbacks but they primarily ride recumbents.


Dueywife, April 28, 2017 at 11:06 am

I’m all for Camelbaks. I carry 3L of water with me and that can get me through 60-70 miles easily. Plus I can carry any extra stuff I want with me (sunscreen, poncho, snacks, sharpies, flip flops, etc). I usually bring bottles with me and on a short day (~40 miles) I’ll bottle it, but I love, love, love my camelbak and would never think to ride RAGBRAI without it.


David Daniels, April 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I am a CamelBak guy too. But over the years getting smaller and smaller. I carry my ‘stash ‘O cash’, ID and credit card in it as well.

I fill it with ice then top off with water. I usually refill the ice once or twice a day in towns… Ice drink and a cooling back pack too… Very nice on those hot July days!

Oh, I carry water bottles too – one for Gatorade and one for Sport Drink. Never want to go thirsty!!!

just dave


Groeny82, April 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

I would say bottles. Last year I carried 2 with me, one with water and one was Propel electrolyte water. I rotate bottles, I drink one bottle then switch to the other but with all the available places to fill up with both water and nuun or Gatorade I never had an empty bottle for more than a few miles, and I still had my second bottle full yet. Going through a town every 15-20 miles, plus the pit stops along the route, I would would save yourself the extra weight and sweaty back and go with bottles over a CamelBak. Or throw it in your pack if you have room and try it both ways the first 2 days and go with what you like best.


Sexton, April 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Like Just Dave said. Camelbak’s. If you’re going for minimal support dependence, you can carry tools, tubes, wallet, TP, the all important pie fork, and water. you can use it as a pillow when you stop for a nap. Bottle cages are left empty, because a 24 oz. growler will fit them.


Mike Murphy, April 29, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Bottles work for me. You have so many opportunities to get water along the route. Many times during the day you will see free water. I have never tried it but I think you could go the entire week with free water. I enjoy stopping and buying water and Gatorade from groups or families along the way. I have even reduced my bottles to one since there are so many opportunities along the way.


trek2300, April 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Score another one for bottles. However if it is going to be a nasty, hot day, I carry a third bottle in my jersey. Although most towns have free water, some don’t and it is possible to get stuck in the middle of corn and beans with nothing to drink.


Gypsy Rose, April 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm

I have never purchased water on RAGBRAI. I carry two water bottles. Plenty of water available along the route. And, in a pinch, there are the craft beer stops!

~ Kevin


Brian Wallenburg, April 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Water bottles for me, rarely do I get into the 2nd one before rolling into the next town. Find the free water, it’s there, just watch for it.


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