I’ve been carrying water on my frame using a custom solution the last couple seasons. I originally googled for a solution and didn’t find anything commercially available, but found lots of helpful posts in various forums explaining what folks have done. It’s worked really well, so thought I’d share a bundle of details in case anyone else is interested. If you know of an existing commercial solution that does all this, let me know and I’ll update the post.
Where This Works Well
The target audience is people that want to carry up to 70 oz of water on trails, but don’t want to use a backpack.
70 oz is perfect for most rides up to a few hours.
Backpacks aren’t ideal because they’re heavy and sweaty.
Bottles on a rough trail are terrible because it’s a great way to crash. A couple bottles can only carry at most 50 oz anyway.
This solution also presumes your frame can fit a pack. In this example I’m using a hardtail, but many full suspension bikes can use a similar solution.
- Banjo Brothers Medium Frame Pack - $35. Or use whatever frame pack you like.
- Platypus Hoser Hydration System - 2 Liter - $25. When full it just barely fits in the medium frame pack. The key to this bladder is that it has a small cap. A CamelBak bladder won’t fit in this pack because of its giant cap.
- CambelBak Quick Link Conversion Kit - $10. Lets you easily remove the bladder and leave the hose in place.
- Retractable Badge Holder - $10 for 4, or free if your employer will give you one. They last about a season.
- CamelBak Big Bite Valve - $6. The flow of the Platypus bite valve that comes with the kit is ridiculously slow. Maybe they’ve improved it since I bought one, but the CamelBak valve works great.
- If you’re using the Banjo Brothers frame pack, you’ll need to cut a little hole in the front for the hose before installing it.
I also used a lighter to singe/seal the hole edges to prevent fraying.
- If you’re using the quick link, install it so it fits in the frame pack. Here’s a picture of where I placed it in the line. The image also shows the orientation of how the bladder sits in the pack.
- Install the frame pack.
- Fasten the badge holder onto the bars so the line is facing you as you’re riding. I used gorilla tape. Use whatever works.
- Route the tubing, and mount it to the badge holder like this.
- Profit! Well, actually cost you around $80. But sure beats carrying water on your back or eating dirt.