Future of camel hydration in the Army

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by TABBER, Mar 17, 2003.

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  1. We all know what an invaluable piece of kit the camelbacks are. Quick, easy means of getting water into you whenever required whereever you are.

    Now more and more people are useing them, ive not been on an expedition recently without at least a few people having them, if not all.

    The latest rumour seems to be that soon they will be banned. One or two units already have I hear and others are likley to follow suit. Reason is that they are the cause of stomach disorders because of the tube not being cleaned.  

    Anyone else heard this/any thorts?
  2. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    My thoughts -

    1.  Certainly, the ones issued for Afghanistan could not be re-issued, for the reasons above.

    2.  far as I know, hundreds bought new for TELIC, and issued.

    3.  As to cleaning - do the Camelbak makers not recommend a simple cleaning/disinfecting regime?  

    4.  Given the propensities for Soldiery to put all sorts into  water bottles apart from water, I'm not surprised that they are going down.  You should see the fur, phlegm and mucus I've seen coming out of an S10 drinking tube after cleaning :)

    5.  Of course, if you have a high enough alcohol level in the liquid, it'll kill anything....
  3. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Very topical; I'm on a course at CTCRM and this morning we were all called in and issued ‘trial kit’:

    - Half of the course received "Platypus" 2L bladders, with attached hoses.

    - The other half received a new [issue] water bottle lid with a hole through it, a piece of plastic tubing, a Camelback bite valve, and a black insulating tube to go over the plastic tubing.  This is then assembled in to a shielded hose with a water bottle top at one end, and a bite valve at the other.  (The water bottle end of the tubing extends to the base of the water bottle.)

    We've been told to use them throughout the course - particularly on the load carries and speed marches - and complete evaluation forms at the end.

    The second option of the two is clearly the more 'homemade' way of doing it, but the briefing pack that the DS left for those sad enough to read it was interesting.  Cost aside, there are many reasons why the latter solution is more elegant - water bottles can be interchanged without refilling a bladder, NBC tops can be used on water bottles should the NBC state require it, water can be stored in webbing pouches rather than requiring a daysack or separate holder for the bladder, DS can take students' water bottles at water stops and exchange them one-for-one, and more reasons that I don't remember.

    The most interesting thing about this document was that it referred to development work conducted somewhere - perhaps DCTA? - that has already made an business case for Camelback-type 'hydration systems'.  It made references to the Return Of Investment (ROI) for the MOD in reducing heat injuries and consequently training losses, particularly in Phase 1 and Initial Officer Training.  (E.g. the "it's more hassle to take my bergan off, get water out, drink it, replace it, replace bergan" factor was eliminated).

    The inference I drew was that a procurement case for improved hydration systems has already been made, and has passed Initial Gate at least.  The author of the document appeared to be pushing his solution as an alternative before it went for Main Gate approval.  (Incidentally the traditional civilian system, from Platypus was costed at £20, and the proposed 'water bottle' system at £5.)  In any event, it appears that one of these systems will be in service at some point.  :)

    Reference the remarks about hygiene:

    We were reminded to clean them as part of normal post-exercise turnaround.  A strong solution made from ration pack puritabs was suggested.  

    This document presented costings for the two options above, in support of its business case.  Notably, it stated that the items would be personal 'one-time' issues, and provided figures for personnel going through various training establishments.  (Hence the need to justify the costs with an analysis in terms of the MOD's ROI.)

    Note: The document I refer to had, annoyingly, no header, signature block, or protective markings.  I therefore don't know from where it originated or if it's RESTRICTED - COMMERCIAL...  If it is the latter, then the author should have paid more attention to JSP 440 and marked it as such.  ;)
  4. The need for camel type of hydration systems has been doing the rounds for some time especially within infantry and RM circles.

    Personally, I don't like them as they get in the way, are sometimes awkard to carry and the tubes can be annoying. I much prefer the standard waterbottle in ones, twos or threes. Much less hassle. Undo the lid, lift to the mouth and drink. Simple really.

    Just a view. It will be interesting to hear how DM gets on with them.
  5. Thanks for the info DM, very informative. Sounds like the latter option would be preferable.

    I will be interested to see what other cleaning solutions they come up with.
    The puritab one you suggested sounds like a 'just to keep the lads happy with it' procedure, maybe, maybe not. I'm sure in the future an issued and regonised method will apear (maybe some sort of pull though).
  6. hydration systems are too much hastle.u have a stupid hose coming round ur fron that can come loos and wen u take off your bergin it flops about...too much hastle...yank water bottle much better.light and just shove it in and out of a webbing pouch.what could be simpler?????
  7. English lessons?

    Camelbacks are great pieces of kit for tabbing with. I carry (as do most others) a day sack on all CFT's and find them perfectly ok for what they do.
  8. Isn't this really just throwing different equipment at a lack of routine cleaning? Soon there'll be like nine different systems and people will be going through refresher (sorry) courses on how to drink....

    I propose a yard apiece of rolled paper straw. Drinking tube as long as you like, hygienic, and cheap too.
  9. All good points

    Re: NBC issues. I remember reading a while ago on the Camelbak website (I'm sure I looked at more interesting stuff before i joined up :? ) that they actually produce an NBC proof with an attachment that fits an S10.

    Hydration systems are good as an extra piece of kit but you cant do away with waterbottles.

    DM: surely your waterbottle tubing system will get in the way more/get caught more etc because of the longer tube?
  10. I'd be interested in DM's thoughts.

    Do you have to blow into the tube to get any water out? The big advantage of the camelbak is that it's flexible so you can can take half a mouthful without upsetting your breathing. Also quietier where that's an issue.

    By the sounds of things the waterbottle must be carried upright for the system to work. Difficult if you're carrying it in in the top of your bergan
  11. They sure do, cost about £5 each though 8O
  12. One solution to stop em going manky when not in use is to put the bladder and pipe complete in the freezer until next use, ok for training but not to practical on op's. Aimed at civ pop I reckon? :cry:
  13. Yes this is ideal but when issued or bought the makers recommend cleaning with Bicarb of Soda, cleans and removes odours. And bicarb is readily available, easy to pack and easy to use.
  14. Bring back water discipline!

    The Army marched across the tropical world in woolly tunics, on one water bottle and commanded drinking before "hydration issues" were invented... only a few toms died...

    I must admit I find camelbacks a trendy irrelevance compared to the good old waterbottle - not least because of the obvious sanitation issues, but also because I don't think its necessary to suck water every two minutes. Also found camelbacks, with their straps and shape, not as space-efficient as a bottle - if you already have a bergan and patrolsack/radio to worry about, not much space on your back for anything else.

    One of the more interesting pieces of trials kit I saw once was a "water waistcoat": it was a kind of body-warmer style waterbottle which was combined with a flak jacket. Held about a gallon+ of water (enough to live off for a few days on hard regime) , but evenly distributed in cells, so the weight was not noticable. Had the side-effects of acting as a thermal layer, and as a comfy bergan padding. Could also be partially blown up like a like jacket to make an instant bouyancy aid (river crossing anyone?). Very clever idea, but sank without trace - it probably cost money...
  15. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator