Hydration bladders are a necessity in mountain biking because they allow riders to drink easily without having to stop their ride. This ensures that the rider is hydrated so that they can ride faster, longer, and safer.
However, there are many people saying that hydration bladders don’t last long. Well, that isn’t entirely true because its lifespan depends on many factors.
This article aims to dive deep into that issue and discuss how long do these hydration bladders usually last. We’ll also show you the things that can affect its longevity as well as when is the right time to buy a new bladder.
How long will a hydration bladder last?
There is no single answer to this because it really all depends on many factors such as how you use them, where you’ll use them, and the kind of riding you do. The way you use the bladder also plays a huge role in how long it’ll last.
However, bladders usually last around 6 to 12 months or a year for most mid-end variants. The premium ones such as those from Osprey and Camelbak usually last longer.
But this can be argued because the frequency of use can also lower down the lifespan of the bladder. There are also some cases when the bladder just lasts for around a month at least. On the other hand, some bladders last for 3 to 5 years or even more.
What are the factors affecting hydration bladder lifespan?
The first thing that can have a huge effect on the lifespan of your bladder is the storage capacity or the amount of water that you put into it. The more water you put, the more it flexes.
Note that bladders are made of a special kind of rubber. But they can stretch and flex if they’re filled with too much water.
This can then damage the material and cause it to have leaks. We recommend that you don’t fill the bladder fully. It’s best you just limit the water you put into it at around 80% to 90% so that there won’t be too much pressure.
Frequency of use
How often you use the bladder will also have an effect on its lifespan. It won’t last long if you use it often. Meanwhile, if you just use it occasionally, then it makes sense for it to last longer.
But this isn’t always the case because the rubber material of the bladder can deteriorate if it stays in a static position for a long time.
This means that it can deteriorate on its own if it doesn’t move, or more specifically, it isn’t used. We recommend that you use your bladder at least once a week or every other week and don’t bite the bite valve very strongly because the bite valve can leak. Bite valves are also sensitive parts so you need to be careful with them. This ensures that it isn’t used that much, but also isn’t left to deteriorate on its own.
The kind of backpack you have is also a factor because this is where you place the bladder. It’s best if you choose a backpack that is specifically designed for your bladder.
An example would be to use the default and stock bag that comes with the bladder you bought. This ensures that they are compatible with each other and that there won’t be any problem with their fit and connections, which then avoids any damages to the bladder.
Your riding discipline is a huge factor in determining how long your hydration bladder will last. If you are into light mountain biking such as cross country, then expect the bladder to last longer because you are less likely to crash, and in the process, avoid damaging your bag and bladder inside.
Meanwhile, you can expect to have a shorter hydration pack lifespan if you’re into enduro because you’re going to need a lot of water which then can stretch hydration backpacks and damage the material.
Secondly, you are also more likely to crash on rough trails because you ride in technical and sketchy offroad sections.
These are even amplified if you’re into downhill riding because you’re going on very aggressive trails and you use the hydration system of your hydration reservoir harder than ever, which is more prone to usage abuse.
The climate can also affect its longevity. If you always fridge in a warm and hot climate, you can expect it to not last that long because the UV rays of the sun can have a detrimental effect on the rubber material found in the bladder’s surface.
Meanwhile, you can expect your bladder to last longer if you’re always out in cold weather because the low temperature neutralizes the UV rays and puts the hydration pack in a more relaxed position. You can also air-dry its drink tube and water reservoir for extended periods for a more thorough cleaning.
The way you take care of the bladder obviously affects its lifespan. If you always clean and wash the drinking tube with dish soap, lemon juice, and baking soda every after the ride, then you can expect it to last longer for years.
But if you just leave it as is, then expect to have a shorter bladder lifespan because the dirt, grime, and sediments inside it, as well as the grease from your saliva, can all have a detrimental effect on the bladder.
Remember the tips we’ve mentioned in this article, and always do your best to clean the bladder every after ride. But also don’t compromise your riding style just for the sake of prolonging its use. Just enjoy the outdoors and keep hydrated all the time without using water bottles.