A hydration pack deserves some serious consideration since water is the most important ingredient humans. In fact, it makes up over 70% of the human body. It not only lubricates joints it is vital for regulating body temperature, absorbing nutrition, and eliminating wastes.
Typical backpack type hydration system
Insufficient water can result in dehydration the symptoms of which are dizziness, cramps, fatigue, and nausea. And, of course, the need for water is amplified when exercising.
Also, bear in mind, the need for water doesn't go away in cooler weather
The good news is that it is easy to avoid dehydration by simply drinking enough water. You should drink a minimum 16 ounces of water for even an easy ride of an hour or so to maintain a healthy level.
So how much water is enough?
There are a number of variables to consider such as temperature, the pace of your ride, terrain etc and no two individuals perspire at the same rate so how do you know how much water is enough?
One way to develop your own standard is to weigh yourself before and after a ride. The weight that you lose will indicate if you drank sufficient water or not.
If you are planning to ride long distances, you should consider a backpack type hydration pack..
This goes against the principal of not adding weight to the rider but it does get lighter as you ride. And, if you are far from a source of water you will be glad that you have it.
Sometimes you get in the zone with your pedal cadence and you don't want to break it while drinking. They have a straw, with a tube to the pack, that enables you to drink any time while still using both hands to control the bike.
There are hydration systems with capacities up to 100 ounces, for really long rides, that are very popular with long distance road bike riders. You may want to choose a hydration pack with gel packs in the shoulder straps like the CamelBak Lobo.
Some have pockets, hooks or straps for carrying other items like tubes, pumps, energy bars, or even helmets. Some even have built in rain covers.
Tip: If you fill your pack about halfway the night before a long ride, and put it in the freezer, it stays nice and cold longer after you fill it up.
These packs should be flushed out thoroughly after every use.