Don’t forget to lock your Camelbak bite valve | AspenTimes.com

Don’t forget to lock your Camelbak bite valve

Janet Urquhart

Mark Fox/Aspen Times WeeklyA bite valve with a lock (the little yellow device) can prevent a watery Camelbak disaster.

I was a late-comer to the Camelbak concept, insisting on water bottles for my biking/hiking excursions.

It wasn’t until my brother bought me one as a birthday gift that I became a believer in an ample reservoir of water carried conveniently on one’s back.Last summer, I learned the importance – or I should have – of equipping any Camelbak tube with a bite valve that includes a locking mechanism. They’re inexpensive and the lock – a little, yellow thingy – effectively closes the valve, presuming you’re not an absentminded twit.

A year ago, I was returning from Crested Butte via West Maroon Pass with a group of friends. Our gear was tossed atop the taxi van that would take us from Crested Butte to the trailhead. The bite valve on my Camelbak apparently got squished somewhere beneath the load and, unbeknownst to me, virtually my entire water supply poured out of the bladder. About a mile and several gulps into the hike, my Camelbak was dry.I wound up sharing a companion’s water over the pass, which actually worked out well for me, as I didn’t have to carry the weight of the water. We pumped water from a stream to fill my reservoir after crossing over. Soon after, my friend purchased a replacement bite valve with the lock for me.On a recent backpacking trip, I tucked a Camelbak into my larger pack and ran the tube out over my shoulder. When I tossed the Camelbak in the tent that night, the bite valve wound up getting squeezed beneath my sleeping pad. Suddenly, I had a swimming pool situation in the tent, and only a small towel, two sweaty socks and a smelly T-shirt with which to sop up the mess. I’d inadvertently failed to lock the valve.

Bottom line – the Camelbak bite valve with a lock is a good idea. So is remembering to use it.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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