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Hard Enduro Hydration

The air is so thick you can cut it with a knife. As you sit there on your overheating dirt bike in the 90°F sun with a humidity level that could choke a horse, you reach for your hydration bladder and start sucking down water. Slrrrrrpppp... and then it stops. You're out of water. 10 miles into the boondocks, dehydrated and with another 10 miles to go...

With the hard enduro season about to kick off, preparations must be made. We learned in our past season of hard enduro racing that our basic harescramble hydration setups were not enough, and that we were running out of water mid-way through some of these long (4 hour+) hard enduros. Looking back at the main event at Tough Like RORR in 2019, I re-filled my 2L water pack at least three times, and still ran out in the end. At Battle of the Goats I ran out of water approximately 1/4 way through the course, and had no points to re-fill. I rode to the 3/4 mark, barely conscious, and just couldn't go any further without hydration.

Tom, Adam and I started throwing out some ideas and came up with what we think is a possible solution - the fanny pack + backpack combo. Okay... maybe calling it a "fanny pack" may turn people off, but the "waist bag" provides another option for hydration. I am trying out this Dakine pack that comes with a 2L hydration bladder:

UPDATE: An important lesson I learned is make sure that the hose for the water bladder is well secured. The magnet on the Dakine waist pack is not strong enough to secure the water line while dirt biking. I ended up having my hose fall out and get caught in my rear tire. Going forward my plan is to use a zip tie, or another method to secure the mouth piece on my chest protector.

Add a 3L hydration backpack like this USWE one:

And you have 5L of water to carry around. Or if you don't want to haul 3L on your back, I am trying this 2L pack:

This will be my first time trying a USWE pack. I have traditionally ran a Camelback that I picked up at a local retail store, but a major drawback are all the straps and tiedowns that increase the chance of things getting caught and snagged on the backpack. The USWE packs seem very slim and compact.

When ordering these hydration packs, read the description carefully! You can easily be deceived by "cargo" capacity vs the "fluid" capacity of the hydration bladder. *Ahem*... someone who I won't name ordered a 15L pack thinking it could hold 15L of water.

Adam and Mike at TKO 2018

No race is the same. Look at hydration packs like your bike setup, adjustments must be made for the conditions and style of race. The same goes with how you setup for hydration. With an arsenal of various hydration packs (2L, 3L, backpack or waist), you can now be prepared for the next event.

For example, at Tough Like RORR my plan is to run the waist style hydration pack for the two shorter Saturday races. 2 liters of water should be plenty if I I re-fill between races. If I make it to the main event, my plan is to wear both the backpack and waist for a 4L total water capacity. I'l have my 2nd camelback ready for a hot swap when (if) I come around on my 2nd lap.

The waist style pack is also where I plan to store my quick access tools such as my Motion Pro 8, 10, and 12mm wrench combo.

Having quick access to tools is important in the hard enduros. Some of the wildest things can happen to your bike. The waist pack allows you to be able to spin it to your front giving you immediate access to your tools. This is much more convenient than having a backpack where you must stop and remove the backpack to have access. These seconds matter in a tight racing situation!

We will report back on how our waist pack + backpack hydration setups work this season. If you have any other ideas or setups, let us know in the comments!

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