Hydrations System for $.75





Introduction: Hydrations System for $.75

About: high school teacher

"Old Leaky" (My platypus hydration system) finally bit the dust. A better system can be made from a 2L bottle, some vinal tubing, and the bite valve from the old system.

Step 1: Parts Is Parts!

You need a bottle. I used a 2L, but you can use whatever size you want. My local dollar store sells cheap soda in 3L bottles, if you want more capacity. Maybe carrying a second bottle would be a better idea. Anyway, you could even design a system with a wider mouthed reservoir for adding ice (think Nalgine or Gatorade).

You also need about 4 feet of 3/8" vinal tubing. Home Depot sells this in the plumbing isle, but only in 10' rolls. A roll is less than two bucks, so you aren't breaking the bank. Keep the rest of the hose so you can replace it when little black moldy things start growing in it. At $.75 you can toss it often, whereas a Camelback user has to run a scrub brush down theirs. Sounds like a fun Saturday night to me!

You'll also need to keep the bite valve from your previous system. You can buy replacement valves wherever the original was sold. I'm currently working on designing a bite valve from silicone sealant, for the truly cheap.

Step 2: Put It All Together

Drill a hole in the bottle cap, I used the awl on my Swiss Army Knife (Swiss national anthem playing in background), so that I wouldn't get it too large.

Shove the tube through the hole, it should be tight. You can seall it with hot glue, but I didn't. I figured it would allow a little air to back flow into the bottle as I drink. It turns out that almost no air leaks through, but it works well enough without the hot glue. Glue would totally seal it, however.

Step 3: Drink Up!

I like the 2L bottle system better than the floppy bladder system for several reasons.
*You can stuff it in any pack
*You can fill it from a stream (use tabs)
*You never have to wash it, it's disposible!
*The tubing is cheap enough to replace
*There is no leaky plumbing under water in your pack.
*It's cheap!

Step 4: Updates

To push this concept as far as I could, I made a mouthpiece to replace the commercial bite valve.
I stuck the tubing end into the pull-cap and hot glued it in place. After several rides, I can say that it works GREAT, no leakage at all! Plus it was free.

The inside end of the tubing would get stuck to the bottle wall by my suction. I cut the end of the tube to a V and also cut a hole in the side of the tube, about 1/4" from the end. This keeps the tube from being sealed off by contact with the bottle.

I also made a hydration pack from some backpack parts I had laying around. (from a daypack on it's way to the trash). Looks professional, Someday I'll post it too.



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    Another advantage to using bottles is that it doesn't ruin your expensive bladder when you use something else then water in it (say milk or orange juice.. or beer ;)) Just toss it and get a new one.

    I'll have a look at this one. I don't like the way these bladders move and shift in my backpack when I run, but a bottle with sloshing water doesn't bother me at all... Maybe now I can have a sip without having to unmount my backpack :)

    Did you ever made a home-made bitevalve ?

    I am sorry, but I do not understand the whole purpose of these devices. When we go hiking I have water in a bottle on my pack. If I get thirsty I take it out and drink. Unless I am in a race or have *serious* time constrant what is the advantage of some "hydration" system?

    2 replies

    Its made to allow you to take small sips more often. Water is better absorbed by the body in smaller amounts.

    the point is if u are riding your bike u don't have to stop and pull out your water bottle or u don't have to carry it you can just drink

    Is vinyl tubing from ace hardware food grade?

    I made a very similar one to this, except i inverted the bottle so the top was the bottom so to speak and added a one way valve of a old pump a had to the top, this allowed air in when a drank but no water out. Works a treat and all i have to do is replace the bottle and the pipes as opposed to cleaning it :)

    How do you figure $.75? Here's my rundown $.99 for a 2 litre of soda(right here its already over your cost. $.75 for Vinyl Tubing $6.00 for a bite valve Thats a more accurate price list. You just MIGHT have some of these pieces laying around to make it cheaper, but its a $7.74 Hydration system thats 10x what you say it is built for.

    5 replies

    the way I see it... the 2l soda bottle is only worth maybe 15 cents max (recycle refund). I have a bite valve... and I happen to have some extra tubing from an older project. So really, for me (someone that holds onto things I feel can be used later), this is a 15 cent hydration system. That's 5 times LESS than what he said it would cost! And if I did not have a bite valve - I could make some using about an extra inch of tubing ;) A new one is $4 at my local bike shop :D

    Oh you lucky so and so! Where do you live to get a refund on 2l pop bottles. In the land that time forgot (Ontario) they've only recently instituted a deposit system for liquor bottles (I make a pretty penny off that). If we had pop bottle deposit, I'd be crazy rich, on account of the people that use the dump that I work at, seem to drink filthy Pepsi like it's going out of style, and most of them are way too lazy to take back deposit bottles.

    it might be 7.75 in your calculations, but if you a ready have a bite valve it should be quite cheap, plus the buck for the pop, you get to drink the pop first\ this is a great project, even better if you already have half the parts and dont knw wht to do anyways $7.75 is way better than 45-50 $ for a camel pack

    Thank u!!! I don't see y peop;e have a problem with the cost of this item, u don't even need a mouth piece

    It was just a figure of speech to say it wouldn't cost much to make this

    We use these for hiking, so you can be using hands to scramble up rocks instead of hanging onto the top of a heavy 2 liter bottle with tired fingertips. (If you are out in the wilderness you need more water for all-day hiking than a little bike bottle.) Get a daypack or backpack and cut a small hole in the bottom to fit the bottle's neck through, upside down. [Unless your backpack already has a built-in hole for the tubing to come through.] Support the bottle vertically with your other gear that you need to take along (sweater, food, etc.) If you lost the original shirt-clamp that came with your camel, cut a small scrap of fabric, about 1" x 6" and wrap it tightly around the tubing up near the bite-valve, leaving the ends of the fabric sticking out, and safety-pin the fabric ends to your shirt near your neck. This keeps the tubing from hanging down behind you, smacking your legs and getting dirt on it. You don't pin THROUGH the tubing, just the fabric that acts as a loop. Pin close enough to tubing to keep it from falling out of the loop. It should slide back and forth in the fabric scrap easily.

    when I did mine it still had air where I couldn't suck in the water because there was an air leakage. how do I fix this problem?

    1 reply

    run the hose to the bottom of the bottle


    The 2L bottle or equivalent bottle using a semi-rigid plastic is a good cheap option. If you sit the bottle with the nozzle pointing down, the pressure needed to draw water is very low. Gravity assists you and after a while air will work back into it. After a few uses recycle it for another and the cleaning issue goes away.

    what about using the bag from the inside of a box of franzia wine? (or the like)

    Hey Guys (and gals)! I am super-new @instructables, but a possibility for the portable issue is to cover a 1 gallon ziploc bag with duct tape, while leaving a large enough whole for the vinyl tubing to fit through without leaking. I haven't built it yet, but it seems flatter and more portable.