Picture of Hydrations system for $.75
"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.
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Step 1: Parts is parts!

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.
wazzup1052 years ago
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.
wazzup1052 years ago
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 ?
matts28 years ago
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?

Its made to allow you to take small sips more often. Water is better absorbed by the body in smaller amounts.
Karim matts28 years ago
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
kwalian6 years ago
Is vinyl tubing from ace hardware food grade?
beejay_ben7 years ago
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 :)
omg i made one but it didnt last as long so I bought this
when ever i go biking in hawaii its better and it is strong
Mesach8 years ago
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.
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.
ranex Mesach8 years ago
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
Karim ranex8 years ago
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
Karim Mesach8 years ago
It was just a figure of speech to say it wouldn't cost much to make this
Utahtabby7 years ago
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.
Karim8 years ago
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?
smithy813 Karim7 years ago
run the hose to the bottom of the bottle
Pal7 years ago
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.
pdub777 years ago
what about using the bag from the inside of a box of franzia wine? (or the like)
asac4138 years ago
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.
exponent8 years ago
I like this idea.. its interesting. To solve the air-lock problem, I bet you could find some kind of cheap-o check valve at a hardware store to put on the top of the tank.
peterrus8 years ago
haha, I "invented" the same thing, take a look here:
clicky click click

Yours looks a bit more "finished" though. nice job!
pocketlama8 years ago
That's a groovy mod! (Be aware of the health problems associated with multiple reuse of those kinds of bottles, though. They break down and bacteria grows and you get sick. It's great for a time or two, though!)
not really
No lifes to short to worry about things like that. Besides the "health problems" thing is so over hyped it might as well be a myth.
it's not so much that they break down (PET has a very VERY long service life, so they really don't disappear from trash dumps) -- it's that they are not easily washed to become sanitary between uses... I've been reusing 24oz soda bottles for a long time - you just need to take the time to wash them thoroughly.
Karim8 years ago
I made one and I put it on my regular school bookbag
bikeboy8 years ago
Great idea, if only for the following reason: I invented the same thing and biked through the whole of Central America with it (in dry season, with more than 20kg of bags). The use of local 4.8 liter bottles gave me huge tactical advantage over my "camelbak buddies". To resolve the air inlet problem, just put second tube trough the bottle cap (easy with 4.8 litre bottle), don't make it to short or you'll end up showering yourself if you bend down to much. Second tube can be attached to follow first with piece of inner tube (as long as it doesn't go lower than the water level in the tank) or stick out the backpack like antenna. No need for mouthpiece, I plied the tube end double and shove it through velcro band on backpack strap like. Worked pretty well. Longest ride +/- 150km (in Panama), no refil needed (if you like tepid water), so yes is suitable for serious long distance biking. Allthough bulky, weight of container is neglectable. To clean bottle, learn how to bring water to boiling point or buy purifying tablets.
So its not great because you thought of the idea earlier.... Does that mean the ideas you come up with shouldn't be considered great ideas? In any case - I think I know what you meant; does it really matter who made it first? As is with most things - it's not who thought of it first - it's who protected and marketed the idea first that wins.
He really said the opposite: it's great BECAUSE he invented the same thing. That's still phrased in a condescending way, but there it is.
Shubaltz8 years ago
I do alot of riding, and while this is headed in the right direction, its not very applicable to any sort of distance riding. the problem, is that this forces you to use a large, bulky container. Its also very heavy, and as you said, it gets hard to suck, and you have to let air in. Thats an automatic stop right there. On causal riding thats not a problem. But what about road biking...or maybe Any bike has water bottle cages. To improve upon this albeit for more cost, would be to use bike bottles. The tubing would go to both bottles at the same time, and in additon to the out tubes, you would would want short, air intake tubes to allow air to enter the bottle. This would be very effective in a race situation. It would allow you to drink, but still be on the ball in case an attack is launched. Its a good start, but it could use soem refinement.
SlimJim (author) 8 years ago
Ryno: As you drink, the bottle flattens out. When it starts to get a little harder to suck on the tube, just let some air back into the bottle, and everything equalizes. If you need extra room in your pack, you can drink half the water, then crush the bottle down to half it's volume. Still works fine. Cleaning: Yes, it's hard to clean the inside of a 2L bottle... but it's 10x harder to clean the inside of a 2L camelback! and I can just toss the bottle and replace it. Cost: A friend left the soda at my house, and the bite valve was left over from the original system... so there! ;) THANKS for they feedback everyone, there will be more info on this project on the way.
Lisa Fla8 years ago
Can you use old tubing from a nebulizer to do this?
Ryno8 years ago
Correct me if I'm wrong here... but doesn't the flexibility of the bladder enable you to easily suck the water out? Would this have to be positioned vertically with the cap down in order to properly dispense water? I am in need of a replacement hydration system... I'm so sick of absolutely having to pack my sleeping bag in a waterproof stuff sack, even when it's definitely dry out.
Camster9118 years ago
Hmm, well, in england, you could probably go to soem cheap store and get a bottle full off own-brand, out of date cola for soemthing like £0.33, tube, £1.00, bite caq? done have a clue.
meddler8 years ago
Still, that is not a bad price for a hydration system.I bought a similar system that screwed onto a military canteen when i was in the army,cost was pretty much the same as well.