I came accross a guy who rode from Oberon to Taralga on a Surly Pacer. He used a Camelbak for water. In the Rural Fire Service we use them to carry water and about 24 hours supply of food - mind you they remain in the truck for most of time. I know many cyclists use them for 24 hour races. Could they be used for touring given most touring guides advise against using a backpack to carry gear when touring.

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You can do whatever you want to when touring!  However, I'd caution against putting all of your water in one container.  If it gets damaged, you may lose all of your water.  One of the experiences that I had in Tassie was that I'd boiled the local water (as was suggested) and set off from the camp the next morning.  Fortunately I had a drink of it before I left the town, and it was undrinkable, so I bought bottled water to get me through the next unpopulated 80kms to Campbell Town.  If you have to mix your water, you may turn all of your remaining potable water into an undrinkable mix if you only have one container.  At least by having separate bottles, you limit the damage.  The moral of the story also has to be to sample any water before you add it to your drinking supply.  The other, is to make sure that you have reserves to get you beyond your next likely supply point.

I wouldn't tour carrying anything on my back for more than a couple of kms.

I'm interested in this, and I can see why it might not be such a bad idea.

I've never done any long tours, but I'm the sort of person who sweats a lot in the heat and drinks massive amounts of water to compensate. I've drunk 10 litres in a day before (40 deg, with hot and dry wind). How to carry it all? Maybe a couple of litres on my back isn't such a bad idea?

Most of my tours average 70-80k's per day.  I normally carry 2 litres of water on the bike.  I'll usually have a morning coffee stop in a town/village, and a lunch stop where I might have a Powerade.  There may be a day or 2 on each tour where I'd need to carry any more than the 2 litres, mainly due to distances between known water supplies, or really hot weather.  Sometimes I'll top-up enroute if consumption is high or the distance to the next town might be a bit far.  I'll also have a Powerade at the end of the day's ride too.

For long rides (mainly Newcastle overnight) I have normal water in my camelbak rip-off and then sports water in the bottles in the cages. keeping in mind, bottles are much easier to clean.

The only thing I can think off against using them is heat and weight, but normally you can take it off and sling it across a rack or something if you need a break.

I do it routinely. Either an ordinary hydration pack or a big one with bladder included.

The bigger one, from Vaudé, has a mesh frame to keep it off my back therefore not sweaty.

Not too much weight on back, tho. And deffo not the only hydration carried. Usually carry pure water on pack, water with gu or similar added on the bike. And sometimes a katadyn filter which connects to the pack.

Unfortunately have had giardia a few times.

Given water weighs 1kg per litre, you are not going to be carrying much extra weight on your back in a Camelbak.

I managed to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris (1200km in under three days) wearing a Camelbak, (and even managed to look reasonably happy doing it), though I don't use one any more. I don't do ridiculous rides like that any more, either. 

I did ride the Newcastle Overnight this year, managing quite easily with two 750ml bidons. There are plenty of watering holes along the way on that route, anyway.

Overnight being the key to not needing to carry 2 litres per hour.

Sure you can do it.  But why?  Carrying any extra weight on your back is a hassle and doubly so when you are on a bike.  If you are touring take advantage of the bike and use IT to carry the extra weight.

Though plenty of mountain bikers use camel backs.  But thats because you don't want more weight or gear on you bike.

(90% of my riding is with a crumpler.  I do it because it is convenient.  I avoid it for rides longer than 5 or 10km.)

So the main advantage of a camelbak on long distance riding is the ease of availability of the water. Not stuffing about trying to reach for a bottle, holding it while riding single handed then pushing it back in.

Disadvantage, it's on your back,

So is there a way to have the drinking tube at the mouth ready to go, but the water on the bike? (and without the strangulation risk?)

To me that would be the best of both worlds.

I'm not one of those coordinated people who can hill climb and bottle rummage

"I'm not one of those coordinated people who can hill climb and bottle rummage"

You're not in a hurry when touring, so stopping for a drink and a look around gives you a brief rest opportunity - all a part of the joy of touring.

hell yes

I know what you mean. It's hard to rummage around while you are struggling up a steep hill.
I've seen them.

http://flexlinehydration.com/single-bottle-white-3/

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