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How Long Is Water Potable in My Hydration Bladder?

How long will water stay potable in my hydration bladder? Can I add anything to make it last longer?

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Question:

I’m on a search-and-rescue team, and I keep my pack in my vehicle so I can deploy quickly. How long will water stay potable in my hydration bladder? Can I add anything to make it last longer?

Submitted by – Allen, Glen Dale, West Virginia

Answer:

You’ve asked a question that might get different answers from different sources. Here’s mine: If a water container is made for carrying and maintaining the potability of water, such as hydration bladders, water from a reliable source (that is, you’re sure the water is good) will stay good for at least a year. You want to be sure, however, that the bladder is free of contamination. So I recommend a chlorine/household bleach rinse of the bladder. Make the rinse by adding a small amount of bleach to water. If the smell of bleach in the rinse is just noticeable, the concentration is strong enough. That said, I further recommend you change the water in your bladder at least every six months to keep it tasting okay. —Buck