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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cenote bladder compared to Camelbak bladder

If you don't use a hydration bladder system don't bother reading this one. I use my Camelbak a lot riding on long days, teaching motorcycle classes on long days, running 5K's, and doing stuff in the woods.

I have been running the same Camelbak since 2003. That was about the only thing on the market at the time. Now there are a lot of choices for similar products and even backpacks made ready for a bladder of your choice.

Anyway, my Camelbak bladder finally got a pinhole in it after 13 years of good use. I have had my eye on the Cenote bladders for a bit. They are made by the same folks that make Polar Bottles which are great and I use anytime a back pack bladder isn't a feasible option. The big selling point for the Cenote is the price point makes it a disposable/recyclable instead of cleaning at some point. The first thing of note is the Cenote has the filler and straw on the same fitting. That makes sense to save material and cost. It also makes burping the air out a lot easier. Getting the air out is important if you don't want to listen to it slosh around and around if you're running. The downside to this is that with my little back set up, I have to completely remove the Cenote from my pack to fill it. (Bigger backpacks require this anyway.) That's not a huge deal for exercising and just using one fill up. Pulling everything apart to fill it at a gas stop on the road is a pain.


The bite valves are very different, too. For most things, the Cenote is actually better(shown in closed position), but not if you trying to shove the huge thing into a full face helmet running down the road on a motorcycle. It's doable, but not as easy as the Camelbak. The smaller Camelbak valve could be switched over to the Cenote bladder.


Okay here's the real deal breaker for me and how I use my hydration bladder. The filler hole on the Cenote is much smaller and has no handle. I am sure both of those feature mean less material and cost and the larger hole is not as needed for cleaning the bladder. The larger hole and handle make the Camelbak much more convenient for using on motorcycle trips. It is very challenging to use the ice and water from the gas station soda machine to fill the Cenote. And while I know it's a total cheap ass move to fill my water for free at the travel stop c-store most places don't notice or don't mind.(I usually by a V-8, too.) But leaving a big mess of water and ice everywhere is just bad form for everyone involved.


I really wanted to write an excellent opinion of the Cenote bladder, but the design compromises to save material and cost were a deal breaker for how I use a bladder. I bought another Camelbak bladder and still have three Cenote bladders with one cap and valve that I might use later for something other than motorcycling.

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