Best Way to Store a Hydration Bladder

A water bladder is a must-have piece of gear for easy hydration on the trail but these hydration bladders can quickly turn into a science experiment if you don't store them properly. It can be difficult to completely dry out your reservoir, the hose and the mouth piece and if you store it in a dark closet with moisture inside it you are asking for trouble. Don't worry, this week's TrailTime Tip will surely put the freeze on any mold in your water bladder.

Hydration Bladder Storage Without the Funk

Rinse: Obviously, you need to rinse out your hydration pack after each day of use. You can use a tiny amount of bleach (Less than a half tea spoon) to clean out any of the funk. Be sure to rinse the water bladder thouroughly to remove the funk and any left over bleach. Also, be sure to run water through the hose and mouth piece. Simply hold the full bladder up high then squeeze the mouth piece with your fingers to get water to run through the hose.

how to clean a hydration bladder

Dry: It is important to completely dry out the hydration bladder. Hang it up with the cap open until it completely dries out. The time it takes to dry out will depend on the humidity in your home but don't rush it. The longer you can let it dry out the better.

For easier drying, make a water bladder hanger like the one pictured below. A simple cut in a plastic clothes hanger gives you the perfect tool for drying out your hydration bladder. Watch this quick video to learn more about this water bladder hanger.

dry out a water bladder
Freeze: Yes, freeze your hydration bladder to prevent any mildew from growing inside of it. No matter how well you've dried out the reservoir and hose there is a risk of unwanted mold or mildew growing during storage. The best way to battle this is to store your hydration bladder in a freezer. This will eliminate the risk of unwanted growth. Here's how to do it.
Hydration Bladder Storage

  • Clean and dry the water bladder as described above.

  • Roll up your bladder and wrap the hose around itself so it takes as little space in the freezer as possible.

  • Wrap a large rubber band around it to keep it together.

  • Place it in the freezer.

This is the most effective way to avoid mold and mildew in your hydration bladder. It is important to dry it out as much as possible before freezing to avoid ice inside your tube. The next time you hit the trails you can grab the bladder out the the freezer, fill it up with water and you're ready to go.

Why Would You Do This?

A hydration bladder free of any mold is important to your health, hydration packs are expensive to replace and freezing them is the best way to store a water bladder to avoid any funk. This TrailTime Tip is extremely easy and effective. Try it then let us know in the comment below what you think of this tip.

Check out our other TrailTime Tips and check back next week for the next installment of this outdoor tips and hacks series.

Emergency Candle
Eggcellent Camping Breakfast Hack
Fill Your Bottles From A Shallow Stream
Stake Your Tent on Rocky Ground
Keep Your Bag Dry From Condensation
Andy Hawbaker
posted by
Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
Comments (3)
7/3/2016 at 7:18 PM
I do the same thing....except the washing and drying bit. I empty the water, including the tube and pop it into the freezer. I've been using the same bladder for at least 12 years, so I guess I can say that it works ok!
7/14/2016 at 10:06 AM
I also read that you can add about 1 tsp of baking soda, shake it, run it through the hose, and empty the bladder. Don't rinse it and hang it to dry. I've been doing this for about 3 years and have never seen any buildup. I don't even rinse it before I use it since it only adds a tiny salty taste. I store my bladder in my trunk for unplanned outings, so this works perfectly for that.
5/31/2017 at 11:13 PM
Can I fill it up with water and put it in the freezer
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