Preventing Mold in Hydration Systems
Do you see that red stain on the inside of my platypus hydration bladder in the picture below? That’s mold, like the stuff that grows on our bathroom shower curtain. I only noticed it on my last backpacking trip, and since getting home I’ve tried a few things to get rid of it.
First, I filled up the bladder with water, added 3 chlorine dioxide tablets and let the bladder sit overnight. The next morning, the red stain was still there.
Next, I tried filling the bladder with boiling water at the suggestion of Red Yeti, a backpacking blogger buddy of mine. That worked a little better. There’s now about half as much red tide in the bladder than before, but it’s still there.
My wife, who finds this problem somewhat humorous says the mold is probably dead, but that the only way I can get it out of the bladder is by scrubbing the inner surface somehow. Unfortunately, that’s kind of difficult with a 3 L platypus since the opening is so small. So I bought a brand new 3 L replacement platy today.
You can avoid getting mold inside your hydration bladder like this by washing it out and drying it after every backpacking trip. When I get back from a trip, I’m usually pretty good about unpacking, drying or cleaning my gear, all except for my hydration bladders, since I often use them for day hikes during the week. I guess that has to change. From now on, I will to set aside a pair of bladders just for trips that I clean and dry when I get home.
In addition to red mold, you also need to be on the look out for black mold that can clog up your hydration valve if you use it for a long time.The best solution to prevent this is to also run boiling water through your tube and valve after each trip, disassemble them and let them dry out separately.
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