Monday, April 8, 2013

What NOT to Neglect in the Off-Season

Last hunting season, I decided I wanted more than just plain water to drink when deer hunting. A few times, I added one of your average ten calorie drink mix pouches to 96 oz. of water. To be honest, the flavors weren't half bad and for the most part I drank them right up as it was blazing hot many days. Then came the day that it was cold, super windy and I put in a grape-flavored drink packet. I hardly drank any of the water and as it was our last day hunting, I went home and put most everything away...except for the 3/4-filled water bladder.

Fast forward two and a half months to when I needed to fill my water bladder for a hunt. I go to my plastic tote and look for an empty water bladder, but there is nothing in there that even resembles a H2O carrying device. I then open my Badlands 2200 and reach down to find there is some weight to the water bladder. 'Ahhhh, crap!' I knew I was in for some trouble. I reached into the bladder pouch and what I felt can only be described as very gross. I knew there was mold in the bladder just by how it felt. Imagine grease between two pieces of plastic sheeting. Yeah, that's how it felt. When I pulled the bladder out, this is what I saw.

This is what neglecting your water bladder will do.

Complete nastiness and I knew I had to do some serious cleaning. It was going to take some chlorine tablets, elbow grease and a few prayers to get this as clean as I needed it to be. After a few grumblings I ventured to the local sporing goods store

Back at home with a full box of cleaning tablets I went to work. Let me tell you, I paid dearly for my mistake as it took me nearly forty-five minutes to get everything cleaned the way I needed it. I had to cut off the tube by the mouthpiece just so I could have an opening to run the small tube-cleaning brush through. Even that took more than ten minutes of hard scrubbing! 

I still had fifteen minutes of scrubbing ahead of me after this pic was taken.

After forty-five minutes and two chlorine tabs I had cleaned it well and I vowed never to use a flavored drink mix in my water bladder again. I also told myself that I would empty out my water badder after each hunt so I would not have to repeat the experience! Plus, it could have been a health issue had I not cleaned it extremely well.

A word to the wise. Take great care of your water system because you always need water in the field. Mold is not something to take lightly either. Please let my mistake be a lesson for us all. 

9 comments:

  1. Made the same mistake with my camel pack while in the Navy. I just opted to buy a new bladder... :P

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    1. I didn't have the luxury of buying a new Badlands as the closest spot for me was 45 minutes away and I was hunting the next day. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to do a good scrub on this one. A learning experience for sure!

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  2. Al, that's rough. I've found some melted candy and old fruit but never anything that bad... you must love that bladder!

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    1. LOL. It is a good bladder. Now it's cleaner than ever!

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  3. Man, I been there done that. Start getting ready for the season, start unpacking things and DUHHHH OOHHHHHHHH. You will only ever do it once, now I am very careful about draining and drying after each hunt.

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    1. Exactly! One time is all it took. Now I check and make sure so that I can go hunting on a moments notice.

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  4. Man, I gotta dig out my Platypus! Haven't looked at it since September...

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    1. You might have a garden in there. Be ready!

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  5. I have mnt biked for man years using bladders, best thing is emty it after each use, leave the cap off and stuff it with paper towels. And if you can, that the mouth piece off the tube. This really helps with the nasties that get in those things.

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