I was concerned about those two issues with the hydration pack. Plan A is a sleeve to fit around the hydration reservoir (a Platypus Hoser which is round when full) made from corrugated plastic sheet ($5 at Home Depot). It seems plenty sturdy enough to keep the pack contents from compressing the reservoir, but at 4 ounces it seems a bit heavy. Plan B is a sleeve from a stiff-ish plastic sign that weighs about an ounce ($2 at Home Depot) rolled into a tube. Not as rigid and kinda short but may be enough if I don't pull too hard on the pack's compression straps. I was going to give it a go without any sleeve, but your experience suggests I might want to try one.Polkster13 wrote:The issues I found using this setup on the LSHT this past Spring Break week were two-fold.
First, with everything in the pack it put pressure on the water sleeve and it is very hard to tell if the sleeve was actually full without pulling it out (one time I thought I had a lot more water than I actually did). Second, again the pressure on the sleeve caused the water to leak out of the bite valve when not in use and caused me to loose a lot of water. I have since learned to turn the bite valve off when not in use (which is then a pain to have to turn on and off each time I get a drink).
I could put the sleeve between the back of the backpack and the mesh and this should alleviate these issues. However, during really warm weather, my body heat is going to heat up the water which will not be very pleasant to drink.
I am seriously considering dumping the hydration sleeve and go to just thin plastic water bottles attached to the outside of my pack's mesh pockets. I will be able to see exactly how much water I have, I will be less likely to loose water and it will free up space inside my pack for other things (which may or may not be a good thing).
I am also seriously considering a new pack because of the waist belt issue. I am looking into the ULA OHM 2.0 backpack as a replacement. I am going backpacking again this weekend on the LSHT and I am going to try some other things out with my current pack to see if I can get it dialed in. If not, then I will be selling my Osprey pack and a new pack will be my next purchase.
All you really need to fix your waist belt issue is more ice cream. Or beer. If you decide to sell your Exos I might be interested.