A Tale of Two Hydration Tubes

Watch this video from Bergmann first.

At about 17 seconds in, you’ll see his scout pack with a green drink tube.  I found this interesting, because later, you will see he’s attached it to a 2 quart USGI surplus collapsible canteen with what looked like a modification of an old NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) canteen cap.  I was curious, as I happened to have a couple of the old NBC canteen caps that fit both the 1 & 2 quart canteens as well as an old drink tube from a unserviceable camelbak bladder.  Actually, I did it backwards — I should have contacted Bergmann first and saved myself the hassle, but it worked out great in the end.

To make one, the thing to figure out was how to convert the cap to allow the drink tube to pass through far enough to reach the bottom of the canteen and still have a seal against water leaks and debris getting into the works.  So, I got my multi-tool out and pulled out the hard rubber plug and steel valve that activates the flow when attached to the drink tubes from either the M17 or M40 series gas masks.  What was left was a soft rubber nipple about 2 inches long inside the cap.  I cut off the end so it would be snug around the hydration tube, and then, before inserting the tube, measured how long the tube had to be to reach the bottom of the canteen and stripped the insulation (PITA as you need to be very careful to not cut the drink tube) far enough to allow it to be covered outside the canteen, but bare inside the canteen.

And, voila!  

 

The homemade tube is on the top; the Brigade Quartermaster tube is on the bottom.  I made mine well before the BQM link/model arrived; it’s not that difficult to reverse engineer.  Lastly, I added about .75 cents worth of marine silicone to seal the top, so with parts already on hand, and about a half hour, not counting letting the silicone cure for a few days, I was finished.

In this picture, you can see there was quite a void after taking out the hard rubber plug, so to keep debris out, it had to be filled with something.  The flexible marine silicone does the trick.

This shot is from the bottom, where you can see I cut the nipple so the hole would stretch around the drink tube giving me a fairly good seal.  All in all, getting the inspiration from Bergmann’s video, it worked out ok, but I did it backwards, I should have contact him about it first and see if he had a source for pre-made or if he did it himself.

Bergmann is a very courteous man, and during our email exchange, quickly told me he bought his from Brigade Quartermasters and sent me the link, which is provided for you, here.  I bought one for $15 ($23 if you add in shipping) to basically compare/contrast and have a spare.

Bergmann also uses 2 quart collapsible canteens; he trusts them more than hydration bladders, which is a smart move in Alaska, as there will be no sloshing noise when he is moving as there would be with a rigid canteen.  I decided to use 1 quart collapsible canteens, also USGI surplus, that cost about $7 each if you look around.

He scouts long, long distances in the mountains of Alaska, and needs that gallon of water at his elevation levels to stay hydrated.  I’m much lower, in flat to slightly (VERY slightly) hilly ground, and also carry a 100 ounce hydration bladder in mine during spring, summer and fall.  I’m covered, pretty much.

The BQM model is very well built, ready to go, and has a forest (almost bright) green sleeve on the tube.  I might have a woodland pattern sleeve around somewhere to slip over it because I don’t like the bright green, but that’s me.  Don’t know if will matter much.

Now, compare the homemade version to the Brigade Quartermaster version that’s been around since the early 90’s.  Still available today.  It also has has a nice little stopper attached in case you want to take the tube out and use it as a ‘normal’ canteen cap.

Here’s the two side by side.

So, there you go.  If you don’t like taking your canteens off your belt every time you want a drink, consider either making or buying a canteen drink tube kit.

 

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