When riding routes with limited services such as trails or out of the way road routes, I use a hydration pack. On rough trails it is hard to keep my water bottles in the cages and they tend to get dirty. Using a hydration pack instead of water bottles solves these problems for me. On out of the way road routes when I am unsure about available services, I use water bottles in combination with a hydration pack.
Even in areas where water is generally plentiful, such as cycling along the C&O canal where the National Parks Service treats the water at the campsites with iodine to keep it safe to drink, a hydro pack is invaluable. I can tell you from first-hand experience that you would have to be very thirsty to acquire a taste for iodine treated water.
Also, if you are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to fill your hydration pack with ice from a hotel or restaurant ice machine, it will provide cool water to sip until the next fill-up. Don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve found that when I’ve asked, few eateries will turn down filling a touring cyclist’s hydration pack with ice. In fact, I’ve had some offer before I’ve had a chance to ask.
Updated April 25, 2018