Infantry: August 26, 2005

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Although combat troops have eagerly adopted the camelback hydration system, in place of the traditional canteen, especially for use in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force is conducting a scientific test to see just how superior the new system is. The camelback hydration system is basically a plastic pouch that holds one or more quarts of water, and is carried on the upper back. The user drinks water via a flexible plastic tube. Hikers and hunters like it, and have long used it, because they can take a drink without using their hands to get out a canteen, open it, take a drink, screw the cap back on and replace it in its pouch. Combat troops are particularly keen on the ease-of-use aspect. Fumbling for your canteen in a combat zone can have fatal consequences. 

The air force test is having randomly selected basic training troops use either the traditional canteen, or a camelback system. The airmen will be interviewed to collect their experiences with both systems, and, eventually, quantify the clear superiority of the camelback system. The study may also come up with suggestions for improving the military version of the camelback. The trainees will also have their performance records examined, as anecdotal evidence indicates that the camelback using trainees have fewer dehydration problems, and health problems in general. 

 


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