How to Shorten Your Reservoir Hose

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hiker considering the length of his hose, hmm

Hose too long? Here’s the fix.

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Shortening your hydration pack tube is easy to to do. It’s a super quick win for smoother hikes. Here’s how to trim your hydration hose.

If you’ve ever found yourself wrestling with a wayward hydration pack tube during a hike, you’re not alone. It’s a common plight among outdoor enthusiasts, but the solution is surprisingly simple and swift—shortening the tube.

I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to realize I could even do this! You mean we can simply cut a piece of plastic tubing to fit properly? Incredible!

But judging by how much Excessive Dangle Floppage (EDF) I see on the trail, I’m not the only one. You can do this project in a minute or two and enjoy every future hike just that little bit more.

Here’s how to trim your hydration hose to the correct length.

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How do you shorten a hydration pack tube?

I use an Osprey hydration reservoir but the process will be the same for any similarly-structured hose system.

What You’ll Need:

  • A pair of sharp scissors or a utility knife
  • Your hydration pack


  1. Remove the Bite Valve: Start by gently pulling and twisting the bite valve off the tube. Most models, like my trusty Osprey, are designed to detach with minimal fuss.
  2. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Before cutting, wear your pack and estimate the necessary tube length that allows you to drink comfortably without excess slack. Mark your cutting point with a pen.
  3. Make the Cut: With your cutting tool, slice through the tube at the marked spot. Be sure to cut as straight as possible to avoid leaks.
  4. Reattach and Adjust: Push the bite valve back onto the newly cut tube end. Give it a firm twist to secure it in place, ensuring the valve points conveniently towards your mouth.
  5. Field Test: Don your pack and take a test sip. The tube should be long enough to reach your mouth effortlessly but short enough to stay out of your way. If it’s still too long, repeat the process, removing smaller sections to fine-tune the length.
  6. Secure the Tube: Once you’re happy with the length, ensure the tube is securely fastened to your pack’s shoulder straps. This will keep it in place and prevent any future EDF incidents.
  7. Celebrate Your Success: Stand back and admire the sleek look of your hydration pack without the unruly tube. Your future self will thank you on your next hike.

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Visual Guide to Trimming Your Hose

First, simply pull out the entire bite valve. This might require a little twisting and turning, but the whole valve should come out as one unit. Like this…

hydration bladder bite valve in human hand
Reservoir bite valve

Next get some snips or a sharp knife

hiker holding orange snips
Snip snip

You can either put on your backpack and mark the place on the hydration hose you’re going to cut (as shown in the Osprey video below) — or, like me, you can simply cut off small sections until you get to the right fit for you…

hand holding small pieces of hydration reservoir hose
Hose snippets

Reattach the bite valve by pushing hard and twisting gently.

Twist until the bite valve faces in a sensible direction: upward, outward, or toward your mouth; not downwards or toward your chest.

Admire your handy work…

hiker considering his shortened hose
Handy work complete

That’s it! You did it! Well done.

happy hiker with perfect hose
One Happy Hiker

On the trail, you won’t suck less. You won’t suck more. You’ll just suck better.

Video Help…

Here’s a short video direct from Osprey to walk you through it all…


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Check out this list of tutorials on this website.

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