what a wondrous catchphrase! Here in the hottest day of the
year yet water, and more specifically my rehydration came to
mind.. this is somewhat unsurprising as it's over 30degC in
the office and I'm working with no air conditioning having just
returned from commuting around town on my mountain bike.
many? I own three different CamelBaks, one for cycling (the
Ventoux), one for skirmishing (the Thermobak), and one for day
to day use, as and when needed (the Hydrobak).
From the left, the HydroBak, ThermoBak and
to say MrsArnie can't quite see my reasoning for so much gear,
but let me explain..
a brief history: Whilst researching the material for this
article I discovered that CamelBak will be 10 years old in August
this year. Michael Edison the man behind CamelBak came up with
the idea after competing in the "Hotter 'N Hell" cycle
race in Texas. Fed up with fumbling for drink bottles during
the race he set to work with his tools and came up the first
CamelBak. Consisting of no more than an I.V. bag wedged into
a bike sock with some metal piping, stitched to the back of
a T-shirt! The name? Well it was given the impromptu name buy
its creator for it's "hump like shape on the cyclist's
back". Today the same simple concept is behind the
CamelBak range, although you'll find the hydration systems have
been built into bags and apparel somewhat better looking that
socks and old T-shirts ^_^. (source CamelBak
large main compartment is suitable for everyday items from groceries
to work files. The Ventoux includes an integral helmet holder
and air channel back panel with internal frame sheet for versatility
and anatomic comfort. Should you get caught out in the rain,
don't worry as there's also a raincover included in the lower
pocket to keep your CamelBak's contents clean and dry. 3 litre
hydration capacity, 25 litre cargo capacity.
or die: It's a good motto, and one that drives the real
need for this gear. When you exercise, no matter what you are
doing you loose body fluids. If you've started to get a headache,
or are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. When you
are dehydrated your energy levels will feel low, your attention
span will be short, and worst case scenario you risk sunstroke.
mention (with research backed figures) that you should have
about one litre of water on you for every hour that you are
exercising. For one hour of exercise you should carry at a minimum
a 40 ounce CamelBak, for two hours, you need two liters (one
70 ounce), three hours of exercise means three liters (a 100
ounce CamelBak system). It may seem a lot, but believe me, through
experience you really do need it.
in general: So what is a CamelBak? Well each hydration pack
is based on the same underlying very simple system. You have
a reservoir which is a plastic water tight bag, with a pipe
at the bottom and a refilling cap at the top. This pipe goes
to the shoulder area, and has a bit-nozzle at the end of it.
Biting down lightly on the nozzle dispenses water into the user's
mouth. The very simple physics of the packs allow almost all
of the water in the system to be drained in this way.
somewhat worried that the packs might burst if I fell of rolled
on them. Well you don't have to be worried, shy of being shot
these packs are fairly bomb proof. Backpacker Magazine in their
own tests actually drove Toyota truck over a fully filled CamelBak,
and it survived.
I'm not doing that with mine (I paid for these suckers), but
if you don't believe me, here's a video
of the test that was done by the aforementioned magazine.
recommend keeping a full one in the fridge ready to go, and
to be honest it's a good idea that I'd never thought of. Not
only does the cool inhibit bacterial growth, you also have cold
water ready to go out with you on the move. Remember that all
the CamelBak hydration systems are insulated in some way, the
fill openings are actually designed so that you can add your
own ice to the pack too.
useful hints are you can use Gatorade (or some other similar
mixable sports drink) for a slightly different drink on the
move. Gatorade or similar also helps stop the pack freezing
up if you use the CamelBak under extreme circumstances.
packs fit snugly to the body and are therefore easier and more
comfortable to carry than a standard canteen or water bottle,
they are also easier (and safer) to drink from on the move.
CamelBaks do not fill up with air as they dispense fluid, so
will not slosh around on the move. When your cycling this is
a real bonus, and out skirmishing the less noise you make moving
When you get your CamelBak for the first time it needs to
be washed through and sterilized before use. With mine I tend
to wash them through completely a good few times to get rid
of the plastic taste. I'd recommend washing it through twice
completely, then filling and leaving full for a period, and
up is the bite nozzle. This comes sealed when you get it. Don't
cut it open! The nozzle needs a perfect sealing gap so as
to stay water tight. Instead roll the piece between your fingers
pressing quite hard and you'll see a little tear appear. That's
it, you've prepped your feed nozzle.
Filling your CamelBak is easy, firstly completely remove the
reservoir from the bag and the unscrew the fill cap and fill
with water, I'd recommend that you hold the bag by the open
inlet, not the cap. When you reach the top, thread the cap on
gently, and then tilt the cap sideways and gently squeeze the
reservoir until the air has seeped out through the inlet cap
(you'll hear it bubble), when water starts to drip out tighten
up the bag.
This is something you need to do every time you store your CamelBak.
- dry it our. Never store your pack damp or with water in them,
as black mould will grow on the inside, and the only way
to clean it is to dilute some bleach (1 teaspoon to one liter),
and wash it through and use the CamelBak cleaning gear,
which consists of a mop and a pull through pipe cleaner for
the feed pipe. After washing through with the bleach you'll
need to rinse the pak our several times.
will find that it's difficult to dry out your pack, so I'd recommend
getting the CamelBak hanger/dryer system, which is basically
a plastic expanding hanger that you can hang the reservoir up
with to dry more efficiently.
to say both of these accessories are not standard and need to
be purchased separately. The cleaning pack is a real must, the
hanger can be done without, but it's very useful believe me.
pack: Now you know what I'm talking about, and more specifically
what they do, lets get on with looking at the pack itself.
(NATO: 8465-01-396-9917): The Thermobak is a milspec CamelBak,
with a more rugged Cordura outer, and and easier filling system.
The pack comes with fitted straps which can best folded away
easily to allow the pack to be shackled to webbing easily.
The new standard. You can count on the 3-liter ThermoBak®
to go the extra mile. Its ergonomic design keeps it comfortable
for hours on end. Quick-release straps stow away inside built-in
pockets to allow easy integration with load-bearing equipment
or web harness platforms."
this model you'll find the following features: