Camelbak Packs and Hydration Backpacks
Camelbak packs are great for just about any outdoor adventure. These all in one light weight backpacks feature an integrated and insulated water bladder with a convenient drinking tube and shut off valve that you bite and suck on yet these vales will not leak. The hydration pack models that are made to hold gear have intelligent storage designs with lots of compartments and zip up storage space and plenty of places to clip on a caribiner. Don't confuse a Camelbak with cheaper knock-off hydration packs, a Camelbak may cost a bit more but it is well worth the price and will last a very long time.
There are many different models of Camelbak packs specifically tailored to the needs of hikers, bicycling, outdoor runners, snow sports, hunters and military personnel. You can get a pack that holds a minimal amount of water and gear on upwards to 100 ounces of fluids and a bunch of gear for more than just a day hike. Alternatively if a full sized pack is not what you are looking for you can get a classic Camelbak water bottle to carry around your favorite beverage or water.
Unlike lugging around traditional sport water bottles, a Camelbak hydration pack comes with a built in bladder that is made from a burst resistant and plyable plastic material that is covered by a lifetime warranty. Checkout the video below of the test in the lab on the different Camelbak parts and when they inflated the bladder until it bursts... They are made to take a lot of abuse before failure.
Selecting the right Camelbak
Finding the proper Camelbak pack ultimately depends on the type of outdoor activity you are going to use it for. For outdoor enthusiasts there are three main models of packs for runners, hikers and biking.
Generally you will want to get a hydration pack with some storage and a water bladder because any type of physical activity demands that your body stay very hydrated and being able to peel off and stash a jacket or another piece of clothing when you get too hot will come in extremely handy.
You can use plain water in your Camelbak bladder or fill it up with your favorite sports drink. The hydration packs generally feature a thin insulating pouch to help keep your beverage of choice cool and fresh tasting. After each use remember to fully drain and dry out the water bladder and each month of use you should fully scrub out the bladder using a tiny amount of bleach and water to prevent mold growth... alternatively you can get a cleaning kit specially made to clean your Camelbak.
Packs also come in a bunch of different sizes to meet your gear requirements if needed. So if you plan on carrying a bunch of gear you are going to need a much larger pack. The nice thing about a Camelbak is that they come equipped with lots of zippered compartments and nylon cords to keep your gear well secured and to prevent it from rustling when you move around. Most packs come with several harnesses that go over your shoulders and waist to keep the pack in place so it wont bounce around.
If you are into running the fanny pack sized packs like the Alterra are great and extremely light with ample storage however they generally have a very small water bladder coming in at less than 50 ounces and that is really not enough fluid. So if you plan on running or walking for any great length of time and don't mind the added weight then stepping up to a regular sized hydration pack worn on your back with a 70oz or 100oz water bladder would be a good choice.
There are also special models of Camelbaks designed to fit a women, these models are slimmer in width across the back and the front straps on the pack fit across the chest differently.
Clean Your Camelbak
You need to clean and care for the water bladder that comes with your hydration pack... After many uses the water or sports beverage left over in the bladder is a prime place to start a nice mold colony or at foul the taste of the water you do put in it.
After each use you should thoroughly drain out the entire bladder and drinking tube from any leftover water. If you filled your Camelbak with a sports drink you should first flush it out with clean water then hang upside down to dry with the lid removed.
After a few uses dilute some bleach and water and fill up the bladder, this will inhibit any mold growth from forming. If in fact you do get mold growing inside the water bladder you should get a specially made cleaning kit that comes with a special long slender scrubbing brush that will fit inside and down the drinking tube to clean it out.
Camelbak has a large variety of different makes and models for just about any outdoor adventure you can think of including hiking, biking, running, sno sports and more. Here is a quick run down of the more popular Camelbak models:
Camelbak Thermobak - The original looking Camelbak with a simple functional insulated water bladder without any kind of storage.
Camelbak HAWG - Hold a lots of fluids and quite a bit of storage space. Comes in a variety of colours.
Camelbak MULE - Like the HAWG but a bit sleeker with narrow designs specifically made for bicycling.
Camlebak Stealth - Black in color, big beast reservoir with the big bite valve.
Camelbak Octane - A nice pack with ample storage and a moderately sized 70oz water bladder. Lots of fasterners to keep the storage area snug but also unzips for extra storage capacity when needed.
Alpine Explorer, Rim Runner, Cloud Walker and Trail Blazer models are all very similar in design and features for general outdoor activities.
Camelbak also make several lines of law enforcement and military grade hydration packs as well that can be ordered in camo, gray and black colours. If you are into hunting there is a line of packs made specifically for hunters with lots of storage space.