What’s a CamelBak®?

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Water backpacks, also known as CamelBaks, were created to provide hydration for mountain bikers and motocross riders who need to keep their hands on the handlebars. They consist of a flexible reservoir inside a backpack, with a bite valve connected to a plastic tube for easy access to water. The term “CamelBak” is specific to the brand, but the concept has been applied to other sports like trail running, skiing, and hiking.

As outdoor activities like mountain biking and motocross increased in popularity, the need for better hydration methods arose. Since both types of riders need to keep their hands on the handlebars as much as possible for optimal control of their respective cycles, getting to water bottles without losing control has become increasingly difficult. Thus, the water backpack was born.

A water pack is a hydration system that allows the wearer to access water supplies without using their hands. This is accomplished via a bite valve connected to a gravity fed plastic tube from a flexible reservoir. These have come to be commonly known as CamelBak® due to the most famous company for manufacturing water backpacks, Camelbak Products, LLC.

A CamelBak® uses a flexible plastic tank to hold water. The tank is then placed inside a specially designed backpack – backpacks come in all different shapes and sizes and come standard with different features depending on the make and intended use. When a user places the pack on their back, the CamelBak®’s flexible reservoir conforms to the wearer’s body. A plastic drinking tube connects the tank to a bite valve — a mouthpiece that the wearer can bite on gently to release the flow of water. Some bite valves on CamelBak® style backpacks have shutoff valves that restrict water flow when not in use.

Camelback is a generic term that is used, colloquially, to refer to any hydration system. However, the CamelBak® name is specific only to CamelBak® branded backpacks and hydration systems. After CamelBak® backpacks became popular with mountain bikers and motocross enthusiasts, recreationists of other sports found the concept appealing and began applying Camelback hydration systems to their own sports, such as trail running, skiing , snowboarding and hiking. Several brands of camelback-style hydration systems, including CamelBak®, have met the demand by designing backpacks specifically for those activities and many more.

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