Camelbak owners - tips/tricks/observations

I recently bought a 2 liter Camelbak. So far, I love it. I fill the reservoir with ice, then water. I’ve used it kayaking, hiking, and just cutting the grass. But it came without any paperwork. So I checked the Camelbak website and see that I’m supposed to clean the tubing and bladder with special tools and chemicals.

What do y’all think? Have you sipped anything other than H2O? Do you clean it as directed? Any tips?

I’ve learned my lesson with cycling water bottles: nothing but water. When you let cytomax or gatorade ferment in the bottle for a day or two in the heat things just get funky. So nothing but water in my camelback. If I haven’t used it in a while I’ll fill it with a bleach solution for a few hours, making sure to let some of the solution run through the tube. That’s all the care I’ve ever needed to give it.

Stick with only water in your camelbak, empty it and hang it to dry in between uses, and you should be pretty much OK. I’ve never had to clean one that we did that with.

You will get mold in the bladder and hoses if you leave a wet camelbak sitting around - either keep it full so the plastic doesn’t touch anywhere (if using it daily), or empty it and hang it properly to dry throughout.

I usually just swish dish soap and then bleach around in them to clean up when they mold.

We usually use tap water in the camelbaks, even though I generally won’t drink tapwater (tastes nasty to me), to reduce this problem (the chlorine keeps the mold down).

They’re a real pain to clean if you put energy drinks in. And I never have gotten the wine taste out of that one…

I do as above, but not with dish soap and chlorine. I have some sort of ‘safe’ low-suds soap that is used on scuba regulators.

Thanks, guys. I kinda figured to use water only. My neighbor gave me a strange look when I was mowing last week. I think she had no idea what the contraption was on my back; maybe she thought the line carried oxygen.:smiley:

Good topic- any runners here use one? I’ve often thought about getting one for running, because on my long distance runs (like 15 miles or more, especially in the summer heat/humidity) I usually carry a water bottle in each hand and stash them within the first couple miles. Then I have to map out a course that will allow me to periodically double back frequently enough to grab the bottle and drink. Which sucks, frankly. Would be much easier if I could carry it with me, but carrying water bottles is a pain and those fanny pack things that allow you to carry a couple on your hips just throw off my balance and cadence.

Are the Camelbaks a worthwhile solution?

Wow, surprised no one mentioned this yet…

I store my bladder in the freezer, about 1/4 full of tap-water. Freezer = no bacteria. When I need to use it, I remove it from the freezer and run some hot water over the hose/nozzle to break up any ice there. Then I fill the bladder and believe me, that big ice cube keeps the water nice and chilly all day long.


McNew, IANAR, but my gf used to run/train for marathons and she likes the idea.

MeanJoe–thanks for the idea! I will try it this weekend. Also, thanks again for the idea about the direction/distance arrow sign. It is on my fall project list.

Damn, that’s a terrific idea! Now I just have to find space in my freezer…

I think the problem with using one for running is that they’d bounce around with your motion. So it depends on how much that’d bother you. They do come with sternum and belly straps if you get the right model, which might help. They’re the bees knees for biking or just walking around, though.

I’d say to go try one out to see if you liked it - put it on and jog around the store or something. Maybe toss something in to give it a little weight. 70 ounces of water would be about 4 pounds.

One can also make ice cubes with, say, margarita mix.

Just sayin’.

Also, that Bloody Mary mix was surprisingly good for being store-bought.

I like the cut of your jib.

I’ve used bloody mary mix to replace 3/4 of the water in Italian Bread recipes. Mmmmm.

I got a new CamelBak Chaos, and it came with a reservoir made with antibacterial plastic (the blue bladder).

Water only, empty it after a ride, and stick it in the freezer.

I use my boot dryer (a fan that blows air through finger diameter tubes) to dry the bladder.

bike rider here - also belong to the ‘only water’ school. My brother recently bought a camelbak and asked how often I cleaned mine. I just looked at him in shock. I had been using mine for 3 years and hadn’t washed it out yet. Pretty much at the end of each ride, I filled it up and was ready to go for the next one.

If your planning on using it in cold weather… say skiing (thats how I use mine) make sure the camelpak you have has an insulated tube. Or just sew a think piece of cloth around the tube so it is insulated a little bit. Other wise the water in the tube freezes and you can’t get to the water. (It only took me 3 trips to the mountain with the camelpak to figure that out :smack: )

In college, we would wear them under hooded sweatshirts to football games. They were usually filled with bourbon, and rinsing them out with water seemed to do the trick.

I have one and use it for cycling and skiing. The only problem with using it for skiing, as Superfreaknduper said, is that it can freeze up - it helps if you pinch the mouthpiece and let the water drain back out of the tube, but the mouthpiece can still freeze up. After using it in -20C temperatures in the Alps this winter, the rubber of the mouthpiece split a little: I don’t think it stays flexible enough when it gets really cold.

I hadn’t cleaned it out (other than rinsing it) until a few weeks ago, when I left it with a bit of water in and loads of black mould grew in the tube and mouthpiece. A friend of mine has all the cleaning kit though - a bottle brush for the main pouch and a long thin flexible brush that cleans out the pipe.

I love the freezer idea, though, and will have to try it.

I haven’t used mine for several years, but back in the day, I had no problem with putting Cytomax in it. I’d fill the reservoir about half way with water, add the Cytomax powder, and mix it up thoroughly before adding the rest of the water. When I got home, I’d rinse it out the same way using baking soda instead of Cytomax, then hang it up to dry. Never once got smelly or tasted odd. Although I did have two reservoirs - one for Cytomax, and one for water only.

My pleasure, you’ll have to post pictures of the sign-post when it is complete!