How to Use a CamelBak Hydration Pack

How to Use a CamelBakCamelBaks provide an excellent way to stay hydrated during outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, or cycling. Rather than carrying a large water bottle or canteen, you can simply strap a CamelBak hydration pack across your back. Learning how to use a CamelBak will help make it easier for you to carry water and stay hydrated during all of your outdoor adventures.

Instructions for Using a CamelBak

Difficulty: Easy

Filling and Drinking From a CamelBak

Things You’ll Need:
  • CamelBak hydration pack
  • Water
  • Hot water for rinsing
  • Bleach for cleaning
  • Paper towel for drying
Step 1
Unzip the outer backpack portion of the CamelBak and remove the inner bladder.
Step 2
Unscrew the top of the water bladder to open it. (If you find this difficult and are wondering how to open the lid, the lid may have been screwed on too tight the last time it was used. Some users recommend applying a small amount of canola oil to the ring before closing it in order to make it a bit easier to unscrew the cap.)
Step 3
Fill the bladder with water. You may want to add a few ice cubes through the top to keep the water cool. Alternately, you could half-fill it the day before and allow it to freeze overnight. Fill to the top with water before heading out the next day.  
Step 4
Screw the top back on and place bladder back inside the outer backpack portion and position the tube straw in the location you prefer for easiest access and clip in place.
Step 5
Put the CamelBak on. CamelBaks are generally worn on the back although some people prefer to wear them on the front. If it is worn on the back, the straw will come down over your shoulder for easy access.
Step 6
Bite down on the bite valve and drink from the straw. (If you have difficulty drawing water through the bite valve, the manufacturer recommends that you squeeze it, then use the tips of your fingers to roll and squeeze. It may also be helpful to soak it in warm water.)

Basic CamelBak Cleaning

Step 1
Rinse out the CamelBak with hot water after every use.
Step 2
Add 1 tsp. of bleach to a full bladder for a thorough cleaning.
Step 3
Rinse the water bladder thoroughly with hot water.
Step 4
Dry the bladder with a wadded-up paper towel. Prop it open to allow to any remaining water to air dry. Make sure the bladder is thoroughly dry before replacing the lid.

Thoroughly Cleaning a CamelBak

Your CamelBak will occasionally require a more thorough cleaning. When it's time to disassemble the unit for cleaning as well as clean the fabric exterior, following more detailed instructions for how to clean a CamelBak. You may want to periodically use CamelBak cleaning tabs to help keep the water reservoir odor-free and thoroughly clean.  

Tips & Warnings

If you have a brand new CamelBak, be sure to follow the manufacturer'sinstructions for how to use a CamelBak for the first time. You'll need to rinse every part thoroughly, including washing the reservoir with mild soap. 
If water from your CamelBak smells or tastes funny, mix 1 tsp. of baking soda in a full bladder of water and leave it overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly prior to using again.
CamelBak products are covered by a lifetime warranty, so be sure to reach out to the manufacturer if your unit has issues beyond those that can be handled via basic cleaning and maintenance. Depending on the situation, the company may provide replacement parts or a full warranty assessment.  

Easily Stay Hydrated During Outdoor Activities

A CamelBak is a great accessory to enhance your outdoor adventures. In addition to making it easier to carry water than using a water bottle, some hikers tend to drink more water when using a CamelBak. This is due to the simple fact that you don't have to stop and unscrew a cap to get a drink. Simply reach up and grab the straw to get a sip of water when you need it. Whether you enjoy hiking, cycling, running, kayaking, boating, backpacking, or any of dozens of other activities, you'll benefit from learning how to use a quality hydration pack such as the CamelBak.


Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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