I’m going to buy a camel back this weekend, and I was wondering if there’s things in particular I should look for/look out for?

For me there were two deciding factors: How much water do you want to carry and how much storage volume do you want?

I elected to get a Platypus Thunderhead, a larger hydration pack. It came with a 3L/100oz bladder and has enough room to carry a second bladder. I have nothing against Camelbak but the Playtpus was on sale and Camelback seems to be premium priced.

One thing I would look for is a quality bite valve like a Platypus or Camelbak. I’ve bought cheap hydration packs for the kids and on at least one of them the bite valve has failed. Doesn’t make much sense to buy a cheap set-up then spend extra for a new bladder.

Edit: Also look for good waist and chest straps. You’ll want a good fit so it doesn’t bounce around when doing Muni Trials.

unless you’ll be riding very little offroad, and not for more than an hour and a half or so, go w/ a 100 oz reservior, at worst u can just fill it up half way for a short ride, but if you ever go on a hot, 3 hr ride, you’ll be glad you have 100oz

then the deciding factor is cargo space
camelback has some cool packs that carry armor, but if you’re not into muni, then just get one w/ enough room to carry tools, spare tube, and maybe a jacket or another layer

I don’t know much about camel packs, I got my camelbak in a sale and it’s great. The thing I appreciate most is that the water in the bladder stays cool, even when it’s really sunny and I’m really hot. So I assume it has something in the fabric or whatever that keeps it cool. I’d make sure your camel pack had that.


One option is to get two hydration packs. One smaller capacity waist mount pack like the Camelbak FlashFlo and a larger capacity backpack style like the Camelbak MULE.

Use the waist pack (bum bag) for shorter rides and the backpack for longer rides or rides during the humid season.

There are other brands than CamelBak, but CamelBak is the easiest to get and generally of good quality and design.

Personally I use a Platypus brand, which is a bladder that fits inside a normal rucksack rather than being an entire system like the CamelBak. I have a Dakine Helipack (snowboarding) rucksack which has a mesh bag inside to hold the bladder upright and routing through one of the shoulder straps to get the pipe to your mouth. The camelback rucksacks always looked a bit insubstantial to me, with my setup you can easily strap a 24" Muni on the back with the built in straps and walk round comfortably with it all day (as i had to do recently, in the middle of London), or carry enough stuff for a full day’s riding in hazardous conditions (i.e. spare clothes, first aid etc.). The platypus i use is a 2.5 litre with the full opening top, this is a useful feature as it allows you to clean and dry the thing much more easily, and you can put ice cubes in it if you want.

Oh I like this. I’ve often felt that using my camelbak for riding 6 or 7 miles was a bit of overkill. But I also need to take a drink. I’m going to get one.


there is a big price jump between the 70oz and 100oz hydration systems, but a price jump i was happy about (and i have bought 2)

MEC has cheaper versions than the camelback, i’m sure they are just as good.

don’t cheap out on it for the expense of less cargo space, perhaps less sealable pockets, and for doing things like night riding, you would hate for your light bettery to be the only thing you could carry in your pack.

hydration packs last for years, the price is soon forgotten

I have a camelback MULE and a Blowfish. I think you would be happy with the MULE, or the MEC equiv.

holy crap, this is only 50 bucks! http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT<>prd_id=845524442617927&FOLDER<>folder_id=2534374302693295&bmUID=1146953082428

im getting a mule from my lbs. 3l capacity, 28cu.inch acapcity for tools and such

Personally I find Camelbacks overrated.
If I’m out on a long ride and I’m thirsty, I’ll stop, take a break and pull out a bottle of Tesco Isotonic drink from my rucksack.
Is it really that important that you have to drink and keep moving at the same time?
Not to me.
But hey, that’s just my $0.02.

it is if you are racing, or you want to keep up your heart rate, or you want to limit the times you have to put back on a cold wet back pack, or if you want to carry 3L of water with you and sip it a sip at a time over several hours

Points duly noted and a respectful doff of the hat given if you are a racer.
I can only speak from my mountain biking experience here.
I remember taking a week off to cycle from Swansea to Snowdonia in the summer time.
It took me two days to do the 120 miles, and I think I stopped for a drink on four seperate occasions.
Then I spent the rest of the week cycling around Coed-Y-Brenin (maybe cathwood knows it) and on each day, maybe I stopped for a drink twice.
3 litres?
Waaay to much liquid!

Is that pillow talk or somethin?

No. No prison slang there.
I just find camelbacks a bit of an elitist luxury.
But hey.
Whatever floats your boat!
Go with what you like.
Me, I’m happy with Acme bottles of fizzy energy.
I cycle 20 miles a day back and fore to work and have never felt thirsty during any of my trips.

A simple Army of Darkness reference :slight_smile:

DOH! Missed that one.
Will have to watch the trilogy again as penance.

Now, now… this is a thread about hydration, not diarrhea.

I think being able to keep your hydration level constant, rather than it going up and down as you ride until you’re thirsty then guzzle a load of drink is quite important in increasing your comfort while riding. When it’s hot and you’re riding hard you need that much liquid in a long day, expecially if you need some spare in case of emergencies i.e. if you are riding in really mountainous terrain.


I noticed in another thread that keeping water bladders clean and fresh is apparently a bit of a problem when not in use. Try potassium metabisulfite otherwise known as Camden tablets dissolved in water. This product is sold in shops catering to wine makers and is used to sterilize wine making equipment.
I am a winemaker among other hobbies and I use Camden tablets or bulk potassium metabisulfite to store plastic wine drums when not in use. I have stored drums for up to 6 months qnd no “yuccky stuff” grew in them in the off season.
For water containers etc. use camden tablets for convenience. crush two tabs and mix in a gallon of water; pour in the vessle tp be kept clean and store. When ready to use again rinse thorouthly and fill with water or whatever.

The Camelbak is worth it ove the cheaper imitations for tow reasons, the big opening that you can fit oyur hand inside to clean, and the nicer bite valve. Soem fo the otehr high end packs have these as well, they are worth the extra expense. Also I only got a 70oz and I am wishing i’d spent a little more for 100. Get the 100.