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Best CamelBak Backpacks

last updated Dec 14, 2018

The name CamelBak is synonymous with hydration backpacks. A hydration backpack essentially has an in-built pouch called a bladder, and this bladder is a storage or reservoir of water and enables easy and simple access to drinking water when you are on the move.  CamelBak backpacks are a great accessory to add to your gear and are commonly used amongst experienced runners, hikers, and cyclists, but anyone looking to have hands free access to water should look into investing into a CamelBak. CamelBak is a company that prides themselves on the quality and ease of their products, and if you are in the market for a hydration backpack, CamelBak is definitely a company to check out.

Researched Sources
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Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
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Hours Researching
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Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
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By Melissa Coleiro:

This buying guide of CamelBak Backpacks has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed CamelBak Backpacks to keep you hydrated on your next run or outdoor adventure. A CamelBak Backpack to keep your eye on is the CamelBak Rouge. We love this addition because it is highly rated, affordable, has a variety of colours, and has great visibility.

Sorting Options
Capacity Fit Breathability Use By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Capacity
98%
Fit
97%
Breathability
98%
Use
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$70.84
See Deal
$74.99
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
Capacity
96%
Fit
97%
Breathability
96%
Use
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$44.84
See Deal
$69.00
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Capacity
93%
Fit
94%
Breathability
95%
Use
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Capacity
90%
Fit
89%
Breathability
90%
Use
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$64.34
See Deal
$68.99
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Capacity
88%
Fit
89%
Breathability
88%
Use
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$83.99
See Deal
$84.94
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Capacity
86%
Fit
87%
Breathability
87%
Use
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Capacity
84%
Fit
85%
Breathability
85%
Use
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.3
Fit
82%
Breathability
83%
Use
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$111.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
Fit
81%
Breathability
80%
Use
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$63.99
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Capacity
78%
Fit
79%
Breathability
78%
Use
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$103.34
See Deal
$179.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • CamelBak M.U.L.E.
  • CamelBak Rogue
  • CamelBak Classic
  • CamelBak Lobo
  • CamelBak Cloud Walker 18
  • CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids
  • CamelBak Women's Daystar 16
  • CamelBak 2018 Fourteener 24
  • CamelBak Arete 18
  • Camelbak BFM Desert Camo
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. CamelBak M.U.L.E.

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
CamelBak M.U.L.E.
Capacity
98
Fit
97
Breathability
98
Use
98
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$74.99
$70.84
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Pros:

Reasonable price

Variety of colors

Excellent breathability

Cons:

Not the easiest to wash and clean

This has been one of CamelBak’s best selling hydration backpacks with good reason. It is an ideal mix of quality, aesthetic appeal and class. The best part is that it will not burn a hole in your pocket. While its primary use is intended for mountain biking, you could just as well use it for virtually any other outdoor activity including hiking, jogging etc.

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Price:

It is a decent price to way for a backpack as good as this with a CamelBak tag. Moreover, there are cheaper ones that are available in other colors. The price mentioned is for theimpressiveCharcoal/Atomic/Barbados color.

Wide range of colors:

The 2016 M.U.L.E is available in myriad colors namely, Barbados Cherry, Charcoal, Charcoal/Andean Toucan, Charcoal/Atomic/Barbados, Charcoal White, Electric Blue, Imperial Blue/Charcoal and Parisian Night/exuberance. Each color is impressive in its own way and you will have a pleasant headache trying to choose between them!

Storage capacity:
At 11 liters, the storage capacity is excellent.

Weight:
It weighs only 1.1 pounds; this is one of its best features.

Unisex product:
This hydration pack is for all sexes.

Reservoir capacity:
101.4 fluid ounces

Excellent breathability:

The various air channels in the back panel offer tremendous breathability. This ensures that your back is kept well ventilated and cool at all times.

Good Visibility:

Likewise, every path you take will not have great lighting. It is imperative that visibility is ensured in bad light. Reflective accents do just that and ensure that you never have issues with visibility.

Exterior pockets:
There are as many as 5 exterior pockets.

Lifetime guarantee:
This comes with a typical Camelbak lifetime guarantee. You can rest easy knowing that any manufacturing or functional defects will be looked at.

2. CamelBak Rogue

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.3
CamelBak Rogue
Capacity
96
Fit
97
Breathability
96
Use
96
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$69.00
$44.84
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Pros:

Great value for money

Variety of colors

Good visibility

Cons:

Tube is not CamelBak’s best in terms of quick release

This impressive cycling hydration backpack is aimed parimarily at those who are looking for slightly cheaper options. The CamelBak quality is ever present so you need not worry about there being a compromise between quality and price. There is a 2017 version of this, but this one is considerably better. Remember to double check when you buy; the model that comes later is not always an upgrade or better.

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Price:

It is very affordable and for its quality, it is great value for money.

Colors:

It is available in 4 colors namely, black, lemon green, pure blue and racing red. You’ll never be short of options to choose from.

Storage:

3.3 liters. Not the highest storage capacity you will find, but given the price range it is quite decent.

Material:
It is completely made of nylon.

Weight:
At 0.9 pounds this is extremely convenient to carry around.

Reservoir capacity:
70 fluid ounces

Unisex backpack:
This backpack is for all sexes.

Pockets:
There are three pockets in all including two exterior pockets and one internal pocket.

3. CamelBak Classic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
CamelBak Classic
Capacity
93
Fit
94
Breathability
95
Use
94
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Pros:

Low price

Unisex

Variety of colors

Cons:

The tube is slightly small

This is a CamelBak classic in more ways than just the name. It has been designed for both men and women and is primarily aimed at cyclists. Its compactness makes it an ideal companion for short distance rides.

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Price:

It is as good as it gets for a CamelBak classic. Admittedly it is not the biggest hydration pack in terms of capacity, but it is still worth the money. As with the earlier models discussed, the price varies slightly depending on the color chosen. This price is for the racing red color.

Colors:

It is available in four colours namely, black, lemon green, pure blue and racing red. Choose the one which most catches your fancy. Aesthetically speaking, the lemon green one looks the best (and it also happens to be the most expensive of the bunch).

Storage capacity:

At 2 liters it is slightly on the lower side, but given the price and given the fact that its compactness is one of its plus points, it is ideal for people intending to use it for short distances.

Reservoir capacity:
70 fluid ounces

Weight:
It is lightweight, it weighs only 0.8 pounds.

Unisex:
The Classic is suitable for both men and women.

Efficient:

It comes equipped with a quick release flap for optimal efficiency.

Front pocket:

There is a small pocket at the front in order for you to keep all your essentials safe.

Well ventilated:

The air mesh is extremely well ventilated. This gives the hydration pack great breathability which is so essential for backpacks.

4. CamelBak Lobo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
CamelBak Lobo
Capacity
90
Fit
89
Breathability
90
Use
90
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$68.99
$64.34
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Pros:

6 colors

Unisex

Good breathability

Cons:

Storage could be slightly higher for the price

If you seek a top notch CamelBak hydration backpack for mountain biking and external filling is one of your top priorities then the 2016 Lobo should be among your top choices. This is also a good option if you are not looking to carry around a lot of gear.

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Price:

The 2016 Lobo will set you back by a very affordable price. All things considered, that is a decent deal.

Colors:

The 2016 Lobo is available in 6 different colors. They are black, charcoal/white, charcoal/atomic blue, exuberance/charcoal, charcoal/ember and imperial blue/charcoal.

Storage capacity:

At 3 liters the capacity is alright. You could argue that the capacity could be slightly better given the price, but overall it is still quite reasonable.

Unisex:
This has been designed for both men and women.

Breathability:

The back panel has incredible ventilation which allows for a high level of breathability.

Weight:
It is lightweight and easy to carry at 1.1 pounds

External hooks:

The 2016 Lobo has been equipped with external hooks to enable you to carry your helmet whilst you access the hydration backpack.

Secure tube:

The trademark Magnetic Tube Trap ensures that the tube is secure and easily accessible at all times.

Overflow storage compartment:

There is an additional storage compartment for anything you may want to dump.

Good visibility:

The reflective accents account for good visibility and ensure your safety even in bad light.

5. CamelBak Cloud Walker 18

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
CamelBak Cloud Walker 18
Capacity
88
Fit
89
Breathability
88
Use
88
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$84.94
$83.99
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Pros:

Variety of colors

Good ventilation

External attachment points for other equipment

Cons:

Price slightly on the higher side

The Cloud Walker 18 always tends to make the favorite hydration backpack lists of hikers. It has a main pocket and other several ancillary ones to enable to organize your hikes in the most optimal and efficient manner possible. There is a removable reservoir for additional storage capacity which you may use as you see fit, keeping in mind your needs.

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Price:

This is a backpack that is slightly on the higher side considering its capacity. It does have in its favor its magnificent quality, aesthetic appeal, compactness, and ease of use.

Colors:

The Cloud Walker 18 is available in 3 colors namely, charcoal/grecian blue, grecian blue/pumpkin and lichen green/dark citron.

Weight:

It is quite light at 1.3 pounds. This makes it easy and convenient to carry.

Ventilation:

The air mesh is extremely breathable which allows for great ventilation.

External attachment points:

If you wish to attach poles or other equipment to the outside of your backpack, then these external attachment points will come in handy.

For men only:
This Cloud Walker 18 is for men.

Lifetime guarantee:

This comes with a lifetime guarantee which means you need not worry about your money being wasted on a faulty product.

6. CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids
Capacity
86
Fit
87
Breathability
87
Use
87
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Pros:

Good value for money

Lightweight

Fair storage capacity

Cons:

It may not be suitable for adolescents

If you are looking for a CamelBak hydration backpack for the young ones, you need to look no further. The Mini M.U.L.E has many of the qualities of its version for the adults whilst ensuring that the backpack is catered to the needs of the children.

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Price:

It is more or less what you would expect to pay for a backpack such as this of this quality. It is good value for money.

Colors:

Its availability in 4 different colors is certain to get the youngsters excited. They can choose between atomic blue/navy blazer, azalea/aruba blue, baton rouge/flames and black/flames.

Storage capacity:

1.5 liters is close to the ideal storage capacity considering the target consumers.

Weight:

It weighs less than 0.5 pounds. This has clearly been done to ensure that the younger ones are not inconvenienced by an overly heavy hydration pack.

Reservoir capacity:
50 fluid ounces

20% more water per sip:
The all new Crux ensures an additional 20% of water per sip.

Leak prevention:

The on/off lever helps in preventing leaks. Moreover, the nature of the handle makes refilling quick and efficient.

Ventilation:

The air mesh is extremely breathable and ensures a high level of ventilation at all times.

Overflow storage compartment:

This helps in ensuring that you have the option to dump what you will not need.

Safety whistle:

This is the most important feature of the Mini M.U.L.E considering that it is for kids. The whistle is built into the sternum strap and ensures that the child can use it in case of emergencies.

7. CamelBak Women's Daystar 16

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
CamelBak Women's Daystar 16
Capacity
84
Fit
85
Breathability
85
Use
85
best offer for today
Pros:

2.5 Liter water reservoir

Lightweight

Women specific

Cons:

The straps may come into awkward contact with your neck

For a woman who is serious about hydration and the outdoors, this CamelBak Women's Daystar 16 Crux Reservoir Hydration Pack will be her best friend. The newly added crux delivers 20% more per sip, so you can keep your liquids flowing and your speed going while hitting the trails.

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This is the updated version of the original CamelBak Women's Daystar, and it comes with some great bells ans whistles. For example, not only does the crux deliver more water per sip, but the ergonomic design of the handle makes it easy to refill, and the on and off lever that firmly stay in place stop it from leaking.

The back panel is lined with breathable mesh, so that you stay well ventilated and hot air can escape to keep you cooler.

There is a main compartment where you can store bigger items, like sweaters and raincoats. But there is also a smaller front compartment that allows you store smaller ticket items, like snacks, cell phones, and keys.

Because this backpack has been designed with women in mind, it has been engineered with a shorter back panel and an S-curve harness for closure.

8. CamelBak 2018 Fourteener 24

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.3
CamelBak 2018 Fourteener 24
Fit
82
Breathability
83
Use
82
best offer for today
$111.99
Pros:

Durable

Spacious

Good for longer adventures

Cons:

Slightly heavier than other models

The CamelBak 2018 Fourteener 24 hydration pack has come out with an updated new version of it's already fantastic Fourteener. The new version boasts some new additions, though. With a 3 Liter crux reservoir, you can expect a faster flow rate on longer outdoor's adventures.

Read more

The CamelBak 2018 Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack is kind of the creme de la creme of hydration packs. It includes a sizeable main pocket for storage of all your bigger and heavier items, but the outside also includes two stash pockets that can fit many different smaller items. The varied storage areas help you to stay organized.

Not to mention, the new design is ultra clean and sleek looking, and the backpack comes in various colors for purchase.

Because there is an added crux system, the flow rate of liquid is faster, and this backpack has a reservoir of 3 liters for extended trips.

There is also a winged belt system that offers your back some help in carrying the load, and the belt includes to side stash compartments for smaller items.

If you are a hiker who likes to use a pole, they can be easily attached or removed.

9. CamelBak Arete 18

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.3
CamelBak Arete 18
Fit
81
Breathability
80
Use
80
best offer for today
$63.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Compressable

Cons:

Doesn't carry as much water as many others

The CamelBak Arete 18 is a fantastic all-around choice for backpackers, or those who seek to keep their costs down and value high, when looking for a CamelBak hydration system. This backpack is light, comfortable and affordable.

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Like other CamelBaks on this list, the Arete has a crux to offer you 20% of a faster flow rate, an ergonomic handle that allows easy refilling, and an on and off lever that prevents leakage.

This backpack is made with a light nylon ripstop that ensures durability and is relatively light compared to other packs on our list. The Arete folds up nicely and compresses when you wish to pack it into a suitcase or backpack for your next new adventure hot spot.

It holds only 1.5 liters of water, so it is best suited for sightseeing trips around a city or a day hiking trip.

10. Camelbak BFM Desert Camo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.5
Camelbak BFM Desert Camo
Capacity
78
Fit
79
Breathability
78
Use
79
best offer for today
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$179.99
$103.34
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Pros:

Great value for money

Incredible storage capacity

Good reservoir capacity

Cons:

Heavy

This masterpiece is one of CamelBak’s finest. It is made for the long haul. You can every possible thing that you can think of in this and still be left with plenty of space to spare. It is extremely durable as well.

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Price:

It is naturally priced on the higher side given its capacity.

Weight:

5.85 pounds is slightly heavy, but it is understandable given its incredible storage capacity.

Storage capacity:

48 liters, you can virtually pack anything and everything you want!

Reservoir capacity:

The reservoir capacity is 3 liters or about 101 fluid ounces. In addition to this, the BFM has been designed in a way which enables you to pack 6 liters more if necessary (that is a total of 9 liters or about 304 liquid ounces). That is very impressive indeed.

Organizer and radio attachment:

The BFM comes with an organizer and radio attachment to make your life more convenient.

Good breathability:

The back is nicely cushioned which allows for very good ventilation thereby making the BFM breathable at all times.

Multiple storage places:

There are multiple places where you can store things. The main compartment is separate.

Stable load:

There is dual compression which ensures that the load is stable.

OMEG reservoir:
This facilitates easy refilling and cleaning.

Lifetime warranty:

It comes with a lifetime warranty to protect you from manufacturing defects.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Capacity

The crux of a hydration backpack is its reservoir capacity. The amount of fluid/water that your hydration pack is capable of storing should be among the top 2 or 3 criteria at the very least. It is important to remember that a higher reservoir capacity is not always desirable. This is because this generally adds to the weight of the backpack and the heavier the backpack the more inconvenient it becomes to carry. As a rule of the thumb, 50 to 100 fluid ounces is adequate if you do intend to use it for very long distances. Most hikers, short distance runners, and cyclists will find this adequate. Sizes between 50 to 100 fluid ounces tend to be the most sought after and generally sell better than the other sizes. If you need your hydration pack for extremely long distances, or if you absolutely do not want to stop for a refill too often, then you should opt for a hydration pack with a reservoir capacity in excess of 100 fluid ounces.

Fit

A surprisingly large number of people struggle with this concept and to be fair it could be rather confusing at first glance. You could be forgiven for thinking why your gender should matter, it is only a hydration backpack after all, right? Well, not quite. It so happens that your gender does matter in the case of hydration packs made for one specific sex. If the product is designed for use by men and women as a number ofCamelBak backpacks are then it is not an issue. However, backpacks that are made specifically for men should be used by men and likewise backpacks that are made specifically for women should be used by women. The reason for this is that the straps and belts that accompany a CamelBak hydration pack are designed keeping the anatomy in mind. Therefore, the ones intended for women will suit the female anatomy and the ones intended for use by men will suit the male anatomy. Of course, in exceptional cases, you will find that a men’s backpack fits a woman well or vice-versa but these are just that – exceptions. You cannot make a purchase based on exceptions. Kids backpacks have their own unique set of features and obviously, they cannot be used by an adult. However, the kids may use some of the women-specific backpacks as they may be fit properly in some cases. To sum up, stick to what the label says and do not assume that one size fits all.

Breathability

It is imperative that your backpack is well ventilated. Inadequate air circulation during your activities is not desirable and could have serious consequences in a few cases. Therefore, it is always best to go for a backpack which has great breathability. Virtually all CamelBak backpacks are more than adequate when it comes to breathability and ventilation, therefore you are unlikely to have any issues. It would still be in your best interests to actually check before purchasing. The climate in which you intend to use your backpack could also be an important factor. If it is cold all the time then you may be better off staying away from a backpack which has a lot of mesh.

Use

This is not as important as the criteria mentioned before this, but it is still worth mentioning. Every CamelBak backpack is designed keeping a specific activity in mind. It could be running, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, etc. While the crux of the hydration pack is by and large the same, there are subtle changes in design and features depending on the type of activity that it is produced for. Therefore, make sure to check what the CamelBak that you intend to buy has primarily been designed for and make sure that you are buying it for the same purpose.

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Comfortable fit

There are certain criteria that will put you in good stead with regards to getting the best possible hydration pack from CamelBak. Of course, CamelBak is known for its hydration packs, therefore you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad quality product from them. However, it is important to remember that everyone has unique needs and the various hydration packs are catered to suit these unique needs albeit while retaining some basic common features. Given that you will likely be carrying the CamelBak backpack for long periods, it is imperative that they fit you well and are comfortable. Make sure that you check the sizes in detail – the waist size range, the torso size range, etc. You will need to be as comfortable as possible, otherwise, the backpack will only bog you down and do more harm than good in terms of enjoyment you derive from your activity. Whenever possible, it is always a great idea to actually try the backpack on and see how comfortable it is.

Other Factors to Consider

Materials

Without getting into technical details that would go well beyond the scope of this article, BPA is short for bisphenol A. In a nutshell, this was identified as a dangerous chemical in products capable of causing grave diseases and banned in several countries. To counter this, producers started using bisphenol S which was made from other plastics. This was found to be detrimental to human health as well. Ensure that the hydration packs are both BPA and BPS free when you purchase them. Again, CamelBak products usually tend to be BPA and BPS free, but it is still prudent to check and make sure.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do I really need a hydration pack? What benefits does it offer me?
a:

Believe it or not, this question comes up all the time. Some people just do not see why we need to buy a hydration pack specifically. They wonder if the $100 or so that they would have to shell out for a hydration pack is really worth it. The short answer is, yes. You will have easy access to quality water in addition to all your essentials. It helps keep your belongings safe and secure when you are riding. If you are looking for options for very short walks or something of that kind, then sure you may be able to do without a hydration pack. However, in most cases you are far better off with one than without. Moreover, CamelBaks are good quality backpacks and tend to be durable. Given their lifetime guarantee, your investment is likely to be a one-time only.

q: What does the lifetime guarantee cover?
a:

It covers any manufacturing/production defects that the backpack may have. It will not cover damage as a result of usage and normal wear and tear, or damage as a result of bad handling and lack of care/prudence.

q: How do I clean my CamelBak backpack? Can I put it in the washing machine?
a:

In most cases gently cleaning it with a moist cloth would do the trick. You do not need anything fancy or extravagant for cleaning – in fact, it is advisable to not use anything too fancy for you may damage the backpack. You could use mild detergent or soap if you there are some stubborn stains but that is about it. As for whether you can wash it in the machine, the answer is you cannot. The risk of damage far outweighs any potential benefits.

q: Are the CamelBak backpacks waterproof? Will a little bit of rain damage the backpacks?
a:

The CamelBak backpacks are not waterproof per se, but given their high standards and quality, the backpacks are not vulnerable to a little bit of rain. However, in case of heavy rain, there is every chance that the water will seep in and cause damage. Luckily there is an easy solution for this. You can buy the CamelBak rain cover which will insulate your backpack and the items inside it from the rain.

q: Why is hydration important? How much water is required for a well-functioning system?
a:

The human body is made up of roughly as much as 60 percent of water, therefore it is imperative that we keep replenishing it. This gains even greater importance in cases where there is a lot of fluid loss due to sweating. You will typically stress a lot when you take up outdoor activities such as cycling, running, mountain biking, etc. This is where hydration packs come in really handy.

Mayo Clinic pings the daily requirements at around 3 liters of water for men and just over 2 liters for women. Of course, that is only a rough estimate and it could vary from person to person depending on a whole host of factors. The pertinent takeaway is that hydration is absolutely essential.

Sources

  1. Jordan Carter, 10 best hydration packs 2018, Article , Nov 16, 2018