Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Guide to hydration packs, featuring the new CamelBak Low Rider line. To see all the articles, head over to our Low Rider hydration pack hub page. This article and the articles in this section are courtesy of CamelBak.
CamelBak has been around for a long time, even longer than Mtbr, which came to life in 1996. Indeed, it was 1989 when the world’s first hydration pack was born. Yet, what is truly impressive is that all these years later, the brand remains a leader in a category that’s helped shape and change the way we ride bikes.
CamelBak has also diversified, creating top-line product for running, lifestyle, and the military. To find out how this company has remained agile and innovative despite an onslaught from myriad competitors, Mtbr paid them a visit to find out how they do business and how they’ve managed to continually produce quality products.
The story of CamelBak starts in the late 1980s when a man named Michael Edison grew frustrated with the lack of hands-free hydration solutions for active endeavors. So Edison started tinkering, stuffing a water-filled IV bag into a sock, then dropping it into his rear jersey pocket. He threw the hose over his shoulder and started drinking.
That brilliant novel idea soon became a company, and ever since it’s remained true to that initial mission: finding hydration solutions for those on the go. Simply put, when people drink more, they stay hydrated and perform better.
Through the years, CamelBak has also solidified its commitment to quality. Not only are comfort and performance key, but in many cases health and survival, too. Athletes and military personnel alike have come to rely on their CamelBak hydration packs as their hydration source.
With over 130 employees, CamelBak has created a work environment that allows its workers to collaborate and thrive. The LEED-certified offices have ideal lighting, air quality, and sound levels so that employees can focus on their work. It’s a very open environment with few high walls, allowing natural light to permeate the space. And many people have views of adjacent Shollenberger Park, which is a wetlands sanctuary for a variety of bird species.
Employees also benefit from many great perks, free (and healthy) food and a fitness facility with medicine balls, yoga mats, and a basketball court, plus an on-site personal trainer and masseuse.
While manufacturing primarily takes place in Mexico, all CamelBak product design and testing happens at the Petaluma facility. The testing lab, which appears in the video above, is one of the most impressive we’ve seen, as they’ve designed and manufactured a fleet of equipment to stress test products in a variety of ways.