Hydration packs — and bikes — have come a long way in 25 years.
Like so many great inventions, the first CamelBak was born from necessity. The goal: to provide hands-free hydration during the 1989 Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred, a grueling road bike race held in and around the parched landscape of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Iteration No. 1 was simply an IV bag filled with water that was tucked inside a tube sock. That contraption was then stuffed into the back of a bike jersey, with the thin hose of the IV looped over the shoulder, with a clothespin at the end to clamp off the hose. Soon after CamelBak was founded and a slightly less rudimentary form of that original pack designed. The rest, as they say, is history.
Flash forward and Petaluma, California-based CamelBak’s current product portfolio includes (far more advanced) hydration packs, BPA-free water bottles, vests, belts and even water filtration pitchers. That first pack also spawned an entire industry, with countless hydration pack makers entering the market in subsequent years.
Here’s a look back at those early CamelBaks. My how far they’ve come. Happy 25 years.