CamelBak: A look inside the inventor of the hydration pack

Come along for a tour of this company's stunning California headquarters

CamelBak Low Rider Company Spotlight Hydration Sponsored
The headquarters is located in Petaluma, CA, an hour north of San Francisco.

CamelBak headquarters are located in Petaluma, about an hour north of San Francisco (click to enlarge).

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.

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.

CamelBak covers a range of categories including military applications.

CamelBak covers a range of categories, including military applications (click to enlarge).

An assortment of employee-owned bikes can be found in the lobby.

An assortment of employee bikes can be found in the lobby, which speaks volumes about the company’s authentic culture (click to enlarge).

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.

Clean, filtered water is core to the CamelBak's office supplies.

Clean filtered water is ever present at the CamelBak offices (click to enlarge).

The CamelBak lunch room is an inviting place to gather.

The CamelBak lunch room is an inviting place to gather (click to enlarge).

A simple, healthy breakfast is always available in the morning.

CamelBak employees always have a healthy breakfast available to them in the morning (click to enlarge).

The CamelBak kitchen serves up free snacks.

The CamelBak kitchen serves up free snacks all day (click to enlarge).

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.

Product display walls are found in many areas of the building for easy access to the products.

CamelBak makes a lot of water bottles, too (click to enlarge).

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.

Continue to page 2 for more of our tour of CamelBak headquarters

About the author: Mtbr is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.

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  • chris says:

    Always been a huge fan and supported the innovator for over 20 years now. Terribly disappointed in my Fourteener 24 though. Fabric is falling apart at the low back area and their warranty is a giant PITA pushback. Brand loyalty no more.

    • CamelBak Warranty Team says:

      Hi Chris,

      The warranty department at CamelBak prides itself on providing superior customer experience. We are sorry to hear your Fourteener 24 is not working properly.

      We take our consumers feedback very seriously and will work with you to ensure we deliver 100% Got Your Bak service! Please download the product return form and sent the pack so we can replace it for you.

      Looking forward to assist you!


      The CamelBak warranty Team

  • Jason says:

    Resilience of graphics is about the last thing I care about but it’s funny they actually test for the resilience. I have a camelbak bottle in my office and much of the lettering is worn off just from my hands. The camelbak bottles on my bikes are even worse, there’s almost no lettering left at all.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      Jason, they must have 20 machines there that test durability. So the graphics test is just to show the extreme lengths they go through. Kind of interesting since a lot of the test machines are custom built.

  • MTBmoose says:

    Love the little side pockets on the waist straps on my new Mule NV, but the pack is HEAVY! Wish they still made the Blowfish. I think I’ve owned 4-5 of them. Still have a couple of them is various states of disrepair and use one of them on occasion when I want something about half the weight of the Mule. Camelbak owner for going on 20 years. Won’t ride without it.

  • p brig says:

    I’m the worst CamelBak customer because I’m still using the first one I bought around 1998. However I’ve purchased many bite valves since.

  • luis silva says:

    there´s nothing like a camelbak backpack

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