History: CamelBak celebrates 25th anniversary of first hydration pack


25 Years of CamelBak

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.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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