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CamelBak Products, LLC
IndustrySport equipment
Founded1989; 32 years ago (1989)
FounderMichael Eidson
2000 South McDowell
Suite 200
Petaluma, California
ProductsHydration pack, bottles, gloves, large combat/tactical packs, accessories
OwnerVista Outdoor
Number of employees

CamelBak Products, LLC is an American outdoors equipment company based in Petaluma, California, best known for its hydration products, such as hydration packs and water bottles. CamelBak is also a supplier of hydration packs, protective gear, and other products to the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies around the world.


In 1989, CamelBak founder Michael Eidson was competing in the "Hotter 'n Hell 100" bike race in Wichita Falls, Texas.[1] Eidson, who was an EMT by trade, filled an IV bag with water and stuck it in a tube sock. He then pinned the tube sock to the back of his jersey, pulled the tube over his shoulder, and secured it with a clothes pin. Within a few months, he brought the idea to Roger Fawcett, who tested it in scientific studies, and began selling the first CamelBak product, the ThermalBak, which was at first failing because cyclists thought it looked "geeky". After almost giving up, Fawcett decided to spend his last $50,000 on an advertising agency and marketing the product. Barbara Mizuno came up with the slogan "Hydrate or Die", and sales skyrocketed. It is now one of the most popular water bottle companies for mountain bikers. [2]

A Therobak in the DPM Pattern in use by a British Soldier

U.S. troops took CamelBak products into battle in the first Gulf War and they quickly became a popular product at military exchanges. CamelBak's defense sales grew further during the second Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan. U.S. and foreign government contracts made up about 40% of CamelBak's business as of 2012.[3]

CamelBak was sold to San Francisco toymaker Kransco in 1996 for $5 million. Bear Stearns Merchant Banking bought it for $210 million in 2004.[3]

In 2006, CamelBak expanded into the water bottle business. The company differentiated its bottles by making them taste-free, using bite valves designed to stop leaks while allowing easy sipping. Eliminating the use of BPA In 2011, water bottles accounted for about 31% of CamelBak's sales.[3]

Compass Diversified Holdings, a private equity firm, purchased the company in August 2010 for $258 million.[3]

In February 2015, CamelBak filed a patent-infringement suit against Osprey to protect its hands-free reservoir hydration systems. The suit was settled in July 2015 on confidential terms.[4]

CamelBak was purchased by Vista Outdoor in July 2015 for $412.5 million. Vista Outdoor was to integrate CamelBak's 300 employees into its outdoor products division.[5]


Hydration packs[edit]

An example of a civilian CamelBak pack. The blue tube coming off the top enables the wearer to drink from the internal water bladder without removing the pack.

CamelBak's hydration packs come in capacities of 1.5 to 3.0 litres (50–100 US fluid oz) in a backpack style primarily for biking, hiking and other outdoor activities, with smaller belt-type 0.83 to 1.3 litre (28–45 US fluid oz) packs designed for runners and walkers.

CamelBak also makes bottles, general purpose backpacks, and some specialized military and law-enforcement gear, ranging from simple back-worn water reservoirs with little to no cargo capacity, to large rucksacks with various accessories, even PALS webbing to accommodate MOLLE gear.[6]

One of CamelBak's military lines features reservoirs that resist chemical and biological weapons; they are designed to be used with gas masks.[3] The United States Army approved the use of CamelBak CBR X hydration packs in November 2015. The Army's office of the Product Manager-Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment and the Army's Test and Evaluation Command approved the three-liter CBR X after exposing it to nerve agents for six hours, after thirty days of use in the field, and then verifying that the water inside remained uncontaminated, and, performing numerous other tests since 2006.[7]

Water purification[edit]

In January 2012, CamelBak started selling its All Clear portable water purification system which uses ultraviolet light to make untreated water potable in about one minute.[3]

In 2014, CamelBak released a filtered water pitcher called the Relay. CamelBak claims that the Relay filters water ten times faster than competing products; this is fast enough to keep up with the flow rate of a kitchen faucet. The Relay uses large pleated filters that last about four months.[6]


CamelBak moved to Petaluma, California in 1999. As of 2017, about 150 people work at its headquarters there. The company converted its rented office space into a LEED-certified facility. All CamelBak products are designed and tested in Petaluma. The company manufactures its products at other locations in the United States, Mexico, and Asia.[3]


Layne Rigney[edit]

Layne Rigney took over as the firm's head on February 1, 2016. Rigney served as CamelBak's senior vice president of global sales since 2012. He has 25 years of relevant experience with companies such as PowerBar/Nestle USA, RockShox, and REI.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  2. ^ Felton, Vernon. "Bag to the Future: How CamelBak changed the way we all ride". Bike Magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hart, Steve (8 April 2012). "CamelBak expands into new markets". The Press Democrat. Santa Rosa, California.
  4. ^ Staff, Brain (28 July 2015). "CamelBak and Osprey settle patent infringement lawsuit". Bicycle Retailer. United States. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Camelbak acquired for $412 million". BikeBiz. 28 July 2015. Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b Tipton, Nancy (27 March 2014). "Gadgets can help you spring into fitness; A water vessel, snacks help you get off on the right foot". Albuquerque Journal. New Mexico.
  7. ^ "US Army approves Camelbak CBR X for use in the worst environments". Military Times. 2017-08-08. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  8. ^ "CAMELBAK ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE TEAM". Outdoor Magazine. United States. 9 January 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.

External links[edit]