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Camelbak Reservoir Review An Honest Mama’s Report

Camelbak Reservoir review: Ok, you may have read some online, but you want a more detailed explanation as to whether or not you should buy one or do you need the backpack too?

Raise your hand if you don’t drink enough water everyday? It’s so hard to get enough water, let alone pack enough for all day adventures without having to bring absurdly large containers or stopping in a grocery store or gas station to buy even more environment-killing single-use plastic bottles.

emmy hiking with her camelbak reservoir

That’s me, Lumalia (Emmy) with my crazy hiking hair wearing my Camelbak hydration pack! I’m an anniversary and elopement photographer based in Oregon but together with my partner photographer we serve Colorado and the whole USA! We love adventuring with our families and exploring new areas with our couples crafting unforgettable experiences that connect our hearts and bodies back to the things that matter

How I Got Hooked on Camelbak’s

emmy's camelbak hydration pack circa 2006 the camelbak m u l e
Will you come on a little journey with me? I was in high school dating my first boyfriend (it was a BIG deal for me, haha), and he gave me a Camelbak backpack as a gift. Now, if you know me, which you probably don’t, unless you’re my best friend, then you’d know I’m the world’s HARDEST person to buy gifts for. Somehow this dude at age sixteen nailed it. Why was this the perfect gift? Because it took me on adventures! Well friends, now over a decade later, I’m no longer with that guy (found a much better one), yet I still have that backpack and it is ESSENTIAL to bring my Camelbak when I go exploring or on long roadtrips.
rock climbing gif of emmy
A tiny gif of me rock climbing circa 2012. Camelbak is safely on the ground near by. 😉

Wondering if you need one too? Even though I love my Camelbak backpack and hydration bladders, in this Camelbak reservoir review I want to share with you some pros and cons about this amazing invention and also talk about the elephant in the room (other brands that are out there).

Camelbak Reservoir Review: Why I freaking LOVE My Camelbak Hydration Pack and Reservoirs.

Did I mention I’ve never replaced my Camelbak reservoir since I first received the Camelbak hydration pack circa 2006? Maybe that would be a good thing to do, considering how rarely I’ve had to clean it. But I’ve had my same Camelbak hydration backpack that long! It’s endured many rock climbing ventures, hikes, bike rides and countless car trips. Needless to say, it’s been a great item to have! That being said, my Camelbak reservoir is not the current Camelbak Crux 3L, but if we do upgrade or expand to having two for our household, I’ll make sure to update this post! But I think it’s safe to say that having used Camelbak as a company for over ten years now, they undoubtedly make good stuff. For those curious, I own the Camelbak Antidote reservoir which is a 3-liter Camelbak bladder. The hydration pack I have is a Camelbak Mule reservoir.

Camelbak Bladders Holds Enough Water For The Whole Family

Whenever my family heads out the coast to enjoy some fun on the beach or explore in the mountains, we fill up our CamelBak and go on adventures. I love that I don’t have to worry if everyone will have enough water, I just fill this once and call it good for my family of three. Hacks to make mama life easier are essential, right?!
emmy paddle boarding with her camelbak reservoir
Me and my daughter paddle boarding with my camelbak reservoir on the front of our board.

All Day Adventures

If I’m journeying out all day by myself, I can hold enough water just for me. I love that the size changes based on how much water you put in, so if you need 2 liters, you’re set, or if you want to fill it up and rest easy knowing you’ll have enough water throughout the day.
Pro Tip: take this on a long car ride! We fill this up to last us on long cross country roadtrips. It usually lasts my family of three for a good 6-7 hour car trip!

I Drink More Water

I really struggle to get enough water intake in a day, especially when I’m out adventuring. If I have to stop to pull out my water, unscrew the cap and drink it, let’s be honest, I’m not going to do that as much as having this tube literally next to my face to take a sip every so often!
Pro Tip: squeeze some lemon or lime juice into your water to add natural electrolytes! No need for branded powders that often have added sugar, chemicals and artificial colors. 😉

No More Single Use Plastic Water Bottles

Tired of spending $1-3 dollars on water while traveling or on the go? Fill up your Camelbak water bottle and join the movement of refusing to buy single use plastic that is destroying our planet. While traveling, it’s nice to know that I won’t need to buy water or single use plastic.

Easy To Use

I love the ease of use. Twist the top off to fill up. Lock the mouth piece so it doesn’t dribble on you as you’re adventuring. The flow of water comes out easily if you’re wearing it, no crazy amount of suction needed. Heck, my six year old can use it!

Camelbak Reservoir Review: What I'd Love To See Changed

Made of Plastic

In creating this Camelbak reservoir review I’d like to share that as a family trying to diminish our own plastic use, it’s sometimes hard to choose between my glass water bottle and these plastic water reservoirs when I go on shorter adventures. The new reservoirs are made partly from recycled plastic, which is at least a small step in the right direction. But let’s be honest, I don’t want to carry one gallon of water in a glass container on a hike.

Camelbak bladders are 100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF so that is also a plus!

Camelbak Bladders Are Hard To Clean

emmy's camelbak hydration pack circa 2006 the camelbak m u l e
It’s SO hard to clean. I’ll be honest, I don’t clean mine after each use… which one really ought to do, but there are odd angles and tight spots to reach. I even own the “special” brushes to help clean it and it’s still somewhat time consuming. Do I still clean mine? Yep! But dang it’d be nice to throw it in the dishwasher and call it good!

P.S. Wondering what this title triangle thing on my Camelbak hydration pack is? Its called a Kula Cloth! Its for wiping after you go pee for us ladies. I love it.

It's Not Usable For Very Young Children

Until my daughter was about one and a half or two, I had to get the water moving through the tube for her, but I love that even at this young of an age she could use it too. So if you have children under 18 months, you’ll probably want to bring one of their own water bottles for them to use or make sure you’re around to supervise them using it.

In my reading of the new Camelbak Crux reservoir reviews, I saw this is now WAY more friendly for little kids, which is awesome!

Off Brands - Just Don’t Do It

Ok, now if you’re like me, you’ve seen this sort of thing from other brands with reservoirs built in. But let me tell you, friend–they are HORRIFIC. A relative bought one for my husband so that we could both have our own reservoirs, but the suction was very difficult to use unless you had “super lungs.” The plastic quality was very questionable and there were no certifications such as BPA free. It turned hazy quite fast under the heat of the sun, even during a couple hour hike within its backpack housing, which is a BAD sign when it comes to plastic.

There are, however, some alternative brands of quality that you could look into. One is Platypus, which I haven’t personally used, but in other reviews is pretty comparable (sadly, these are also not able to be washed in the dishwasher).

Whatever hydration reservoir you choose, we hope you enjoy your adventures thirst free. Happy hydrating!


4 Responses

  1. Sounds like an awesome pack. When I find something BPA-free, it usually has BPS, so that’s really cool this doesn’t have either!

  2. I should probably try one of these again. I tried one a few years ago, but I could never get over the rubbery taste (and I hated attempting to clean it.) I’ve heard that you can get rid of the bad flavour with bicarbonate of soda…so maybe it is time to give it another go.

    We don’t stop much while we’re hiking, so I am not totally sure I want to get rid of the mini rest I get when I stop to grab my bottle from the side of my bag!

  3. Pingback: Dream Lake Hike + How to Have A Dream Lake Wedding
  4. Pingback: Breathtaking Waterfalls In Portland | A Complete Guide

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Lumalia with her hand in her hair leans to the side smiling
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Hey, we’re Lumalia (Emmy) and Sam, the leading voices behind Celebrate Again (Lumalia) and our sister elopement company The Dropped Pin (Sam and her husband Kyle). Here you’ll find ways to live the Celebrate Again lifestyle.

We want to help you embody life’s joy by learning to Celebrate Again in everything from practicing intentional breathing to taking on major life events. I believe your life should be full and be what you make it.

Whether you’re joining me to plan your wedding, dive deeper into your couples connection, celebrate an anniversary, adventure around the USA, stay connected to your beloved, practice yoga or whip up a plant-based recipe, I’ve got you covered, friend.


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