How to Clean a Camelbak

Do you ever take a sip from your Camelbak and notice a hint of something that doesn't quite taste like water? This could be the cause of mildew or other bacteria growing in the bladder and tube.

As with any gear, taking the time to properly maintain it results in better performance and longer product life. Learning how to clean a Camelbak will ensure that your water is clean every time.

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Basic Maintenance

Be sure your hydration pack includes the the manufacturer's cleaning kit which has brushes for the reservoir and tube, tablets for cleaning and devices to hang the reservoir and keep it open for air drying. Though you you can try to fabricate most of these items yourself, this will be your best bet if you want learn how to clean a Camelbak thoroughly and correctly.
The fluids that you put into the bladder will dictate what your cleaning routine will be. If you use water only, cleaning is much simpler. If you use sports drinks, you need to do a thorough clean after every use. And remember, frequency of use is also a factor in keeping your system clean.

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Daily and weekly maintenance is as follows:

  • Take time to rinse and thoroughly dry the entire system every time you use it. This is sufficient care if you are using only water. Make sure to rinse and dry the tube and mouthpiece, as well.
  • Every couple of weeks, particularly if you are giving your system a lot of use, it's a good idea to put a cleaning tablet into your reservoir, leave the solution in for five minutes, drain, rinse and let dry.

Thorough Cleaning Tips

While a simple wash with water is enough for daily and weekly upkeep, it's important you know how to clean a Camelbak thoroughly. The key is to scrub the reservoir and tube with brushes, pipe cleaners and an agent such as baking soda—two tablespoons are recommended—and let sit for about 30 minutes.

Make sure to scrub all the seams and parts of the tube, including the inside of the port area where the tube attaches. Follow this by rinsing several times and then air drying.

More: Hydration: What to Drink, How Much and How Often

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About the Author

Will Kuhlmann

Will Kuhlmann is an avid distance runner who serves on the board of the Columbus Roadrunners Club. He also enjoys skiing, hiking, swimming and kayaking.

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