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My Favorite Running Gear: The Camelbak

by Meghann on February 9, 2011

Each week my inbox fills with dozens and dozens of e-mails from fellow runners, blogger, and readers quizzing me on my favorite running gear. I try to respond to as many as I can, but I know some slip through the cracks, so I’ve designed this series to showcase what I love, why I love it, and answer any questions you may have. πŸ™‚

Let me know in the comments if there is anything in particular you would like to see featured on here.

Today’s item of choice? My Camelbak!


In case you didn’t know it – I love my Camelbak!

However, the first time I went for a run with my Camelbak it was a weird experience. I felt like a little kid trying to catch a bus with a back pack bouncing up and down behind them. It took some getting used to, but not even a mile in I was fine. It became the new normal.


The Basics:

  • Camelbak Model: Ladies Charm 1.5L (I think the model has since been discontinued, but I found the pink version on Amazon HERE.)
  • Purchased: March of 2009
  • Size: 1.5L

What do you think of the size of your Camelbak?

My Camelbak holds about 1.5L of liquid and usually lasts about 10-13 miles depending on how hot of a day it is or how hard I’m working. I find this to be the perfect running size. Any larger and I fear it would be too bulky.

Do you wear your Camelbak fro races?

For some reason I tend to reserve my Camelbak for long training runs only. During marathons and half marathons I’ll carry a disposable water bottle and toss it about half way through. After that I’ll hit the water stations along the course. For shorter races I rely solely on water stations.

There is an exception to the rule. Trail races.

Camelbaks are basically a requirement for trail races where water stations are few and far between and you don’t mind stopping for a few minutes to refill the Camelbak along the way. I would highly, highly recommend investing in a Camelbak before any trail race.


How do you clean your Camelbak?

Here’s where it used to get tricky for me.

The first year I owned my camelbak, I never had a problem cleaning it. I only ever used water and a simple rinse and dry was all it needed.

Then came my need for gatorade, that’s when things got dirty. No matter how much I tried cleaning it, bits of organic matter began appearing in the tube portion of the camelbak. πŸ™ I had almost given up on the idea of ever being able to safely drink from the tube again when I purchased an official Camelbak cleaning kit on a whim.


Life. Saver. Seriously.

It was also helpful when the cashier I bought the kit from informed me that the valve on the tube is completely removable. Umm… duh! No wonder I was never able to fully drain all the water out!


The little tube cleaner is like magic. After a few minutes of elbow grease all of the icky residue was completely gone. My tube is now safe to drink from again. πŸ™‚


There you have it!

Basically the Camelbak rocks for long training runs and trail races. πŸ™‚

Does anyone have any thoughts to add?

1 Danielle Dillard February 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I am so glad you wrote a post on this!!! I asked for it for Christmas and didn’t receive it and totally forgot about wanting one. Now that I’m getting into heavier mileage for my first half marathon training I really NEED it! I’ve been carrying a water bottle on my runs and that’s not fun for nine miles. πŸ™‚

2 Ashley February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I absolutely love it as well! It is hands down the only way I made it through all my long training runs!
Ashley recently posted..Return of the Artic Blast

3 Kara February 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I love my Camelback too! I actually fill mine with water and then also carry a bottle full with gatorade, just to avoid the cleaning issues. I probably look like a fluid hoarder running down the road like that, but it’s what the cool kids do πŸ™‚
Kara recently posted..6 mile Wednesday

4 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I’ve never run with a Camelback, but I’ve hiked with one and liked it. For running, I use a hydration belt and loved it!
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Hello- February!

5 Rebecca February 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I haven’t bought a Camelbak yet, but I do hate carrying a water bottle on long runs, because my arm starts to ache. Thanks for the info.

6 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) February 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I’ve been thinking of getting one, but wasn’t sure whether it was worth the money (student budget!!) but it does sound really good…maybe I’ll invest! πŸ˜€

7 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Great review! I have thought about purchasing a Camelback before but like you, thought it would feel a lot like a backpack bouncing up and down. I suppose you just get used to it though. I think it would be far more comfortable than some of the belts I’ve tried!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..β€œI’ll make you banana pancakes- pretend like it’s the weekend now”

8 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I used to have one of these a long time ago, but I have no idea where it went. It’s probably back at my home in Gainesville under a pile of stuff. Regardless, I’m considering getting one of these when I start training for the Chicago Marathon (my first marathon!) this summer. I am really bad with carrying water for long runs, but this will definitely help me stay hydrated on long runs!
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Back to Reality and Looking to the Future

9 Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I’ve thought of getting one, but I ended up getting a fuel belt. It is ok, but I hate how it bounces and it starts to hurt my hips.

But now you have me thinking about getting a Camelbak — hmm…

10 JunieB February 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

i love mine and have the same exact one you do. i have only used it a couple of times in the hothothot summers we have; i bought it for use on the bike when i was training for my first tri. its lifesaver on the bike.

i dont know, i didnt really like the way it bounced but it wasnt horrible πŸ™‚
JunieB recently posted..February Cooking Experiment Dos

11 Alison S February 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm
12 Stacy @ Every Little Thing February 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I do love all Camelbak products!
Stacy @ Every Little Thing recently posted..February Grocery Event- Produce

13 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather February 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I love my hydration pack! I rarely use it though except for in the summer when I really need water during my runs.

14 Megan February 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’ve never used, or had need for a camelbak, but would definitely consider it if I was running long runs.

What I came here to say, though, was that for a little experiment, I’m photographing EVERYTHING that I eat today, and MAN! is it hard work. I don’t know how you do it everyday!
Megan recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday

15 Eliz@The Sweet Life February 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I totally agree–the camelback has saved me on many long runs!!
Eliz@The Sweet Life recently posted..Those Who Save Us

16 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

As I’m getting into running I have so many questions on gear and things so I’m loving this series you are starting up.
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..What is That!!

17 anne February 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Great info. I’d love to hear more about your running fuel (food).
anne recently posted..Weekend Update – Winter is Fun

18 Kathrin February 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I used to run with the same Camelbak, but never got used to the bouncing. Last year I got myself a Nathan Racevest and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It doesn’t bounce, it doesn’t rub, it has plenty of storage on the wide straps (that you don’t even feel when running).

When it comes to cleaning the bladder: I let it soak in denture cleaner (that I purchased specifically for that purpose and all caps for the water bottles, that never get completely clean in the dishwasher) and then rinse. I also store the bladders in the freezer, so nothing can grow in it…. But I also have to say, that I never put anything other than water in it to start with.

19 Paula @ Eat:Watch:Run February 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Denture cleaner – what a great idea. I’ve been trying to figure out how to clean mine. I love it! And mine doesn’t bounce or bother me either. πŸ™‚
Paula @ Eat:Watch:Run recently posted..Sometimes I do…

20 Paula @ Eat:Watch:Run February 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

A CamelBak cleaning kit? Who the what what?! I need to get one of those STAT! have you ever put your CamelBak in the gentle cycle? I’m thinking of doing that to mine. It’s been on a few too many half marathons with me and needs a sudsing. (Sudsing…is that a word?)
Paula @ Eat:Watch:Run recently posted..Sometimes I do…

21 Lizzy February 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I love my camelbak also. Didn’t know they had a cleaning kit? Think that is going to be my next running related purchase. Have a fun day in NYC!
Lizzy recently posted..My Office Smells Funky

22 Callie February 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Is it inappropriate for me to say that your butt looks fabulous in that second photo? πŸ™‚
Your six months pregnant friend who someday hopes to find her shape again
Callie recently posted..22 Weeks!

23 Sharon @ Sharon's Shenanigans February 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I bought a camelbak last summer and still have not used it once. Thanks for reminding me to pull it out of the closet.
Sharon @ Sharon’s Shenanigans recently posted..21 DAY YOGA CHALLENGE

24 Clare @ Fitting It All In February 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I have a camelbak, and it’s great except that I can’t stand HEARING the sloshing water while I’m running! It’s so silly, but for some reason it bothers me!
Clare @ Fitting It All In recently posted..Blast From The Past

25 Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

oooh I became a camelbak convert during my longer summer runs! I love them!
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..Send in the sage!

26 Laura @ prettylittlewords February 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Neato! Had to laugh at your “little kid chasing the bus” comment πŸ™‚ I have been thinking about trying one of these — thanks for the review!
Laura @ prettylittlewords recently posted..Oops

27 Runeatrepeat February 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I’ve avoided getting a Camelback because I know I’d be too lazy to clean it and die of drinking moldy water.
Runeatrepeat recently posted..Dealing With A Bad Race

28 Angela (the diet book junkie) February 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

i’ve never used one, but then again, i never run more than 10k’s. my husband LOVES his for biking though. i really need to get him that cleaning kit!

29 Lindsey February 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I love my CamelBak!!! My husband makes fun of me for wearing it, but it’s perfect for long runs πŸ™‚
Lindsey recently posted..two more weeks

30 Brittany February 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I loveeeeee my CamelBak! It makes life so much easier! It was so nice to do my 8 mile walk this past weekend without having to carry any water bottles!
Brittany recently posted..walking re-cap

31 Melissa @ TryingToHeal February 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

how do you clean the backpack itself? there in lies the problem of STINK!
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32 Heather February 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I have thought about getting one for marathon training runs but never wanted to spend the money b/c I was afraid it would bug me bouncing around, plus, I am lazy and having to clean the thing is a turn off. hhmm
Heather recently posted..Every Little Bit…

33 Emma February 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm

love the cleaning tips, thanks a million!
Emma recently posted..Forget Regret

34 Tracey February 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve looked at camelbak’s before but I never understood how I would clean it. This answered my question.


35 Charlotte July 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Thank you so much for posting this!!!

I’m picking up a camelbak this weekend, it helped out alot to read your post πŸ™‚
Charlotte recently posted..Foodtruck-itis

36 Roger August 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hello… I just bought a hydrapak Big Sur 100 oz… I got it primarily for long bike rides… but I am training for a marathon and will be doing 15-20 mile runs where there is little or no access to water.

The pack has not arrived yet so I have no idea, but is it feasible to fill up 1.5L of the 3L capacity for long runs without it moving around too much? Is carrying all that weight feasible? I don’t want to have to get another smaller one for running… I know I guess I”ll have to try it to find out, but I was just wondering what other people had to say

37 Meghann August 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

I’ve never run with a 3L, so I’m not sure. The Big Sur is much larger than my charm, but I’m also only 5’4″. I’ve seen people run with larger packs, but they’re larger in build. I guess I really don’t have an answer.

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