Water is essential for life. Drinking on the move can sometimes be a challenge if you do not want to stop. Personally, I prefer canteens and bottles, but for versatility, hydration bladders cannot be beat. CamelBak is well respected in this field, and has been on the forefront of hydration systems for more than 10 years. It all started during a bicycle marathon, when CamelBak’s founder used an I.V. bag and hose, stitched to a t-shirt in a sock on his back. Since then, hydration bladders and carriers have come a long way.

ThermoBack is the military version of a 3 liter (approximately 100 oz) hydration system. The outer shell is made of 1000 denier Cordura. It is abrasion resistant, and more durable than the civilian pouch; this is especially important in the woods, when something can puncture the bladder inside. Shoulder straps have quick release buckles on the bottom, and there is a sternum strap in the middle. These straps can be pout away when the carrier is inside a pack, or attached to something else. There are six D-rings to attach to just about anything, and all stitching is superb. There are two handles, one on top, and one in the middle, to hold this system horizontally while filling.

Bite valve is also different from the civilian versions. It has a shut off valve, and a quick disconnect to attach to a gas mask or something similar. The drinking tube is gloved in what looks like neoprene insulating material. Along with insulation in the carrier itself, your water will stay cool in the summer, and not freeze in the winter. Bladder should always be dry for long term storage to prevent mold and bacteria growth. I use a few teaspoons of bleach mixed with two quarts of water to rinse the inside, and drain through the drinking tube. After several rinses it is as good as new. Some people recommend using Alka-Seltzer tablets dissolved in water to wash the inside. Bladders should not be frozen because it makes them brittle. Filling the bladders is easier when it is inside the pouch, unlike the civilian version when does not have external fill opening. The bite valve can be expected to last for several years, and replacements are easy to find

3 Responses to “CamelBak ThermoBak 3 liter”

  1. Its interesting to see the military grade Camelbak… the regular ones are pretty durable and resistant I wonder if there is much difference other than the camo cover and the bite valve.

    A little bleach and diluted in water can help curb mold growth inside the water bladder.

  2. Hi:
    I’ve been a Camelbak user since 1996 and now own 3. I started out with a 70 oz Classic it was a great water carrier but the inside insulation started to come apart
    on the upper top part no big it still kept the water cool.In the last 2 years I have bought a HAWG and a BFM.The HAWG is like ThermoBack but with some pockets for storage
    I’d say about the size of a day pack for storage I do like the bladder goes in the back with a large zipper.The BFM is much larger in storage close to 2600 cu in or 42 L I
    have used it for a 2 day trip in the woods very happy with there products.Some people
    say the cost to much but your buying some thing that may last up to 10 years if you take care of it:).

    Scott Hannah

  3. I bought the hydration system brand Novara from REI. At that time it had the same capabilities and price and it came with a small pack. I plan on taking the bladder out to put in my gobag as hooking the small pack out onto my gobag would not make it camoflaged since it is reflective silver and blue. I really like how this works when I used it on my mtn biking trips. Although I will have to resort to a military canteen for my LCE gear on my pistol belt. If you are going to get a hydration pack or any camping gear, I recommend to everyone to buy it at REI. Either online and ship it or go to the nearest store because they offer a lifetime warranty on all items and they test all their items first very rigoriously before even thinking on selling it at their store. You know it will be dependable and if not, return it and get a new one or no matter how long it has been, they will give you your money back exactly what you paid. FYI, pay the one-time $15.00 fee for the lifetime membership.

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