CamelBak Gears Up for U.S. Military SPECOPS and Chemical/Biological Warfare

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by David Crane

All photos contained in this article were taken by, and are the exclusive property of,  Click on photos below to view them full-size.

CamelBak Maximum Gear
hydration packs are now de rigueur for military and law enforcement end users who require mobile tactical hydration (i.e. a portable water supply).  Military operations, in particular, can be arduous. Military operators need to be able to take an ample supply of clean, safe drinking water with them, and have it immediately and easily available to them. The CamelBack goes one further in allowing hands-free mobile hydration. This hands-free capability, made possible by CamelBak’s back-mounted reservoir, PureFlow delivery tube, and Big Bite™ Valve, reduces operator fatigue and increases operator survivability by allowing him to hydrate himself (sip water) with less effort and simultaneously maintain both hands on (and thus full control of) his primary weapon (rifle/carbine/subcarbine or machine gun), in case he runs into the enemy unexpectedly.

While CamelBak Products, LLC (Petaluma, CA) is the innovator of this technology and the first name tactical hydration, they haven’t been content to just sit on their laurels. The company is constantly developing new products to meet mission-specific end user requirements. First, CamelBak is…

constantly developing new hydration systems and packs. Some of them now include CamelBak’s HydroLink™ Modular Connection System with positive shut-off Hydrolock™, which allows them to make effective use of another innovative CamelBak product, the Chem Bio Reservoir 4.0 (CBR 4.0) with Duraflex Barrier Technology™. The Hydrolink/CBR 4.0 combo was designed and developed to allow an operator to continue to self-hydrate safely in chemical and biological warfare environments while wearing protective gear, like MOPP 4 suits and masks. The CBR 4.0/Hydrolink system delivers safe drinking water through the operator’s chem/bio-protective mask (gas mask). The 3.0-liter CBR 4.0 will slip into any CamelBak 100-ounce reservoir pocket.

DefenseReview got to view Camelbak’s latest tactical hydration tech at their booth at IACP Miami 2005. Since we’re technology buffs, the two most interesting products to us were the Chem Bio Reservoir 4.0 (CBR 4.0) (with accompanying HydroLink™ Modular Connection System) and the HydroLink™ In-Line MicroFilter, which DefRev presumes will allow the user to fill his CamelBak with river water or just about any other natural or suspect source, without fear of getting sick from Giardia, E. Coli, and other nasty little micro-organisms that can negatively (and severely) impact operator functioning/performance very quickly. The In-Line MicroFilter is a pretty slick system.

Even before we made it to the show, CamelBak was nice enough to send Defense Review three backpack systems for T&E, the Talon™ Coyote pack, MotherLode™ Army Universal Camo pack, and Demon™ Black/Grey pack. The DefRev staff has been using all three backpacks for the last several months, and all of us are extremely pleased, so far. All three packs are very well-made, and comfortable to carry, even fully loaded. I’ve personally been using the Demon™ Black/Grey pack the most, lately, while travelling (by plane), and it’s been a real Godsend. Not only can I carry all the drinking water I need, but the Demon allows me to carry all my travel stuff on planes and through airports–camera, magazines, books, snack food, etc. It should be noted that we haven’t yet put any of these packs through near the kind of extreme environments or situations for which they were designed/developed. But, rest assured, if DefenseReview ever heads to the Sandbox to do some overseas reporting, you can rest assured that we’ll be taking our CamelBaks with us. We definitely won’t be leaving home without them.

By the way, CamelBak’s got some other Mil/LE hydration systems and backpacks that are also worth taking a look at, including, but not limited to, the ThermoBak® 3L, HotShot™ 3L, Ambush ™, and BFM™. We haven’t used or even examined these, yet, so we can’t comment on them. However, based on my experiences with the Demon™, MotherLode™, and Talon™ backpacks, I’m quite sure the rest of CamelBak’s line is pretty great. Call it a hunch.

It’s DefenseReview’s understanding that every single CamelBak hydration system and pack incorporates CamelBak’s HydroGuard™ Anti-Microbial Technology.

The latest development at CamelBak is their relatively recent strategic partnership with Mystery Ranch Backpacks of Bozeman, Montana. Mystery Ranch reportedly already has experience with designing/developing large mission-specific backpack systems for military Special Operations (SPECOPS) personnel. According to Dana Gleason, Mystery Ranch’s president and designer, U.S. military SPECOPS personnel have taken a real liking to their NICE Frame System, Outamatic X, BDSB, and custom, mission-specific packs. Anyway, this strategic teaming will allow CamelBak to get into the large pack market and Mystery Ranch Backpacks to get into the hydration market. Looks like a pretty smart move for both companies, and it should definitely yield some interesting results. No doubt, U.S. military Spec-Operators will be the beneficiaries. Let’s hope.

You can contact CamelBak Maximum Gear by phone at 707-792-9700, or toll-free at 800-767-8725. You can contact them by fax at 707-665-9231. You can email their Mil/LE sales division at

Mystery Ranch Backpacks can be contacted by phone at 406-585-1428, by fax at 406-585-1792, or via email by using this form.

Click here to read the official press release on the newly-formed Camelbak/Mystery Ranch strategic partnership.

Media/Press Contacts for Camelbak & Mystery Ranch:

Jonathan Osmundsen
Camelbak Products, LLC
Petaluma, CA 94954

Andrew Crow
Mystery Ranch Backpacks
2010 N. 7th Ave.
Bozeman, MT 59715

More photos:



CamelBak Gears Up for U.S. Military SPECOPS and Chemical/Biological Warfare by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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