Here’s a Creative Solution: use a CamelBak anytime you want access to water but don’t want to carry a water bottle. A CamelBak is like a backpack with a water “bladder” (reservoir) and a straw that many people use for hiking and biking. Instead of carrying a backpack with a water bottle, fill the reservoir with ice, top it off with water, and you’ve got cold water all day:
- At the zoo
- While walking and touring a new city
- At the pool or the beach – hang it on the back of your chair and pull out the “straw” when you want to drink.
- Walking around an amusement park or Disney
- At a kids sporting event
You can get a larger backpack if you need, but the storage space on the Mule is fantastic. Moreover, when everyone has their own CamelBak, everyone carries their own stuff. Which brings me to the kids…
On our first family camping trip, we were astonished by how much the kids loved our CamelBaks, but our packs didn’t fit them (too uncomfortably large), so we were pretty excited to find the Kid-sized version. The CamelBak Mini Mule fit the kids perfectly. It’s got a kid-sized backpack and a 50 ounce reservoir. The kids stay more hydrated when they use their CamelBaks, and they can carry their own stuff (snacks, maps, hats, etc.) in the little backpack. You can find them online at Amazon, LLBean, or in stores like REI. The Mini-Mule prices range from about $49 – $89, so definitely shop around. We asked the grandparents to make the Mini-Mule their Christmas gift to the boys, which was a win-win: not a toy, and it lasts for years! (Note: the Mini-Mule is very rugged, but occasionally, we do need to replace the “bite valve.”)
On our Summer travels this year, we used the Camelbaks when we hiked a couple of trails in the Adirondacks.
I really wish I had thought to use them when we walked the Freedom Trail in Boston.
They were perfect for our walk on the Great Wall of China
So whether you’re into hiking and biking or just being a tourist, I think CamelBaks are a great Creative Solution.
How do you clean the CamelBaks?
Empty out the water (suck out whatever’s in the straw. too), stuff the inside with paper towels, turn it upside down, and let it dry out for a couple days.
They also make “Cleaning Kits.” But we’ve always just air dried them… I mean if you aren’t responsible about drying them mold/mildew grows and you have to replace the reservoir.