By: Steven Billington
Tubing and mouthpiece needs to come
apart. This is important to make
sure you get the best clean.
A lot of us use Camelbaks to take our
favorite beverage to the trails with us. Many of
you, like me, even use them while kayaking,
mowing the lawn, woods parties, etc. If you’re
like me, you are not always drinking water!!
This means you need to take very good care of
your bladder (the camelbak, wackjobs) when you
are finished consuming said beverage. Improper
cleaning will lead to mold, weird taste, etc. I
have been doing it this way for years, and it
works great. I just did it again a few minutes
ago, and it inspired me to write this for all of
you to share. My methods work great, and 100% of
what is needed you should have around the house
already, so it’s free!
Notice how the hanger fits into the
bladder. It's a simple way to
ensure it dries properly.
So let’s get started! Remove the bladder from
the carrier. This is easy enough. Just pull it
out and then guide the hose through. If there is
any drink left in your bladder, drain it now.
Just use regular water once or twice and make
sure the large majority of the beverage is out.
If you were drinking water, you can skip this
Now we can get to work. Fill up the bladder
with straight water. Not all the way, but the
majority of the way. Add about a half of a shot
glass (the small ones lol) worth of household
bleach into the bladder and close the lid. Shake
the water/bleach mixture around for about a
minute. The dirtier it is, or the longer it has
been sitting, the longer you will want to shake
it. Now before I shake it, I blow air into the
bladder so it’s nice and firm. Be careful if you
do this, and ensure you are blowing before you
bite the valve open. If not, the bleach solution
is going to go in your mouth. Be VERY careful if
Side view of the hanger inside of
After the minute has passed, hold the bladder
above your head and use your fingers to open the
valve and drain the solution into the sink. Once
the majority is out, repeat that last step with
straight water. Done? OK! Now you should have an
empty bladder that has been rinsed with the
bleach once and straight water once. Fill it
back up with water, and add a few drops of dish
We used the bleach to kill any little germs
or things living in there, but we don’t want to
leave any behind. Rinse it with soap and water
three times. I don’t mind doing it three times,
and neither should you. Rinse twice more with
straight water to get the soap out.
We're almost done! Now pull the valve off the
hose, and the hose off the bladder. Go wash the
bladder out a few more times with water to be
safe. Rinse the hose a couple of times, and take
the mouthpiece apart and wash it as well as you
can. I recommend using soap again on the valve
at this point. All the dust and nasty stuff in
your mouth festers in this valve. You should
Make sure to hang the bladder upside
down for the best drying.
Leave the housing and mouthpiece off to dry.
Now as to how you might want to hang the
bladder. You can buy the drying rack from
Camelbak, but if you’re cheap like me, I have
the answer. Find yourself a wire coat hanger.
Lay it on the desk in front of you with the hook
closest to you. It should basically be upside
down. Grab the left side and fold it over to the
right side. Don’t fold it all the way; leave
about 4-5 inches between them. Shove the now
modified “coathangerrackthingy” into the
bladder, and bend it in or out to adjust it.
This will keep the bladder open. Hang it by the
outlet the hose plugs onto. Now it is held open,
and it is hanging upside down. Allow it to dry.
Now, a lot of people like to end with the
"freezer trick" instead of drying it. The gist
of that is after you are finished cleaning, put
everything back together, but leave it out of
the carrier. Fill with water, and add a few
drops of lemon juice. Shake around, drain, and
stick it right into the freezer until the next
time you use it. I don’t like this method, as my
way keeps it just as clean and anti-funky, and
doesn’t take up room in my freezer.