Camel Pack Buying Guide

Like if this guide is helpful
Camel Pack Buying Guide

Camel Packs are a type of bag used in the military to enable the carrying of equipment or cargo, as well as providing an efficient means of transporting fluids for hydration.

Camel packs are designed with the sole intention of carrying sufficient amounts of liquid to enable users to not have to carry separate water bottles or containers, as well as providing an easy means of drinking said liquid hands free.

Auction sites like eBay are home to a number of different styles and sizes of camel pack from many different areas of the military. The site also features a number of imitation camel packs that are proven to be popular.

The following guide aims to help latent buyers of a camel pack with the purchase of their desired product.

Camel Pack Elements and Components

Whilst camel packs are designed with the main intention of providing an efficient way of carrying hydration fluids, they also have a whole range of other components that make up its anatomy. These components form the camel pack as a whole and the combination of components available ranges from camel pack to camel pack. Below are some of the main elements that feature in a camel pack:

Camel Pack Components



The bladder is the most important part of a camel pack and is the sole reason that the bag is named after a camel (in that it can carry large volumes of water). Bladder sizes range differently from 1.5 litres to a much larger 3 litre bladder size. Camel packs with 3 litre bladders are both much bigger in size and more highly valued than those with the smaller bladder size. The bladder is mainly designed to carry water, although other liquids can be carried. It is, however, highly recommended not to use camel packs for storing hot drinks or alcoholic drinks. The bladder of a camel pack is stored in a separate compartment to the equipment-carrying compartment of the bag and requires regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure a healthy and hygienic storage of liquids.

Drinking Tube

The drinking tube is the means of drinking the liquid stored in the bladder of the bag. One end of the tube is situated in the bladder and the tube itself comes over the shoulder to allow the carrier to hydrate themselves while being hands free and without any hassle. Just like the bladder in a camel pack, the drinking tube also needs regular cleaning as a means of maintaining hygienic standards.


The valve is attached to the end of the drinking tube that is placed in the mouth. This component prevents any liquid from draining out of the bladder via the drinking tube whilst not being used. It prevents a flow of liquid until the user starts to drink, at which point the valve opens to allow for easy and efficient drinking.

Cargo Compartment

Whilst there are some camel packs available that are purely for hydration purposes, the majority of camel packs in the military also allow for the carrying of military equipment, also. Much like the bladder, the cargo compartment can range in size depending on both the size of the bag and the type of camel pack purchased.


Camel packs may also contain a number of external pockets. These are useful for carrying smaller items and pieces of equipment that may not fit in the main cargo compartment after it has been filled or may need to be accessed quickly and efficiently. There are camel packs available with a varying number of pockets on the likes of eBay.

Back Straps

The best way of carrying a camel pack is the same as any normal rucksack or backpack. Therefore, camel packs have straps that allow users to carry their camel pack on their back via two straps. These straps are often cushioned to enhance comfort. Also, the majority of camel packs have back straps attached that are adjustable to suit the different heights of users.

Chest/Waist Straps

Camel packs often frequently have an extra method of keeping themselves securely attached to the carrier. The more securely attached, the less the camel pack moves around. When a camel pack moves around a lot, it can be of detriment to the user as they are unable to either run or walk as freely. For this reason, most camel packs have either a chest strap or waist strap, or both. These can be adjusted to suit the size of the carrier and often clip together using a plastic or metal fastener.

Considerations When Buying a Camel Pack

As when buying any product of this nature, there are a number of considerations that need to be factored into the buying process before settling for a purchase. For example, it is not as simple as picking out a bag that is aesthetically pleasing. Here are some of the things that need to be taken into consideration when purchasing a camel pack:

  • Bladder Size: the size of the bladder in a camel pack can affect a number of different aspects of the purchase. Firstly, the size of the camel pack itself. Some bladder sizes are only useful and efficient when needed for short excursions. In this instance, the recommended daily liquid intake should match up to the size of the bladder. For example, if one is on a long excursion, a 1.5 litre bladder may not be enough to represent the amount of liquid the body needs to be fully hydrated. On the other hand, if a 3 litre bladder camel pack is being used only for a short excursion then this may affect the efficiency of the carrier as they are travelling with excess liquid on board that is unnecessary. Bladder size also affects the price of the camel pack, as bigger bladder sizes tend to be higher on the price scale than those with smaller bladder sizes.
  • Pockets: the amount of pockets required on a camel pack is also an important decision to make. With camel packs being designed for efficiency, one with too many pockets may not be necessary. Match the amount of pockets to the equipment that is necessary for the type of excursion the camel pack is to be used for before making a purchase.
  • Material: there a number of different materials used in the manufacturing of camel packs. The most commonly used material is nylon and they come in a variety of different designs, ranging from plain black to the various different types of camouflage used in the military. The material used in the making of a camel pack can affect its price, so look for a camel pack that is suitable for the excursion type that is within the set budget.
  • Cleaning: the cleaning of camel pack bladders (or reservoirs as they are also commonly called) is an extremely important part of owning and using a camel pack. It is recommended that one cleans out the bladder after every use and this can be done using hot water, bleach and soap. It is worth purchasing a camel pack that has reservoir cleaning instructions included.

Buying a Camel Pack Online

Whilst there are older, used camel packs available, most are newer models that contain a lot of modern developments. Use militaria discussion boards and forums to find out the best camel pack for specific excursion types. What is more, there are blog posts and forum threads that discuss the best ways of cleaning camel pack reservoirs and the most efficient valve types. These online resources are a useful way of finding out insider tips and recommendations on purchasing the most suitable type of camel pack for one’s specific requirements.

Buying a Camel Pack on eBay

Whilst many high street stores and online retailers offer camel packs used in military situations, auction sites akin to eBay also offer the same products whilst also providing the chance to buy them at a more affordable rate.

The bidding system that eBay uses means that potential camel pack buyers are given the opportunity to purchase a camel pack for a price that may well be below the recommended retail price. When making a Bid on a camel pack it may be a wise idea to set a budget limit so as to ensure that a camel pack is purchased for underneath the standard price paid without getting into a bidding war. There is also the opportunity for buyers to make use of Best Offer option or the Buy It Now facility if the seller offers this and it best suits one’s buying preferences

To gain access to listings of camel packs on eBay, click the Collectables category and follow it through to the Militaria section. From here, one can visit the Surplus/Equipment page and then make use of the keyword toolbar or the filter tabs at the side of the page to tailor the search to specific requirements.


Buying a camel pack need not be as complicated as the many components and considerations may make it seem. There are plenty of resources and information available both in this guide and elsewhere online that can make the buying process as smooth as possible.

Remember to take into account reservoir size and the material of the pack itself to allow for the camel pack to provide the maximum amount of efficiency possible.

By being well read on the camel pack options available, one can purchase a pack that is both effective and reasonably priced. And buyers can rest assured when purchasing an item, as eBay and PayPal offer a secure and smooth transaction, as well as a Payment Protection Progamme.

Have something to share? Create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides