Kid-Sized Camelbak Hydration Packs: Seriously Awesome


Since people have asked about my kids’ Camelbaks after my last post, Planning a Kid-Friendly Hike, I thought I’d share this quick review:

My Boys, with Kid-Sized Camelbak Hydration Packs, at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.

Okay, I’ll admit it. Kid-sized Camelbak hydration packs seem a bit ridiculous, but they’re actually not. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They’re wicked awesome. So awesome I’d have to rate them as my best purchase of last year. I also think they are the most over-looked equipment for hiking with kids.

Back in July I brought my friend to the EMS in Rockingham, NH so he could buy a hydration bladder for his pack. He was new to hiking and wanted some guidance. While I was there I saw the little packs hanging on the wall, just to the right of the checkout. I was interested right away. My wife and I bring our kids hiking whenever possible and trust me, keeping 4 and 5 year-old boys hydrated during a hot summer hike is not easy. My biggest concern: Would they actually use them?

After vacillating for nearly 45 minutes, I finally decided to drop the $100 for the pair of kid-sized packs. Driving home, I was psyched, and I didn’t even know just how great they’d be.

My kids love them. Each pack has a 1.5L bladder with the quick-snap caps, smaller, but just like the grown-up packs. We fill them with watered-down Gatorade and the kids are way better off for it. We’ve almost completely stopped having to remind them to sip their drinks. If you’re a parent, you know this is a big deal. Now with the packs, even hours after a hike, there’s no crashing, meltdowns, or bright red faces from being dehydrated like before. Can you imagine?

Kid-Sized Camelbak Hydration Pack, from EMS

The packs have become the kids’ go-to trekking bags. They fill the outside pocket with treasures from the trail – they can even put maps and trinkets inside the main compartment. The chest strap also makes a great place for the boys to clip their emergency whistles. They feel very proper with bladders and whistles, which has the bonus of engaging them during a longer hike. Also, I make great use of the smaller bladder on my own, shorter trips.

Even on trips that don’t require the bladders, their Camelbaks are the boys’ bags of choice. Sometimes, when it’s a short trek, they don’t even use the bladder, but merely throw a water bottle and a hat in the pack. They work as perfect day bags for kids. Plus, it’s pretty cool – and cute – to see them run around with their little Camelbaks! Win-win.

Now that you’ve ordered your new packs for the kids, I welcome you to check out my blog for great ideas for you and your family, at: Outdoors, by Cracky!


Justin Chase

Justin "Cracky" Chase is the author of the online journal, Outdoors, By Cracky! Want to get outdoors in New England? Follow him!


  1. March 31, 2013, 2:16 pm

    I was out yesterday hiking with the kids again and I thought of something you may find helpful. If you have a hard to getting your young one to drink enough water on the trail, I find the flow meter works quite well. Kids love watching the numbers change and it gives you an easy way to check their consumption without unpacking the bladder.

    Happy hiking!

  2. Jamie
    March 8, 2013, 11:17 am

    My kids love their Camelbak Hydration Packs – I just wish they offered one in RED!

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