Hydration pack solves the ‘I’m thirsty!’ problem

CamelbakScott gives several excellent reasons to consider a hydration pack:

Kids are *always* thirsty. While spill-proof sippy cups are great, ours frequently disappear whenever they venture out of the house. To quench their (and my) thirst, I carry a hydration pack. Long favored by hikers, cyclists, and climbers, hydration packs consist of a water bladder and a flexible, valved tube, integrated into a backpack.


  • Self service: Most packs have long enough tubes for 2+ year olds to reach on their own. Skip rummaging though your diaper bag.
  • Anti-backwash: The bite valve prevents most backflow, and the siphon effect kicks in for the short ones, helping out with positive pressure.
  • Multipurpose: Many hydration day-packs are roomy enough to be used as a full-fledged diaper bag; smaller ones can function for errands.
  • Comfort: Hiking packs are designed for extended wear. Many special-purpose diaper backpacks are quite uncomfortable in comparison.

If you already have a comfortable pack, you can modify it to support a hydration system. Platypus makes complete systems suitable for integration. You may need to create a small opening in the top of the pack for the tube to emerge; a large grommet or the button-hole setting on your sewing machine are recommended.

Personally, I carry a CamelBak MotherLoad (*not* in camouflage, thank you). It’s large enough to double as a laptop bag, or to carry a full day’s supplies for a large family. It’s well padded, and the waist belt is removable for lighter loads.

One feature to look for: a manual shutoff valve in addition to the bite valve, which can easily be squeezed without noticing while looking for something in the pack.

Once my kids are a little older, I might get each of them their own CamelBak Scout.

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  1. vamp_96 says

    I went geocaching with my 2 year old twin nephews and they both loved my camelbak. Everytime I’d pick one of them up they would grab the mouth piece and take a sip. It was kinda cute. Evidently they have been trained…their parents are avid outdoors people and I’m sure they let the kids sip from their camelbaks.

  2. Jeff C says

    This sounds like a great idea, but personally I don’t think I could get used to the “sharing of the mouthpiece” with myself or between my two kids.

    I’ve caught enough colds from my kids to know that sharing any food, drink etc. with them is just not worth the risk, even when they seem like they are healthy.

    I’ve gone to a “zero sharing policy” this winter and haven’t been sick once.

    Just my 2c…

  3. says

    I love the Camelbaks. And I think this is a fantastic idea for little ones. Can’t wait to try it.

    But Jeff C does give me pause about cootie-sharing.

  4. says

    jonathan has a camelbak he shares with everett on their hikes, and even truman has joined in the fun (at 10 months) – he loves to drink out of the camelbak. it’s really pretty cute.

  5. Liz says

    We love our camelbak that we got a couple years ago to be our diaper bag. Only problem is if you fill it up with water it is really heavy. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves just because it CAN hold a lot of water doesn’t mean it always HAS to.

    Caveat: We bought our daughter a kids Kelty Starfish hydration pack, and it’s mouthpiece is not as good as the camelbak. Her little brother has bit through 2 of her valves, which seem to be only available through the company. Also the replacement doesn’t seem to fit in the tube as tightly.