Spotlight: CamelBak - from IV bags to the modern day

Paramedic Michael Eidson created the hydration backpack concept, but it's come a long way since the original design...
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CamelBak’s origins stem from an IV bag and a tube sock combined to allow paramedic Michael Eidson to ride a100-mile bike race in the Texan heat. Mark Sutton finds out from Zyro brand manager Richard Samuels how the line has evolved over the years from that slightly bizarre creation…

What major evolutions have come about as CamelBak has developed?
CamelBak’s crown jewel remains its patented Big Bite Valve, a one-piece, medical-grade silicone valve that self seals and offers intuitive drinking. Omega reservoirs also lead the way in terms of bombproof reliability, carrying a lifetime guarantee.
Sustainability and reusability is a further cornerstone of CamelBak’s work as the firm challenges the bottled-water market. Many consumers do not like to drink tap water because of ‘taste’ issues. By introducing products such as the Fresh Reservoir filter and the Groove bottle that reduces chlorine, taste and odour, fresh potable water can be filtered on demand to taste great.

For 2011, CamelBak has introduced the Antidote reservoir, which brings new levels of customisation to the market, plus a new system for integrating the reservoir into the CamelBak pack that keeps the water more stable and closer to your centre of gravity than ever before.

Further to that, this year also sees the introduction of the ‘Got Your Bak’ guarantee, which comprehensively covers packs, reservoir or bottles with a lifetime guarantee.

CamelBak were also the first manufacturer to introduce BPA-free Tritan bottles to the market when concerns over the Bisphenol-A within polycarbonate lead to countries banning the material.

Which other markets does the firm now cater for?
There’s product for the specialist outdoor sector, including running and triathlon-suited items. Then there’s also gear that can be used in motorsport, as well as specialist product for the Governmental, military and industrial sectors.

Rucksack hydration packs aside, what other goods are manufactured by CamelBak?
Bottles, wearable hydration vests and various reservoirs suitable for retrofitting to other OEM packs. Further to the core line, there are accessories including insulated and thermal control tubes, taste filters as well as digital flow meters, reservoir cleaning kits, including soluble cleaning tablets and specially designed cleaning brushes.

Can energy supplements be used with CamelBak bladders?
Yes, and with no degrading of materials. Customers doing this should be reminded to clean and dry reservoirs after every use.

Hydroguard anti-microbial protection goes a long way to improving hygiene within a reservoir. The technology comes integrated into the Antidote and Omega reservoir films, Pureflow tube linings and the Trutaste polypropylene of the Podium bottle range. This permanent silver-ion treatment eliminates up to 99.99 per cent of bacteria and fungus.

What product is available to turn standard rucksacks into hydration backpacks?
The Antidote Reservoir is a big-seller, though requires the customer’s rucksack to have a hydration sleeve.
It is important to distinguish between hydration compatibility and CamelBak’s preferred methods of hydration integration. Many OEM rucksacks claim to be hydration compatible, but in reality, the reservoir simply sits within the main cargo compartment of the pack, taking up valuable space.

This is also where CamelBak’s value comes to the fore, as the combination of an OEM pack and aftermarket reservoir is frequently more expensive than buying one of CamelBak’s fully integrated hydration systems.

How can interested retailers take stock of CamelBak?
Simply spend £250 or more to open an account with Zyro. This can be via our business-to-business site, found at www.zyrob2b.co.uk, or dealers can get in touch by phone at 01845 521742 for all sales and product enquiries.

What marketing plans are in place for the brand in 2011?
There are two reservoir advertising campaigns pushing out in various road, MTB and specialist outdoor titles throughout 2011; with similar campaigns also planned to support the new CamelBak bottle pushes.

Among the 52 bottles on sale right now, the Podium Big Chill and Groove Tritan BPA-free line will receive a big push.

Can Zyro offer any point-of-sale material or promotional material?
At present, all available POS is in the market in the form of wooden displays. Header boards are available through Zyro, but we will also be launching an additional bottle-specific unit in the near future. 545mm wide slat wall headerboards are available from Zyro, just drop us a line on 01845 521742.

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