Bicycle enthusiast Michael Eidson was competing in the "Hotter'N Hell 100," and that's exactly what it is to this day: a 100-mile road race, over four days in the grueling summer heat of Wichita Falls, Texas. Water is vital to surviving the race, but there are few places to refill, let alone time to stop. An emergency medical technician by trade, Eidson came up with a solution on the fly: he filled an IV bag with water, slipped it into a white tube sock (yes, an actual tube sock), and stuffed the whole contraption into the back of his bike jersey. He then threw the hose over his shoulder and clamped it shut with a clothespin. Hands-free hydration was born. And CamelBak was created to pursue it.
Jeff Wemmer, a competitive cyclist who fell hard for CamelBak, was so impressed by the product that he started bringing packs to races to sell them. Talk about a fan. CamelBak eventually hired him, and in 1993, Jeff embarked on a road trip to keep the startup running during very tough times. Company lore has it that Jeff visited bike shops from Florida to California, pitching our product from the back of his motorcycle. Each order Jeff faxed back to the factory breathed another day of life back into CamelBak.
A lot has changed since our days of an IV bag in a tube sock sold by a motorcycle-riding sales force of one, but our core values remain the same—it takes courage, conviction, and imagination to quench our thirst for better—from inventing the hydration category to becoming the world's leading maker of hydration solutions.