CamelBak Hydration Pack (Charm) Review – My Preferred Hydration System

I’ve run enough times and used my CamelBak Hydration Pack (Charm) for my half marathon that I decided I could truly review it now. The Charm is supposed to be for cycling but I don’t always follow the rules.  I mean lipstick isn’t really meant for running but I use it when I run.

I’ve tried all sorts of hydration devices, but none of them compare to having a CamelBak.  I’ve used the handheld water bottles and I actually like them, but I’ve read that they can cause imbalances that would lead to injury.

Now, I’m not blaming my handheld bottles but I have had injuries on the leg that’s on the side I hold the bottle in.  I wish I could switch sides when I carry the bottles but I cannot run with anything in my left hand (aka my wuss hand). As soon as I put something in it, I get a case of wuss-itis (sorry, I don’t mean to get all technical and stuff).

I’ve also tried the fuel belt you wear around your waist and I hate it.  I don’t like the way it feels around my waist, not to mention that, no matter how tightly I close the bottles, they always drip on my legs!  Nothing is worse than running on a cold day and getting wet just makes it worse.

When I wear my CamelBak I don’t even feel like it’s there and I don’t have to fuss to take a drink.  The water bladder is located close to the body (mostly in the small of my back) so there isn’t much bounce every time I take a step. So long to taking out bottles then fighting to put them back, which plays havoc on my run mechanics.

My hubby showed me how lots of soldiers wear their Camelbaks and it works really well for me.  I loop the tube under my arm so the bite valve is on my shoulder so I don’t have to fumble with the hose to take a drink. I also enjoyed wearing it during my half marathon because I didn’t have to waste time at water stations.  Now, I always have water available to me when I need to take a gel.

I don’t like having to wait until a water station because sometimes, I need a gel and there isn’t a water station for several miles.  I know I could probably wait to take it but my body doesn’t work that way.  I always need a gel at about 40min, 1:15, and 1:45 ( or sometimes sooner).  I’m a control freak when it comes to my running and its great to be able to control my run nutrition instead of having it dictated to me by the race course layout.

Another plus is you can put your preferred sports drink in the CamelBak. I like to fill the antidote half full of ice and then add a bottle of water and a Nuun tablet.

CamelBak also makes electrolyte tabs but I haven’t tried them yet.  The point is CamelBak acknowledges that people want to take their sports nutrition with them on the go and they sell a cleaning kit so you can keep the water bladder sanitary.  So don’t fear, you can carry other things besides water.

Here are the


  • This pack is actually made for women with a shorter torso, so being 4-11″ this really helps me and I feel really comfortable wearing it.
  • lightweight and small, doesn’t hurt my back
  • 1.5-liter antidote
  • Has a small pocket you can fit your keys into
  • Reflective trim for visibility


  • This model doesn’t have a strap across the chest to keep it in place, I don’t have a lot of trouble with it staying in place but occasionally the strap drops off my shoulder a bit.  But it’s nothing that makes it a deal breaker for me.  I can’t even be sure I would want a strap across my chest, that might bother me.

If you’ve exhausted all other hydration methods and still aren’t satisfied maybe a CamelBak would be right for you.  I bought mine at Academy Sports but you can find it on Amazon as well.























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