Over the years, CamelBak has really optimized their bladders to be easy-opening.
But if you’re here reading this, you’re probably having some trouble. I've had my fair share of stuck lids over the years and it can be pretty frustrating when it happens.
There are a few possible reasons that your lid may be stuck.
If you’re having trouble opening your CamelBak bladder, it could be stuck because it’s frozen shut, the lid is cross threaded, it’s an older bladder and the factory lubrication has worn away, residue from a drink has dried in the threads, or you over-tightened your lid.
With Fusion reservoirs, the TRU Zip zipper will sometimes get off track and need to be reset.
The good news is, when your CamelBak lid gets stuck, it’s usually pretty easy to fix and prevent it from happening again.
1. The Lid Is Frozen Shut
But if you freeze water in the bladder and don’t leave enough air inside or freeze it lid-down, the chunk of ice can freeze to the underside of the lid.
This happened to me the first couple of times I frozen my CamelBak but after I started adding air the lid is less likely to get stuck. But it still does happen sometimes.
Even if the bladder was empty, moisture on the threads may also cause it to freeze shut.
In either case, running some hot water on the lid for a minute or so should melt the ice enough for you to open it.
You can also just leave the lid to thaw and it'll eventually defrost and be able to be opened. But running the hot water over it is so much easier.
2. The Lid Is Cross-Threaded
If you’ve accidentally cross threaded your lid, not only is your bladder very likely to leak, it may also be pretty tough to get back open.
Unfortunately, it’s just going to take some brute force and willpower to open. Hopefully the threads aren’t damaged in the process.
If you absolutely cannot open the lid using your hands then getting a screwdriver and a hammer can help get it unstuck.
Place the screwdriver against the inner handle of the lid on the part closest to the rim. Lightly hit the screwdriver with a hammer and this force can slowly open the lid or get it unstuck enough that you can open the rest by hand.
To avoid the screwdriver doing any damage to your bladder you can place a tea towel between the screwdriver and the CamelBak lid so that it won't scratch it.
To prevent cross threading in the future, twist the cap counterclockwise until you hear it click before screwing it on every time you fill your bladder.
3. You Have An Old Bladder
‘Pre-Crux’ CamelBaks aren’t nearly as easy to open as today’s bladders.
Old CamelBak bladders used a lubricant on the threads to make sealing and opening your bladder easier. The problem is, the factory lubricant tends to wear away with use — so as the bladders would age, getting them open could become a serious battle.
Soaking in hot water for about half an hour should loosen the lid enough to twist it off. Or if not, you may need to use something to get a bit more leverage as you twist — like this contraption by mtbr user Finch Platte.
To prevent the lid from sticking in the future, you can apply a thin layer of cooking oil (I use olive oil) around the ring every couple of washes. You can also use a Yeti zipper lubricant or something similar.
4. Drink Residue Has Dried In The Threads
If you drink anything other than water from your CamelBak, your lid may be stuck because residue from the drink has dried in the threads.
It’s especially likely if you drink anything sweetened, because for some reason dried sugar seems to turn into something slightly stronger than cement.
Soaking the pack in hot water might loosen it, but you’ll probably need to reverse fill the bladder with hot water through the tube instead.
You can also try the screwdriver and hammer method mentioned above.
To stop it from happening again, pay a little extra attention to cleaning the lid and threads when you wash your bladder.
And make sure you clean it after every use when drinking something other than water.
5. Your Bladder Was Overtightened
Sometimes when your CamelBak is stuck, it’s simply because you over-tightened it. Modern CamelBak lids seal very easily, there’s no need to apply excessive force as you close them.
If you can’t get it open by hand, soaking in hot water will cause the lid to expand slightly, making it easier to open.
If you’re still struggling, a pair of channel locks or any other tool that gives you more leverage should do the trick. Just apply firm pressure and turn slowly so you don’t damage the lid.
6. The TRU Zip Zipper Is Off Track (Fusion Reservoirs)
While the TRU Zip zippers found on Fusion bladders are normally very reliable, they do occasionally get off track. If so, the slider may not be able to fully open your reservoir.
If pulling the slider across isn’t opening your bladder, you may need to reset it:
- Pull the slider all the way to the open position.
- Using your fingers, pry the zipper fully open.
- Pull the slider back across to the closed position.
- On a hard, flat surface press firmly down on the tracks.
- Let it rest, closed on a flat surface, for at least 24 hours.
TRU Zip zippers are self-healing, meaning they’ll regain their correct shape if left to rest flat in a closed position.
To prevent issues going forward, always store your Fusion reservoir flat (never with a fold in the zipper) with the zipper sealed shut.