Can You Put Ice In A CamelBak Bladder?

Nothing beats a cool sip of water when I'm running or hiking. But the longer I'm outdoors, the warmer the water in my Camelbak becomes and it absolutely sucks to go to take a big chug of refreshing water only to find out it's completely warm.

Warm water still keeps me hydrated and it's not the end of the world, but cool water keeps me hydrated and happy.

A great way to keep water cold is by using ice (and a lot of it) but can you put ice in your CamelBak or is there some reasons you shouldn't do this?

Yes, you can put as much ice in your CamelBak as you want. CamelBak can easily handle the cold temperatures of ice. Ice won't cause any damage to your CamelBak and it'll help your CamelBak stay cold for longer.

For best results you want to use lots of ice and fill your CamelBak with cold water from the fridge – not tap water. It's also a good idea to insulate your CamelBak bladder with a towel, a sweater or some clothing or an insulated sleeve specifically designed for CamelBak bladders.

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Bigger blocks of ice melt slower than smaller blocks of ice and they slosh around less. So where possible you want to make large ice cubes. Click here to see my list of the best large ice cube trays.

You can also freeze your CamelBak bladder in the freezer to get a super large block of ice and to keep it cold for even longer.

You just want to make sure you do it properly as there are some common mistakes people make with freezing their CamelBak bladders. Click here to learn exactly how to freeze your CamelBak bladder.

How To Add Ice To Your CamelBak

There are two methods to add ice to your Camelbak. 

  1. Freezing water in the reservoir overnight.
  2. Adding ice cubes immediately before heading out the door on your adventure. 

Overnight Freezing

  • Remove the water reservoir from the backpack.
  • Rinse the reservoir and add water until it's ⅓ to ½ full. 
  • If you plan to adventure all day, you can fill the reservoir to ¾ full. The frozen water will take longer to melt, but you’ll have all day for it to melt.  
  • Fill the remainder of the reservoir with air and close the lid.
    • Pro tip-Don't remove all the air from the reservoir when you freeze it. The extra air pocket will allow you to easily add (cold) water in the morning. If you remove all the air from the reservoir before overnight freezing, the Camelbaks lid will freeze onto the water inside the reservoir. You'll spend a bit of time in the morning thawing the lid. Not that we've ever done that….
  • If you struggle to add enough air then close the lid, attach the drinking hose and blow air into the reservoir through the hose. Just make sure to detach the hose before freezing.
  • Lay the reservoir flat, with the fill cap facing up on a flat surface in the freezer.
  • Allow freezing overnight
  • Add cold tap water or cold water from the refrigerator to the reservoir.  Fill it to the brim.  
  • Adventure with cool water!

Adding Ice Cubes On The Day

  • Ideally fill your CamelBak bladder with water the night before and store in the fridge overnight
  • Alternatively fill with cold water from the fridge
  • Add ice cubes – bigger is better and the more you use the longer it will stay cold
  • Head outdoors and enjoy  

You can also add ice cubes first and then pour cold water into your reservoir to fill up the remaining space.

Do CamelBak Reservoirs Keep Drinks Cold?

I start every adventure by filling my Camelbak with the coldest water possible and as many ice cubes as I can reasonably fit in it.

However, even when I start my adventure with cold water, the heat from my back and the sunshine warms the water inside the Camelbak. CamelBak bladders are not insulated and don't keep your drinks cold very well.

If my adventure lasts long enough, the warm reservoir water is downright unpleasant to drink.

There are a few different methods you can use to keep water cold longer in your CamelBak bladder:

  • Use an insulated bladder
  • Insulated the drinking tube
  • Pre-freeze your bladder overnight
  • Add DIY insulation
  • Add a lot of ice

I also use these 2 techniques if the water in my CamelBak reservoir is cold but the water in the tube itself has warmed up:

  1. If the water in your tube has warmed up – take big gulps of warm water and spit them out onto the ground. I repeat the process until the water is cool in my mouth.
  2. Aim the Camelbak’s water nozzle to the ground and hold the nipple open until the warm water is purged from the lines.