The Best Way To Get Your Camelbak Completely Dry In 7 Simple Steps

Camelbak rehydration pouches are such a great invention, especially for cyclists but also for hikers and others, and they ensure you can stay rehydrated easily. However, the main problem most people find is that they are a pain to dry and if not properly dried, mold can develop inside.

Do you know the trick to getting them to dry thoroughly before storage? Here I will explain a very simple method using stuff you should be able to find in your home that will allow you to dry your Camelbak bladder effectively so that next time you use it, it will be clean and free of mold.

Paper Towel Method

Hydration Pack Over White Background

The main problem when drying a Camelbak bladder is that water gets trapped inside and so cannot evaporate. This means if you store it before it is completely dry, the moisture will remain inside until the next time you use it and will allow mold and bacteria to develop. The main trick is to ensure there is an air flow so that it can dry properly.

You Will Need:

1. Paper Towels

Roll Of Paper Towels On Wooden Background

2. Kitchen Tongs

Kitchen Tongs On White Background

3. Cotton Bud (Or Cotton Ball)

Cotton Balls And Cotton Buds On Wooden Background

4. Fishing Line (Or Something Similar)​

Fishing Line Roll Close-up

How To Do It:

1. Rinse, Empty, Shake, Blow

The first thing to do is to give the bladder rinse with clean water and then empty any remaining water by giving it a good shake to get as much out as possible.

Remove the mouthpiece from the tube, squeeze open and shake off any remaining water then blow down the tube to clear any moisture that is still inside.

You will find that there is still plenty of moisture trapped inside the bladder and the tube that still needs to be cleared.

2. Use The Cotton Bud To Dry The Tube

One of the hardest parts to get dry is the tube as it is difficult to ensure that air flows through to dry it off. A neat little trick to do this is to tie a cotton bud (or a cotton ball) to a piece of fishing line and then pull it through the tube a couple of times. This will remove all the moisture from the tube.

This step is not absolutely necessary so if you don’t have fishing line or a cotton bud you can skip it but if you can do it, it helps ensure the tube is completely dry inside. It is also a useful technique for cleaning inside the tube if needed.

You can also use pipe cleaner​s to dry the tube.

3. Use A Paper Towel To Wipe Inside

Take one paper towel and, with your hand, wipe inside the bladder as much as you can. Try to clear as much of the moisture as possible but you won’t be able to get it completely dry so don’t worry about this as the rest of the moisture will be allowed to evaporate effectively in the following steps.

If your hand is too big or the hole is too small, you can use the kitchen tongs to hold the piece of paper to wipe inside.

4. Place Balls Of Paper Towels Inside

Take four or five paper towels and scrunch them up into loose balls then, one by one, push them into the bladder. Again, if your hand is too big for the hole, you can use the kitchen tongs to help.

You need to make sure the sides of the bladder are prevented from sticking together so that they don’t trap water inside. In this way, the paper towels will hold the bladder open and will allow air to flow inside so the remaining moisture will be able to evaporate and mold will not be able to form.

If your hand is too big or the hole in the bladder is too small, depending on the model you have (or if you have another brand), you can use the kitchen tongs to push the paper towels inside to make sure the bladder is held open.

5. Place Mouthpiece And Tube Inside And Leave To Dry

When the paper towels are inside, push the tube inside and place the mouthpiece inside too. This is just to ensure the mouthpiece is kept safely and doesn’t get lost. Once everything is ready, place somewhere safe to dry. The best kind of place is somewhere breezy with decent airflow.

If you leave the Camelbak for a few hours or overnight, the combination of the paper towels absorbing the moisture and the air flow allowing evaporation to occur will ensure that your Camelbak dries thoroughly and quickly.

6. Remove Paper Towels And Store

Camelbak Antidote Reservoir 100 oz


Once the Camelbak is completely dry, it is ready for storage. Remove all the paper towels (using tongs if necessary), close the Camelbak and store until the next use. Next time you use it, just give it a quick rinse with warm water to get rid of any stale taste that remains from before and you’re ready to go!

7. Clean Properly If Mold Develops

If you follow my steps, no mold should ever develop because you will ensure it is completely dry before storage. However, if mold does manage to grow, you should make sure you clean the Camelbak thoroughly as if you don’t this could cause health issues.

To clean, you can use bleach or vinegar. If using bleach, make sure it is very thoroughly rinsed afterwards as bleach can also cause serious health problems!​


There are probably several other ways to dry a Camelbak or other similar products but I find the method I have just outlined to be simple and effective and it doesn’t require anything too specialized. The step with the fishing line isn’t absolutely necessary but it helps if you can do it.

  • Another interesting idea I came across was using the pump from a fish tank to blow air through the bladder to speed up evaporation and dry the inside. This is a great idea too – if you have (or are willing to buy) the pump!

Here are a couple of videos I found that demonstrate methods similar to the one I described. There is also a video of the fish tank pump method.​

What do you think? Do you have any other ideas? How do you dry your Camelbak? As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say so why not leave me a comment? If you like my posts, why not share with your friends?

Julie McClain

Chief editor here at Outdoorzer. I'm an outdoor lover and ever since I was a little girl, I've worked hard to learn all I could from my Dad about Camping, Hiking, RVs and surviving in the woods.

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