Camelbak is a commercial trademark for a particular company specialising in manufacturing water bladders for both the civilian outdoors market and the military. Much like ‘hoover’ came to mean any vacuum cleaner, camelbak has come to mean any sort of water bladder system. A water bladder is a soft plastic bag which can be filled with water and can be carried on the back in a special carrier. A flexible hose comes from this bladder round to the front of the user and has a special valve that allows the user to sip water without needing to remove the bladder. This has obvious advantages to the military where in combat situations or on the march, removing a waterbottle is not always practical. Us troops started using camelbaks in the First Gulf War and the practice had spread to the British by the time of the War on Terror. Special packs were produced on British military contracts in both DDPM and in the temperate green pattern of DPM. It is one of these covers we are looking at tonight, although this is just the cover and is lacking the bladder itself:The maker’s logo is prominently displayed on the back zipped flap:This opens to reveal a hole where the refill cap of the bladder would be located:Looking to the rear we can see a pair of shoulder straps and a single grab handle at the top:An NSN number is stamped directly to the back of the camelbak:Female fastex clips are fitted to the top:And bottom of the carrier:These allow it to be clipped to the back of an assault vest if so required. The typical way of carrying the bladder however is by the integral shoulder straps. A chest strap is also included to help hold the camelbak in the correct position on the soldier’s back:It is on these shoulder straps that the contractor’s label can be found with the NSN number and space for the soldier’s name and number:Although DDPM and DPM covers were produced, it seems squaddies weren’t too fussed about what they used, resulting in decidedly mixed kit such as on this chap:The camelbak was a popular and welcome addition to soldier’s kit, even if it was not always the easiest thing to fill up or sterilise after use. I have used one myself on exercise many years ago and although the water is a bit topping when it has gotten warm, the bags are excellent and far easier than trying to pull a bottle out of a pouch when you want a mouthful of water.