In 1988, Bicycle enthusiast, Michael Eidson, is competing in the “Hotter’N Hell 100.” And that’s exactly what it is: a 100-mile road race in the grueling summer heat of Wichita Falls, Texas. Water is vital to surviving the race, and there are few places to refill a water bottle. Eidson, an emergency medical technician by trade, decides to fill an IV bag with water and slip it into a white tube sock. Yes, a tube sock. Then he stuffs the contraption into the back of his bike jersey, throws the thin hose over his shoulder and clamps it with a clothespin. Hands-free hydration is born. And Eidson is able to drink as he pedals…while the other racers laugh and fiddle with their water bottles.
Jeff Wemmer, a competitive cyclist who fell hard for CamelBak, was so impressed by the product that he started bringing packs to races to sell them. Talk about a fan. CamelBak eventually hired him, and in 1993, Jeff embarked on a road trip to keep the start-up running during very tough times. Company lore has it that Jeff visited bike shops from Florida to California, pitching our renegade product from the back of his motorcycle. Each order Jeff faxed back to the factory literally breathed another day of life back into CamelBak.