Camelbak unveiled this week an addition to its line of popular hydration packs—three limited-edition models constructed of "genuine camel."
The Camelhide Luxe line, as it's being called, is available now online and at select bricks-and-mortar stores, the company said in a news release. Suggested retail prices range from $299 to $359, depending on the model.
While the price tags might put the packs out of reach for most consumers, they reflect the time and effort that goes into producing each unit, the news release explained.
"Each Camelhide Luxe pack begins as an actual camel," it read. "These animals are raised for this purpose at a ranch in southern California and cared for lovingly until they reach maturity."
At that point, the news release said, the animals are slaughtered and skinned. The hides then undergo a weeks-long process of stretching, drying, and tanning before they're ready to be sewn into hydration packs.
The rest of the carcass is discarded.
"We're excited to introduce a pack that, more than any other, is true to the Camelbak name," the news release concluded.
Early consumer feedback has been mixed.
"It looks great, but performance-wise frankly it's not that great," said John Tagliatelle, a San Diego trail runner who was among the first to try a Camelhide Luxe pack. "When you take a sip, the water tastes like camel. Sort of gamy."
"Probably they should have lined the thing with a synthetic bladder," he added.
Sharon Marinara, a runner based in Austin, Texas, who has used her Camelhide Luxe pack twice since buying it Monday, said she didn't mind her water's funky overtones.
"It's not that bad," she said. "And it's a small price to pay for this kind of luxury."
A representative for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal rights group, said that PETA did not have an opinion on the product.
"Usually, we'd be firmly against this sort of thing," the representative said. "But based on the photos I've seen, it actually looks pretty cool."