When I did my backpacking trip in the Arc Dome Wilderness, I was surprised at how little water was available when I needed it. There was a seasonal creek on the map where I camped, but as it turned out, it only flowed one afternoon when the temperature warmed up enough to melt the snow above. One morning I ended up backtracking a mile to the creek I had seen on the way in. With only three 32 oz water bottles with me, I knew I’d have to ration my water carefully. This changed my meal plans, and even factored in my decision to not climb the peak.
My Arc Dome example would have been an ideal situation for a collapsible water container like the MSR Dromedary Bag. I needed more water at basecamp, but didn’t have the room in my pack for additional water bottles. At only 8.7 ounces, the Dromedary Bag rolls up small when not in use and is easily stowable in a pack. I ended up purchasing the 6 liter Dromedary Bag. As you can imagine, 6 additional liter hard bottles in your pack would take up a lot of room. It would also add an additional 15 pounds or so of additional weight if the bottles were full. Taking along a Dromedary Bag gives you the extra capacity when you need it, without all the extra weight and volume.
We took the 6 liter Dromedary Bag along for our Green Lake backpacking trip. There is definitely no shortage of water in this area, but it still proved to be quite useful. After arriving at camp, we filtered water from a nearby creek into the bag and topped off our bottles. The Dromedary came in very handy for use around camp refilling bottles, cooking, and washing dishes. It also saved on trips to the creek for more water. When it was time to leave, we rolled up the empty bag and stashed it back in the pack.
The Dromedary Bag is not just useful for backpacking either. I brought an extra 6 liters of water on one of our recent car camping trips, because I wasn’t familiar with the remote mountain campground. The additional water was plenty for the overnighter, and we never had to go investigate the campground water pump.
- Abrasion-resistant Cordura, laminated with food-grade polyurethane, can handle everything from freezing to boiling.
- 3-in-1 cap lets you fill, drink, and pour.
- Low profile, ergonomic handle and wide-mouth opening for no-hassle filling.
- Perimeter webbing allows for convenient pack attachment and hanging.
- Increases your potential water capacity without permanently sacrificing available gear space.
- Comes in 2, 4, 6, and 10 liter capacities.
- 6L weighs 8.7 ounces
- The 6L Dromedary bags retails for around $40.
- Made in the USA
The Dromedary’s three-in-one cap lets you fill, drink and pour. Completely removing the cap allows you to fill the bag and even attach it directly to an MSR water filter, as the neck is the same size as a Nalgene bottle’s. This method works great when filtering water, since there is no loose hose to slip out and fall into your water source. With the cap all the way on, you can flip the smaller cap open for a trickle of water. This is great for cleaning camp dishes or for when you want a more controlled stream of water. Taking the smaller cap off the larger cap increases the flow a lot, and works good for rapidly filling a water bottle. There is a big difference between the two flows, and some people have even recommended buying the MSR spigot bag cap for better control.
The webbing straps are handy for carrying the bag, and for hanging the bag for easy access or to let it dry out. MSR also makes a DromLite 6 liter bag that is 3 ounces less, but it does not have the webbing straps like the regular Dromedary. For my intended use, the straps are worth the small weight penalty.
The abrasion-resistant Cordura nylon shell feels very durable, and should hold up to years of use. The inside of the bag is coated with a food-grade polyurethane to make it water tight. I’ve seen several opinions in other reviews regarding this coating giving your water a plastic taste, opinions ranging all the way from no aftertaste to the non-palatable. From my experience, there is a noticeable taste to the water when compared to the pristine taste of water from a Nalgene bottle. I’d say the taste is similar to water from other plastic water bladders like a CamelBak. The plastic taste is certainly not enough to keep me from enjoying a drink of water, especially when I’m thirsty out on the trail. And of course, when cooking and cleaning with the water at camp, the taste is not issue.
Like any water bladder, keeping the inside clean is very important for the freshest tasting water. This means letting the inside dry thoroughly before storing to prevent the growth of the bad stuff that likes dark and damp places. Thankfully the stiff Cordura shell holds its shape well. It’s easy to open the Dromedary fully up for maximum air flow before hanging it by the web strap to dry.
I find the Dromedary Bag to be very helpful when backpacking, especially on trips where water sources may be infrequent. I enjoy having the potential for more capacity without noticeable bulk. You may may have issues with the Dromedary if you are sensitive to a plastic taste in your water, but keep in mind that the water in the Dromedary may be used for camp activities where taste is not an issue like cooking and cleaning.
- More information at the manufacturer’s website, Cascade Designs.
- Ready to purchase? Buy the 6L MSR Dromedary Bag at REI now!
- Looking for something smaller or concerned about the taste? Check out my review of the Platypus Platy Bottle.