The ability to transport water has been a deciding factor in where homes could be built to where one could explore since the dawn of time. Being able to bring with you potable water to an unknown area is paramount for survival. Some of the earliest water containers were clay pots, bamboo canteens, and of course goat skins. As time has progressed so has our technology to transport water. Metal, plastic and rubber have not only helped with strength and durability of the container but have also provided better seals to keep that precious liquid from escaping. These advancements have provided us with the modern day goat skin, the hydration bladder.
As with a lot of the gear that I currently carry in my bug out bag or day bag it comes from me making a mistake and learning from it. The very first time I set out into the woods to test my bug out bag and my new found skills I knew I needed a water container. I went with the tried and true stainless steel canteen. This way I could boil water if necessary. This thought was sound but the thought that 39 oz. would be sufficient was not. Nor was the thought that I would just drop my pack every time I needed a drink. Both the refilling of my canteen, luckily there were water sources to do so, and the taking off my back to reach my canteen got old very fast. As fate would have it my fellow bug out boy decided to bring a bladder. Watching the ease of him getting a drink as we made our way to our designated bug out location was more than enough for me to see the error of my ways. So upon my return a started looking for a hydration bladder and I found the MSR Dromedary Bladder.
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With all the different bladders out there I think the main concern is durability. The last thing anyone wants is for their bladder to spring a leak. Lets be honest there are plenty of rough, jagged, and pointy objects out in the wild let alone what we bring along. Any one of them could spell disaster for your bladder and then you lose your precious water. This is where I think the MSR Dromedary shined the most for me. With its 1,000 Denier Cordura exterior I have no worry about laying it on the ground, hanging it next to rough bark, or even having it graze some thorns on my way to fill it up at the stream. I am not even worried if it freezes in the cold which it has happened to me. It is a very tough bladder. With 4 years of taking it out in every condition and still no leaks I am very happy. I personally have never used the shower attachment but the water spigot and the bite valve hose work great for different jobs. Lastly it comes in large sizes so you can carry plenty of water and its made in the USA. That is always a win for me.
Now it cant be all wine and roses a few may not care for how the bladder is shaped or how it fills up. Personally I have not had a problem with it but some might. Many hydration packs have hangers in them that don’t necessarily match up to the Dromedary but this is easily overcome. Since the Dromedary is tough and the fabric is opaque you can not see the water level either. Some might like to have eyes on their water level. Me I usually know by the weight. The 3 in 1 cap is versatile but also bulky. I feel this has been my only gripe with the bladder. Sliding it into pockets takes a bit more finesse than other bladders do to the caps bulk it can be overcome. Last negative would be that the bladder doesn’t come with a hydration hose kit. This could be seen as a plus because you might not need it but if you do intend to use it with a hose then that’s another piece of gear you are going to have to purchase.
Overall I enjoy my MSR Dromedary. It hasn’t failed me yet over 4 years and I have the confidence to use it in the field without it leaking anytime soon. I know there are quite a few that have talked about the taste of plastic. I myself only tasted a mild hint of plastic the first few times I used it. Now it just tastes like the water I put in it. I count on the gear that I have for survival not just for a day hike. If you need a hydration bladder to take punishment and to last then the MSR Dromedary is the bladder for you.
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