Gear Review: MSR Dromlite
MSRP Price: $26.95
Official Website: Cascade Designs / MSR
Summary: An ultralight, tough, water bladder that is possibly the best way to carry water into the backcountry. Comes in 3 sizes.
The MSR DromLite is an ultralight dromedary bag. The interior has a food grade polyurethane coating, while the exterior is made of tough 200-denier Cordura. It is an essential piece of gear for anyone traveling into the mountains. Designed by MSR this collapsible water bladder is BPA-Free and super burly. It may be the perfect backcountry water carrying solution for water centric people like myself.
The MSR DromLite are a bright red color and come in three sizes – 2L, 4L, and 6L. The 2L only weighed 3.8 ounces on my scale (MSR claims it weighs 4.6 oz) and it’s ridiculously small. It was originally born from it’s big brother – the legendary MSR Dromedary Bags. The original, black MSR Dromedary Bags are still sold. They are a bit cheaper, come in 4 sizes (2, 4, 6, and 10 liter), made of 500-denier Cordura, and the 6 liter is a staple in my truck en-route to any excursion. They serve the exact same purpose, have a similar design, but just weigh a bit more – 30% more. And extra weight, even if it’s just ounces, is not a good thing.
I am the proud owner of a 2L MSR DromLite. I picked it up because I really like water and I perform better when hydrated. The 2L seemed like the ideal size for day trips or epics as it seems to complement my trusted and abused Klean Kanteen bottle. With the DromLite and a water bottle, I carry 3 liters of water with me and I usually drink it all. I’ve used my DromLite for some time now. I haven’t been incredibly careful with it and it still holds water like a champion.
Typically the DromLite lives in my pack and I use it to refill my water bottle. Then the water bottle takes the beating. It’s easy to drink directly from the DromLite via the flip spout, but I choose to use my water bottle. Personal habit. There is a bit of learning curve to become an accurate pourer, but it’s not hard.
The Dromlite comes with a 3 in 1 cap. There is a flip spout that supplies a steady trickle, a screw top for fantastically fast drinking ability, and a wide mouth for filling. A rotating ergonomic handle allows for easy filling in both streams or under a kitchen sink. There is even a grommet that allows for easy hanging. If you use this feature, be sure to attach a bit of cord to make a bigger loop because I can’t find a carabiner that fits through the hole easily.
I like carrying MSR Dromlite because it packs well. Unlike a water bottle, the Dromlite molds in your pack and fills up dead space. The only complaint I have about packing the dromedary is that the material can get wet after filling it. Try not to store it near the down jacket. Sometimes things get damp. Not wet, just a bit damp. When it’s empty, it’s essentially weightless and takes up almost no space in my pack, which is awesome.
I’ve heard a few negative things from MSR Dromlites users and from online reviews. I have not experienced either of them. First, I have heard the MSR Dromlite tastes a bit of plastic. I haven’t noticed that and my taste buds haven’t complained about the refreshing, delicious taste of water while on the trail at all. Second, people complain of leaky dromedaries. Of course sometimes companies produce a lemon too, but most likely this is caused by user error.
A friend of mine had this when we skied Mt Baker because the cap had not been attached properly. The lesson is to be careful with how you use your gear. Treat the Dromlite as a bag full of water. That’s what it is. Don’t stuff it at the bottom of your expedition pack or right next to your nut tool. Carry an extra cap so you don’t drop it off of the Gallatin Tower. Be careful and you’ll be able to use it for years. People either love it or hate it.
I imagine if mine burst, my opinion will drastically change too. The other thing to note about the MSR Dromlite is that there are tons of MSR accessories – spigot, hydration cap, shower kits, hydration kits, bottle adaptors, filters, extra caps. I don’t really use any of them, although a hydration kit might be nice. I’m just always dubious about plastic hoses in winter environments because I’ve seen them freeze and subsequently burst. (One winter tip – always start the day with warm water to ensure it doesn’t freeze.)
No matter where you’re heading in the backcountry. You need water. It’s the elixir of life. Why not carry your water in the MSR Dromlite? I do and I have no complaints. Overall the MSR DromLite is a well-designed, bombproof, versatile piece of gear that pretty much goes wherever I go. With a bit of care, the DromLite will last a long time. I like it a lot. The crew over at Outdoor Gear Lab claims that the dorm is the “single best solution to backcountry water storage we know of.”
It’s up to you to choose the size of MSR Dromedary you want. I opted for the 2 liter because I know that if I had the 4 liter, I would carry 4 liters of water with me and that would be overkill. While this is ideal for training weight, it’s not ideal from an efficiency standpoint. I also keep a 6 liter original MSR Dromedary in my truck for when I get back to the trailhead. Consider how much water you drink and how far you’re traveling and for how long then choose the right size for you.
The MSR Dromlite costs $26.95 to $32.95 depending on size.
Here is a screenshot of the MSR DromLite Specs direct from MSR: