MSR DromLite Bags Review
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MSR DromLite Bags
|Price||$35.95 at Backcountry|
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|$35.18 at Amazon|
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|$33.02 at Amazon|
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|$30.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, super packable, durable material, inexpensive, incredibly versatile||Thick and durable bladder, handle for easy filling, drying accessory, excellent flow rate, narrow and rounded profile for easy fit in narrow packs||Lightweight, slim profile, simple to use, easy to clean||Durable, great water flow, easy to fill and clean, versatile use, good price||Durable, versatile and lightweight design, good flow rate, great price|
|Cons||Poor taste, does not come with hose or bite valve, doesn't pack easily into backpack sleeves||Bulkier components don't pack down||Not as durable as other options, connections get gummed up without lubrication||Can't flip inside out||Harder to clean, bite valve doesn't lock off|
|Bottom Line||This reservoir is lightweight and durable with many functions and uses in the outdoors||This top performer stands out for its quality construction and easy filling profile that is reliable for hydration on backcountry adventures and day trips||A lightweight and slim bladder that's especially suited for ounce-counting athletes pushing deep into the backcountry||This is a high value bladder with stellar performance for a decent price||This durable, lightweight, and simple bladder won't take a toll on your wallet|
|Rating Categories||MSR DromLite Bags||Gregory 3D Hydro||Hydrapak Shape-Shif...||CamelBak Crux Reser...||Platypus Hoser|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Ease of Care (25%)|
|Ease of Filling (20%)|
|Quality and Durability (15%)|
|Weight and Packability (15%)|
|Specs||MSR DromLite Bags||Gregory 3D Hydro||Hydrapak Shape-Shif...||CamelBak Crux Reser...||Platypus Hoser|
|Weight of Bladder & Tube (oz)||5.20 oz (4L)||7.1 oz (3L)||5.40 oz (3L)||8.40 oz (3L)||4.2 oz (3L)|
|Bladder Capacity Options (liters)||2L, 4L, 6L||3 L||2L, 3L||1.5L, 2L, 3L||1L, 1.5L, 3L|
|Bite Valve||None (Bite valve with lock arm shutoff valve in separate attachment kit)||Push-button on/off valve||Bite valve with shutoff twist valve||Bite valve with updated shutoff valve||HyFLO bite valve|
|Can bite valve be removed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Hose Connection||At the mouth of the screw top||Mid-tube quick release, but can be changed to the base.||Quick release (no swivel)||Quick release hose (no swivel)||Screw-on hose|
|Closure Type||Screw top (3 in 1 spouts)||Screw top||Slide top||Screw top||Screw top (hose connection)|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This Top Pick boasts an insanely packable design that isn't only durable but incredibly lightweight as well. It's a perfect option as an additional reservoir for day hikes, backpacking missions, or hanging out around camp.
Ease of Use
The DromLite is an easy to use hydration reservoir that can be turned into a bladder. The key feature is its well-engineered 3-in-1 cap that can be used in three different ways.
First, the Nalgene-sized open houses a durable and sturdy tab that makes holding the bladder easy while filling. This opening is compatible with the MSR pump and a plethora of other accessories. Second, there is a second screw top opening that attaches to the first screw-top lid which provides a medium flow of water, perfect for filling up a water bottle or hydration bladder. The third is the trickle spout. This is an even smaller spout, perfect for taking a quick drink.
The hydration kit that can be ordered separately from the DromLite is rudimentary at best, attaching to the second opening. The bite valve is comfortable and offers a shut-off valve open that doesn't get sticky or gummed up after multiple uses. Also, the bite valve can be switched out for other options that are compatible with HydraPak or Camelbak if you prefer another mouthpiece. Our major caveat is that the hose is (obviously) not quick-release and is not compatible with other hoses.
This bladder is not designed to fit inside of smaller running packs or thinner profile hydration packs. That said, it did well, fitting into larger hydration packs with a wider profile. Some backpack sleeves tested could not house it. Overall, we'd recommend assessing how you want to carry this reservoir before buying it to ensure it fits in your back.
Ease of Care
This bladder is more difficult to care for than other models tested in this review. The Nalgene-sized opening is small, and you can't fit a hand inside to clean the opening. Luckily, the 3-in-1 cap comes apart quickly and is super easy to soak and scrub. The exterior plastic material is translucent so you can monitor any potential bacterial growth, which is an improvement from the previous design.
To clean this bladder, use a cleaning tablet or be diligent about making sure you rinse and dry your bladder after use. In our testing period, we simply rinsed and dried and didn't notice any build-up over time. If you plan on using a sugary drink (which you can with this new design), be sure to use both a small brush and cleaning tablets. Then, throw it into the freezer (without water inside) after it is dried to ensure no bacterial growth.
If bacterial growth does ensue (for example; you forgot to clean your bladder and left it in your backpack for a week or longer!), be sure to scrub it well with a small brush and, again, use a cleaning tablet. The construct of this bladder will make it difficult to reach every nook and cranny.
Ease of Filling
Equipped with a durable and burly handle that allows you to fill your DromLite bag from a tap or river easily, the filling is simple. That said, while the handle is sturdy and doesn't deform under the weight of the bag while it fills, we felt that other hydration bladders are easier to fill from trickling streams or super shallow mediums.
While you can fill this bladder from outside rivers and streams, water is harder to catch than traditional bladders. One trick we learned is to simply place the fold top collector on the rock, allowing water to trickle inside. The screw-top design doesn't allow this use. That said, it's perfect for plunging into a lake or raging river, collecting water quickly.
Quality and Durability
Constructed of a new film with welded seams, MSR says that it offers "reliable durability," and we agree. Through our testing period, we threw it into backpacks, loaded it into coolers, put it in the freezer, and smashed it all around the crag. We hung it (and it fell numerous times) from rocks and sat on it too many times to count. We even had the dog drink out of it and play with it for a while. After all this abuse, the film, seams, and cap held up!
We pulled at the welded seams, trying to see if they would delaminate, and they don't budge an inch. When filling the bladder and squishing and squeezing it in all directions, the cap didn't leak at any of the screw points (despite some potential failure points).
While this new construction makes us want to take care of the bladder a little more carefully than the previous version, there are no noted durability issues in our time with this bladder. In hand, it feels less durable because the materials are thinner than the previous design, but performance-wise, it's still a beast! The durable exterior is designed to withstand punctures, making it an excellent option for hanging from trees or rocks around camp.
Weight and Packability
This is one of the lightest and most compressible hydration bladders you'll find on the market. The outer materials are durable yet flexible, folding efficiently and effectively. The new design is not nearly as bulky as the last model, making it a packable option for any sport that requires lightweight travel. This is a big reason that it's our best recommendation for backpacking.
This product is super high value! If it hadn't already won a Top Pick, it would be our Best Buy award winner. It comes in 2L, 4L, and 6L options with a super low retail price. We've had and used ours for over two years now, trailing it along on climbing and backpacking adventures. It is still holding up, and the best value is in its herculean versatility around camp and on the trail.
The MSR DromLite Bag features a new design that is still durable but more lightweight and packable than its well-known red predecessor. It comes in a variety of sizes and proved to be one of the most versatile hydration bladders tested. Because of its lightweight versatility that won't fail you on the trail, it's our go-to for backpacking and hiking.
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