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MSR Alpine Review

MSR Alpine
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Price:  $33 List
Pros:  Durable, filter compatible
Cons:  Leaks
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Atherton Phleger ⋅   ⋅  Aug 18, 2013
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The Skinny

The MSR Alpine is a durable, well-built bottle from Mountain Safety Research. It is advertised as being compatible with MSR filters. While this is true, it is hardly unique. Any wide-mouth bottle will be compatible with most filters. The advantage of the MSR alpine is its tapering wide to narrow top, which makes drinking easier, and its durable metal body. If you buy the MSR Alpine, do it for these features.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Durability


The body of the MSR Alpine is quite durable. However, there is an extremely vulnerable plastic tab covering the drinking opening. On the first bottle we tested, this broke after a very short fall onto granite. This meant that the plastic retaining strap wouldn't stay on, so that first bottle took a tumble into oblivion. This isn't to say that the primary components are not durable, rather that the bottle has key, strategic weaknesses.

Utility


We actually preferred this bottle for many activities. It feels solid, it is compatible with a filter, and it can take a beating. It doesn't do so well with hot liquids, but neither do any of the collapsible bottles. It also has a retaining strap, which means that (if the tab is intact), it can be attached to a harness.

Ease of Use


The MSR alpine has two levels of containment: The first is the cap itself, which screws off and allows access to the wide-mouth, filter-compatible opening, and the second is a rotating tab, which exposes the drinking opening. It's the kind of bottle that will often confuse people when you first hand it to them. It's easy enough to use once you are familiar with it, but it is a rather peculiar design.

The MSR Alpine Bottle  complete with tab. The weak point is the elevated ridge.
The MSR Alpine Bottle, complete with tab. The weak point is the elevated ridge.

Leak Proof


The original iteration of the MSR Alpine had consistent leakage problems. However, MSR redesigned the bottle a few years ago, and this problem has been eliminated. The new Alpine is reliably leak-proof.

Value


The MSR Alpine's price is a bit of a deterrent.

Best Application


The MSR Alpine is better choice for cold weather, when the contents of collapsible bottles will freeze almost immediately. Even without significant insulation, the rigid walls of the bottle are enough to keep the Alpine's contents in a drinkable phase state. It can also withstand the rigors of day-to-day life better than collapsible bottles. It offers an alternative to those who want the durability of a rigid bottle, but prefer bottles without a drinking tube (like camelbak).


Atherton Phleger