MSR Dromedary Bags: My Guardian Angels For More Than 50 Expeditions

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Cooking in Greenland with my Dromedary Bag nearby.

Story By Mike Libecki

MSR Dromedary Bags have become my guardian angels, providing me life––yes, literally providing life––on more than 50 expeditions around the world to complete major athletic goals.

From first desert crossings in China to climbing huge first ascents on vertical rock walls in Greenland, on every continent and beyond, they have kept me alive. Let me explain: Water. It is the sweet giver of life.

This transparent fluid forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. We are water and water is life. And, of course life is sweet.

My body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water, depending on the day or my activity. For me to function properly I need to drink between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration and keep climbing or, for example, carry 80-pound loads to advance base camp. The precise amount of water a person needs depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors. However, many specialists advise that approximately 2 liters (eight 8-oz glasses) of water daily is appropriate for maintaining proper hydration in healthy adults. On remote expeditions, I always hope for 4 liters or more.

On such expeditions, water is not easy to find. Sometimes, especially on the big climbs, there is no water source available at all. So naturally, I need to bring water with me—sometimes enough water for two weeks—hauled through harrowing conditions. This precious water absolutely must be in a container that’s lightweight and packable, and most importantly, super durable to handle the abuse it receives when slammed against the wall, or frozen and thawed, or other infractions caused by adventure. My life and my goals when climbing first ascents rely on my equipment. My equipment cannot fail.

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My expedition partner Jonas Haag looking out over the frozen ocean on Baffin Island.

So here’s why—for close to 20 years on over 50 expeditions—I’ve used MSR Dromedary Bags to haul my life-giving water:

They have never punctured, not even once.

Drom Bags have hauled my water on horses, donkeys and camels, across deserts, and in haulbags and climbing bags up walls on every continent on earth.

On one of my six expeditions to China, I crossed the Taklamakan Desert, roughly 700 miles of walking in 42 days with 20 camels. I had more than 400 liters of water contained in MSR Dromedary Bags loaded on the camels, and they didn’t fail.

In places like Antarctica, I fill them up with boiling water from snow that’s been melted with a stove, and haul them up walls where they freeze solid. Then, I literally beat them against the rock to break the ice into small pieces. I open the bag’s 3-in-1 cap and take out the small pieces of ice, which I re-melt with the stove all over again. Bomber.

I can get water when and how I need it.

The Drom Bags have strong perimeter webbing that makes them easy to clip in at anchors and in portaledges, where they are convenient to tie off and hang without worry. I’ve even hung them on the wall with a type of funnel bag to gather rain in storms to fill them up with later.

The cap gives me three different access points: the big one for filling up and washing out; the medium for drinking and filling pots; and the small one for a shower, faucet, or for sipping. The handle on the 3-in-1 cap makes it super-easy to fill the bag from any water source.

Multiple sizes for different uses.

I’ve used every size, each chosen based on the objective. At base camp, the 10L bags work best. On fast climbs, I use the smallest 2L version, adding bags based on how much water my partners and I will need. For example, one expedition to Greenland was a 62-hour non-stop climb up a 3,500-foot first ascent; we only took 4 liters of water in two 2L Dromedary Bags.

I could go on and on, expedition by expedition, to all of the continents many times over, the nooks and crannies on earth that I’ve taken these bags to. But what it boils down to for me is that if you’re an outdoors person, especially a backcountry traveler, nothing is more reliable for hauling water. I have never been a hydration pack kind of guy. Too many times, they’ve leaked or frozen, or just not worked conveniently while on the move. Simply put, there is nothing else (not even close) that exists like the Drom Bag. It has to be the toughest, most reliable water containment unit on the planet—made to explore the planet.

Mike Libecki is an explorer, climber, soloist, wilderness athlete, father, photographer, videographer, and author. His top two passions are obeying obsession/addiction to exploring the most remote, exotic and untouched locations on the planet to climb big walls, towers, or alpine first ascents, traverses and other mysterious adventures (most of them solo), and being a dedicated father to his angel-daughter (he’s won Father of the Year more than once). When Mike is not climbing and exploring untouched earth, he is a full-time father, and part-time soccer-coach and school volunteer. He lives near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, with his daughter and their pets. Learn more about Mike and his adventures at http://mikelibecki.com/