Riding The Spine

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Xtracycle

Xtracycle

REVIEW: MSR DROMEDARY BAGS

Riding across the globe on a bicycle inevitably positions many of your campsites far from any water source. Consequently, there are times when we have to carry a large amount of water to cook food and stay hydrated. Water is absolutely the heaviest thing you will haul around on a bike tour and can drastically effect the balance and feel of your bicycle. The goal for packing a touring bicycle is to balance as much weight as possible directly over your bottom bracket. Even with a variety of water bottle brackets, you will still only be able to carry a few liters with you, forcing you to stuff your panniers with the remaining water. If you use the water from your right pannier, the left one will then be heavier, affecting the balance. It would be ideal to find a way to center the bulk of your water directly over your bottom bracket. The 6 liter Dromedary bag has proven itself an indispensable and ideal water carrying companion for bike tourists.

Drom Bag

A super heavy-duty bladder capable of reliably storing large amounts of water. They come in 2, 4, 6, and 10 liter capacities and can be fit with a variety of accessories. They are basically a stretched hexagonal heavy duty PVC lined nylon bag with attachment holes at the 6 corners. There is also a lightweight version called the Dromlite, but on this trip I've priorized durability over weight and have no experience with this model (I suppose it would be appropriate for backpacking). We have had absolutely no problems with our Dromedary Bags, not a leak or puncture: they last.

The bag has a spigot with three different openings useful for different applications, whether it is filling the bag, getting out a large amount of water for a pot or just a small amount for a cup. It can be filled with hot liquid and tossed in your sleeping bag for the extremely cold nights (though I would not recommend pouring boiling water because it could possibly affect the lining of the bag, and it is unnecessary to have water that hot). When Goat got hypothermia, this worked miracles to keep him warm throughout the night. If you are the showering type, these bags could effectively work as a shower if hung from a tree, (particularly the 10 liter model).

Drom Bag

Drom Bag

The 6 attachment points make the bag remarkably adaptable. I used 6 cinch straps and tied a knot to secure them in place so that I could quickly load and unload it from my bike frame. I have a 19" bike which offers plenty of room for the Drom Bag to fit within the frame's front triangle. The top straps slip under the cable housing and secure up against the cable ferrules so that they don't interfere with the cables' movement. The front attachment point is secured to the headtube and the rear strap attaches to the seatpost tube (or rear triangle, depending on size of frame) to stabilize the bag from undesirably lateral movements. I then run the bottom attachment point strap through my water bottle cage and around the bag to prevent any up and down movement.

Drom Bag

Drom Bag

Goat attaches his 6 liter dry bag underneath his seat and ties it down to the rear triangle. With an Xtracycle there is even ample room to put a 10 liter Drom Bag below the saddle, which is what Sean runs. Without a saddle bag, there would still be plenty of room to utilize a Drom Bag with a bike setup with panniers. The advantage of Goat's setup is that he can use the hydration kit and run a tube all the way up to his handlebars and not even have to carry a backpack bladder system. This setup does not work in cold weather because the tube will freeze so quickly without body heat to conduct. Because my Drom Bag is positioned laterally, the tube would not be positioned at the base of the bag where gravity could help you get to the water. I just fill up a 2 liter backpack system when I run out. All three of us were able to adapt the Drom Bags to our bikes in a way that centers the heavy water where it should be.

Drom Bag

An added benefit of ordering through a Cascades Design company is that their customer service and warranty is first rate. When you buy a Dromedary Bag, you have purchased it for life. They will fix or repair anything that is wrong with it as long as you own it.