View Full Version : Custom Hydration Bladder

12-13-2012, 23:15
I'm am struggling to find a hydration bladder that is both durable and practical (works well with body armor/kit).

The camelbak style hydration systems have qualities I like. The hoses keep a water source easily accessible, mostly hands free while being located out of the way and in an ergonomic carry position. They come in a variety of volumes and most packs have pouches supports and house routing accomadations built in.

However, they leak (in my experience they can develop holes from abrasion and from pinching when under heavy compression). And the standard long vertical shape, while good for many rucks, doesn't work very well on a ballistic vest or plate carrier.

I recently found bladders by MSR (http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water-treatment-and-hydration/basecamp-water-treatment-and-hydration/hydromedary-hydration-system/product) made of 200D cordura. The weight of the fabric looks like the sweet spot of durability, flexability and weight. However, their shape is still long, narrow and vertically oriented. It wastes a great deal of valuable space.

Also, the bulky caps on most bladders don't work very well in a kit application. The zipper style fills solve that issue and are easier to clean. But, I don't know if they hold up against pressure as well as the cap style bladders.

The ideal solution would be a zip top bladder made of the more durable cordura material in a shape (similar to a ballistic plate) that made better use of the space.

I haven't seen anything like that available. Making one might be the only option.

I've found some suppliers that have some promising looking materials:

Both seattlefabrics.com (http://seattlefabrics.com/nylons.html) and rockywoods.com (http://www.rockywoods.com/Fabrics-Kits/Heat-Sealable-Nylon-Fabrics) have some heat sealable nylon from 30D all the way up to 430D.

If I could find the right material for the bladder I might be able to cannibalize the hose port from one of my bladders that already has a hole in it.

Also, I have never worked these kinds of materials before. To anyone with experience: some pointers and tool suggestions would be appreciated.

The Reaper
12-14-2012, 16:07
I like the Platypus.

The zip tops are very easy to fill, but I have not abused them by putting them into my ruck filled and then dropping the ruck, like you would on a lowering line. Not sure of the durability and water retention under those circumstances.

For regular hiking, they work great and with the right connections, can be used with the MSR water purification kit.

MSR makes some good gear.


cant hardly
12-14-2012, 17:36
I got out in 92, pre-camelback.
I saw several fellow soldiers use homemade bladder systems.
90% of them were modified 2 qt canteens with a length of ploy hose acquired from the motorpool (Some sorta feed or vacuum line) as the hose. They were usually put in the radio pouch of the ruck.
I also saw some people making their own. A tough flexible plastic not unlike the material platypus bladders are now made of, welded closed with a spade tip on a soldering iron. Shoe goo around where a length of the same hose as above entered.

The old MSR dromedary pouch was wider than the new hydromedary models, and platypus, too had wider models. Both it seems have gone to a narrower model in recent years.

Look at a msr dromedary. Maybe a 4l model with a few inches of the top rolled up will fit your dimensions.

12-14-2012, 17:49
Durable and relatively inexpensive (on sale). Comparable are 2x.


12-17-2012, 14:07
2nd the recommendation on source. source makes a plate-shaped bladder that actually fits in plate pockets: