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This is a preliminary report on some kitchen chemistry that I have been playing with (it’s okay, my university degree was in Chemistry). While some of this may sound odd, it is based on experience with sensory evaluation of beer.
We all hate the phenolic (think bandages and hospital disinfectant) flavour that the MSR Dromedary bags add to our water. I have been thinking about this and decided to finally see what I could do. MSR says to try baking soda and hot water. My experiment with that showed it was relatively useless.
I filled bags up and left them for 24 hours and then tasted the water. On the 2 bags that I have done so far (one much newer than the other), the flavour developed within 24 hours.
Bag 1: Filled it with hot water and baking soda and left it for 24 hours. Flushed it out, refilled it with tap water, left it for 24 hours and the flavour was still there, maybe slightly reduced. Then I filled it with hot Earl Grey tea (only black tea I had in the house), left it for 24 hours, emptied, refilled it with tap water, and left it for 24 hours. It had a slight phenolic taste but I wasn’t sure if I was confusing it with some residual bergamot from the Earl Grey. Refilled it with hot green tea and left it for 24 hours. Emptied it and refilled with tap water and left it for 24 hours. The flavour was gone. Hallelujah! I left it for 3 days and tasted it each day. There may have been a hint of it at 3 days, but not so much it would offend me. I then emptied the bag and left it to dry completely. I have now refilled it with tap water and will check it out over time to see if this is a lasting phenomena or if I just have to treat my bags before each trip.
Bag 2: I filled with hot green tea and left it for 24 hours. I then rinsed and refilled with tap water. The 24 hour taste was clean and I will hold it and continue to taste.
If anyone is still reading this lengthy post, I have another 2 1/2 weeks before my next camping trip so will continue my little experiment and keep you posted as to if I had found a way of making water from Dromedary bags drinkable.
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