The 20 liter Collapsible Swiss Water Bladder.

water bladder

For at least the last 15 years or so I have used the Swiss Military Issue 20 Liter (5.28 US Gallon) collapsible water bladder when I go camping.  It is my understanding that the Swiss Army used these flexible rubber water bladders instead of solid cans because of the cold Swiss winters.  Because the bladder is flexible, you can squeeze it to break up ice build-up, giving you access to the remaining water.  Ice will often block up the nozzles of traditional cans and jugs, making the water hard to access.

water bladder
The combination faucet and filler

The water bladders are made of  heavy rubber and have a combination cap and faucet on one end.  Over the years, I have used them for many things on camping trips.  Because they collapse flat, and take no room in your vehicle, I often travel with them empty.  On arriving at the campsite, I fill one with water and place it in the sun, usually on top of my vehicle.  Since they are black, they collect the heat and the water warms right up.  I then have warm water for washing.

I suggest that you mark any bladders that you use with none treat or filtered water.  I have some that I only use for potable water.  The bladders have a build in screen that will take out sand and bugs.  The bladders are quite strong and I have never had one fail.

water bladder
The build in screen is good for filtering out small debrie

The shape takes a little getting used to.  But it turns out to be an advantage for many uses.  You can hang them up in trees or use them as a shower.  I have even seen them used for a pillow.  Mine have not caused any problems with rubber odor or taste, but I have heard complaints about that from others.

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Recently I have noticed that several internet companies have Swiss water bladders for sale.  The best prices seem to be on Amazon at under $20 each.  I recommend these bladders.


water bladder
The empty bladder


4 thoughts on “The 20 liter Collapsible Swiss Water Bladder.”

  1. Review

    the only use you are going to get out of these is to wash the dishes in extreme emergency. you cant use this water for drinking or even bathe in it. the rubber smell is just tooooooooo much. i have tried everything in the book to to get rid of the rubber scent and taste, but to no avail. so dont waste your money…

  2. I purchased one several years ago but have had issues with the rubber smell. I think I’m going to get it out again and give it a try…maybe I just didn’t rinse it out adequately.

    How do you clean yours?

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