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Sea to Summit Watercell X

photo: Sea to Summit Watercell X water storage container

Specs

4L 6L 10L 20L
Price MSRP: $39.95
Current Retail: $39.95-$69.95
Historic Range: $39.95-$69.95
Reviewers Paid: $58.00
Volumes 4L, 6L, 10L, 20L
Dimensions 11 x 8.5 x 4 in 13 x 9 x 4.2 in 16.5 x 11.2 x 5 in 20.2 x 14 x 6.2 in
Weight 6 oz / 170 g 6.9 oz / 195 g 8.6 oz / 245 g 11.8 oz / 335 g
Materials 400D Nylon Fabric
Best Use Backpacking, Camping

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0
Version reviewed: 6L

A versatile, practical, and durable water storage and carrying system for camping and backpacking. Available in 4-, 6-, 10-, and 20-liter versions. Can be used for washing and even showering. Could be lighter and more compact when not in use, but this would probably require a thinner, less resistant fabric and compromise durability.

Pros

  • Practical
  • Versatile
  • Tough, durable 400D Nylon
  • Four sizes available
  • Can be used as shower (comes with a special valve)

Cons

  • Could be lighter maybe?
  • Could be more compact maybe?
  • Not compatible with gravity systems (but this can be improvised)
  • May leak

The first time I saw the Watercell X I was camping and this family in a tent right next to my hammock had two, the 10L and 20L versions.

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I thought both were too big for my needs. But I got impressed with the build and quality, and immediately was drawn to the form. So, I decided to try a smaller capacity one myself. It seemed very practical and versatile, and I like that.

Based on my usual water requirements, I figured the 6L would be perfect for me.

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Sea To Summit Watercell X 6L

For those traveling though more arid regions, or in need of more water for whatever reason, the 10L might be a better choice. Group guides or car-campers will be better served by the large, 20L size as well. 

The big ones are huge and heavy, especially when filled to capacity. But that’s not a problem if carried by vehicles. It’s more convenient if lots of water are required, or water sources are far and few. It means less trips to get precious H2O.

I‘d rather have two units of smaller capacity than one super-large, though (e.g. 6+6, or 10+10) to split the supply just in case, but that’s me.  

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The welded grip “handle” on one lateral, nice when the Watercell X is full. 

All versions are made from 400D Nylon fabric, TPU construction and RF-welded.

Meaning, it’s tough: just by holding it you feel this thing is built to last and withstand some abuse in the wilderness. Everything considered, this is positive. 

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Actual weight: 190g (5g less than advertised)

The 6L version (203oz) is 13x9x4.2 inches and weighs 195g./6.9oz. (actual weight, 190g.). It’s pretty lightweight for UL backpacking, but I still feel it could be lighter. I’m really being picky here, because it’s clear Sea to Summit had extreme use, reliability, and long-term usability in mind. And they achieved that in fact. 

The Watercell X is designed to be stackable.

I have used only one, so I can’t comment on that. Though I can’t see a problem with it being stored like that, it’s “blocky” and keeps form even when half full. Pretty neat. Its design has some other nice features on offer, and most are very usable and practical. 

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One is the large mouth, very practical to collect the water. It has customizable flow-control by twisting the over cap. It also has two threads for screw-attached water filters; 42mm and 63mm. It’s not that much compatible with in-line filters or other common elements of a gravity system.

But something can always be improvised in that way. I just insert the tube of my Sawyer Squeeze into the opening and let it fill. Takes three refills of the CNOC Vecto 2L to fill the Watercell X.

Other features worth mentioning:

The adjustable strap can be untied open to make it easier to hang or carry. The strap is adjusted via welded lash points on the sides of the reservoir. It has a welded grip at the top side, too. 

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The strap can be easily open to facilitate hanging. Construction is solid throughout, typical Sea To Summit. This thing should last!

The dark grey fabric helps warming the water in the sun, like most camping showers. In the summer here that’s enough for comfortable showers (though I appreciate a cold waterfall or shower, especially when it’s hot).

But it won’t make for super-comfortable shower time, except maybe if you used the 10L or 20L because they carry more water which helps keeping enough pressure to make the shower cap more functional for longer. With the 6L it quickly loses pressure. 

It’s more than enough for a quick shower, face or hand washing, cleaning some utensils, stuff like that.

But water necessity is something individual. And there are other ways I carry and store water when backpacking or camping, too. For instance, my 6L Watercell X + 1.2L water bottle + 2L Vecto holds enough water for two or mode days in the wilderness, depending on weather and other necessities.

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The shower cap threads into the large mouth cap to make for a “shower”. It’s also useful to wash utensils and other uses. 

I don’t like to carry much weight when trekking, but the Watercell X is perfect when I have to cross over dry terrain, or when I’m traveling around areas with fewer water sources. It’s better to store and carry water than the Vecto. It’s also more robust, too. 

The reservoir can be easily attached to the exterior of most backpacks, though the extra weight can be felt when you’re walking or climbing. I use shock cord to hold the bottom still when I’m trekking. But H2O is ultra-important, so these are minor nuisances and we have to deal with it. 

Residual taste was minimal, and disappeared after a couple of uses. It’s easy to wash and clean, and will resist abrasion well. I‘ve only used it with water, but the Watercell will accept other liquids (this will required thorough cleaning afterwards, like any other reservoir).

It may leak when full, or even half full, depending on how you operate the caps and the closing system. Nothing serious, and certainly not a deal breaker. Just be mindful of this when storing it in your bag or inside your tent. 

Experience

The Watercell X is a very well executed option to store and carry water in the wilderness. It’s tough and well made, solid. It’s important to count on a reliable and safe water reservoir when going into the wilderness. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and zero issues, pretty satisfied so far. It’s not expensive and should last a long, long time, even if mistreated.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: US$ 58

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review, StoicFabian! This looks like a durable, dependable water option. Thanks for the recommendation.


18 days ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Also, for anyone curious, I noticed S2S also has a lighter Waterfall ST: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/sea-to-summit/watercell-st/


18 days ago
StoicFabian

Thanks Alicia. Yeah, I checked the ST before going for the X. Forgot to mention it in my review, but it’s only 40g lighter, for the 6L size. And that weight comes from not sporting some of the cool features of the X, like the shower attachment and smaller dispenser in the large 63mm cap. Also not the strap, though it has the ports for one. These two items could be added from the X, but then it’d weight almost the same (and purchase both I guess lol). It does pack slightly smaller, thought.


17 days ago
JWatson

Is it possible to attach a tube to the smaller nipple/dispenser? Or is this more strictly a water portage system and not compatible with standard hydration bladder systems?


16 days ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for explaining the difference, StoicFabian.


16 days ago
StoicFabian

@JWatson, yes it is possible. It doesn’t come with any adapters but something can be easily improvised and connect it to bladders and filters. In my opinion it’s more a water reservoir. That’s how I use it anyway. I’ll stop by a source and use my CNOC Vecto or even a Sawyer pouch to collect untreated water, then filter it into the Watercell X. This way I keep it untainted, and the water already good for use in a more resistant carrier.


16 days ago
JWatson

@StoicFabian Thanks for the info!


16 days ago

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