If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you're eventually going to face water issues. The issues could be from a lake, river, or rain storm, and there is nothing worse than wet gear and food. In the past, I have always used a collapsible dry storage bag that has worked well for many situations. One of the problems with using a dry storage bag is that the food tends to get smashed so that the sandwiches and chips are less appealing. Another issue with a dry storage bag is they usually have a small roll up top and are deep which makes finding things more difficult. When I came across the Harmony Waterproof Barrel, I thought this may be the better storage solution. Harmony actually makes two barrels, a 60 liter and a 30 liter. Since I'm a believer that bigger is better, I ended up getting the 60 liter barrel. Really, I decided to go with the larger barrel because my past river trips have always worked out that I'm responsible for all the gear and food and I would rather keep it all together. Someone else could argue that two smaller barrels would be better. Since this is a review of the Harmony Waterproof 60 Liter Barrel, I'm going to focus my attention on this barrel and then you can decide if this one is too large for your circumstance. You can find the 60 liter barrel today at the HarmonyGear.com for $79.99 plus S&H.
If you go to the Harmony website, they list the following for the description of the product.
- Expedition proven many times over.
- Rugged polyethylene construction absorbs and shrugs off impact, protecting the contents within.
- "Pop-top" lid is secured by a galvanized clamp/band that ensures an airtight, watertight and odor-proof seal, which eliminates nocturnal visits from raccoons and bears.
- Featured side mounted carry handles and makes a reasonable camp seat.
- Size: 15.5" x 24" (39 cm x 61 cm)
- Capacity: 3650 cu. in. (60 L)
- Color: Blue
I will admit that when I opened the box, the 60 liter barrel looked big. I wasn't too worried because I know how bulky towels and snacks can be. The photo below shows the barrel out of the box.
There are three main pieces to the barrel assembly. You have the barrel, lid and band clamp. The barrel also has a small piece of metal that you can slide into place to keep the band clamp from accidentally being knocked open. The clamp is very secure and I would be surprised if something could knock it open, but better safe than sorry.
The barrel also has a red tab that you remove after receiving the barrel. I believe this tab may be to allow an air passage so that air pressure can equalize during shipping.
The barrel ended up weighing in at 7.43 pounds empty which I thought was surprisingly light when considering it's size.
The measured overall height was about 24 3/4" and the diameter was about 15.5" just as Harmony advertised. I did a rough calculation ignoring the tapers on each end and feel like it is at least 60 liters.
The barrel has a handle on each side that will fold down and lock into place.
The next thing I wanted to test was the capacity of the barrel. Since there are 5 people in my family and we often do things that require 5 towels and an assorted selection of junk food, I decided to test pack these items. This probably looks like an add for Kroger and Cheez-it, but I'm only trying to be as real as possible. As you can see, 5 towels, two bags of chips and one box of crackers will take up a big hunk of volume. If I were to throw in more food and some dry clothes for a whitewater trip or some other outing, this barrel would be full. If it were an overnight tip, I would want even more space or another barrel. For my general outings, this 60 liter barrel is exactly what I need. If you were to pack for two, I would bet you could get by with a 30 liter barrel for a day trip, but for an overnight trip, the extra space of the 60 liter barrel would always be welcome.
The next test was to determine the waterproof capability of the barrel. I decided to head to the swimming pool and have my son hold the lid submerged underwater at a depth of about 6 inches for 5 minutes.
At the end of 5 minutes, I pulled the barrel out of the water and opened the top. The inside of the lid and the barrel were bone dry just as they should be. I have no reason to believe that it would not be waterproof for any outing I can imagine.
One of the last claims I decided to test was it "makes a reasonable camp seat". I'm 6' 2" and 215 lbs and had no concern about sitting on the lid. I also feel like the barrel is rugged enough to take some external abuse during outings.
This Harmony Waterproof Barrel review has shown that this product lives up the the manufacturers claims. If you are looking for a way to keep your gear and food dry, I would recommend this product. Since it does come in two sizes, you should consider carefully how much storage you actually need for your type of outings. This will be an item that goes on most of my outdoor adventures.