Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bladders > Platypus Water Tank > Owner Review by Kathryn Doiron

Owner Review

Platypus Water Tank

August 16 2007

Platypus water tank
Image from Cascade Designs' Platypus Hydration webpage

Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Height: 1.7 m (5' 8")
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and between 16 - 32 oz (0.5 - 1 L) of water. I have recently starting getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
MSRP: $17.95
Material: nylon handles, plastic body
Weight (as stated): 2.5 oz (70 g)
Weight (measured): 2.6 oz (75 g)
Sizes Available: 70 oz (2 L), 140 oz (4 L), 210 oz (6 L)

Product Description:

The Platypus water tank comes in three different sizes but the overall design of each is the same. I own the 140 oz (4 L) size. This water tank comes with two black nylon handles placed in either side of a double plastic interlocking zip. They are attached with a metal grommet. The pour spout is on the corner on top of the water tank near the top zip. The threads on the pour spout are compatible with an optional sip hose to convert the system into a hydration bladder. The bottom of the water tank flares out to allow the water tank to stand up when full. The water tank is made of a thick, clear plastic with the Platypus logo and address on one face with graduations in liters to mark 70 oz (2 L) and 140 oz (4 L). The other side is blank.

I have had this water tank since about 2004. During my thru-hike in 2005 I had to exchange my leaking bag for another. My first bag held up to a lot of abuse. At one point I noticed that I must have opened the zip too much and the sides split. At first this was not a problem, but after the water tank took one too many tumbles to the ground, I noticed it was starting to leak a little water from that point. Then it sprung another leak when the bag fell on something sharp, and that was the end of that bag.

I have taken the water tank on trails from Maine to Virginia. The replacement bag has been doing well since I received it in summer '05. I have noticed over time that while the zip was easy to open and close when new, the zip has become harder to close with age. I have also had some difficulty opening the bag which is likely how I split the side of the zip on the first bag. This water tank has been on almost every backpacking trip I have been on since I bought it. I have also taken it on car trips and hung the water tank from the head rest on the seat and used the sip hose to drink from the tank.

Product Use and Cleaning:

I have used the water tank mostly as a hydration bladder going from freezer to pack on many occasions. The large zip at the top of the water tank makes filling the tank easy from either the sink (even when half filled with ice) or from a stream. The large zip also allows me to stick my hand in the tank and clean out the corners or to fill the tank with cubed ice. At camp, I generally fill the tank up from the source and then it will sit off to the side. While the water tank does stand up when filled with water, it does have a tendency to fall over rather easily and if the bottom of the tank is not correctly opened up, the tank will list and fall over quickly. Due to it's propensity to tip over, I had a bag spring a leak when it hit the ground. Cascade Designs guarantees their bags and I received a free replacement at a store carrying the same model. The nylon handles make the bag easy to carry when full and help with opening the top zip. By pulling each handle in the opposite direction, it helps pull the zip apart. The handles also help with hanging the bag off the ground or helping with pouring. By grasping the handles in one hand and hooking a finger under the bottom, I can pour from the water tank spout and have a relatively controlled pour.

When it comes to cleaning, I generally rinse the water tank between trips. When I notice gunk build up in the corners I then add soap and shake the bag until clean. I have had to put my hand into the bag to scrub out the corners but the bag itself cleans easily. The corners are another matter. They are very tight and tend to collect debris. Sometimes I notice things growing in the corners if I haven't given the water tank a good cleaning before long storage. So far, with soap and sometime a little bleach, I have not had the water tank pick up smells or flavours, I do rinse very well. The zip is easily cleaned with a toothbrush. When I am not using the water tank, I generally rinse it out, let it air dry, close it up then roll it for storage.

In using the water tank as a bladder, I have run across a few bugs. One of the biggest ones is that a bladder of this size simply does not fit in many of the bladder sleeves integrated into packs. I don't normally fill the water tank to capacity but the tank is simply too wide. I have taken to folding the spout back over the water tank and that helps with fit. As both the handles and the spout are at the top of the tank, creating a syphon can be difficult. As a bladder, I typically put the tank in with the zip up and allow the pack to compress the water out of the bladder. When the bladder is hanging, I either have to tip the tank or press against it in order to dispense water. pic of water tank folded over


As a water tank I have been very pleased with its use and performance. Over time, I have noticed that the zip has been getting harder to close. I find that with this difficulty I either am unsuccessful in closing the tank properly, meaning the zip leaks a little, or I avoid using the zip if possible. I am now in the habit of squeezing the full, closed tank to ensure the seal is good. As a bladder, other than not fitting in my packs bladder holder, I have not had any problems with the tank. My sip hose screws onto the spout threads easily and the angle of the spout works well with the tube.

I hiked 1200+ mi (2000+ km) of the AT with this water tank. I did have to switch out for a new one when I sprung a leak but the tank was always handy for either carrying in lots of water to a dry campsite, or having to cart water up from a distant spring. As an alternate use for the tank, I had to wash a t-shirt while on the trail, so I filled the water tank with water, soap and the t-shirt and shook until it seemed clean. I opened up the spout to drain then added fresh water to rinse. The water tank, with the handles and the folds at the bottom made for a good two handed shake with relative ease. The fact that the water tank does not pick up flavours was perfect. If the spout and handles were on opposite sides, it would have made for a good spin dry cycle, but alas, I couldn't have everything.

This concludes my owner report on the Platypus Water Tank. Thank you for reading this report.

Read more reviews of Platypus Hydration gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bladders > Platypus Water Tank > Owner Review by Kathryn Doiron

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson