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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bladders > Platypus Water Tank > Owner Review by jerry adams

March 14, 2008


NAME: Jerry Adams
EMAIL: jerryaadams AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 54
LOCATION: Portland, Oregon, U.S.
HEIGHT: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)

Backpacking Background: I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay around Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Olympic Peninsula. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 15 lb (7 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack. My sleeping pad is a Therm-a-Rest air mattress.


Platypus 4 Liter Water Tank about 1/4 full of tannin colored water at Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington:

Water Tank standing up, partially full

Manufacturer: Cascade Designs Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$17.95
Listed Weight: 2.5 oz (70 g)
Listed Length: 14 in (35 cm)
Listed Width: 10.5 in (26.5 cm)
Listed Capacity: 4 L (140 oz)
Measured Weight: 2.6 oz (74 g)
Measured Length: 13.5 in (34 cm)
Measured Width: 10.5 in (26.5 cm)
Measured Capacity: 4.5 L (159 oz)

The Platypus 4 liter water tank is a collapsible plastic bag used to store drinking water when camping. It folds up for convenient storage in the backpack while hiking. It has a pleated bottom so it stands up by itself when it is full or partially full of water at camp.

The water tank is made of plastic, with a taste free beverage-grade polyethylene lining. It has a corner spout with screw-on lid. It has a nylon web handle to make it easy to carry when it has water in it. It has a Big Zip wide-mouth opening to facilitate filling or cleaning. It folds loosely flat for storage - about 10.5 in x 4 in x 0.5 in (26.5 cm x 10.2 cm x 1.3 cm).


I have used a Platypus 4 liter water tank for at least 10 years, and just recently bought a new one because the old one wore out.

I've taken the water tank on about 100 nights of backpacking during that period, around Mount Hood in Oregon, Goat Rocks, Mount Adams, and Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and other places in Oregon and Washington. I go on trips of from 1 to 5 nights. I've used it in temperatures from 25 F (-5 C) to 90 F (30 C). When it's been below freezing I protect it in my pack, a clump of grass, or whatever to keep it from freezing. Occasionally there have been ice crystals in it but it's never frozen solid. I've used it from sea level to 8000 ft (2500 m) elevation.

When there is a water source near camp, soon after I reach camp in the afternoon, I fill up the water tank which is enough to last overnight and into the next day until I fill up again the next afternoon. When I go with another person, if we each have an additional quart (liter) water bottle that we fill, it's enough until the next afternoon. If it's hot, we have to additionally drink a quart (liter) when we fill up to last until the next day.

If there is no water source near camp, then I fill up the water tank at the last opportunity while hiking, and carry it the rest of the way to camp. I have carried it for several miles (kilometers) on occasion. The nylon handle makes this fairly easy, although I have to switch between my two hands and set it down occasionally to rest.

I always use the water tank just for filtered water. When the water tank is empty it's hard to fill because it won't stand up by itself, it just flops over. First I lay it almost flat with the corner spout opening raised. I take off the corner spout lid and put in the hose from the water filter. I then fill the water tank with filtered water until it starts spilling out the opening. Then there is enough water in it so it stands by itself. Then I fill it the rest of the way.

Some people put unfiltered water in the bag, but I prefer to use it for filtered water only.

I never use the top zipper opening and consider it a negative. I tried putting the full water tank in my pack once, but the zipper opening let water out all over inside my pack. Fortunately this was just a test so it didn't matter. The top zipper opening allows easier cleaning of the bag, but because I use only filtered water, it never gets dirty. I just rinse it out when I get back home, turn it upside down to let the water drip out, and it's ready for the next trip. As I write this, my water tank is sitting nearby, upside down, with the corner spout opened, airing out.

Since the water tank won't hold water in my pack, I carry an extra 1 qt (L) rigid re-used PETE soda bottle. In the morning before I start hiking, I drink as much water as I feel like, and fill the rigid water bottle, and this is enough to last me until I reach my next camp in the afternoon. If it's really hot, I occasionally have to re-fill the rigid water bottle from my water filter in the middle of the day.

After about 10 years and 100 days of backpacking I got rid of the old water tank and bought a new one. The old one became yellowed, stiff, and it made a crinkling noise when I folded it up which made me think it might crack at some point, so as a precaution, I got a new one. I've used the new one on a couple trips and it seems the same as the old one.

When I pack it (empty) in my pack, I make sure and loosely fold it, as it comes when I bought it. If it's tightly folded, I think it might tend to crack there over time.

When it's full or partly full, it stands up by itself. If it's on an irregular, non-level, and/or soft surface it will sometimes fall over, but if the screw lid is screwed on the water won't leak out. The zipper top is secure enough so it never opens in this case. Sometimes it will look like it will stay up, then slowly start tipping, then fall over - entertainment for a bored person to guess whether it will eventually fall over.

The plastic is strong enough to survive being banged around a bit, and occasionally falling over, but I tend to treat equipment fairly gently.


The Platypus 4 liter water tank is an excellent water bag for backpacking.


1. Durable.
2. Lightweight
3. Comfortable handle - can carry it for miles
4. Enough capacity for one day


1. Top zipper opening can leak when put in pack


Jerry Adams

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