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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Platypus Hydration Platy Bottles > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Platypus 2+ Liter Platy™ Bottle
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
August 19, 2007

Personal Details and Backpacking Background.

Male, 61 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA

I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do a week long trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced marches too.  Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.

Product Information

Platy Bottle as hydration bladderManufacturer: Cascade Designs, Inc.
Website: www.platypushydration.com.  All quotations in this review come from the Platypus pages of this website.
MSRP: $9.95 US
Year Purchased: 2004
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Size, listed: 7.5 x 13.5 in / 19 x 35 cm
Size, measured empty: 7.6 x 12.8 in / 19.3 x 32.5 cm, not including spout; x 13.5 in / 35 cm with spout.
Weight, listed: 1 oz / 30 g
Weight, measured, with closure cap: 1.1 oz / 31 g
Capacity, listed: "2+ liter/80 fl oz"
Capacity, measured: 85 fl oz / 2.5 liters
Other sizes available: 0.5 liter / 17 fl oz and 1 liter / 35 fl oz.
Warranty: The Hydration 101 page of the website refers to a "limited lifetime warranty" for all Platypus products but I couldn't find details on the site.

Evaluation

Platy™ Bottles have been my preferred water containers in camp and while hiking for several years now.  These polyethylene bottles are collapsible and, with various accessories, allow me to use them for many different backpacking tasks.  I have used Platy Bottles in all seasons, at temperatures from 0 to 105 F (-17 to 41 C), and with most of the accessories that Platypus offers.  My regular three-season backpacking kit includes a 2+ Liter Bottle used as a hydration bladder stored somewhere in my pack, a second Platy Bottle stored empty in my pack, and a hard plastic or metal bottle in a holster or pocket. 

Perhaps the best way to list the benefits of Platy Bottles is to compare my experience to a few of the manufacturer's claims, as each illustrates a benefit.

"Weighs 80% less than conventional hard plastic bottles."  I don't own a two-liter hard plastic bottle and have never used one for backpacking – it would be far too bulky for efficient packing.  Two one-liter hard plastic bottles weigh about twelve ounces (340 g), making good on Platypus's claim with room to spare.  A 2+ Liter Platy is also sixty per cent lighter than a two-liter hydration bladder that I own from another maker.  Easily the lightest weight reliable water carrier that I have found. 

"Collapsible design allows you to roll bottle up for easy, compact storage."  This is a terrific feature of the Platy Bottles that allows me to carry an extra 2+ Liter Bottle for water storage in camp at the cost of one additional ounce (30 g) of pack weight.  And I don't have to roll one up to do so.  I can fold it or simply stuff it, empty and extended, along one of the walls of my pack. 

"Bottle is tough enough to be frozen or boiled."  A Platy will certainly hold frozen or boiling water, though I've never intentionally used one for either in the field.  More than once while skiing I've had one freeze in my pack, and I've cleaned empty bottles at home using boiling water and bleach or baking soda.  The point here is that the plastic in these bottles is tough enough for most regular backcountry abuse.  But not all, as discussed below.

Top, shower attachment, holster Bottom L to R: neoprene bite valve cover, bite valve cover, on-off valve, nipple top, closure top"Modular design lets you create your own system."  Platypus sells many accessories that allow me to use a Platy Bottles as a hydration bladder in my backpack (drink tube, valve, lapel clip, bite valve cover) in summer or winter (neoprene sleeve and bite valve cover), as  a separate hydration pack (holster; the one pictured has a hip belt added), as a bottle in camp (closure and nipple-type caps that are interchangeable with the cap on the drink tube), or as a camp shower (hose with shower head and on-off valve).  I've used all these accessories for all these tasks - all on the same trip.  The neoprene bite valve cover is the first accessory I've found for any hydration system that really does keep water from freezing in the valve.

"Gusseted bottom keeps bottle upright for easier filling."  Or standing up outside my tent or on the camp kitchen work surface.  A simple, functional feature that sets Platy Bottles apart from my other hydration bladders.

All in all, wonderfully lightweight and versatile bottles and for that reason my backcountry water vessels of choice.  Like just about everything in life, though, they're not perfect.  I've called the plastic tough, but it is definitely not indestructible.  I've had a few punctures.  On those where I've done a post mortem the problem resulted from sudden contact with a sharp or pointed object rather than gradual abrasion or deterioration.  And the culprit isn't always obvious and needn't be razor-sharp.  An edge of a pot support on a backpacking stove (folded up and in its storage pouch), a right-angle corner on a lantern, and the bottom rim of a fuel canister have been to blame (along with the pack wearer's carelessness) for a tiny hole and seepage or, once when skiing, a gaping wound that resulting in a splat that emptied the bottle's contents in an instant.  Neither has happened often, but when it does the consequences can be serious.  In addition to soaking the contents of my pack (and maybe my posterior, an exhilarating experience in winter) my water capacity has been drastically reduced.  It's for this reason that I always carry a spare water container every time I use a Platy Bottle.  A pinprick-sized hole can sometimes be patched (Platypus sells patches for this purpose, and duct tape works once in a while) but in my experience never for long; for me a leaky Platy needs to be replaced.   I've never had a Platy leak at its seams.

I clean these bottles periodically by filling with a mild solution of water and unscented bleach, sloshing this around, and then rinsing it out after a few hours.  I rarely use a Platy for anything but water or water treated with a hypotonic tablet or powder, so cleaning is ordinarily done for sanitation only, not to remove the taste of whatever had been inside.  Chlorine dioxide, my usual water treatment, hasn't affected color or strength of a Platy.

The only design feature with which I have any real issue is the bottle's small mouth.   It's only 1.8 inches (46 mm) inside diameter, slightly smaller than the mouth of a beer bottle.  This can make filling it from a shallow stream frustrating, as I often travel without a water filter.  It also means slower drying after emptying the bottle and more difficult cleaning.  



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