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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Platypus Hydration PlatyPreserve > Test Report by Carol Crooker

PLATYPRESERVE WINE PRESERVATION SYSTEM
TEST SERIES BY CAROL CROOKER
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - May 08, 2009
FIELD REPORT - July 18, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - August 26, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Carol Crooker
EMAIL: cmcrooker AT gmail DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Phoenix, AZ
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)

For the past 10 years, I've backpacked about 30 days each year, usually in Arizona and the western mountains on trips that last 3 to 6 days. Weather has varied from 107 F to a low of 0 F (42 to -18 C). My three-season base pack weight varies from about 8 to 12 pounds (4 - 5 kg) and my winter base pack weight is about 18 pounds (8 kg). I normally use a tarp for shelter. I also packraft (backpacking that includes travel by raft) and apply the same lightweight principles I use backpacking.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Cascade Designs, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.platypreserve.com/
and also: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/Platypus/Wine-Preservation/category
MSRP: Not listed
Listed Weight: 0.8 oz (23 g)
Measured Weight: 0.9 oz (25.5 g)
Volume: 27 oz (800 ml)
Dimensions: 5.5 x 10.5 in (14 x 27 cm)
BHA free

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

IMAGE 1
Manufacturer photo.
The PlatyPreserve looks pretty much like a Platy (TM) Bottle except the spout is offset from the center and the front side is opaque. The bottom is clear, and it appears that the back side is clear (it looked rust colored like the front side until I looked through the clear bottom and through the back side). That was a surprise to me.

According to the manufacturer website: "The three environmental factors that damage wine are: oxygen, temperature, and ultraviolet light. The PlatyPreserve solves the first factor by isolating your wine from oxygen. You can deal with the other two factors by storing the PlatyPreserve in a cool dark place. Ideally the storage temperature should be held constant at 50 to 52 degrees F [10-11 C]. Higher temperatures and bright sun or fluorescent lights can damage wine no matter what the container."

I had assumed the whole container would be the same rust color as the front side (which is pictured on the website). As quoted above ultraviolet light (uv) can damage wine. I assumed opaque plastic would be better at stopping uv light. A quick internet search revealed that it is short wavelength uv that damages wine. More of the damaging wavelengths get through clear class than brown glass. However, certain coatings and additives in clear glass can boost uv blockage. Short wavelength uv passes through some plastic, but not others. I couldn't find anything definitive, but it may be that plastic as thin as used in the PlatyPreserve is not going to block much short wavelength uv regardless of whether it is a dark color or clear. Or maybe there are additives to the clear plastic to help block uv. Regardless, it appears from the statement above, that the PlatyPreserve is only intended to protect wine from oxygen, and not from uv light or temperature.

I mention all this because once I saw that the back was clear, I wondered if a regular Platy bottle would work just as well for wine as the PlatyPreserve. I don't see anything on the website that answers that question so I've written to Cascade Designs and will include any answer in the Field Report.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions for putting wine into the PlatyPreserve and for cleaning it are printed on the back of the bottle along with illustrations of each step. The instructions are clear, but as I'll go over in the next section, the illustration shows the bottle being held upright when the air is squeezed out which will leave air in the bottle.

Cleaning couldn't be easier, just rinse with warm water (no soap) and allow to dry. The website says there is "zero taste transfer to the wine" from the bottle, but I'm wondering if there will be taste transfer from one wine to another - or if rinsing with water will get all the wine taste out.

TRYING IT OUT

A diagram on the website and on the back of the bottle shows the steps to get air out of the PlatyPreserve. Put the cap on loosely, and squeeze all the air out, then tighten the cap. When the bottle is held upright as shown in the diagram, wine starts to flow out of the mouth while a pocket of air remains above the wine level. I needed to cant the bottle to one side so the surface of the water was level with the mouth opening to get the most air out of the bottle before tightening the cap. Even so, a small bubble of air remained in the container. I thought maybe a Platy Bottle with the screw on cap on the top (not offset) might be easier to completely empty of air since it doesn't have to be tilted. But, I tried it and a small bubble or air remained just as in the PlatyPreserve.

The clear back helps to see the wine level as the air is being squeezed out.

The more empty the bottle, the more care it takes to get all the air out.

SUMMARY

The PlatyPreserve is nice and lightweight and should serve the dual purpose of water container once the wine is gone. It may even work as a pillow. I don't yet see the utility of having the mouth offset to one side, and in fact only see a downside to this placement from my initial examination. I will be looking for upsides of the placement during the testing phase.

I received five bottles of Redwood Creek wine for use in testing the PlatyPreserve. I'm looking forward to trying wine and the PlatyPreserve together.

Check back in about two months for my Field Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

IMAGE 1
PlatyPreserve before air is removed.
May 24-27, Gallatin National Forest near Bozeman, Montana
Elevation 6400 - 8200 ft (1950 - 2500 m)
Mostly overcast with a few hours of rain here and there and a bit of hail. Temperatures were mostly in the 40s F (5 - 9 C) during the day with an overall range of 30 to 65 F (-1 to 18 C).
This was a tromp through mostly deep snow with some occasional bare ground on the History Rock, Blackmore Lake, and Hyalite Canyon trails.

May 28-30, Madison River near Bozeman, Montana
Elevation 4600 - 4000 ft (1400 - 1200 m)
Weather variable from overcast with a storm rolling in, to bright and sunny, with temperatures from the low 40s to mid 80s F (5 - 30 C).
This was a 45 mile (72 km) packraft trip (4 mi/6 km hike, 41 mi/66 km float) from the head of Bear Trap Canyon to the confluence with the Missouri River.

June 22-24, Chevelon Creek on the Mogollon Rim in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Elevation 6100 ft (1860 m)
Weather hot and often overcast with a few hours of sprinkles and light rain, temperatures from 90 - 53 F (32 - 12 C).
This was a short backpack trip along Chevelon Creek following a trail or bushwhacking where there was none.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Here is the response (which arrived quickly) in full to questions I sent customer service:
"Thanks so much for contacting us with your questions about the PlatyPreserve. Iím here to answer!

Q: I was surprised to see that the back is clear. It made me wonder if a regular Platy would work just as well for wine?

Itís true that the PlatyPreserve was based on the design of the regular Platy Bottle. People have been using their Platy Bottles to store and transport wine for backpacking for years, in fact thatís what gave us the idea to make the PlatyPreserve. However, we did make a few design tweaks for it to be more ideal for storing, transporting & preserving wine, most of which youíve noticed, and will be explained better below.

Q: Why is the spout off to the side? It seems like it would be easier to squeeze all the air out if the spout was on the top?

The spout is on the side rather than to [the] top to allow for easier filling (particularly when pouring a wine bottle into it) and easier pouring. Iíve found that holding the opposite side just below the curve in the palm of my hand is the easiest way to squeeze the air out.

Q: Why is the back clear? Does the opaque front side block short wavelength uv light that damages wine better than the clear side? Or is there little difference in blocking properties between the opaque and clear sides?

The back isnít entirely clear, itís actually tinted. The tint offers protection from the light but is more opaque than the front to allow you to see the wine contents and ensure the air is properly purged. Our lab testing has proven the tinting does stop UV rays.

The two other differences between using a regular Platy Bottle and a PlatyPreserve are:

1) The volume of the PlatyPreserve is designed to fit the contents of a standard wine bottle, and is a bit smaller than a regular Platy Bottle. PlatyPreserve = 800ml (.8L) / Platy Bottle = 1L

2) Itís aesthetically more pleasing to store in and serve from. In other words, the red or white wine stored in a regular Platy Bottle has been mistaken for some less-pleasing fluids than wine

Please let me know if I can help you with anything else. Have a great weekend.
Tami Fairweather
Public Relations & Events Manager
(206) 676-6011

CASCADE DESIGNS, INC."

I really appreciated the prompt and thorough answer.

I tried a bottle of wine in the PlatyPreserve at home. Pouring from the bottle into the Platy was easy. I found the best way to get most of the air out was to hold the Platy at an angle and squeeze until the wine was level with the top of the spout, then screw the cap on. A bubble of air remained, which I couldn't get rid of. I drank some wine the next day and it tasted as good as the day before.

My first chance to use the PlatyPreserve in the field was on a backpacking trip in Montana celebrating my 50th birthday. I took about 12 oz (355 ml) of Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon so I could have a small glass with dinner each night of the four-day trip. I really enjoyed the novelty of combining wine and backpacking and it was especially nice to have a glass on my birthday.

Camped next to the Madison River, I was delighted to surprise my seven packrafting companions with a whole bottle of Redwood Creek Pinot Noir our first night out. The wine was quickly consumed. I appreciated that I could pull off a surprise like that and only need to carry out a very light container that could also serve as a backup water bottle. I also found that the corner-mounted spout did indeed make pouring into multiple cups easier than if the spout had been on the end (as it is in regular Platys).

I enjoy alcohol but don't consume a lot. I often drink just half a beer at home and save the second half for the next night. My usual method is to put plastic wrap secured with a rubber band over the mouth of the beer bottle. The beer is flat the next day but I still enjoy the taste. I decided to try the PlatyPreserve to see if it might work better. Carbon dioxide forms the bubbles in beer and is held in by pressure. I didn't expect the PlatyPreserve to hold in the bubbles and was quite surprised to have a tiny bit of fizz left when I drank the beer the next night.

Half a bottle of beer or one glass of wine is a very small portion of the volume in the PlatyPreserve. My method to remove air is to fold the PlatyPreserve, then squeeze as much air out as possible. I can get most of the air out this way, but the remaining air bubble is still larger than when the PlatyPreserve is nearly full of wine.

I took two glasses of Redwood Creek Merlot in the Platy Preserve when I backpacked along Chevelon Creek. The first night I enjoyed a good tasting glass just before bedtime as a nice relaxer. The second night, the Merlot nicely complimented some gumbo with fresh caught crayfish. With only one glass of wine in the Platy Preserve after the first night, I found an efficient way to remove air before resealing the Platy was to suck it out. But of course, I was traveling solo.

I've found that, at home, white wine stores in the refrigerator inside the PlatyPreserve with very good quality for three to four days.

The instructions say that washing consists of simply rinsing out the container with warm water. After the Platy has been emptied and rinsed I can still smell wine. Rinsing with almost boiling water reduces the wine smell, but does not eliminate it. I have not noticed a transfer of flavors, but I don't have a finely discriminating palate. I would prefer to use one Platy for white wines and one for red wines for home use just against the potential of transferring flavors.

SUMMARY

I am definitely enjoying testing the PlatyPreserve. Cascade Designs has made some modifications to what has become a tried and true line of lightweight water bladders to adapt their basic bladder for wine storage. The choices made (smaller volume to match a bottle of wine, spout offset at an angle for easier pouring, tinting to block uv) are well thought out and appropriate.

What I like so far:
- Light weight
- Tinting to block ultraviolet light
- Angled spout makes pouring easier
- Packs down small when empty

What I don't like so far:
- Nothing so far

Check back in two months for my Final Report.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

August 17-19, over Wheeler Peak from West Fork (Red River) trailhead to Bull-of-the-Woods trailhead in the Carson National Forest just north of Taos, New Mexico.
Elevation 9600 -13,161 ft (2900 - 4011 m)
Weather mostly clear with temperatures from 80 - 41 F (27 - 5 C); breezy to windy the final half of the trip.
The trail was forested dirt trail at beginning and end, with rocky trail above treeline on both sides of Wheeler Peak - the highest point in New Mexico.

September 18-20, Yellowstone River, Montana north of Yellowstone Park from Gardiner to Emigrant
Elevation 5260 - 4880 ft (1600 - 1480 m)
Weather hot and sunny with strong breezes in the afternoon. Temperatures from the mid 80's to 40 F (29 - 4 C) with rain on the second night.
This was a packraft training course with camping next to the river.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I took two glasses worth of Redwood Creek Cabernet Sauvignon in the PlatyPreserve on my Wheeler Peak trip and enjoyed a nip in camp each night.

I also used the PlatyPreserve at home to store partial bottles of red wine and white wine.

I took a PlatyPreserve full of Redwood Creek merlot on the Yellowstone River trip and shared it with my fellow paddlers. At least one person commented that they liked the taste of the wine and all who partook enjoyed wine next to the river after a hard day of white water paddling.

The PlatyPreserve did not leak inside my pack, which I was grateful for, and the taste of the wine was preserved.

SUMMARY

The PlatyPreserve is the best way I know of to carry wine into the backcountry. It is lightweight and, during my testing, leak proof. It can serve as a backup water carrier which saves the weight of carrying a separate bladder or bottle to serve that purpose. (I carry my water bottle on the outside of my pack while packrafting and there is the definite possibility of losing the bottle if I flip, so having a backup bottle in my pack is reassuring.) The PlatyPreserve does indeed help wine remain fresher as is advertised. I've listed my likes and dislikes below which are the same as listed in the Field Report with the addition of a dislike.

What I like so far:
- Light weight
- Tinting to block ultraviolet light
- Angled spout makes pouring easier
- Packs down small when empty

What I don't like so far:
- The wine taste doesn't completely rinse out with warm water and white wine can pick up some red wine flavor.

CONTINUED USE

I will turn to the PlatyPreserve any time I take wine into the backcountry in the future and I plan to use it often at home to preserve partial bottles of wine.

Thanks to Cascade Designs for supplying the PlatyPreserve for testing and to Redwood Creek for supplying the wine.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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