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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Platypus Hydration PlatyPreserve > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

PlatyPreserve

Wine Preservation System

Initial Report - May 06 2008
Field Report - July 21 2009
Long Term Report - Sep 22 2009

David Wilkes

 

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.net
Age: 42
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
Torso: 19"( cm)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I have usually only managed time for 1-3 trips a year averaging 2-5 days, and as many day hikes as I can. I am currently getting into condition to summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, and California. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including consumables.

Product Information

Manufacturer:

Cascade Designs, Inc.

Year of Manufacture:

2008

Manufacturer’s Website:

www.PlatyPreserve.com

MSRP:

Not available from manufacturer
Listed Weight: 0.8 oz / 23 g
Measured Weight: 0.9 oz / 26 g
Volume: 800 ml / 27 oz

Product image front and back
Images courtesy of Cascade Designs, Inc.

Product Description:

The PlatyPreserve is a flexible/collapsible polyethylene pouch designed to protect wine from oxygen after the bottle has been opened. It has an opening on the top similar to disposable water bottles, but offset to one side and at a 45deg angle. When empty the pouch is flat and measures 5.5 in X 10.5 in (14 cm X 27 cm). When full it is about 4 cm (1.5 in) thick.

Initial Report

Contaner & hangtagFirst impression:  The bota bag of the space age?

I love the aesthetics of the product. The graphics are subtle and elegant. Clearly, the manufacturer is targeting more than backpackers with this product. I could see having this in my refrigerator or kitchen counter. About the only clue to this container being for outdoors use, is the very simple and clear instructions printed on the back (common for outdoor products but not for things I normally find around my house).

The package arrived folded into a small cardboard hangtag that included some basic text on its intent and usage. The PlatyPreserve has the same feel as the Platypus hydration pouches I have, and with the same self-standing bottom. Having used a few different Platypus containers in the past, I know from experience that they are far more durable than the thin plastic might first seem. I hope this is the case with this container, as I really do not want to find my cloths and gear soaked in wine after a day on the trail. Not that sleeping in a damp sleeping bag would be something entirely new to me, but it would be a real shame to waste the wine.

The front side of the container is mostly opaque. The backside of the product is tinted but see-through  with use and cleaning instructions printed on it using simple drawings and text. In addition, there is are 375 ml (13 oz) and 750 ml (25 oz) markings and spaces to write the DATE, WINERY, VARIETY, and YEAR of the wine. Upon seeing this I assumed these sections would have a different surface texture than the rest of the package to make it easier to write on (like some freezer storage bags), but I was wrong. I attempted to write in the spaces with a pencil and ball point pen but could not. I presume that a permanent marker would probably work, but this would be quite limiting, especially since this bag is marketed as being reusable. It is also possible that I could write on it using a 'grease pencil'. That would be removable, and may work for household use, but I suspect this would rub off in my pack.
Full with 2 glasses of white wine
The use and cleaning instructions could not be easer:
1-    Open lid and fill with wine
2-    Put cap on loosely  and squeeze out excess air
3-    Tighten cap
To clean, simply rinse with water (no soap) and place upside-down to dry.
[Note: the instructions do not mention rinsing the container prior to first use, but out of habit I did it anyway]

I just happened to have a bottle of red wine handy with a little over 375 ml (25 oz) left in it that I promptly poured into the PlatyPreserve. It was easy to open, fill, and close. The see-through back made it easy to see how full the container is (might be harder with white wine). With the container half-full, it does not stand up by itself very well. I could get it to stand, but only by allowing the top half to fold down to one side. While rinsing it out prior to filling it I filled it with water it stood up fine when entirely full. Squeezing all the extra air out of the container when full was quite simple, but a bit more difficult when less than half full. Since minimizing the wine’s contact with air is the key to the container's wine preservation, it is important to leave as little air in the container as possible. The stiff opening makes it easy to see when most of the air has been removed. The screw top goes on easily with a slight resistance just before completely closing. This made it easy to feel when the top was completely closed, and gave me confidence that it would not be leaking. Dispensing the wine from the PlatyPreserve was problem free…and maybe the most enjoyable “gear testing” I have ever done.

In addition to the PlatyPreserve, 5 bottles of 2007 vintage Redwood Creek wine were supplied for this test (via Michael J. Lamp of Hunter Public Relations). I received two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, and one bottle each of their Merlot, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. I visited the Redwood Creek web site and found it to be heavily focused on outdoor activities. In fact, I found the following on their “Corkordinates” page:
“Follow our Corks to Adventure!
Each cork in a Redwood Creek bottle is emblazoned with a Corkordinate. It’s a gps coordinate that will lead you to one of our favorite hiking spots across America. Feeling adventurous? Give it a try. And let our corks be your guide.”

I also found this on their “Trailblazers” page:
“Who Are Trailblazers?
What happens when you cross a well-worn hiking boot with a well-trained palette? Well, you get a Redwood Creek Trailblazer - an intrepid approachable person who's always happy to tell you what wine goes with any adventure.”

I think those quotes describe the web site far better than I ever could.

"Here's to cold nights, warm friends, and a good drink to give them."
5 Bottles of Redwood Creek wine

Field Report

Field Report - July 21 2009

"Alcohol - the cause of and solution to all of life's problems"
Homer Simpson

Usage:
* Bishop California – about 2 days in a cooler with no ice in my vehicle, then 1 day in the cooler with ice followed by half a day in my pack while hiking
* Cle Elum Washington – 2 night backpacking trip
* Mt Clemens – Day hike
* Overnight hike with my daughter – Umptanum Falls Washington
* 3-day family camping at Bumping Lake Washington

Observations:
The first part of my field-testing consisted of filling the Platy Preserve with the Redwood Creek Merlot and consuming it over a 3-day period. I expected the offset opening of the container to make filling it easier, but I am not finding that to be the case. If anything it is more difficult to hold the container while filling, and since it is not the highest point, trying to get all of the air out requires tipping the container while squeezing. Dispensing the wine was uneventful. However, I think having the opening off to one side actually makes it a little more difficult than if it were at the top like other Platypus containers. I could detect no off flavors to the wine, and as far as I could tell, neither the taste nor aroma changed between the first and last glass.
Since I received two bottles of Redwood Creek Cabernet, I decided a head to head taste test was in order. I purchased a second PlatyPreserve. I opened one of the bottles of cabernet and put in into the Platypus container and stored it along with the unopened bottle (I have a canning cellar that is just about ideal for storing wine) to be opened just prior to completing the field testing to see if there is any detectable difference between the two. I opened the second bottle of Cabernet and poured some of both into identical glasses, had my daughter mix up the glasses and I tasted them. I could not taste any difference! I tasted them back and forth a few times, but still could detect no difference. My daughter asked me to guess at which was which and I took a wild guess and got it right. However even after knowing which was which I could not tell the difference.
A month after opening the bottle, I expected there would be at least some difference, and maybe someone with a more refined palette would be able to detect a difference, but try as I might, I could not.

A major test of the PlatyPreserve was my trip down to Bishop California. My father-in-law is quite fussy about his wine. While visiting us for Charismas I found a wine from a Washington winery that he really enjoyed, I had one last bottle and I was planning to surprise him with it during lunch at the summit of our hike. I put the wine in the container the evening prior to my departure and placed it into a cooler with my other food, but no ice. I had a 15hr drive (plus a 3hr nap) and then went on a quick overnight hike, leaving the cooler in my vehicle. Upon returning I added ice to the cooler and the wine sat in there for just over a day. Our hike did not go as planned, snow forced us to choose an alternate route and ice on that route prevented us from reaching our goal. Then a slip that caused my father-in-law to fall into an icy river forced us to return early. We ended up having lunch on the porch of the cabin where we were staying, and enjoyed the wine there. My father-in-law was quite pleasantly surprised and said he could detect no negative effects from the wine being stored and handled the way it was. To my less refined palette, the wine was just as I remembered it from a few months earlier when I had drunk another bottle of the same wine.

A glass of wine with some new firendsWhile hiking into a snowbound campground I ran into a couple of snowmobilers. We talked for a while and I mentioned that if on their way back they happened to run across my camp they were welcome to share the wine I brought (the Redwood Creek Pinot Grigio). To my surprise they arrived at my camp just before dark, and we all had a glass of wine and enjoyed about 2hrs of pleasant conversation. That alone was worth carrying the extra weight of the wine, finishing off the rest of the wine while contemplating the serenity and beauty of my surroundings the following evening was just icing on the cake.

I took my 6 year old daughter for her first backpacking trip. I brought along the PlatyPreserve filled with wine (I don’t recall what), knowing it was very unlikely that I would have any interest in drinking any of it. As it turned out I was correct and the wine returned home with us untouched.

While camping with my family and some friends I brought along the PlatyPreserve. In it was a very nice red table wine I had opened a week prior (and drank one glass). I shared the wine with two friends. We occasionally have beer at these family camping trips, and this was the first time I brought wine, but it will not be the last. I also appreciated that not only did I not need to remember to bring a wine opener, but also that I was able to simply toss the PlaytPreserve in the cooler along with our other food and it was much easier to find room for it than it would have been for a bottle. In addition, I would never have considered trying to bring along a glass bottle of wine that I had already opened.

A man not old, but mellow, like good wineOne thing I have been thinking about is the availability of suitable drinking vessels in the locations and conditions where I am likely to use the PlatyPreserve. While on some trips I brought along Lexan wine glasses, it is not something I really want to do for every trip. And I did not have them when the snowmobilers stopped by and so we had to scrounge up what we could (I ended up having to wash out the cup I had just used to hold my dinner).  I realized my earlier comparison to a Bota Bag might hold a solution. Most Bota Bags I have seen have a small opening for dispensing similar to push-pull caps available on some water bottles. Platypus sells Push-Pull Caps for their reservoirs, and I think this could not only bypass the issue of suitable drinking vessels, but also make for a more festive method of sharing in the wine with others!

In examining the container at the end of the field tests I find the product is showing some signs of use. There are a few wrinkles, but no signs of wear that might indicate a possible failure point. Repeated rinsing with hot water has reduced the wine smell from inside of the container but it is still very distinct. So far I have been unable to detect any flavors or aromas from a previous wine affecting what is currently in the container. I drank some water from the container and could detect only the slightest wine flavor.

*** Important Note regarding the transport of alcoholic beverages in the United States ***

It is my understanding that federal and state laws in most, if not all, states consider any unsealed vessel containing more than 0.5% alcohol to be a violation if it is accessible to the driver (e.g. in the main passenger compartment). In the state of Washington where I live the law states:
Washington Revised Code RCW 46.61.519: Alcoholic beverages — Drinking or open container in vehicle on highway
(2) It is a traffic infraction for a person to have in his possession while in a motor vehicle upon a highway, a bottle, can, or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage if the container has been opened or a seal broken or the contents partially removed.
Laws vary by state, but it is my understanding that in most states, transporting this product while filled with wine and accessible to the driver could result in various penalties including fines and licenses suspension. Therefore I have taken to transporting the container in the trunk of my car or the back of my pickup, or not filling it until arriving at my destination.

Enjoying a glass of wine among the wildflowersField test summary:
I am surprised at how much I have enjoyed testing this product. Having wine to share with others was more fun and better accepted than I had expected.
The container appears rugged and its form makes it very easy to pack, full or empty. When empty I simply flatten, roll it up, and stuff it in any spare space I have (often beside my hydration pouch).


Likes Dislikes
Flexible, easy to store empty or full Offset opening
Durable No simple way to temporary label the contents
No plastic (or other) taste/smell
Allows me to enjoy wine in places/times I never considered practical
Looks more elegant than a ‘bag of wine’ should

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

Long Term Report

Long Term Report - Sep 22 2009
Usage Yea, I sometimes drink alone...
* Backpacking two nights – Pacific Crest Trail Eastern Cascades
* “Music in the Park” at a park near my home
* Mt Adams – 1 night
* Family camping trip – Central Washington state – 2 nights

Don't let your doctor tell you drinking is bad for you!
I have seen more old drunks than old doctors..

 What wine would go best with smore flavor Poptarts? If I had a dime for every time I have pondered that question…I would now be 10 cents (US) richer! One thing I really like about gear testing is how it allows me to look at my trips with entirely new eyes.

 Once a friend of mine explained that he and his wife took wine with them when they backpacked, and I replied that I just did not see me ever doing that. I just could not imagine a wine that could stand up to being sloshed around in my pack all day and still be good. Well now after 4 months testing the PlatyPreserve, I can say I really like having the option to have a nice glass of wine when and where I want.

PlatyPreserve and Poptart Since my field report I have been thinking about a better way to dispense the wine for situations where appropriate drinking vessels may not be available. I purchased a set of “Push-Pull” caps produced by Platypus to see if they would allow me to use the PlatyPreserve more like a bota bag. I found the caps do work (sort of) but tend to allow the wine to flow too fast, making it tricky to drink from, but still better than drinking directly from the PlatyPreserve opening. A cap with a smaller opening would work much better. The cap did make it simpler to control how much I pour into cups, and reduce the chance of losing the cap.

On one trip I planned to bring along a few somore flavored Poptarts (chocolate, marshmallow & graham cracker) as an evening treat, so what wine should I bring? I went with a nice Sangiovese that I picked up while wine tasting this past spring. As it turns out not only was the Sangiovese quite nice on its own, it went well with the tortellini soup I had for dinner and actually complemented the Poptarts nicely. It was very strange to be sitting on a log, alone in the dark forest at night sipping on a wonderful wine and munching on a Poptart! I think I actually laughed out loud, partially from the enjoyment and partially from the absurdity of it all.

a friend helping me "test" the PlatyPreserve The park near my home hosts free concerts during the summer and my wife and I like to walk down there with the kids when we can. We invited a friend and packed our dinner in a picnic basket. I tossed the PlaytPerserve filled with a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc into the basket. Our friend got a real kick out of me pulling the wine out of the basket. Sipping wine while sitting on the grass listening to really good Blues music on a warm summer evening? WONDERFULL!
Something I have noticed is that in some situations it might be frowned upon to pull out a wine bottle and start drinking (such as a public park or campground); however I am finding the PlatyPreserve to be inconspicuous enough to not draw any unwanted attention.

My trip to Mt Adams was a real letdown, weather and equipment problems prevented me from summiting. However I did pack the PlatyPreserve. I had quite a full pack and was concerned that the wine bottle might burst from being packed so tight, but it survived without a single leak! The bag is far stronger than it looks!

 In addition to the above, I have used the PlatyPreserve at home, for times when I have opened a bottle of wine just so I could have a glass or two. Being confidant that the wine would not spoil in the few days or even weeks it might take me to finish it gives me much more freedom in what wine I choose to open.

I have to say I applied for this test mostly out of curiosity, but this product has really been quite a surprise. Not only has it changed my view about packing wine into the backcountry, but I am also taking a second look at other Platypus products. I have been very pleased with the performance and quality of this product and not only would I recommend them but have done so repeatedly.

My likes and dislikes have not changed from what is in the Field Report.

To your good health, old friend,
may you live for a thousand years,
and I be there to count them.
-Robert Smith Surtees

This concludes my Report. I would like to thank the folks at Cascade Designs, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this fine product!

 



Read more reviews of Platypus Hydration gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wilkes

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