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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Platypus Hydration SoftBottle > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Platypus Hydration SoftBottle
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW

July 01, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 51
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: Cascade Designs Inc
Web site: www.cascadedesigns.com
Product: SoftBottle
Years manufactured: 2009
MSRP: US $8.95 & $7.95
Sizes reviewed: 1 L (34 fl oz) & 0.5 L (17 fl oz)
Listed weight: 0.9 oz (24 g) and 0.8 oz (22 g)
Actual weights: 0.92 oz (26 g) and 0.71 oz (20 g)
Dimensions listed: 6 x 13 in (15 x 33 cm) 5 x 12 in (12 x 29 cm) verified accurate
Actual full volumes: 1 L; 1.05 L, 0.5 L: dead on accurate
Weight of dual-valve HyperFlow Cap: 0.46 oz (13 g)
Colors owned: Blueberry, Gray, and Raspberry, as seen below.
(I made the graphic with pictures from Cascade Designs.)

Emma's, Dad's & Ray's Soft Bottles

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The Platypus Hydration SoftBottles are a colorful addition to my Platypus collection. They have the most stable base of any Platy bottles I have used to date and fit the hand better than any others too. While they don't really work that well in a pack's side pockets my kids like them better than anything else so we use them a lot. ;-) Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The Platypus Hydration SoftBottles (hereafter referred to as the SoftBottle) are light-weight collapsible bottles made for carrying liquids. It is the first major redesign of their products that I can remember and they say that this one "fits in a drink holder, a round pocket, a flat pocket, or any hand." (I am going to assume they are talking about the 0.5 L, but it is not clear.)

The SoftBottle's bodies are made of clear plastic-like nylon/polyethylene film, with a hard polyethylene spout centered on the top.

The SoftBottles are made by welding the edges of the film together creating a 0.2 in (5.1 mm) seam around the body; it is a little thicker at the top and around the opening. It is made with a pleated construction that allows the bottom to swell open under pressure from the water. When full this, in combination with the hour-shaped design, creates a very stable base to keep the bottle sitting upright.

The threaded spout has an opening roughly the size of most pop bottles and comes with either the standard white polypropylene Platypus Closure Cap found on most of the company's products or, in the case of my Grey 1 L, a stylish black cap (the same as my PlatyPreserve comes with). The common Platy size means that it works with the Push-Pull Caps, Hoser tubes and Gravity Works filter tubes also. It also works with, or may be ordered with, the dual-valve HyperFlow Cap. This cap works like the bite valve on my Hoser hydration systems. I bought two of these caps, one for each of my children.

The 1 L SoftBottle has measurement marks at quarter-liter increments. The 0.5 L version does not have any marks. Both sizes have a fun swooping design, adding some color and attitude for the first time on my Platypus bottles. (Of course blah Dad opted for the most subtle color. Bah humbug…)

While already made in an hourglass shape once filled the SoftBottles really become waspish. The 0.5 L SoftBottle is about 2.75 in (7 cm) in diameter at the base when filled and does fit my cup-holders. The 1 L has an ovoid shape that is roughly 3 x 4 in (8 x 10 cm) and does not fit my standard cup-holders.

Field Data

Break-time at High Falls SHT


All use of the Platypus SoftBottles has occurred in Minnesota. They have been used in the following State Parks, Maplewood, Itasca, Lake Bronson, Old Mill, Judge C.R. Magney, Temperance River, and Tettagouche (where the break-time picture above was taken). They have also been used in the Chippewa and the Superior National Forests, along with Paul Bunyan, Mississippi Headwaters, and Welsh Lake State forests. Temperatures have been between 34 and 90 F (1 to 32 C). Elevations very low, from 800 to 1400 ft (240-400 m), and conditions are usually raining, getting ready to rain, or sunny. Here is a shot of one at a remote fisherman's camp site on Halverson Lake.

Paul Bunyan State Forest

Observations

I bought my first three Platypus SoftBottles in December of 2009 as I used the kids' as stocking stuffers. Up to that point I had been carrying 0.5 L waters from the store for them to use in camp as they like having the little drink mix tubes that are made for that size of container. When I saw the new shape I was sure the kids would like them, and sure enough they did. They also wanted the HyperFlow Caps for theirs after I showed it to them. I picked myself up the 1 L as even when I use drink mixes I dilute them to half strength to cut the sweet factor down.

As I said my children loved the SoftBottles. On short-distance hikes they will just carry the bottles in their pack's side pockets. When this is the case I have to put them back for them after taking a drink as the edge at the bottom of the bottle grabs the material of the pocket making it difficult to get back in. It is especially hard if the pocket is made of mesh as many of mine are. For this reason I tend to carry mine upside-down which makes it much easier to get back in. Needless to say I do not use a HyperFlow cap. Here is a picture of one that way on the Red River of the North, just north of Halstad.

bushwhacking on the Red. Weed whacking?


I really think I would use them more often if not for the fact that most of my packs have pockets like that above. I have sat in camp and stared at my 1 L wondering if it would be feasible to make a version with a smooth bottom, doing away with the freestanding aspect, just for use while hiking. Maybe I will sacrifice my only 1 L (we have four of the 0.5 L size) to try it out. Where'd I put those scissors?

When the kids are on a longer hike they take water in their hydration systems (kind of custom ones I made from 1 L Platypus plusBottles and shortened Hoser tubes). On those trips they carry their SoftBottles in their packs and fill them as soon as I get the filter set up so that they can make their flavor of the moment. Here is a picture taken on the Superior Hiking Trail on the Beaver River of the kids doing so. Raymond is filling his and Emma is back by the Water Tank as she dropped her SoftBottle in the dirt right after filling it so needed to wash it off.

On the SHT at Beaver River


One thing that pleasantly surprised me about the SoftBottles was how well they stand up. I am pretty sure that I have owned every kind/size of Platypus bottle they have made since I "discovered" them in 2005. None have been as stable when filled as the SoftBottles. That's a big deal to me. Having my limited electrolyte drink mix wasted when my bottle falls over is bad. Having it fall when it is mixed with my only 3 fl oz (89 ml) of rum can be catastrophic. ;-) Here is a shot of my alcohol-free dinner drink standing nicely at camp on the South Branch of the Two Rivers. (Man, they give rivers long names here.)

Two Rivers dinner time


The shape of the SoftBottles is another plus as it makes them the easiest to hold and drink from of all my other Platy bottles. While I don't have all that much use with these (compared to the thousands of trail miles/km with the older styles) the durability has been good and since they are made of the same film as the Platy Bottle I have tons of use with I have to expect that they will last a long time. Probably the only negative thing I can say about them is that they take a loooong time to dry after getting home from a trip. But other than that the SoftBottles are winners in our book, and are a great addition to our drinking repertoire.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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