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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Buckets > Platypus Water Tank > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Platypus Hydration Platy Water Tank
By Raymond Estrella

June 30, 2012


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 51
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
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:
Product: Platy Water Tank
Year manufactured: 2011
MSRP: US $39.95
Size reviewed: 6 L (210 fl oz)
Listed weight: 4.4 oz (124 g) verified accurate
Dimensions listed: 9.5 x 18 in (24 x 45.5 cm)
Actual dimensions: 9.25 x 18 in (23.5 x 45.5 cm)
Width (when full, at widest point): 6 in (15.25 cm)
(Picture courtesy of Cascade Designs)

Very full Tank

Product Description

The Platypus Hydration Platy Water Tank (hereafter referred to as the Tank) is a water storage container. The main body is made of clear plastic-like polyurethane/polyethylene material.

The Tank is made by welding the edges of the plastic together creating a 0.3 in (7.6 mm) seam around the lower part of the body, it is a little thicker at the top/back and around the Big Zip opening. It is made with a pleated construction that allows the bottom to swell open under pressure from the water. When full this creates a stable base to keep the Tank sitting upright.

All models have a small opening off to the right side, when viewing the blue Platypus logo. It is set at an angle to make it easier to pour. The opening is roughly the same size as most pop bottles and comes with the standard white polypropylene Platypus cap found on most of the company's products. The common Platy size means that it works with the Push-Pull Caps, Hoser tubes and Gravity Works filter tubes also.

At the top is a huge Big Zip opening. I have had a few of Platypus' Big Zip's in the past and this is the largest one I have seen yet. The opening it gives for fast filling and cleaning is 10 in (25 cm) long. Centered over the Big Zip are two handles made of black 1 in (2.5 cm) nylon strapping. The handles are gathered at the top and encased in plastic to give a firm grip.

The bag has measurement marks at each liter beginning with 2 L. As may be seen in the picture above the Tank may be filled well past the 6 L mark. I have filled mine (and carried it) with 7.2 L of water twice.

Field Data

I have used the Playpus Water Tank on approximately ten two or three-day backpacking trips and two camping trips, all in Minnesota (MN). Locations have been along the Red River of the North, Paul Bunyan State Forest, Chippewa National Forest, Lake Bronson and Old Mill State Parks and on the Superior Hiking Trail along the Beaver River. Temperatures have ranged from lows of 34 F (1 C) to highs of 88 F (31 C) in conditions from sunny, hot and humid to stormy and raining. It has held clear eastern MN river water, not-so clear lake water, and absolutely filthy western MN river water. Here is a picture of it settling some water in the Paul Bunyan State Forest.

Water settling to remove crud


I have been carrying a collapsible water bucket for many years. (See reviews of two styles). I use them hold and settle water for filtering and to transport water to camp from remote sources. I also use it later in camp for washing. I usually hang the bucket on a nearby broken branch and am good to go.

One thing about backpacking in MN is that almost all trails require that backpackers camp in designated locations. One huge problem I encountered when I first started camping here is that there are no busted branches or dead stumps to hang anything from as people have taken anything they can reach to use as firewood. Hang a bucket at a height to filter/wash from? Ha, I have a hard time finding something to reach I can use for my gravity filter or food bag. Fortunately, since these camp spots are set-in-stone locations, the park/forest service has placed picnic tables at most of them. My bucket will sit on a table but the slightest bump can make it live up to its name and Collapse!

Platy Water Tank to the rescue. I actually got the Water Tank last winter and forgot I had it until I took my first camping trip this spring coming back from my broken ankle. My bucket had to sit on the ground that trip (no table even) and I was digging through my hydration/water gear and found the Tank. I took it on the next trip and smacked myself in the forehead. Doh, this is the ticket.

It works great sitting on a table or bench, like some sites have. While I use mine just to collect dirty water I can see that with a large group it would make a great clean drinking water reservoir as my Gravity Works filter would connect directly to it.

Mainly I use it for cleaning when in camp. Even though I camp near water when I can I like to think I am more LNT (Leave No Trace) by washing my hands and utensils away from the water. (Although rinsing may be a better word than "washing" as I do not use soap.) I normally use the regular cap and am careful to not let the water pour too fast as I am washing. But when the kids are with me I put a Push-Pull Cap to keep it from gushing out while they wash. That is how it is here, although the cap is facing away from my daughter as she makes her drinking water on the Superior Hiking Trail.

That's my girl

Since I am using a gravity filter that has a Big Zip top itself I don't "have" to collect water to fill it from, but I found a good reason to do so anyway. This is to let it act as a settling device to let debris drop to the bottom so that I can then pour off the top 4 L. While our lakes are usually pretty clean on one trip I was there one day after a very large storm. The run-off into the lakes had created a lot of debris that was still in suspension from continuing bad weather and wind. By letting the Tank sit for just a few minutes I was able to get a lot of junk out that would have been going into my filter. Here is a picture of what was in the water at Halverson Lake one fine stormy day.

Crud in the Tank

The water from the Red River (and feeder rivers like Wild Rice, Shell etc.) have so much fine clay silt in suspension that it will not settle out completely, but a couple hours will allow some of it to drop, after which I carefully pour the top into my filter's bag.

One of the best things about the Tank (and all Platypus products I have owned) is the fact that it is light-weight and folds flat for carrying in my pack. I have carried the collapsed Tank inside my packs, in the back shove-it pocket of my Exos 46 or 58, or in the side pocket of my 46. When in the side pocket I do need to make sure the side compression strap goes over it to keep it from flopping over and possibly falling out.

Like all of their products in my experience the Tank is pretty durable. I see mine has accumulated a few dents where it has hit something sharp or poke-y. I have never had a leak from the seams although have from the Big Zip closure a couple times.

That in fact is the only downside I can find of the Tank. I bought a couple of the Big Zips in the past but decided not to ever use them in my pack as I just did not trust the strength of the seal. (While writing this I was on their site checking facts and noticed that the Big Zip has a new locking system, maybe I need to check them out again.) On one of my last trips I found that I could not get to the river to collect water as I had planned. This meant going back to the lake where my car was parked at the trailhead to get water and bring back to camp. I was at the farthest campsite away from the trailhead but brought all my gear with me stopping at the closest site so as to have less distance to carry water back. Thank goodness I did so as I had to make the trip twice.

Hauling H2o

I brought my filter, two 1 L Platy bottles, and the Tank back. I filled my drinking bottles, the 4 L filter dirty water reservoir and the Tank with a total of 12 L of water. (Now that I measured the actual volume of the Tank I see that it was over 13 L.) I put all of it in my mostly empty pack, but just could not trust placing the Tank in there knowing that it would have to sit on end and not knowing if it could handle the pressure. I did not want to have it blow open in my pack so I carried it back to camp with the handles or sometimes balanced on my shoulder. The reason I wanted so much water was it was a very hot and humid day. I had sweated heavily while hiking and wanted, no, needed to clean off before settling down for the evening.

I set the Tank on a stump with a nice flat top and started finishing my camp prep. I have no idea what happened but somehow the Tank fell off the stump and popped open upon hitting the ground. I had no water left. Let's go back to the trailhead, yay… On my return to camp I placed the Tank on the picnic table (where I should have put it in the first place) and had no problems the rest of the trip.

I really like the Tank and the only way I don't see myself using it in the future is if Platypus decides to make an 8 L version which I would prefer. Bigger is better, I always say. Hey, look at my gut. ;-) No, look at this picture of the Platy Water Tank by the South Branch of the Two Rivers.

Perfect camp by the river

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

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