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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > Platypus Sprinter XT 25 Daypack > Test Report by Ralph Ditton
Platypus Sprinter XT 25 PackPersonal Information
Image courtesy of Cascade Designs
Test Series by Ralph Ditton
Initial Report: 25th August, 2013
Field Report: 2nd November, 2013
Long Term Report: 5th January, 2014
My playgrounds are the Bibbulmun Track, the Coastal Plain Trail, Darling Scarp and Cape to Cape Track. I lead walks for my bushwalking club and they consist of day walks and overnighters. My pack weight for multi day trips including food and water, tends to hover around 18 kg (40 lb) but I am trying to get lighter. My trips range from overnighters to six days duration.
On day walks my pack weight is around 5 kg (11 lb) including water.
The Platypus Sprinter XT 25 hydration pack is a lightweight, two compartment, top-loading, highly organized and a weatherproof day pack.
There is no top lid.
The compartment closest to my back contains the water bladder and hose.
The water bladder is attached to the frame by way of short lengths of webbing which have a toggle at the end. These toggles are inserted through a hole at either end of the water bladders top bar.
On top of the bar is a nylon handle for carrying the bladder when out of the pack. The top bar is fact a Slide Lock Closure.
To detach the reservoir from the Slide Lock Closure, I slide the reservoir out one end that has an opening. The other end is solid.
To fill the reservoir, I open up the clip lock at the top, fill up with water, close up the clip lock then slide the reservoir back into the Side Lock Closure.
So as not to misplace the Side Lock, a short cord is attached to it and the reservoir.
The opening on the reservoir is 120 mm (4.7 in), so it is a reasonably large mouth to fill up with water and to make it easier to clean out when the need arises.
There are four port holes which can be used for the drink tube to pass through. They are located right and left opposite the side pockets and above the top of the shoulder straps.
The drink tube has a Quick-Connect feature. To make it easier to fill the reservoir, I disconnect the drink tube and leave the tubing in place through its port hole. Just saves time not having to re-insert the drink tube through a port hole.
When the drink tube is removed, there is a shut off valve that prevents water from leaking/flowing out of the bottom of the reservoir.
The second compartment in my opinion is where most of the gear and food for the day would be placed. It is more spacious than the hydration compartment. At the top of the compartment, there is a mesh pocket 90 mm x 250 mm (3.5 in x 9.8 in). It is zippered. Inside this pocket is a clip on a length of webbing for the attachment of say car/house keys.
Both compartments are able to be closed by YKK Aquaguard zippers.
On the front of the pack there is another pocket 220mm wide x 360 mm deep (8.6 in x 14.2 in). This is open. Just above it there is another little zippered pocket 170 mm X 110 mm (6.7 in x 4.3 in).
As can be seen by the top photo, there are numerous loops for helmet/accessory, trekking poles, Ice Axe.
There are two mesh side pockets which are wide and deep enough to store additional water bottles.
The waist belt also has a mesh zippered pocket on each of them. They are useful for trail mixes I find.
The backing of the pack is a padded air mesh arrangement. It feels like it is a sponge underneath.
The shoulder straps appear to be made out of the same material as the air mesh with some sponge that has holes in it as padding. I cannot see it but can only feel it with my fingers.
The instructions state that it is 3D Air Mesh. In addition there are two clips, one on each shoulder strap, for the drink tube to be clipped into place.
It just depends on my preference which one I will use.
Image courtesy of Cascade DesignsOne of the features of this pack is that it has a multi-use waist belt. For a heavy load I would use the wide mesh waist belt, but for light loads I can stow away the mesh and just use the webbing that is part of the compression strap set up.
The waist belt stows away behind the back panel.
The final feature of the pack according to the manufacturer is that it has reflective detailing. My test at home did not show up any at all.
A close examination showed no defects in the stitching or any frayed fabric.
The pack was what I expected from the description on the manufacturer's web site. No surprises at all.
It took me a number of examinations to discover all of the features of this pack. I really had to open it up and take things out to see what makes this pack tick, so to speak.
Probably there were two surprises. I assumed that there were only two port holes for the drink tube, but after reading the instructions, there was mention of four. Took me a short time to locate the other two as they were not obvious.
The other was, "How do I fill up the reservoir?" There was nothing obvious to me. I am used to having a big screw cap on the face of the reservoir. Typical male, read the instructions as a last resort if all else fails. It just did not dawn on me that the handle bar was in fact a sliding lock.
Once I twigged to that I was home and hosed. However, I did need some fingernails to separate the cliplock on the reservoir.
reservoir without drink tube
I was really impressed with the Quick-Connect drink tube. What a great feature. Saves me having to withdraw the drink tube from its port hole and reinsert it after filling up with water. Can be a real pain if the port hole is tight.
drink tube connector
The organization of the pockets and attached loops indicates that the manufacturer has given a lot of thought to these features. I am impressed at this stage and the weight is impressive also.
Overall, this pack is a compact, well organized and hopefully, large enough for my day trip needs.
I lead day walks for my club and I tend to take extra for newbies who may have miscalculated water, food, medical supplies and running emergency repairs with duct tape.
I do love an organized pack with lots of pockets as I can be a bit pedantic in which pockets I place items as I do like order when looking for an item.
The wide mouth on the reservoir will make it easier to fill up with wild water from creeks.
Things I like
During this phase I spent four days hiking in the bush. The first one was for one day and the second occasion was for three days.
Daytime temperatures ranged between 8 C to 14 C (46 F to 57 F) and elevation ranged between 300 metres to 500 metres (984 ft - 1640 ft). It is supposed to be our spring , however it has been the wettest and coldest for 80 years according to our Weather Bureau.
The first hike of 15 km's (9.3 mi) was in cold but fine weather. The ground was wet with lots of running streams that we had to cross over. Water was running freely off granite rock faces.
I was the Walk Leader so I was out in front making a path for the others. This hike was approximately 80% off track with lots of prickly Parrot Bush that I had to walk through.
The pack stood up to the needle points on the Parrot Bush leaves. There are needle points at intervals on each leaf. See photo.
At the start of the bush walk, my pack weighed in at 5 kg (11 lb) which included 3 litres of water in the bladder. The rest was my food for the day, first aid kit, rain jacket, toiletries, binoculars, camera and navigation equipment. By lunch time the pack would have weighed (guesstimate) 4 kg (8.8 lb). The reduction was due to food and water being consumed.
I had a very difficult time trying to suck water from the drinking tube hose. It frustrated me no end. I just had to get the right position to bite the mouthpiece so that water would flow in sufficient quantity. If I mucked up where I bit the tube, I was sucking frantically to draw water from the bladder. Hence I only drank around half a litre of water after four hours walking. Fortunately the day was cool, the rain held off and it was overcast. At lunch time I drained about a cup of water from the bladder through the tube by squeezing the mouthpiece with my fingers.
By the end of the walk, I had sort of mastered the art of biting in the right spot but it was very much a learning experience.
I made sure to utilize all of the pockets to see how they handled my gear. The pocket containing the full water bladder took up a good bit of room, so I was limited to placing my rain gear in there.
The next zippered pocket contained my thermos, food, first aid kit, binoculars, camera.
The small zippered pocket contained spare batteries, car keys and money.
Bringing up the rear, the stretchy pocket contained everything else and took it very well. The stretchy mesh is quite forgiving as to what was stuffed into it. Nothing was lost or fell out when I was rock scrambling of just laying the pack down on the ground.
Finally, the hip belt pockets contained nuts/trail mix and a compass.
The second trip was of three days, two nights duration at Nanga Mill. Elevation was between 130 metres and 290 metres ( 426 ft and 951 ft).
The temperature ranged from a low of 12 C to a high of 30 C (54 F to 86 F).
My group of walkers did the Lane Poole Reserve (Murray River) Walk which was 20.8 km (13 mi) long over undulating terrain. It was mostly a well defined track with about 2% off track when we were looking for a river crossing.
I had to pack for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea as the hike was expected to last for around six hours with stops.
My water bladder had a full three litres and the pack I estimate weighed close to six kg (13 lb).
Again, all of the pockets contained items. The only thing hanging off the pack was my GPS attached to the left shoulder strap.
I finally got the hang of using the tube to drink from. My big mistake was trying to drink from it when it was clipped to my shoulder strap. By removing it from the clip, I was able to bring the hose up horizontal to my mouth and biting into the mouthpiece I received a good flow of water. It was just a matter of when I finished I re clipped the tube back into place.
wearing the pack
The only little annoying thing that I experienced was that the mouth piece kept bumping into the inside of my right forearm as it faces that way. I was unable to twist the mouthpiece unit attached to the plastic tubing as it is a very tight fit. Sometimes when I bumped it I would get a little water squirt out of the mouth piece and wet my sleeve. It was just annoying.
On the last day we had a canoe paddle on the Murray River in hired canoes. As I did not need the pack, just water, I removed the water bladder from the pack and took it on the paddle.
I was in a three person canoe and we managed to take a tumble and ended up in the river. As I had only filled the water bladder with 2 litres of water it had a good air pocket in it. This gave the bladder buoyancy and I was able to retrieve it easily. Fortunately the water was only waist deep at this point and not flowing that fast.
As there is no sign of any fraying nor stitching coming undone. Despite the pack being dropped onto the ground at rest stops and going through scratchy vegetation, the pack has stood up to the treatment. There are some muddy marks on the fabric as the ground was damp from recent rains. None of the stretchy fabrics have lost their elasticity nor would I expect that so early in its life.
I like the haulage handle. It is thin enough but sturdy.
The pocket where the water bladder is housed has very little spare space for items when the full 3 litres of water is held. I only put soft squashy items like clothing (jacket, spare socks and micro towel) there. I am hesitant in placing any hard object that may have a sharp edge/point as I do not want a punctured water bladder.
The other major compartment takes all of the hard stuff along with food. My toiletries, insect repellent, rubbish bag and little trowel go in the rear pocket.
There has been no change to my "Likes" and "Dislikes"
Long Term Report
I was only able to get out into the bush twice during this phase due to work commitments and the extreme heat wave when I had planned further walks. The heat wave was in excess of 37 C (100 F) for five days and there was a high fire danger warning.
That said, I walked in the Mt. Cooke region where the elevation ranged from a low of 200 m (656 ft) to the highest point of 583 m (1,913 ft). Temperatures were between 26 C to 33 C (79 F to 91 F).
Mt. Cooke is a large granite monolith that has a length of approximately 2 kms (1.3 mi).
The country was dry as a chip. All of the little creeks were parched and the usual gnamma holes (weathered depressions in the granite that collect water) were devoid of moisture. Hence I had to rely on the water that I was carrying, all 3 litres of it in the bladder.
My pack on both occasions weighed around the 5 kilo (11 lb) mark.
I did not feed the drinking tube of the bladder through either porthole located on the side half way down the side pockets as I was very happy to feed the tube through either porthole at the top of the pack.
I made no mention of the taste of the water in my Field Report when sucking on the drinking tube as I had hoped it would have improved with use and washing out. Sadly, this was not the case.
The initial sucks, about four, had a strong plastic taste and I had to spit the water out. After that, the taste was not so noticeable but it was still detectable which I could put up with.
The other surprise that caught me unawares but I should have been alerted to, was when walking for a period in the sun. The water in the exposed drinking tube became hot. When I took a drink, I got a mouthful of hot plastic tasting water. Needless to say I had to spit that out. It was then a process of sucking the hot water out, spitting it away, until I received cool water.
I found that the 3 litres were adequate for my day walks. I had around half a litre left when I reached the end of the walk.
The pockets of the pack were well utilized and I liked the organization. I was able to find gear quickly. The stretchy back pocket could take a large volume such as my camera and binoculars.
As far as locating gear in the pocket with the bladder, I was careful not to put any sharps in there, just soft clothing, towel and food such as fruit.
When I stopped for lunch on my last walk, I found that the base of the middle pocket was wet. I immediately thought that I had a leak in the bladder. Fortunately, it turned out that my thermos had leaked a little, and I had lost about a quarter of my cold Tonic Water. All of the other pockets were dry.
What also became apparent when I took my pack off after walking in the heat was that my back was saturated from perspiration at the spot where the pack rested against my back. It did dry quickly enough in the heat. However, the cycle continued throughout the walks.
pack at Mt. Cooke campsite
The pack shows no sign of stitching becoming frayed and the pack fabric is still sound despite being scratched by Parrot Bush leaves.
Overall, I am very happy with the actual backpack as it met all of my gear organizational needs. To combat wet backs maybe a thicker perimeter padding would help alleviate the issue.
With regards to the water bladder, the only issues I have is the strong initial plastic taste of the water and hot water after the drinking tube has been exposed to the sun. Maybe some form of insulation over the drinking tube will alleviate that. I do have an insulated drinking tube on another bladder which helps and the weight is negligible.
All of the "Likes" remain unchanged.
This report concludes my testing of this item. I thank Cascade Designs and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test this product.
Read more reviews of Cascade Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by Ralph Ditton
Reviews > Hydration Systems > Packs > Platypus Sprinter XT 25 Daypack > Test Report by Ralph Ditton
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