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Re: Owner Review - CD Platypus product line

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  • Andy Mytys
    It s actually my wife s idea. She s a florist and it s what they use to clean the nooks and crannies of vases... safe on crystal too. One day I came home with
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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      It's actually my wife's idea. She's a florist and it's what they use
      to clean the nooks and crannies of vases... safe on crystal too.

      One day I came home with some brown deposits on the bottom of my
      Platy after taking water from a CG pump. Couldn't get it out for the
      life of me. The wife rolled up her sleeves, pushed me aside, and
      took me to school :)

      Basically, anything "clever" you see me post is probably her doing.

      --- In BackpackGearTest@y..., "dawnhark" <dawnhark@y...> wrote:
      > Nicely done, Andy, and thanks for the Efferdent tip, I love it!
      >
      > Dawn
    • hhloth@msn.com
      Interesting, I took the weight from the Cascade Designs website since I only have a three-quarter standard and three-quarter Guidelite. UltraLite was listed
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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        Interesting, I took the weight from the Cascade Designs website since I only have a three-quarter standard and three-quarter Guidelite. UltraLite was listed as the lightest of their line at 1 lb 13 oz. for the full length.

        Helen

        ----- Original Message -----
        Wrom: UZXUWLSZLK
        Sent: Friday, November 01, 2002 12:51 PM
        To: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Re: Owner Review - CD Platypus product line

        --- In BackpackGearTest@y..., "Helen Hillberg" <hhloth@m...> wrote:
        > Ah, but you can have both, at least for three season use. The Big
        > Agnes air mattress at 1 lb 4 oz. is nine ounces lighter than the
        > full-length UltraLite Therma-a-Rest

        Last I checked, the full length was 1lb, 6.7oz (weighed on a digi
        postal scale at home). The 3/4 is 1lb, 1,2oz.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Andy Mytys
        I know CD made occassional changes to the materials, but there was nothing wrong with the one that I have in terms of durability, comform, or slippage... I
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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          I know CD made occassional changes to the materials, but there was
          nothing wrong with the one that I have in terms of durability,
          comform, or slippage... I can't see an engineer at CD saying, "let's
          make it even heavier" based on the UL that I have.

          It is the standard burgandy/brown color scheme, a few years old.

          My really old TRest UL is blue/brown, and weighs a couple OZ less.

          --- In BackpackGearTest@y..., hhloth@m... wrote:
          > Interesting, I took the weight from the Cascade Designs website
          since I only have a three-quarter standard and three-quarter
          Guidelite. UltraLite was listed as the lightest of their line at 1
          lb 13 oz. for the full length.
          >
          > Helen
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > Wrom: UZXUWLSZLK
          > Sent: Friday, November 01, 2002 12:51 PM
          > To: BackpackGearTest@y...
          > Subject: [BackpackGearTest] Re: Owner Review - CD Platypus product
          line
          >
          > --- In BackpackGearTest@y..., "Helen Hillberg" <hhloth@m...> wrote:
          > > Ah, but you can have both, at least for three season use. The Big
          > > Agnes air mattress at 1 lb 4 oz. is nine ounces lighter than the
          > > full-length UltraLite Therma-a-Rest
          >
          > Last I checked, the full length was 1lb, 6.7oz (weighed on a digi
          > postal scale at home). The 3/4 is 1lb, 1,2oz.
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • (no author)
          oonbow Gearskin Pack, Field Report Message-ID: User-Agent: eGroups-EW/0.82 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain;
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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            Here's my Field Report on the Moonbow Gearskin. Please read and comment.

            Thank you!

            Dawn


            Moonbow Gearskin Pack, Field Report
            10/27/02


            Biographical Information

            Tester: Dawn Harkins, age 47, female, 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm), 187
            pounds (85 kgs), torso 16.5 inches (42 cm), chest at sternum 40.5
            inches (103 cm), hips 42.5 inches (108 cm).

            Email Address: dawnhark "at" yahoo "dot" com
            Location: Lake Tahoe, Northern California, USA

            Backpacking Background: I began backpacking in 1973, went infrequently
            in the eighties and nineties, and now backpack regularly. Almost all
            of my hiking is done in the High Sierra in areas within a day's drive
            of Tahoe, though I also frequent the Great Basin High Desert
            (northwest Nevada) in winter. I've hiked in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado,
            Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia, and Alaska. I have the good
            fortune to live in the middle of the mountains while working
            part-time, so it's easy for me to go camping, day hiking, and
            backpacking often.


            Product Information

            Manufacturer: The Moonbow Company.
            Date of Manufacture: August 2002
            Manufacturer Web Site: http://moonbowgear.com/
            MSRP: $125.00 USD and up (price varies with options and materials chosen)

            Listed Weight: Around one pound (454 grams). Moonbow gear is
            custom-made, so no two packs will weigh the same.
            Weight as Delivered: 20.1 ounces (570 grams)
            Listed Capacity: 2500 to 6500 cubic inches (41 to 106 liters)

            The Moonbow Gearskin pack system is an innovative lightweight design
            that should be seen to be understood and appreciated. Before reading
            on, I strongly advise you to go to http://moonbowgear.com/, click on
            the Camping/Hiking link, click on the Custom Packs link, and finally
            click on the Gearskins link. Here you'll find photos that will do much
            to de-mystify the Gearskin.


            Field Information

            Location: The Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, at
            elevations of 5,000 to 10,000 feet (1,500 to 3,000 meters).

            Description of Location: The terrain in the test area is mountainous,
            with granite peaks and ridges, alpine meadows, streams, canyons, talus
            slopes, lakes, and alpine and sub-alpine forests. This is a semi-arid
            region.

            Weather Conditions: The weather during this testing period was
            generally dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 22 F (-5 C) to
            85 F (29 Celsius).

            Backpacking Style & Experience: I backpack a couple times a month in
            the Sierra Nevada in a wide range of alpine conditions. Most trips are
            two to three days long. As far as pack weight goes, I'm slowly
            upgrading to lightweight and hope to arrive eventually at around 15
            pounds (6.8 kilograms) for everything except fuel, food, and water.
            (If I was really serious about it, I could go to ten pounds/4.5
            kilograms base weight, but I find I'm not happy without a book and my
            big Therm-A-Rest pad.) My current base weight is around 20 pounds (9
            kgs).

            I use tarps or floorless tents for shelter when backpacking, carry an
            umbrella (for sun) and a poncho, and hike with poles. Jesse, my dog,
            always comes along. I hike both on and off trail, and I like to avoid
            my fellow human beings as much as possible. I am an ambler who takes
            frequent breaks, as opposed to those who like to cover a lot of miles
            on their hikes. One of my favorite tenets of lightweight backpacking
            is to try and have every item I carry serve at least two (preferably
            more) functions.


            Field Report

            Having just reviewed my Initial Report, I find I've already commented
            on many aspects of the Gearskin that would normally belong in this,
            the Field Report. I'll proceed by expanding on areas where I gained
            more knowledge through field experience, and by updating where
            appropriate.

            One thing I want to make clear up front is that I had never used a
            frameless pack for backpacking prior to testing the Gearskin, I prefer
            to carry almost all of my load on my hips, and I succeeded in doing
            this with ease. This is great lightweight pack.


            To Pocket, or Not to Pocket:

            From the Initial Report: "Jonathan McCue of Moonbow had asked if I
            wanted a pocket on the back, and I said yes, even though it probably
            wasn't necessary because, in a sense, the whole Gearskin is a pocket
            or pockets—you can stick maps, snacks, water bottles, etc into the
            pack at any point along the sides and top simply by unclipping a
            buckle, stuffing the item in among your gear (or between your gear and
            the Gearskin), and redoing the buckle… Compression prevents things
            from falling out."

            I use the pocket on the back of my Gearskin, which is made of the same
            silicone-impregnated nylon as the rest of the pack, to hold my 2-liter
            (68 ounces) water bag (I'm still not a convert to hose-hydration). The
            pocket wasn't specially designed for this use, so I can't really
            complain that it doesn't fit my water bag. When the Gearskin
            compression straps are cinched tight, the pocket has very little
            volume left. It is gusseted so that the center portion of the pocket
            does retain volume, but both sides, amounting to at least half of the
            total pocket, are flattened firmly against the pack body. I think the
            gussets should be moved out toward the outside edges of the pocket so
            that more of the pocket volume is useable. Meanwhile, I used it for my
            water bag anyway, but I only carried about a liter (34 ounces) of
            water at a time, which did fit into the pocket.

            Other pockets: I wear glasses, so I Velcroed a case to a shoulder
            strap for them (I switch between clear and dark–lensed glasses). This
            worked fine.

            When I first began using the Gearskin, I too had the
            fear-of-being-pocketless-ness experienced by at least one other
            tester, so I added a small pocket to the other shoulder strap, but
            here's where my individual hiking style makes my needs a bit different
            from other hikers'. I ended up removing that second pocket, because I
            take frequent short breaks. How do pockets relate to frequent breaks?
            On many of these breaks I take my pack off, so my pants pockets are
            then easily accessible for small items like lip balm, and the Gearskin
            is easily accessible for larger items. (Moonbow will add as many
            pockets as you wish, however, if you prefer.)

            The only concession I've made recently to pocketphilia is that I've
            attached a long narrow nylon fabric "quiver" to the left side the
            Gearskin, using the compression straps threaded through the carry loop
            on the quiver so that it hangs somewhat loosely. It then functions
            wonderfully as a receptacle for my umbrella and/or one or both of my
            hiking poles. Ideally, these items would be stored under the side
            compression straps, but I found I wanted an option where I would be
            able to switch from poles to umbrella quickly, without having to
            remove the pack and undo the compression straps.

            Regarding making the leap from using a lot of pockets for organizing
            my stuff: I segregate most of my smaller gear into two or three
            stuff-sacks and zip-lock bags, and my water filter goes into its own
            sack. I keep my poncho folded into a zip-lock bag (hehe, haven't had
            to use it for the past six months—now that I've been so bold as to put
            that into words, it should soon commence to snow like hell). Larger
            items, like jackets, bags, pads, and shelter, are laid into the
            Gearskin without additional bagging. I'll address loading the Gearskin
            in greater detail below.

            To conclude the Pocket section, no pack, however festooned with
            weight-adding pockets it may be, offers easier access to each and
            every item one carries than the Gearskin. Admittedly, it takes a bit
            of getting used to, but it's a worthwhile shift to make. It helps to
            devise a system you like for loading your gear, and then use that
            system every time, so that you know where things are and can simply
            undo the compression strap nearest the piece of gear you want to access.

            Upon arriving in camp, I normally pull things out of my pack as I need
            them and leave the rest of my stuff in the pack. One of the funniest
            (remember, I'm easily amused) unforeseen results of using the
            Gearskin was that I soon had all my gear strewn madly about, sitting
            on rocks and hanging from branches and tossed hither and yon,
            willy-nilly. I learned to establish a new camp set-up routine that
            included first pitching any shelter, as usual, and then arranging most
            items neatly inside the shelter. When I go without shelter, I now put
            my things in a semi-neat pile at the head of my sleeping area on top
            of the opened-flat Gearskin.


            Packing the Gearskin:

            From the Initial Report: "Instead of an enclosed bag, [the Gearskin]
            has a flat rectangle of fabric bordered by compression straps (four
            on each side, plus two on top), plus shoulder, load-lifter, and
            sternum straps, and a padded hipbelt. There is no frame, nor are there
            any stays in this pack; weight-transferring stiffness is obtained by
            tightly compressing the load."

            I've used the Gearskin on five weekend trips so far and I am amazed at
            the simplicity and effectiveness of this pack's design. It's a bit
            difficult to get used to at first: No stuff sack for my sleeping
            bag?!? Unheard of! And yet, the unstuffed bag, along with your other
            large or bulky items, functions to keep everything in place within the
            Gearskin, resulting in a solid, unshifting, steady load with no empty
            spaces. This is one of the best things about the Gearskin: the pack is
            always the exact same size and shape as your load! Can't beat that.

            I try to keep most of my loads to 30 pounds or less. Here's what I
            brought on an overnighter in August, when the weather was still warm:

            Total weight was approximately 25 pounds (11.4 kgs) and included my
            Thermarest Base Camp pad, bag, Hex 2 tent, Thermarest chair, a big
            trash bag (used in combination with the chair to create a ground
            sheet), umbrella, nylon pants, fleece jacket, windbreaker, about a
            liter of water, MSR Miniworks filter, two days of food (about five
            pounds including dog food), stove and kitchen items, a few first aid
            and repair items, and a bunch of smaller things like matches, cordage,
            spare socks, etc.

            I put all the food into one large zip-lock bag and organized the other
            small items into small zip-locks inside a silnylon stuff sack. The
            water filter was in its own mesh bag, as were the kitchen items.

            To pack the Gearskin, I first spread it out flat on the ground, all
            buckles unfastened and moved to the far ends of their respective
            straps. Hip-belt and shoulder-straps were on the ground; the inside
            surface of the pack was facing skyward.

            Next, I positioned the tent very loosely over the pack, lengthwise. I
            folded my pad into thirds and placed that on top of the tent,
            positioned over the part of the pack that would later be resting
            against my back. I placed the chair, which includes inflexible support
            rods, on the pad with the rods oriented vertically and placed at the
            sides. Next came my sleeping bag, tossed loosely over the rest, also
            lengthwise.

            The rest of the gear was placed on top of the bag. I put the food bag
            at what would soon become the bottom of the load (just over the
            hip-belt) and lined up the other items horizontally above that, with
            the lightest things placed toward the top.

            Finally, I folded the edges of the tent inwards lengthwise and then
            folded the whole big wad of stuff in half. If I've lost you here, my
            apologies, and please go to the Moonbow website for clarity
            (http://moonbowgear.com/).

            I usually fasten the top two compression straps first, and then the
            sides. At this point it's all a fairly amorphous mass, and now is a
            good time to make sure the load is centered over the back of the
            Gearskin properly. Now all you have to do is tighten all the straps,
            put it on, and walk. My gear tends to extend about four inches (10 cm)
            beyond the pack body on each side.

            Right about now you're remembering a few things you forgot to pack,
            but don't despair. It's easy as pie to unclip the appropriate strap
            and put whatever gear you forgot anywhere in the pack. Which is very,
            very nice.

            I still have concerns about leaving my gear partially exposed. From
            the Initial Report: "By design, the Gearskin exposes my tent, tarp,
            ground sheet, or sleeping bag to damage by tearing or abrasion, unless
            I take the additional step of using either a pack cover or a nylon
            pack liner."

            I've given a lot of thought to this, and I think the answer, for me,
            will depend on what I'm carrying for shelter on a given trip.

            If I'm not carrying a tarp to use for a ground sheet, I'm thinking
            I'll want to use a large, say about 25"x30" (64x76 cm) silnylon bag to
            enclose my fabric gear in order to protect it from snags. This will,
            of course, mean that I'll have to pack a bit differently. I haven't
            tried it yet, but I envision it this way:

            Lay out tent, pad, and bag as usual (for Gearskin packing), but don't
            put it on top of the Gearskin yet. Fold lengthwise, then in half, and
            slip this big wad into the large silnylon bag. Position the filled bag
            on top of the Gearskin and proceed as usual, placing smaller items
            such as clothing, mess kit, food bag, and water filter on top of the
            bag, and then folding the back of the Gearskin up and over everything.
            Snap and tighten compression straps.

            Alternatively, you could put everything inside the large bag, but then
            you would loose one of the very useful features of the Gearskin
            design, which is easy access to every item.

            If I am carrying a groundsheet, it can be positioned under tent, bag,
            and pad and folded inward around same so as to protect that
            more-essential gear from snags. The only drawback to this method as
            opposed to using a large bag is that the ground sheet becomes the
            outermost layer and is susceptible to snags. Where I backpack, summers
            are usually long and dry, so I wouldn't be too worried about the holes
            letting in water. I could also easily patch small holes. For winter or
            rainy-weather camping, I would be unwilling to expose my groundsheet,
            and thus my sleeping bag, etc, in this way.

            I think that if I hiked in very wet conditions, I might go with the
            pack cover instead of these two methods.


            Fit and Comfort:

            Generally speaking, the Gearskin is the most comfortable pack I've
            used. It's not as comfortable as going naked, though, for which I
            bitterly blame the Moonbow Company. Be that is it may, I'm pretty
            satisfied. The concern I had about the shoulder straps laying flat
            still exists to some extent, but not as much as it did initially.

            I plan to play around more with the way I pack the Gearskin, possibly
            removing the rigid supports from my chair and stowing them
            horizontally, and shaping the load a bit so it fits the curve of my
            back. As it stands now, however, I'm pretty pleased with it. The
            weight savings alone account for a great deal of added comfort.

            The buckle on the hip-belt still digs into me towards the end of the
            day, but I fixed that by positioning a square of foam padding behind
            it. I plan to attach the foam permanently.

            I like to vary the tightness of the shoulder straps and load lifters
            as I'm walking along; the variety seems to help prevent soreness from
            developing in any one spot.

            I do wish that, even though this pack is custom-made to my
            measurements, there was some way to adjust where the shoulder straps
            attach to the pack body (ie, adjust the torso measurement). The pack
            was built to my specifications, but I'm no expert, and it can be tough
            to get an accurate torso measurement. Adjustability of torso length
            would give me one more way to play with the fit.

            The best things about this pack are its extremely light weight, its
            variable capacity, its comfort, and the way it provides easy access to
            all one's gear.


            Problems:

            From the Initial Report: "After the Dardanelles trip [this was the
            first trip with the Gearskin] I was disappointed, but not particularly
            surprised, to find that there are two spots (at the back where the
            bottom of the hip-belt is sewn to the pack) where the fabric is
            tearing away from the stitching. When I initially examined the
            Gearskin, I noticed that these areas looked susceptible to too much
            stress for the way they are constructed (ie, with a line of stitching
            that extends about a half inch/1.3 cm downward from where the hipbelt
            is sewn to the body fabric)."

            This problem could be prevented with a slight change in construction:
            Don't extend those two lines of stitching beyond the area where the
            belt is sewn to the body with a long horizontal line of stitching. On
            my pack, the silnylon is ripped out for the short length of this
            extension, but the inner reinforcing fabric has held. I think the pack
            will survive these wounds, but they are unnecessary and preventable,
            and they probably weaken the pack to some degree.

            I would also like to see care, loading, and fitting instructions
            included with the pack.

            Here's a thought I just had which actually applies to all packs with
            hipbelts, not just the Gearskin. As stated earlier, I carry all or
            most of my load on my hips. Because of that, there's a lot of downward
            pressure, and belts inevitably slip down too low and need to be hiked
            back up, and often tightened. To help minimize this, I try to wear
            shorts and pants made of fabric that has some friction, some texture
            to provide resistance against the fabric of the hip-belt. Wearing
            smooth or slippery nylon, for instance, just doesn't work for me. I
            wonder if it would be a good idea to put some dabs of silicone
            caulking on the inside of one's hip-belt to help it grip better? I
            might give it a try, and if I do I'll let you know how it worked in
            the Long-Term Report.

            Thank you to BackpackGearTest and Moonbow for the opportunity to
            participate in this test.
          • John Burnet
            Toby, Chris, Andy, Heather, and Shaun, Okay kids, here s the thing. I ve run out of time tonight and I m leaving before the crank of dawn to head into the
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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              Toby, Chris, Andy, Heather, and Shaun,

              Okay kids, here's the thing. I've run out of time
              tonight and I'm leaving before the 'crank' of dawn to
              head into the woods for three days. Andrew is gone for
              the next few days as well. So, odds are, that it's
              going to be several days before you guys get your
              edits and folders.

              Sorry I couldn't get these done. Packing, as always,
              took more time than expected and I've spent several
              un-planned hours vainly trying to find a local source
              for freeze-dried beef.

              I'll probably catch up around the middle of next week.

              Happy Trails,

              John Burnet
              gatemansnametag(at)yahoo(dot)com
              BGT List Monitor


              All is well
              As I swing up to the border, bent for hell
              And the service station man agreed
              I didn't look too well
              But the mountains and Maryann
              Are calling out to me
              And I got my bed roll on my back
              And everything that I could pack
              To see me on my way

              All is well
              The foothills are coming into sight
              Today is just a memory
              The future is tonight
              And the red pines will bow their heads
              The rivers and the watersheds
              Will carry us along
              And the mountains and Maryann
              Will greet me there as only she can do
              G. Lightfoot

              __________________________________________________
              Do you Yahoo!?
              HotJobs - Search new jobs daily now
              http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/
            • Andy Mytys
              ... Sure... give me more time. I ll just add another 1000 words to my Platypus review :) It s all under Hoser , plus I added a drying step to the end of the
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 1, 2002
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                --- In BackpackGearTest@y..., John Burnet <gatemansnametag@y...>
                wrote:
                > Toby, Chris, Andy, Heather, and Shaun,
                >
                > Okay kids, here's the thing. I've run out of time
                > tonight and I'm leaving before the 'crank' of dawn to
                > head into the woods for three days. Andrew is gone for
                > the next few days as well. So, odds are, that it's
                > going to be several days before you guys get your
                > edits and folders.
                >


                Sure... give me more time. I'll just add another 1000 words to my
                Platypus review :) It's all under "Hoser", plus I added a drying
                step to the end of the cleaning instructions. Here it is...

                ---------------------------------------------

                Cascade Designs Platypus product line review
                Owner Review

                Reviewed By: Andrew Mytys
                Email: amytys (at) backpacker (dot) com
                Date Published: November 1, 2002
                Update History: None


                Product Information: Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
                Item: Platypus Water Bottles and Carriers


                Product Description:

                The Platypus hydration system, by Cascade Designs, is a complete
                product line for storing and transporting water in the backcountry.
                The family of products includes flexible and collapsible water
                bottles, tanks, totes, and carriers. Most of the products can serve
                anywhere from a simple canteen to a complete, lightweight, hands
                free hydration system that can double as a shower. In terms of
                weight, most Platys fall between one and two ounces, including the
                cap. A complete "Hoser" ™ drinking tube attachment will weigh
                another two onces. The largest reservoirs available, the "Water
                Tanks" ™, weigh between two and three ounces, depending on capacity.

                Platypus water carriers are made of a clear, triple-layer, welded
                plastic laminate. This construction insures durability and keeps
                your water from tasting like "plastic", even after being stored for
                extended periods of time and across various temperatures. All
                Platypus bags are lined with high-density food grade polyethylene so
                there are no issues with chemicals, found in all plastics, leaching
                into your water.

                I have personally used all of the products described in this review,
                many since 1999. Throughout this short time span, Cascade Designs
                has made durability related improvements to the material that the
                Platypus reservoirs are made of and changed the bite valve design in
                the hands-free, "Hoser", hydration system.


                Platypus Water Tank:

                The largest family of water carriers available in the Platypus line
                are the "Water Tanks" ™. Available in 2, 4, and 6-liter capacity
                sizes, they are ready to carry lots of water when needed (e.g.
                hiking in hot, dry, conditions). Like all Platypus bags, when empty
                they are extremely lightweight and fold down flat for convenient,
                compact, storage.

                Water Tanks ™ feature the "Big Zip" ™ opening for quick and easy
                filling, comfortable handles, an easy-pour spout, and a secure
                closure cap. When in an upright position, the spout on the Water
                Tanks ™ is located at the top corner of the bag. These bags are
                meant to carry water but, due to the location of the spout, are not
                meant to be compatible with the "Hoser" ™ drinking tubes or shower
                adapters. When filled, the Water Tanks ™ are freestanding.

                On a recent trip to Utah, the hike called for a 16-mile stretch with
                no water and 100-degree temperatures. I carried two of the 4-liter
                tanks of water in my pack, in addition to a 3-liter Platypus "Hoser"
                ™ system.

                It was my first experience with carrying so much water in a Platypus
                product. The fact that these bags had the "Big Zip" ™ opening (think
                industrial sized Zip-Loc) made me nervous. What if the "Zip" should
                come open in the middle of my hike?

                Fortunately for me, the "Zip" came open and leaked a little water
                before I actually got onto the trail. I noticed the leak as I was in
                the process of adjusting my gear to fit in a comfortable manner
                within my pack. When I opened the pack for a final adjustment to my
                camera gear, there was a small puddle on top of my stuff sacks.

                Upon close inspection, I figured out what had happened. I placed my
                camera bag on top of the Platypus bags thinking that, if there was a
                leak, the camera was the last thing I would want to get wet.
                Unfortunately, when I placed the bag on the Platypus tanks,
                the "Zip" openings were facing upwards. The pressure of the camera
                bag's weight, in addition to the stress of the bag being pressed
                down on the Platypus tanks by the backpack top lid, forced the
                closure to slightly open and leak water.

                To get around this problem, I simply folded the "Zip" closure down
                once and fastened it with duct tape. At the time, I was not in a
                position where experimentation was a good idea. With water being
                scarce until around noon the next day, I didn't want to chance about
                additional leakage issues.

                Since that time, I have found myself in similar packing situations
                and have just folded the top closures of my "Big Zip" ™ flat. The
                duct tape idea, while providing additional security, is completely
                unnecessary.


                Platypus "Big Zip" Reservoirs:

                "Big Zip" ™ reservoirs (left bag in photo) are similar to the Water
                Tanks ™, above. They are available in 1, 1.8, 2, 3, and 4 liter
                capacities with the 3 and 4 liter bags having built in grommets for
                attaching carry handles or suspending the bag to use in conjunction
                with the optional camp shower attachment. All sizes come with a
                closure cap. The bags do not stand upright when full since the pour
                spout is located at the bottom corner of the bag. "Big Zips" ™ are
                compatible with the optional "Hoser" ™ drinking tube attachment.

                The "Big Zip" ™ closure works like an industrial sized Zip-Loc, and
                having a wide opening for access is very convenient. Backcountry
                users who use chemicals to treat their water can just let the source
                flow freely into the bag, or dip the bag into the water for quick
                filling. Sports drinks are a snap to make with the "Big Zip" ™ -
                Just pour in the powder, add water, secure tightly, and shake. The
                wide opening is also nice for putting ice cubes into the bag and
                makes access for cleaning purposes easy. The opening is also a nice
                feature for drying purposes as you can place a small towel directly
                in the bag and either navigate it with your hand, or shake the bag
                about until the moisture has been absorbed by the towel inside.


                Platypus Reservoirs:

                Standard Platypus reservoirs (right bag in photo, above) are
                available in 1, 1.8, 2, and 3 liter capacities. All sizes come with
                a closure cap, and can stand upright when full. Standard reservoirs
                are compatible with the optional "Hoser" ™ drinking tube and shower
                kits.

                The main difference between the standard and "Big Zip" ™ reservoirs
                are price, size, and how you fill the bag. The bags cost about $1
                less than a similarly sized "Big Zip" ™, with the difference in the
                3 liter models being about $3. While capacity between two bags may
                be the same, a comparable "Big Zip" ™ is 1-inch taller in order to
                accommodate the zipper. Of course, without the advantage of a large
                opening, the standard reservoirs have to be filled using a small
                hole that's about the size found on 20oz plastic pop bottles. For
                filter users, Cascade Designs sells an optional filter link that
                allows you to screw your filter's output hose securely to the
                reservoir - Now you can concentrate on pumping, rather than keeping
                the hose from popping out of the bag.

                Standard reservoirs are also difficult to dry after cleaning.
                Leaving it open to air-dry on your kitchen counter can take up to a
                week. I find that rolling up a paper towel, inserting it entirely
                into the reservoir, then shaking vigorously is a good way to pick up
                most of the excess moisture quickly. Getting the paper towel back
                out of the bag can be a little tricky, and those with "sausage
                fingers" should be careful not to get the Platypus stuck to the to
                the tip of their finger while trying to fish out the towel.

                This said, if you find yourself uneasy about trusting the "Big Zip"
                ™ from leaking on the trail, the standard reservoir may be the
                product for you.


                Platypus "Hosers":

                The Platypus "Hoser" ™ system allows for hands-free access to your
                water using a simple gravity based design. You fill a "Hoser" ™
                compatible Platypus with water, attach the drinking tube to the
                spout, then place the Platy either inside your pack or in a pocket
                on the outside of your pack. The area where the drinking tube is
                attached to the Platy should be pointed down.

                The drinking tube is 42" (106cm) long so you can really get the
                water deep in your pack where it will be insulated and kept cool by
                the surrounding gear. One of the best locations for your reservoir
                is vertical, against your back. By placing heavy items, such as
                water and food, between your shoulders and as close to your back as
                possible, you'll have a well balanced pack that's easy to control.
                And, as long as you put the reservoir in at a vertical position,
                you'll have a good flow of water until the last drop is gone.

                The system also comes with a lapel clip, allowing you to
                conveniently attach the hose to your pack strap, shirt collar, or
                wherever you prefer (see photo, right). There's no more rummaging
                into your pack for water or dislocating your shoulder reaching for a
                water bottle. Just grab the bite valve, pull it up to your lips,
                bite down a little, and sip.

                Easy access to water is the real selling point of the "Hoser" ™
                system. Hikers that wait until they are at a "convenient" point to
                access their water often find themselves drinking only when they are
                thirsty. It's well known that if you feel thirsty, your body is
                already short a good liter of water. Such a shortage can decrease
                your level of endurance, and make getting to your destination more
                of a challenge then you initially planned. With dehydration also
                come headaches, moodiness, and just a miserable hiking experience.
                To stay adequately hydrated, however, you don't have to drink a lot
                at one time - The key is to drink at regular and frequent intervals,
                giving your body time to properly absorb the water. With the
                Platypus "Hoser" ™ system, there's no excuse not to be well
                hydrated.

                Many hikers, when using the "Hoser" ™ for the first sip, cough up
                the water just as fast as they took it down. This is due to air that
                was trapped in the hose. Gulping down water followed by a little air
                and more water causes a natural reflex cough - It's nothing to be
                concerned with. Rather than drinking from a freshly filled Platypus,
                I recommend that you hold the drinking tube down and pinch the bite
                valve for 2-3 seconds, letting any air trapped in the drinking tube
                escape while filling the tube with water.

                "Hosers" ™ are available in either kit form, to convert non-"Hoser"
                ™ setups, or with the purchase of a standard or "Big Zip" reservoir.
                If bought together with the bag, the standard closure cap will not
                be included in the purchase. As mentioned above, the "Hoser" comes
                with a length of hose that has a specially designed closure cap on
                one side, and and a lapel clip and "SyperFlow" ™ bite valve on the
                other. The current bite valve design has been around since late 2000
                (pictured below, left). For sake of comparison, the older bite valve
                system is also pictured (below, right).

                As you can see, the newer bite valve design has fewer parts. Today,
                the flexible rubber bite valve simply slides onto the end of the
                tube. The older bite valve system is a bit more complex, proves
                difficult to clean, and has a tendency to leak a drop or two when
                pointed toward the ground - On more than one occasion, I have found
                myself announcing to the group that I have felt rain and, on clear
                days, looking up to see if I am the unfortunate target of a passing
                bird. In addition, the old, two piece, bite valve has a tendency to
                trap impurities in its components. Although the water in the
                reservoir is always clear, taking the bite valve apart after an
                extended time on the trail always reveals a dark color to the inner
                core. Was it some sort of a mold?

                I do find that I prefer the feel and flow rate of the old bite valve
                when compared to the new design. The older model is more
                comfortable, and I can't stop the flow of water by biting too hard
                on the rubber tip like on the current design. In contrast, the newer
                bite valve is much larger and, after being accustomed to the older
                design, feels like a clumsy mouth guard between my lips. Biting down
                hard will crimp the opening shut and prevent a good flow of water
                from being dispensed. Coming from the old system this is certainly a
                noticeable change, and especially true when going up or down steep
                inclines. In such times, it's easy to bite down lightly or come down
                hard, but somewhere in between, at least for me, can be a bit beyond
                awkward. The newer bite valve also has a "textured" feel to it, and
                the old design is smooth.

                A final difference between old and new designs is in the closure cap
                (pictured above, center). The old cap is smaller and more ridged,
                and has a tendancy to skip threads when being secured to the bottle.
                This is not easily detected and, on more than one occassion, I have
                had the cap slip off the reservoir when I was pulling it out of my
                pack. Thankfully, every time this has happened the water has already
                been consumed over the course of my hike - I have never had my gear
                soaked. It remanis a constant concern nonetheless.

                With the new cap design (right, in the picture), such mishaps are a
                thing of the past.


                Platypus "Little Nipper" Reservoir:

                The "Little Nipper" ™ is a small, 375ml, Platypus reservoir with the
                closure cap located at the top. It conveniently fits in the chest
                pocket of a winter parka. This is a very handy size to have when you
                need a little hydration to get you by, but don't want to encumber
                yourself with an external pack or heavy load. As the name suggests,
                it's also good for carrying a "little nip" of something that's a bit
                stronger than water or sports drink.


                Winter Use:

                Cascade designs claims their reservoirs can be either frozen or
                boiled without damage to the plastic. They can definitely be frozen,
                and finding yourself with a block of ice in your pack during the
                winter is no fun (although it can be amusing for fellow hikers). The
                plastic on the bottles is thin and offers no insulation from the
                elements. As soon as the mercury hits the freezing point, your water
                is in jeopardy. "Hoser" ™ users are in an even worse predicament, as
                their drinking tubes and bite valves are totally exposed on the
                outside of their packs.

                Cascade Designs does make an optional bite valve cover, drinking
                tube insulator, and hydration insulators for 1.8, 2, and 3 liter
                reservoirs. When combined together, these help to prevent your
                system from freezing in cold temperatures.

                While these insulating systems may be good for sub-freezing
                temperatures, I would keep a watchful eye on the effect of sub-20°F
                temperatures on your Platypus. In extreme conditions, I would forego
                the Platypus system altogether and instead go with a standard
                Nalgene bottle. I would then cut sections of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
                closed celled foam sleeping pad and, using duct tape, secure them
                around your water bottle.

                I would, however, still have my "Little Nipper" ™ packed in the
                chest pocket of my parka, for "medicinal purposes" only.



                Platypus Accessories:

                The "Hoser" ™ kit - bite valve, drinking tube, specialized closure
                cap, and lapel clip - are available as a "Hoser" ™ conversion kit
                for those with existing compatible Platypus reservoirs that were
                bought without the "Hoser" ™ option.

                Platy Patches - for those worried about a puncture on the trail, a
                small, lightweight, patch kit of six individual self-adhesive
                patches is available. As they are virtually weightless, tossing one
                into your 1st-aid kit can't hurt. This said, I have hiked over a
                thousand miles with my Platypus bags and have yet to suffer a leak.

                Shower Kit - This is very similar to the "Hoser" ™ concept except
                that the flow out the hose is constant. Using the plastic crimper
                that's attached to the hose, you can turn the shower on or off. The
                end of the hose has an attachment that breaks the water coming out
                into a wide spray.

                Filter Link - As mentioned in the text above, Cascade Designs makes
                a special cap that allows for attaching a water filter outlet hose
                directly to your reservoir. This allows you to pump without having
                to struggle with keeping the output hose of your filter inside the
                Platypus reservoir.

                Push-Pull Cap - This is a simple push-off, pull-on, cap, similar to
                those found on dish washing liquid dispensers. Pull, squeeze, and
                drink. I only wish that the "Little Nipper" ™ came standard with
                this cap as it's much better suited for "nipping", especially when
                wearing a thick pair of gloves.


                Cleaning your Platypus Reservoir: The one piece of information
                that's not included, either in the packaging of Platypus reservoirs
                or on the manufacturer's web page, is tips on how to clean your
                Platypus bag.

                Whether it's "colored" water from an old pump, creek water laced
                with tannins, or you've simply waited too long before cleaning your
                Platy after a trip, there are times when your system will just look
                and smell terrible. The instructions below outline my personal
                system used to keep my reservoir clean and fresh.

                To clean your Platypus reservoirs, I recommend the following:

                1) Get a clean plastic container that can hold at a few liters of
                water. An empty gallon of milk is what I like to use.

                2) For each liter of water your Platypus holds, pour in 1 teaspoon
                of household bleach into the container.

                3) Fill the container halfway with water, close, and shake
                vigorously.

                4) Pour the mix into your Platypus, adding water as needed until
                your Platy is full.

                5) Close the reservoir and let it sit for 30-minutes.

                6) If you have a "Hoser" ™ system, drain the Platy through the
                drinking tube and bite valve. Otherwise, just pour the water out.

                7) Flush the Platy and "Hoser" ™, if applicable, with clean water a
                few times.

                8) Next, fill the Platypus half way with plain, clean, very warm
                water (not hot). For every 1-liter of reservoir capacity, place one
                Efferdent pill into the bag (non-"Big Zip" ™ users will have to
                break the pills up). Efferdent is an anti-bacterial denture cleanser
                that has a "minty" taste to it. It's inexpensive, at a cost of about
                $6 per 120 tablets. If you can't get Efferdent, any tablet-based
                denture cleaning system will work. The tablets will start to fizz
                and dissolve, turning the water to a bluish color. The solution will
                move its way into the corners of the reservoir, loosening dirt and
                debris that may be trapped there. Once the tablets are fully
                dissolved, close the reservoir and shake vigorously for about a
                minute. Fill the remainder of the bag with warm water and let it sit
                for an hour. If your bag is really dirty, you can even let it sit
                overnight.

                9) Pour out half the contents, close, and once again give the bag a
                good shaking.

                10) Empty the remaining portion of the Efferdent solution from the
                Platypus. If you have a "Hoser" ™ system, drain this water through
                the drinking tube and bite valve.

                11) Rinse out the Platypus a few times, including the drinking tube
                if applicable, with clean water.

                12) Depending on your model, drying the Platypus reservoir can be a
                bit tricky. Simply leaving it on the kitchen counter can take a week
                or more for all the water to evaporate. If you have a "Big Zip" ™,
                drying is easy. Simply place a small paper towel through the "Zip"
                opening, into the bag, and either navigate it with your hand, or
                shake the bag about until the moisture has been absorbed by the
                towel inside. If you own a non-"Big Zip" ™ model, roll up a paper
                towel and insert it entirely into the reservoir, then shake
                vigorously until all the water droplets have been forced into the
                towel. Getting the paper towel back out of the bag can be a little
                tricky, and those with "sausage fingers" should be careful not to
                get the Platypus stuck to the to the tip of their finger.


                Note that, after performing this procedure, the first reservoir of
                water might taste a little "minty". Not to worry - grandma never
                died from it, and neither will you.


                Personal Biographical Information: Reviewer: Andrew Mytys
                Email: amytys (at) backpacker (dot) com
                Homepage: Andy's Lightweight Backpacking Site
                Location: Michigan


                Backpacking Background:

                I live in Michigan and have been hiking seriously for 15 years,
                although I've camped since I was 6 years old. My hiking experience
                is limited to the continental United States and Europe. I spend
                about 2-months per year on the trail. 2-4 day outings are reserved
                for my home state of Michigan, where I'm a year-round hiker
                (including winter/snow camping). I also enjoy hiking in nearby
                states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as treks into
                Ontario, Canada (Bruce Peninsula, Algonquin Provincial Park). I
                reserve my 4-7 day trips for November through March when the weather
                is perfect for tackling environments such as the Grand Canyon.
                Longer trips are usually in the summer where I'll most likely be
                somewhere along the Pacific Crest or on the Continental Divide. As
                longer periods of time become available, I take in extended hikes in
                more remote areas of the world where just getting from home to the
                trailhead can take 2-3 days.

                I consider myself a lightweight hiker. I carry the lightest gear I
                can get my hands on which will provide a comfortable wilderness
                experience and adequately support the goals of my trip. Unless my
                goals are time/distance oriented, my pace is always slow. I rarely
                exceed 1.5 miles/hour. I rest frequently, hike long days, and enjoy
                whatever nature throws my way.
              • Andy Mytys
                OK. I found the warranty and cleaning instructions for Platys from CD. Boy, do they hide that stuff well in the packaging. Anyway, I included it in the
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 2, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  OK. I found the warranty and cleaning instructions for Platys from
                  CD. Boy, do they hide that stuff well in the packaging.

                  Anyway, I included it in the review, did some additional
                  proofreading of my own, reworded some stuff, added some stuff, and
                  now I've got a honkin' 27k review on a plastic bag :)

                  Enjoy!


                  p.s. I'm also available to extend the length of term papers by 500%
                  if desired (haha)

                  -------------------------------------------------

                  Cascade Designs Platypus product line review
                  Owner Review

                  Reviewed By: Andrew Mytys
                  Email: amytys (at) backpacker (dot) com
                  Date Published: November 1, 2002
                  Update History: None

                  Product Information: Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
                  Item: Platypus Water Bottles and Carriers


                  Product Description:

                  The Platypus hydration system, by Cascade Designs, is a complete
                  product line for storing and transporting water in the backcountry.
                  The family of products includes flexible and collapsible water
                  bottles, tanks, totes, and carriers. Most of the products can serve
                  anywhere from a simple canteen to a complete, lightweight, hands
                  free hydration system that can double as a shower. In terms of
                  weight, most Platys, as they're commonly referred to, fall between
                  one and two ounces, including the cap. A complete "Hoser" ™ drinking
                  tube attachment will weigh another two onces. The largest reservoirs
                  available, the "Water Tanks" ™, weigh between two and three ounces,
                  depending on capacity.

                  Platypus water carriers are made of a clear, triple-layer, welded
                  plastic laminate. This construction insures durability and keeps
                  your water from tasting like "plastic", even after being stored for
                  extended periods of time and across various temperatures. All
                  Platypus bags are lined with high-density food grade polyethylene so
                  there are no issues with chemicals, found in all plastics, leaching
                  into your water. Platypus bags may be frozen, or boiled buy
                  inserting a filled reservoir into an uncovered pot and keeping it
                  covered with water that's cooking.

                  All Playpus reservoirs come with a lifetime warranty. It doesn't
                  cover abuse but, if your Platy should fail during normal use,
                  Cascade Designs will replace it free of charge.

                  I have personally used all of the products described in this review,
                  many since 1999. Throughout this short time span, Cascade Designs
                  has made durability related improvements to the material that the
                  Platypus reservoirs are made of and changed the bite valve design in
                  the hands-free, "Hoser", hydration system.


                  Platypus Water Tank:

                  The largest family of water carriers available in the Platypus line
                  are the "Water Tanks" ™. Available in 2, 4, and 6-liter capacity
                  sizes, they are ready to carry lots of water when needed (e.g.
                  hiking in hot, dry, conditions). Like all Platypus bags, when empty
                  they are extremely lightweight and fold down flat for convenient,
                  compact, storage.

                  Water Tanks ™ feature the "Big Zip" ™ opening for quick and easy
                  filling, comfortable handles, an easy-pour spout, and a secure
                  closure cap. When in an upright position, the spout on the Water
                  Tanks ™ is located at the top corner of the bag. These bags are
                  meant to carry water but, due to the location of the spout, are not
                  meant to be compatible with the "Hoser" ™ drinking tubes or shower
                  adapters. When filled, the Water Tanks ™ are freestanding.

                  On a recent hike in Utah, the route called for a 16-mile stretch
                  with no water and 100-degree temperatures. I carried two of the 4-
                  liter tanks of water in my pack, in addition to a 3-liter
                  Platypus "Hoser" ™ system.

                  It was my first experience with carrying so much water in a Platypus
                  product. The fact that these bags had the "Big Zip" ™ opening (think
                  industrial sized Zip-Loc) made me nervous. What if the "Zip" should
                  come open in the middle of my hike?

                  Fortunately for me, the "Zip" came open and leaked a little water
                  before I actually got onto the trail. I noticed the leak as I was in
                  the process of making final adjustments to the gear in my pack. When
                  I opened the pack to put some additional film in my camera bag,
                  there was a small puddle on top of my stuff sacks.

                  Upon close inspection, I figured out what had happened. I placed my
                  camera bag on top of the Platypus bags thinking that, if there was a
                  leak, the camera was the last thing I would want to get wet.
                  Unfortunately, when I placed the bag on the Platypus tanks,
                  the "Zip" openings were facing upwards. The pressure of the camera
                  bag's weight, in addition to the stress of the bag being pressed
                  down on the Platypus tanks by the backpack's top lid, forced
                  the "Big Zip" ™ closure to twist, open slightly, and leak water.

                  To get around this problem, I simply folded the "Zip" closure down
                  once and fastened it with duct tape. At the time, I was not in a
                  position where experimentation was a good idea. With water being
                  scarce until around noon the next day, I didn't want to chance about
                  additional leakage issues.

                  Since that time, I have found myself in similar packing situations
                  and have just folded the top closures of my "Big Zip" ™ flat. The
                  duct tape idea, while providing additional security, is completely
                  unnecessary.


                  Platypus "Big Zip" Reservoirs:

                  "Big Zip" ™ reservoirs (left bag in photo) are similar to the Water
                  Tanks ™, above. They are available in 1, 1.8, 2, 3, and 4 liter
                  capacities with the 3 and 4 liter bags having built in grommets for
                  attaching carry handles or suspending the bag to use in conjunction
                  with the optional camp shower attachment. All sizes come with a
                  closure cap. The bags do not stand upright when full since the pour
                  spout is located at the bottom corner of the bag. "Big Zips" ™ are
                  compatible with the optional "Hoser" ™ drinking tube attachment.

                  The "Big Zip" ™ closure works like an industrial sized Zip-Loc, and
                  having a wide opening for access is very convenient. Backcountry
                  users who use chemicals to treat their water can just let the source
                  flow freely into the bag, or dip the bag into the water for quick
                  filling. Sports drinks are a snap to make with the "Big Zip" ™ -
                  Just pour in the powder, add water, secure tightly, and shake. The
                  wide opening is also nice for putting ice cubes into the bag and
                  makes access for cleaning purposes easy. The opening is also a nice
                  feature for drying purposes as you can place a small towel directly
                  in the bag and either navigate it with your hand, or shake the bag
                  about until the moisture has been absorbed by the towel inside.


                  Platypus Reservoirs:

                  Standard Platypus reservoirs (right bag in photo, above) are
                  available in 1, 1.8, 2, and 3 liter capacities. All sizes come with
                  a closure cap, and can stand upright when full. Standard reservoirs
                  are compatible with the optional "Hoser" ™ drinking tube and shower
                  kits.

                  The main difference between the standard and "Big Zip" ™ reservoirs
                  are price, size, and how you fill the bag. The standard reservoir
                  costs about $1 less than a similarly sized "Big Zip" ™, with the
                  difference in the 3 liter models being about $3. While capacity
                  between the two Platys designs may be the same, a comparable "Big
                  Zip" ™ is 1-inch taller in order to accommodate the zipper. Of
                  course, without the advantage of a large opening, the standard
                  reservoirs have to be filled using a small hole that's about the
                  size found on 20oz plastic pop bottles. For filter users, Cascade
                  Designs sells an optional filter link that allows you to screw your
                  filter's output hose securely to the reservoir - Now you can
                  concentrate on pumping, rather than keeping the hose from popping
                  out of the bag.

                  Standard reservoirs are also difficult to dry after cleaning.
                  Leaving it open to air-dry on your kitchen counter can take up to a
                  week. I find that rolling up a paper towel, inserting it entirely
                  into the reservoir, then shaking vigorously is a good way to pick up
                  most of the excess moisture quickly. Getting the paper towel back
                  out of the bag can be a little tricky, and those with "sausage
                  fingers" should be careful not to get the Platypus stuck to the to
                  the tip of their finger while trying to fish out the towel.

                  This said, if you find yourself uneasy about trusting the "Big Zip"
                  ™ from leaking on the trail, the standard reservoir may be the
                  product for you.


                  Platypus "Hosers":

                  The Platypus "Hoser" ™ system allows for hands-free access to your
                  water using a simple gravity based design. You fill a "Hoser" ™
                  compatible Platypus with water, attach the drinking tube to the
                  spout, then place the Platy either inside, or in a pocket on the
                  outside, of your pack. The area where the drinking tube is attached
                  to the Platy should be pointing down.

                  The drinking tube is 42" (106cm) long so you can really get the
                  water deep in your pack where it will be insulated and kept cool by
                  the surrounding gear. One of the best locations for your reservoir
                  is vertical, against your back. By placing heavy items, such as
                  water and food, between your shoulders and as close to your back as
                  possible, you'll have a well balanced pack that's easy to control.
                  And, as long as you put the reservoir in at a vertical position,
                  you'll have a good flow of water until the last drop is gone.

                  The system comes with a lapel clip, allowing you to conveniently
                  attach the hose to your pack strap, shirt collar, or wherever you
                  prefer (see photo, right). There's no more rummaging into your pack
                  for water or coming close to dislocating your shoulder while
                  reaching for a water bottle. Just grab the bite valve, pull it up to
                  your lips, bite down a little, and sip.

                  Easy access to water is the real selling point of the "Hoser" ™
                  system. Hikers that wait until they are at a "convenient" point to
                  access their water often find themselves drinking only when they are
                  thirsty. It's well known that if you feel thirsty, your body is
                  already short a good liter of water. Such a shortage can decrease
                  your level of endurance, and make getting to your destination more
                  of a challenge than you initially planned. With dehydration also
                  come headaches, moodiness, and a miserable hike in general. To stay
                  adequately hydrated, however, you don't have to drink a lot at one
                  time - The key is to drink at regular and frequent intervals, giving
                  your body time to properly absorb the water. With the
                  Platypus "Hoser" ™ system, there's no excuse for not being well
                  hydrated.

                  Many hikers, when taking the first sip out of their "Hoser" ™, cough
                  up the water just as fast as it went down. This is due to the air
                  that was trapped in the hose - Gulping down water, followed by a
                  little air, and more water causes a natural reflex cough. It's
                  nothing to be concerned with. Rather than drinking from a freshly
                  filled Platypus, I recommend that you hold the drinking tube down
                  and pinch the bite valve for 2-3 seconds, letting any air trapped in
                  the drinking tube escape while filling the tube with water.

                  "Hosers" ™ are available in either kit form, to convert non-"Hoser"
                  ™ setups, or with the purchase of a standard or "Big Zip" reservoir.
                  If bought together with the bag, the standard closure cap will not
                  be included in the purchase. Instead, the "Hoser" will come with a
                  length of hose that has a specially designed closure cap on one
                  side, and and a lapel clip and "SyperFlow" ™ bite valve on the
                  other. The current bite valve design has been around since late 2000
                  (pictured below, left). For sake of comparison, the older bite valve
                  system is also pictured (below, right).

                  As you can see, the newer bite valve design has fewer parts. Today,
                  the flexible rubber bite valve simply slides onto the end of the
                  tube. The older bite valve system is a bit more complex, proves
                  difficult to clean, and has a tendency to leak a drop or two when
                  pointed toward the ground - On more than one occasion, I have found
                  myself announcing to the group that I have felt rain and, on clear
                  days, looking up to see if I am the unfortunate target of a passing
                  bird. In addition, the old, two piece, bite valve has a tendency to
                  trap impurities in its components. Although the water in the
                  reservoir is always clear, taking the bite valve apart after an
                  extended time on the trail always reveals a dark color to the inner
                  core. Was it some sort of a mold?

                  I do find that I prefer the feel and flow rate of the old bite valve
                  when compared to the new design. The older model is more
                  comfortable, and I can't stop the flow of water by biting too hard
                  on the rubber tip like on the current design. In contrast, the newer
                  bite valve is much larger and, after being accustomed to the older
                  design, feels like a clumsy mouth guard between my lips. Biting down
                  hard will crimp the opening shut and prevent a good flow of water
                  from being dispensed. Coming from the old system this is certainly a
                  noticeable change, and especially true when going up or down steep
                  inclines. In such times, it's easy to bite down lightly or come down
                  hard, but somewhere in between, at least for me, can be a bit beyond
                  awkward. The newer bite valve also has a "textured" feel to it, and
                  the old design is smooth.

                  A final difference between old and new designs is in the closure cap
                  (pictured above, center). The old cap is smaller and more ridged,
                  and has a tendancy to skip threads when being secured to the bottle.
                  This is not easily detected and, on more than one occassion, I have
                  had the cap slip off the reservoir when I was pulling it out of my
                  pack. Thankfully, every time this has happened the water has already
                  been consumed over the course of my hike - I have never had my gear
                  soaked. It remanis a constant concern nonetheless.

                  With the new cap design (right, in the picture), such mishaps are a
                  thing of the past.


                  Platypus "Little Nipper" Reservoir:

                  The "Little Nipper" ™ is a small, 375ml, Platypus reservoir with the
                  closure cap located at the top. It conveniently fits in the chest
                  pocket of a winter parka. This is a very handy size to have when you
                  need a little hydration to get you by, but don't want to encumber
                  yourself with an external pack or heavy load. As the name suggests,
                  it's also good for carrying a "little nip" of something that's a bit
                  stronger than water or sports drink.



                  Winter Use:

                  Cascade designs claims their reservoirs can be either frozen or
                  boiled without damage to the plastic. They can definitely be frozen,
                  and finding yourself with a block of ice in your pack during the
                  winter is no fun (although it can be amusing for fellow hikers). The
                  plastic on the bottles is thin and offers no insulation from the
                  elements. As soon as the mercury hits the freezing point, your water
                  is in jeopardy. "Hoser" ™ users are in an even worse predicament, as
                  their drinking tubes and bite valves are totally exposed on the
                  outside of their packs.

                  Cascade Designs does make an optional bite valve cover, drinking
                  tube insulator, and hydration insulators for 1.8, 2, and 3 liter
                  reservoirs. When combined together, these help to prevent your
                  system from freezing in cold temperatures.

                  While these insulating systems may be good for sub-freezing
                  temperatures, I would keep a watchful eye on the effect of sub-20°F
                  temperatures on your Platypus. In extreme conditions, I would forego
                  the Platypus system altogether and instead go with a standard
                  Nalgene bottle. I would then cut sections of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
                  closed celled foam sleeping pad and, using duct tape, secure them
                  around your water bottle.

                  I would, however, still have my "Little Nipper" ™ packed in the
                  chest pocket of my parka, for "medicinal purposes" only. Also, I
                  might be inclined to take along a 1-liter standard reservoir (non-
                  "Big Zip" ™) with me. Remember, Platys can be boiled. With this in
                  mind, you could pour hot water into the bag and bring it into the
                  sleeping bag with you for added warmth. Should you suddenly find
                  that your winter sleeping bag isn't keeping your warm enough, a
                  Platy could be the difference between a comfortable night's sleep
                  and an agonizing battle hypothermia. Just be careful not to make the
                  water too hot, as you want to avoid burning yourself. As for
                  placement, I find the most effective area to place the hot Platy is
                  right next to the femoral artery (i.e. "Crotch it"). It sounds
                  silly, but winter is hardly the season to be concerned with looks or
                  style. Staying warm will, at the very least, ensure a pleasant
                  backcountry experience in the premier season for hiking (just ask
                  someone's who's experienced it). It can also be a lifesaver.



                  Platypus Accessories:

                  The "Hoser" ™ kit - bite valve, drinking tube, specialized closure
                  cap, and lapel clip - are available as a "Hoser" ™ conversion kit
                  for those with existing compatible Platypus reservoirs that were
                  bought without the "Hoser" ™ option.
                  Platy Patches - for those worried about a puncture on the trail, a
                  small, lightweight, patch kit of six individual self-adhesive
                  patches is available. As they are virtually weightless, tossing one
                  into your 1st-aid kit can't hurt. This said, I have hiked over a
                  thousand miles with my Platypus bags and have yet to suffer a leak.
                  Shower Kit - This is very similar to the "Hoser" ™ concept except
                  that the flow out the hose is constant. Using the plastic crimper
                  that's attached to the hose, you can turn the shower on or off. The
                  end of the hose has an attachment that breaks the water coming out
                  into a wide spray.
                  Filter Link - As mentioned in the text above, Cascade Designs makes
                  a special cap that allows for attaching a water filter outlet hose
                  directly to your reservoir. This allows you to pump without having
                  to struggle with keeping the output hose of your filter inside the
                  Platypus reservoir.
                  Push-Pull Cap - This is a simple push-off, pull-on, cap, similar to
                  those found on dish washing liquid dispensers. Pull, squeeze, and
                  drink. I only wish that the "Little Nipper" ™ came standard with
                  this cap as it's much better suited for "nipping", especially when
                  wearing a thick pair of gloves.



                  Cleaning your Platypus Reservoir:

                  Whether it's "colored" water from an old pump, creek water laced
                  with tannins, or you've simply waited too long before cleaning your
                  Platy after a trip, there are times when your system will just look
                  and smell terrible.

                  Hidden on the inside flap of the packaging are Cascade Designs
                  instructions for cleaning your Platy. Cascade Designs recommends
                  using hot, soapy, water and rinsing with hot water. For a more
                  thorough cleaning, they outline the following procedure:

                  1) Pour 1/4 cup baking soda and 3/4 cup water into reservoir and
                  shake.

                  2) Add 1/3 cup lemon juice to the mix, shake, and vent by loosening
                  cap away from the face.

                  3) Repeat shaking, loosen cap, and let stand.

                  4) Rinse with hot water.

                  5) Repeat as necessary.

                  6) To dry, blow inside to inflate and set upright.


                  I have found what, in my personal opinion, is a better system as it
                  disinfects rather than just removing the "skunk" from a well-
                  traveled reservoir. The instructions below outline my personal
                  system used to keep my reservoir clean and fresh.

                  To clean your Platypus reservoir, I recommend the following:

                  1) Get a clean plastic container that can hold at a few liters of
                  water. An empty gallon of milk is what I like to use.

                  2) For each liter of water your Platypus holds, pour in 1 teaspoon
                  of household bleach into the container.

                  3) Fill the container halfway with water, close, and shake
                  vigorously.

                  4) Pour the mix into your Platypus, adding water as needed until
                  your Platy is full.

                  5)Close the reservoir and let it sit for 30-minutes.

                  6) If you have a "Hoser" ™ system, drain the Platy through the
                  drinking tube and bite valve. Otherwise, just pour the water out.

                  7) Flush the Platy and "Hoser" ™, if applicable, with clean water a
                  few times.

                  8) Next, fill the Platypus half way with plain, clean, very warm
                  water (not hot). For every 1-liter of reservoir capacity, place one
                  Efferdent pill into the bag (non-"Big Zip" ™ users will have to
                  break the pills up). Efferdent is an anti-bacterial denture cleanser
                  that has a "minty" taste to it. It's inexpensive, at a cost of about
                  $6 per 120 tablets. If you can't get Efferdent, any tablet-based
                  denture cleaning system will work. The tablets will start to fizz
                  and dissolve, turning the water to a bluish color. The solution will
                  move its way into the corners of the reservoir, loosening dirt and
                  debris that may be trapped there. Once the tablets are fully
                  dissolved, close the reservoir and shake vigorously for about a
                  minute. Fill the remainder of the bag with warm water and let it sit
                  for an hour. If your bag is really dirty, you can even let it sit
                  overnight.

                  9) Pour out half the contents, close, and once again give the bag a
                  good shaking.

                  10) Empty the remaining portion of the Efferdent solution from the
                  Platypus. If you have a "Hoser" ™ system, drain this water through
                  the drinking tube and bite valve.

                  11) Rinse out the Platypus a few times, including the drinking tube
                  if applicable, with clean water.

                  12) "Hoser" ™ owners should pull the bite valve off the end of the
                  hose and visually inspect the inside. If it appears black or
                  otherwise unclean, you can soak the bite valve itself in a weak
                  bleach solution for 30-minutes (i.e. one drop of bleach in a glass,
                  that is then filled with water). You can also use a Q-Tip to try to
                  loosen up and remove any sort of grime. As the rubber on the bite
                  valve is porous, you may not be able to rid yourself of the
                  discoloration entirely. After a bleach treatment, however, this
                  discoloration is nothing but cosmetic. Disciplined, post hike,
                  cleaning of your system will avoid this from occurring to begin
                  with.

                  13) Depending on your model, drying the Platypus reservoir can be a
                  bit tricky. Simply leaving it on the kitchen counter can take a week
                  or more for all the water to evaporate. If you have a "Big Zip" ™,
                  drying is easy. Simply place a small paper towel through the "Zip"
                  opening, into the bag, and either navigate it with your hand, or
                  shake the bag about until the moisture has been absorbed by the
                  towel inside. If you own a non-"Big Zip" ™ model, roll up a paper
                  towel and insert it entirely into the reservoir, then shake
                  vigorously until all the water droplets have been forced into the
                  towel. Getting the paper towel back out of the bag can be a little
                  tricky, and those with "sausage fingers" should be careful not to
                  get the Platypus stuck to the to the tip of their finger.

                  Note that, after performing this procedure, the first reservoir of
                  water might taste a little "minty". Platys can, after all, absorb
                  flavors. Not to worry - grandma never died from it, and neither will
                  you. It will go away soon and is surely preferred to drinking from a
                  skunky, trail worn, reservoir.


                  Personal Biographical Information: Reviewer: Andrew Mytys
                  Email: amytys (at) backpacker (dot) com
                  Homepage: Andy's Lightweight Backpacking Site
                  Location: Michigan



                  Backpacking Background:


                  I live in Michigan and have been hiking seriously for 15 years,
                  although I've camped since I was 6 years old. My hiking experience
                  is limited to the continental United States and Europe. I spend
                  about 2-months per year on the trail. 2-4 day outings are reserved
                  for my home state of Michigan, where I'm a year-round hiker
                  (including winter/snow camping). I also enjoy hiking in nearby
                  states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as treks into
                  Ontario, Canada (Bruce Peninsula, Algonquin Provincial Park). I
                  reserve my 4-7 day trips for November through March when the weather
                  is perfect for tackling environments such as the Grand Canyon.
                  Longer trips are usually in the summer where I'll most likely be
                  somewhere along the Pacific Crest or on the Continental Divide. As
                  longer periods of time become available, I take in extended hikes in
                  more remote areas of the world where just getting from home to the
                  trailhead can take 2-3 days.

                  I consider myself a lightweight hiker. I carry the lightest gear I
                  can get my hands on which will provide a comfortable wilderness
                  experience and adequately support the goals of my trip. Unless my
                  goals are time/distance oriented, my pace is always slow. I rarely
                  exceed 1.5 miles/hour. I rest frequently, hike long days, and enjoy
                  whatever nature throws my way.
                • JimSabis@aol.com
                  In a message dated 11/1/2002 9:42:38 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... ...and it s considered a luxury item yet! Sheesh!! ; ) Jim s. [Non-text portions of this
                  Message 8 of 22 , Nov 3, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    In a message dated 11/1/2002 9:42:38 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                    amytys@... writes:


                    > BTW - I wasn't kidding about the buffalo piss.
                    >

                    ...and it's considered a luxury item yet!

                    Sheesh!!

                    ; )

                    Jim s.


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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