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Owner's Review - Platypus Big Zip 4 Hydration System

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  • Andrew Claus
    I m submitting this Owner s Review for your consideration. Andy Claus Platypus Big Zip 4 – Owner s Review April 30, 2003 Tester Information: Tester: Andrew
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 30, 2003
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      I'm submitting this Owner's Review for your
      consideration.

      Andy Claus

      Platypus Big Zip 4 � Owner's Review
      April 30, 2003

      Tester Information:

      Tester: Andrew Claus (andrewclaus �at� yahoo �dot�
      com)

      Tester Biography:

      I am a 45-year-old male. I am 5�9� (175 cm) tall, and
      weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms). I live and play in
      the Colorado Rockies. I have section hiked the entire
      Colorado Trail. I hiked Mt. Washington to Mt.
      Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail in �02. I have been
      backpacking, backcountry skiing, and bike touring for
      the past twenty years. I have climbed all 54 of
      Colorado�s �14ers� (14,000'/4,260m peaks). I get out
      on day trips into the high country at least once a
      week, year �round, and on backpacking trips several
      times a year, including at least one in winter. I
      also do a lot of outdoor travel as a wildland
      firefighter.

      Product Information:

      Product: Platypus Big Zip 4 Hydration System
      Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
      URL: www.cascadedesigns.com
      Volume: 130 ounces/4 liters
      Weight: 6 ounces/170 grams
      Sizes: 9x17in/23x43cm
      Year of purchase: 2002

      Product description:

      The Platypus Big Zip 4 is a hydration reservoir sold
      with a drinking tube and bite valve. The reservoir is
      clear flexible plastic. Its namesake feature is
      plastic zipper on the top, which works like a very
      heavy-duty version of a zip-lock food bag. The
      drinking tube attaches to a threaded outlet on the
      bottom of the bag. There are two rivets above the
      zipper to attach a carrying handle.

      Field Information:

      I used this product on a section hike on the
      Continental Divide Trail, from Las Palomas, Mexico to
      Silver City, NM (100 miles, 160 kilometers) in April
      2003, and on one day hike in the Front Range foothills
      of Colorado in April 2003.

      The hydration bag performed very well for me as a
      large-volume water reservoir. The zipper system
      worked easily and stayed secure. The zipper system
      was a great advantage in cleaning the bag in the
      field. It was very easy to wipe out the bag with each
      use.

      The reservoir fit well into the mesh reservoir pocket
      inside my pack.

      The drinking tube connection at the threaded reservoir
      outlet developed a very slight leak on the first
      trial. But this was easily fixed by retightening the
      drinking tube cap.

      The bite valve gives a high flow for drinking, and is
      very easy to operate. It is very simple, with no
      mechanical parts. I didn�t have any problems with
      dirt or debris clogging the valve.

      But I did have a major problem with the bite valve. I
      experienced a near-catastrophic loss of all four
      liters of water at a rest stop in the desert. I laid
      my pack on the ground, and the pack squeezed the bite
      valve open against the ground. Since the bite valve
      is designed for high flow, all four liters were lost
      in minutes. (As luck would have it, this was at a
      rare water stop. But I had a �moment of clarity�
      considering what I would have faced if it had happened
      ten miles down the trail.)

      This was not an isolated incident. Despite being very
      careful with valve placement at stops, I had two other
      losses of � liter or more. Once, I cautiously placed
      the valve inside to pack to prevent loss during a car
      transport, and I lost over 1 liter inside the pack.

      Summary:

      I contacted the manufacturer via their website. I was
      hoping for a different bite valve, because I really
      like the reservoir. They didn�t have one, but they
      suggested using a bite valve cover, which they sell as
      an accessory. They were very helpful, and were
      willing to ship one of these for free. But after one
      more incident of water loss without the cover, I
      stormed back to my retailer, who happily refunded my
      money.

      Plusses are: a) easy to clean, b) easy to fill, c)
      light weight, and d) lifetime replacement guarantee.

      The only minus is the problem with inadvertent bite
      valve operation. I would recommend using this
      reservoir with a secure, threaded cap.

      I reflected that I probably made a mistake in taking
      only one reservoir into the desert (this was my first
      open-desert, multi-day trek). On future trips, I will
      have at least two smaller reservoirs. One will have a
      secure cap, and the other will have a drinking tube
      with a secure bite valve.


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    • John Elftmann
      ... What brand & model is the pack?
      Message 2 of 2 , May 1 11:02 AM
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        >The reservoir fit well into the mesh reservoir pocket
        >inside my pack.

        What brand & model is the pack?
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