OK Jamie, here is number two.
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Platypus Hydration Platy Bottle
By Raymond Estrella
June 30, 2012
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)
I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs Inc
Web site: http://cascadedesigns.com
Product: Platy Bottle
Years manufactured: 2005-10
Size reviewed: 2 L (70 fl oz)
Listed weight: 1.3 oz (36 g) Verified accurate
Dimensions listed: 7.5 x 13.8 in (19 x 35 cm) Verified accurate
Width (when full): 6 in (15.25 cm) at ends, 4 in (5 cm) at middle.
Quick & Dirty Nitty Gritty
While not the longest-used, the Platypus Hydration Platy Bottle is easily the most used water storage device I have ever owned. Very light weight, excellent capacity and extreme small packed size these great bottles have a permanent place in my Hydration drawer. (Yes, I have a dresser drawer full of this stuff.) Please read on for the details.
The Platypus Hydration Platy Bottle (hereafter referred to as the Platy or bottle) is a water storage container. The main body is made of clear plastic-like nylon/polyethylene film.
The Platy bottles are made by welding the edges of the film together creating a 0.2 in (5.1 mm) seam around the body, it is a little thicker at the top and around the opening. It is made with a pleated construction that allows the bottom to swell open under pressure from the water. When full this creates a somewhat stable base to keep the bottle sitting upright.
Centered at the top is an opening roughly the same size as most pop bottles and comes with the standard white polypropylene Platypus cap found on most of the company's products. The common Platy size means that it works with the Push-Pull Caps, Hoser tubes and Gravity Works filter tubes also.
The bag has measurement marks at each liter. As may be seen in the picture to the right (courtesy of Cascade Designs) the Platy may be filled well past the 2 L mark. The actual volume of the 2 L size (all that is available now) is 2.42 liters (82 fl oz).
When filled the bag takes on a slight hourglass shape. When completely full it is not as stable as may be wished for. Once the volume decreases to about 4/5 full it is much better. (Hmm, maybe that's why they call it a 2 L and not a 2.42, but that's Ray, always pushing the envelope shaped bottle;-)
The company sells patches, seen above, that can be used for emergency repairs in the field. Another useful addition is the Filler Cap that allows the bottle to be connected to the output hose of a water filter. As I wrote this I saw that it is not on the web site right now. I hope this is not a permanent thing as these caps are great. In the picture below (taken on a frigid day on a Minnesota section of the North Country Trail) I have rigged up a way utilizing that cap to fill my Platy from a Sawyer Squeeze water filter. Cascade Designs has many other options to extend the usefulness of the bottle including hydration hoses with bite-valves and push-pull sport-bottle type caps.
I can't begin to list all the places that the Platy Bottles have been in California and Minnesota. Then adding use in Hawaii, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Oregon and Washington, I feel confident to say that they have been along for over 3000 mi (4830 km) of backpacking at elevations from below sea level to over 14,000 ft (4270 m). They have been used in temperatures from below freezing to 118 F (48 C). They have been used hiking in at least 11 National Parks and probably a few dozen National Forests and the same amount of State Parks. They have seen rain, snow, hail, and lots of beautiful sunny days. The picture above was taken on California's Pacific Crest Trail at Wolf Creek. The one below was taken at Sespe Creek in the aptly named Sespe Wilderness. I circled the Platy which is being filled by the company's CleanStream water filter.
I have been using the Platypus Platy Bottles since at least 2005. Having gotten into backpacking in the 70's I was a firm believer that Nalgene Bottles were the only thing to use for holding water in the backcountry. I used to take a few of them on each trip, then around 1990 switched to a flexible water storage solution that still used the Nalgene's opening. In 2004 I started revising the way I go about hiking and cutting weight and pack size (volume) became my main priorities. I had heard of Platypus but had never seen one their bottles. Once I got my first one it was full speed ahead.
While the company only offers one size now, they used to have at least four (I know as I still have a lot of them.) The 2 L has always been the most useful size and the one I use most often.
What I like the best about the Platy is how light it is and how little space it takes up when not in use. While I have come a long way since those Nalgene days, still my lightest 1 L bottle weighs 30% more than the 2+ L Platy. Winner!
My normal use for the Platy is for water storage once I stop for the day, like in the picture above taken in Yosemite National Park. (The Platy is by my bear canister. Dave seems to have something in a PlatyPreserve. I hope he shared.) Depending on the trip I would take one or two to fill up in camp freeing me to put the filter away so I am ready for a fast start the next morning. My topped off water bottles or Hoser (if using the hydration system, see review) would sit ready to go and we would use the Platy bottle(s) in camp for our drinking water needs.
Sometimes I have a pack that does not have a hydration pouch, or my pack load is such that using the pouch does not work. At times like these I use the Platy turned on its side, lying on the top of my load, with a special shortened Hoser tube going through the hydration port. To be honest this actually works better for achieving a good flow as gravity works with me rather than against me when sucking on my hydration tube.
Another great use for the Platy has been water caching. Sometimes we need to hike through an area that has no water so to cut our initial weight I will go hike in a water cache (or more depending on the length of the trip.) By using Platy bottles we can switch out to our hydration hoses and just roll up the empty bottles to take with us. That is a lot better than carrying six plastic gallon (4 L) jugs hanging off our packs, making us look like a hobo, like we did hiking from Death Valley to Mt Whitney. (Right before I started using Platys.)
The Platy Bottle has proven to be very durable. I have never had one leak from the top or the seams and the only time I have ever seen one leak was a freshly filled (to the top) Platy that Dave dropped as we were going back to camp from the creek-side a couple years ago. The Platy landed flat on its side quite hard on a granite boulder and had a tiny protrusion in the rock puncture the film, resulting in a small leak. We dried it off and I applied one of my Platy Patches (the first and only time) which fixed it immediately. Dave still uses the bottle.
While the company makes newer style bottles (but none in the large size of the Platy) I still like the size and shape of these and plan to keep using them down the trail. I leave with a picture taken somewhere in the Sierra Nevada. One of the Platys is by the Tarptent, the other is hiding by the bear canister.