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Application: Platypus Insulator hydration system - Kurt Papke

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  • kwpapke
    Application to test the Platypus Insulator hydration system - Kurt Papke Please accept my application to test the Platypus Insulator hydration system. I agree
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2008
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      Application to test the Platypus Insulator hydration system - Kurt Papke
      Please accept my application to test the Platypus Insulator hydration
      system. I agree to comply with all the report requirements found in
      the BackpackGearTest.org bylaws v. 0609 which I most recently read on
      August 31, 2008.

      Name: Kurt Papke
      Age: 55
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
      Weight: 220 lbs (100 kg)
      Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
      City, State, Country: Minneapolis, MN USA
      Date: October 30, 2008

      Why me? I have fair experience with hydration systems, and I hike in
      very cold weather:
      - My first OR was for a Platy reservoir
      - I am in-test on another reservoir (Moflow), and a water filter
      (Frontier Pro). The Moflow has given me a lot of insight on what can
      go seriously wrong with a hydration system.
      - I currently use a Platy insulator with a 1L reservoir on winter
      hikes/snowshoeing
      - I live and hike in Minnesnowta

      Backpacking Background: mostly in the Upper Midwest - all of the
      Superior Hiking Trail and Border Route, Isle Royale. This year
      includes hiking in Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota
      and Oregon. Mostly Spring/Fall seasons, but started to do more winter
      hiking last year. ~25 lb 3-season baseweight, 15-17 miles/day pace.

      Field information

      Testing would take place in the Minnesota River Valley, the North
      Shore, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and western Wisconsin. The
      terrain would be forested hills/valleys, with elevation in the
      neighborhood of 1500 ft (460 m). Temperatures would be as cold as it
      gets in the Continental U.S.: the average high/low in the Minnesota
      Arrowhead in January is roughly 17F (-8C) / -4F (-20C), but I would
      expect daily swings much in excess of this.

      Test plan:

      I am a bit new to Winter camping, so my test plan will be conservative
      in regards to length of backpacking trips. I will test it in at least
      2 (maybe 3) different packs with different hydration sleeves. I will
      *not* be able to test this in the "blazing sun" - ain't no such thing
      in Minnesota for the next 6 months.

      This will be as much a test of the Big Zip SL as it is the insulator.

      I will evaluate the gear for:

      - Out-of-the-box fit and finish: any leaks, or rough seams? Do all
      the connectors work smoothly at the outset? Are the instructions clear?

      - Usability: can I do everything I need to do (drinking, re-filling)
      with gloves or mittens? Threading a drinking tube through a pack
      hydration port is always an occasion for some good cussing - how easy
      is it to get this insulated one through? I will be re-filling this
      reservoir with melted snow - how easy is it to fill from my pot?
      Hooking a drinking tube to my pack shoulder straps is always a pain -
      how well does this one hook on when the insulator is installed?

      - Reliability & robustness: all the hose connectors on this thing look
      like a recipe for failure in cold weather when the plastic gets
      brittle. How well does it hold up? Does the SlideLock close work
      when its icy? If I pour hot melted snow from my pot into it, any
      problems with plastic degradation from the hot water? How easy is it
      to thaw the bite valve when it freezes up? Any rips or tears in the
      insulation over time? How well do the insulation closures (look like
      snaps) hold up over time? How well does the bite valve work (does it
      leak) after repeated freeze/thaw cycles? Any problems with bursting
      or cracking if the the reservoir freezes solid when its full? (this
      might be the last test I try before I write my LTR...)

      - Functionality: how cold and for how long can I take this and have
      water, not ice? How well does the hangar work on my various hydration
      sleeves? Do I find the D-rings useful for strapping it onto a pack?
      Does the Slimeguard work well with the tannin-laden North Shore water?

      - Packing: does it slide in/out of my hydration sleeves smoothly?
      Does the shape profile fit with my various pack sleeves? The good
      news is the Sierra Long Trail I am testing has a huge hydration sleeve
      that the Insulator should easily fit into. How well does it mate/hang
      on the various reservoir hangers in my packs?

      - Adaptability: how well does it mate with my Katadyn filter hoses? I
      have an adapter for my 3L Platy Hoser that doesn't look like its gonna
      work with this bad boy. Can I use the Insulator with any of my
      current Platy reservoirs?

      - Aesthetics: do I like the blue color? Any taste effects from long
      or shorter-term storage of water in the reservoir?

      Test history/status

      My reviews: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/kwpapke
      I am finishing up the Aquamira water filter and Moflow hydration
      reservoir tests, started the Exped Multimat, Nite Ize and High Sierra
      90L backpack, and will start the Kayland boots when they arrive.

      I have pending test applications for the Stormtrack tent.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      --Kurt
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