Hike New Hampshire
Trips in NH
The Bladders
Review by Rob
Quick Facts
(And Overall Rating)
Great stuff.
What they are Water Bladders / Hydration System
Construction Plastic laminate - polyethylene lined
Must have accessories
  • "Hoser" drinking tube
  • "Water Closet" insulated carrier
  • Straps for carrying like a backpack

For many years Chris and I carried our water in the same 1 liter wide or narrow-mouth Nalgene HDPE bottles as anyone else. Well, actually those bottles and a couple 1 qt. army canteens. This made perfect sense. These bottles are almost leak-proof, really cheap, readily available, and virtually indestructable. If there are any drawbacks, it is the fact that there aren't many convenient places or methods for lashing these bottles onto packs. This means that you are usually forced to bury a couple deep inside your pack where they are tough to get to on the trail and they make you live in fear that they're going to open p and soak your stuff. This isn't so bad, but the problems start if you intend on hiking in hot weather without carrying a pack. Then the problem becomes how to fit 2 or 3 quarts of water into a fanny or day pack. This is a pain if not downright impossible. (Although I may have finally solved the problem ...check it out).

So we figured that we needed some sort of "hydration system." This is a fancy marketing term for a "big-ass water bottle and a thing to carry it in." That's where the Platypus comes in, although what these water bottles have to do with the duck-billed mammal that lives in Australia I don't know. The heart of the Platypus system are the "bottles" or bladders themselves. They are made of a tough plastic and have survived any abuse I have given them, which includes dropping a full one 6 feet onto some rocks (tree branch wasn't as strong as I thought...). They are available in a variety of sizes and even a couple of shapes for special tasks. But as far as water carriers go, they aren't that much better than the old fashion bottles. However, when you add an accessory or two, they become fantastic. My favorite is the "water chest," which is a 2 liter platypus, a drinking tube, and a bite valve, all in an insulated pouch that easily lashes to your pack or hangs from a tree in camp. This is the beginning of a great system. With it, you can lash 2 liters of water onto your pack, and always have it handy without having to be a contortionist to reach the bottles stuffed into pockets or lashed onto the outside of your pack. Simply attach the Platypus on (or stick it between your pack lid and the main compartment like Chris), run the tube around to the front, and attach the clip somewhere near your mouth. Then when you get thirsty all you have to move is your head, bite the valve, and SUCK; the water's right there!

Platypus represents a whole new way of looking at hydration. Like its duck-billed Australian namesake, it's a different kind of animal. At first glance Platypus water bottles and reservoirs appear unconventional. On closer examination, you'll discover there's a lot to like. Platypus bottles and reservoirs are so flexible they fit into tight spaces in any pack. Lined with beverage-grade polyethylene, they won't flavor your drinking water with an unpleasant plastic taste. Platypus bottles are much lighter than conventional hard bottles and they have a lot more versatility. Add our Drinking Tube to create a hands-free hydration system. Use our Filter Link for direct connection to your water filter. Swap the Bite Valve for our Shower Kit and rinse off your trail dust at the end of the day. Platypus has grown from an unpretentious little water bottle into a complete line of hydration products – insulated bottle holsters, easy-to-fill wide mouth reservoirs, and sophisticated hydration packs. Everything you need to remain properly hydrated for optimum performance.
This is great for three reasons:
  1. No more twisting to reach bottles attached to or stuck in stupid pockets that you need 5 foot long arms to reach.
  2. No more bothering your friends asking them to "reach the bottle for me."
  3. And, most important,since most people don't even come close to drinking enough when they hike, the convenience encourages you to drink more, keeping you safer.
This last part is the most important to me. We tend to drink a lot on the trail ... Chris because he sweats like Niagra Falls, and me as the result of 2 episodes of heat exhaustion in the past. During the hot summer months here in N.H., I will usually drink 3 - 5 liters on a 5-6 hour hike with a pack. I am certain that having that 2 liter reservoir handy makes me drink more than I used to when I had to reach for and tip back a bottle. And, I find I feel much better when I keep my hydration level up during a hike.

Like all Cascade Designs Products, the Platypus system and all of its components seem well designed and well thought out. There are a myriad of accessories available for the Platypus bottles, including drinking tubes, different caps, carriers, shower kits, and many others far too numerous to name here. To check out what is available, point your browser to Cascade Designs' Website and click on the Platypus logo. Also be sure and check out the info in the sidebar on the right. Also don't forget the commitment that Cascade Designs has to the environment. Like all of their products Cascade Designs provides a repiar kit to seal punctures so you can keep the bottles around even if something should happen to them. Any company that stands behind their products like that gets my business.

In summary, the Platypus system has become the official water carrier of Hike-NH.com. Look for it somewhere in all of our pictures. With the range of accessories they offer we feel that the system is better than anything we have seen from Camelbak or anywhere else. Buy it, and be cool like us.

Please note that anything I say here is simply my opinion. I am an expert (and a legend) only in my own mind. For the official corporate scoop, check out this product at Cascade Design's Website. You can click here or on the banner below.

Go to the Cascade Designs Website



Copyright © 1999-2008
Chris Oberg & Robert Havasy