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Platypus Big Zip SL Review

   

Hydration Bladders

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: April 26, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $33 - $35 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Good value, easy to clean, can switch out the hoses with other brands.
Cons:  Not the easiest bit valve to drink from.
Best Uses:  Replacement bladder for backpack or hydration pack with narrow compartment.
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Platypus
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ April 26, 2013  
Overview
This is a solid performing hydration bladder that is easy to clean and relatively light. The zip closure is intuitive and fast to use. The quick release system is compatible with many other hydration bladders as well. This was a contender for our Best Buy award but we ultimately went with the CamelBak Antidote Reservoir because we like how easy the Antidote is to drink from and fill. If you really like the zip top opening we also recommend checking out the Geigerrig Hydration Engine.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

This reservoir stands out because it has a large opening that is easy to clean, fill and lends itself to some innovative uses. For example, it is easy to use this as an ice pack if you are injured and have trouble finding a Ziploc bag.

Performance Comparison
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Ease of Filling
This scored in the middle for ease of filling. It is easy in a deep sink. However, in a shallow sink the zip top is a little tricky at times.

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Durability
We scored this high for durability because we have not encountered any leaking problems and not found many reports online through user reviews.

Ease of Drinking
This is the only reservoir where we really felt like we had to suck hard at times to get water out. Luckily, the quick-link tube attachment is compatible with other hose systems. In our case we took the CamelBak Bite Valve, which is our favorite non-pressurized bite valve, and swapped it out.

Weight
This is one of the lighter hydration bladders we tested. But if your main objective is going ultra lightweight, we recommend the Platypus Hoser or the MSR DromLite.

Ease of Cleaning
The Big Zip opening means that it is easy to get just about any scrub brush or sponge into the main compartment. It is also very easy to dry this out. We did not see anywhere on the website that you can put this in the dishwasher. That is one big advantage of the Geigerrig Hydratoins Engine - just toss it in the dishwasher and you are good to go. Cleaning the tubes is just as challenging as with all hydration systems. Just about any kitchen brush will get into the main reservoir. However, to clean the tube we recommend getting the Platypus Play Cleaning Kit.

Best Applications
We mainly use the 2 L version because the hydration bladder and fits perfectly inside our super old-school CamelBak hydration pack. This reservoir really shines if your backpack or hydration pack has a very narrow compartment for a hydration bladder.

Value
At $30, this is in the good value range for hydration bladders. We expect this to have good long-term durability value.

Conclusion
We really like this hydration bladder. However, it didn't quite rise to capturing any awards. It is a good all-around reservoir but we didn't particularly like the bite valve and it lacks some of the features of the other award winners.

We have heard people rave that the Platypus does not have the "plasticy" taste that CamelBak and other hydration reservoirs do. However, in our test we found no giant difference in the way all the reservoirs tasted, especially over longer term usage.

Other Versions
The Platypus Hoser is made of a similar material but does not have the big opening. It is lighter weight but is not as easy to fill and not as easy to clean.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 26, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
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  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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Apr 21, 2013 - 07:00pm
 
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
Great choice for all around use. I've tried the camelbak reservoirs and found they leak faster and the water tastes more plasticky. Also they are harder to open and close - the big zip closure is easy to use and very secure, never leaks, very easy to fill and clean, etc. The ability to detach the hose at the base is a great feature - it allows you to leave your hose routed through the backpack while you fill the reservoir in a stream, sink, etc. The plastic is tough and as long as you don't abuse it should last a long time.

The bite valve works fine as far as i can tell…seems to leak less than camelbak's if you forget to twist it closed.
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Platypus Big Zip SL water reservoir
Credit: Platypus
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