Hands-on Gear Review

Platypus Big Zip LP Review

A great general use bladder with a burly outer construct, zip top closure, and quick-release hose.
Platypus Big Zip LP
By: Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 21, 2018
Price:  $37 List  |  $34.95 at REI - 6% Off
Pros:  No plastic taste, heavy-duty reservoir, easy to fill and clean
Cons:  Wider than other hydration bladders tested, hard to suck bite valve
Manufacturer:   Platypus
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 9
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Ease of Care - 25% 6
  • Ease of Filling - 20% 7
  • Quality and Durability - 15% 5
  • Weight and Packability - 15% 9
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Our Verdict

The Platypus Big Zip LP (low profile) Reservoir is a burly hydration bladder that is easy to clean and relatively light. Even though it scores low, it works as a decent hydration system. It didn't have nifty adaptations like other bladders tested, and the quality isn't as high as others. The zip-top closure is intuitive and fast to use, while the quick release system is somewhat compatible with other bladders (and you can change out the mouthpiece).

The slim profile is compatible with many packs, but not all. This opening is a little different than a flip-top opening, as it seals at the top similar to a ziplock bag instead of flipping over itself. We like this design but wish for a larger opening for a few reasons. Also, in cold weather, the top is harder to peel apart to refill. If you're interested in a flip top model instead, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Geigerrig Hydration Engine. Or if you prefer a screw top option, read up on our Best Buy winner, the CamelBak Crux Reservoir.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir is a zip-top bladder featuring an easy-to-fill reservoir that is durable enough to be thrown around camp.

Performance Comparison


Finding a waterfall was a huge plus on this backpacking adventure in Peru. Filling up here with the Platypus Big Zip was also quite refreshing.
Finding a waterfall was a huge plus on this backpacking adventure in Peru. Filling up here with the Platypus Big Zip was also quite refreshing.

Ease of Use


The Big Zip LP is the only hydration system that requires a little extra effort to get water from the tube. The mouthpiece is a little larger than other models and doesn't offer the same rate of flow. Most of the tubes are compatible with the quick-link tube attachment. However, because this attachment is oriented horizontally, it didn't make sense to use other systems that had a vertically oriented attachment. Luckily, there is a 90-degree connector at the base of the bladder that makes it compatible with other hoses.

Platypus has a compatible outlet  but because it is oriented horizontally  it doesn't allow other hoses to sit properly without the 90 degree attachment (top left corner). Look for vertically oriented attachments instead.
Platypus has a compatible outlet, but because it is oriented horizontally, it doesn't allow other hoses to sit properly without the 90 degree attachment (top left corner). Look for vertically oriented attachments instead.

While this bladder has a slim design, it is not the best option for smaller running packs as it is too wide. If you choose this bladder for this use, make sure to order a 1L or 2L option. Other than that, it does just fine for use in basic daypacks. Just make sure the hydration bladder sleeve will appropriately accommodate the width of this bladder. When filled, it is about 8.5 inches at its widest section (3L version).

A comparison of the Platypus (left) and CamelBak (right) bite valve. We found the larger bite valves were a little harder to suck than medium sized valves.
A comparison of the Platypus (left) and CamelBak (right) bite valve. We found the larger bite valves were a little harder to suck than medium sized valves.

We like the burly and large hanger on the closure strip of the bladder. No other bladder had this. With it, we were able to hang it from trees and carry it around with ease. Overall, an easy-to-use bladder with some fun features.

We loved the HUGE handle. No other bladder sported this great feature. This made it easy to carry and hang from trees while camping.
We loved the HUGE handle. No other bladder sported this great feature. This made it easy to carry and hang from trees while camping.

If you're not happy with the bite valve, swap it out for the one you love. We used the valve from the CamelBak Crux instead, which is also sold separately as the CamelBak Big Bite Valve. Another alternative that we like is the Hydrapak Blaster Bite Valve, a smaller valve that provides great flow with minimal effort.

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 straightforward to dry. We especially like to use kitchen tongs to keep the bag material from falling in on itself. Unfortunately, we did not see anywhere on the website that you can put this in the dishwasher. That is one significant advantage of the HydraPak made brands like the Geigerrig Hydrations Engine; 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 Cleaning Kit or Hydrapak Bottle Bright tablets, which are chlorine free and non-toxic.

The easiest way to keep your bladder clean is to maintain it. Be sure to dump out water after each use, rinse it, then put it in the freezer to kill any potential bacteria before your next use.

Even though this has a "big" mouth  it wasn't as large as flip top varieties. It was easy enough to clean  but harder than most.
Even though this has a "big" mouth, it wasn't as large as flip top varieties. It was easy enough to clean, but harder than most.

Ease of Filling


This is not the easiest bladder to fill out there. The opening is harder to keep open, and it lacks a handle. It is easy to fill in deep sinks, but harder in shallow basins. It also isn't as easy to fill in trickling streams because the top doesn't have an extended 'funnel' like the Osprey Hydraulics to collect water. That said, it still did a decent job of filling in most places and fulfilled its general functions.

The mouth makes it easy to fill in sinks  lakes  and streams.
The mouth makes it easy to fill in sinks, lakes, and streams.

Quality and Durability


We didn't experience any leaks during our testing procedure, and we love the thickness of the plastic that is less prone to punctures. As a result, it is a seemingly high-quality product. However, when we pulled at the seams of the reservoir, they pulled apart easier than other products. As a result, it's not as high-quality as other options out there.

A look at the seams and construction of the four main bladder types. Top left: HydraPak varieties (hosted in Osprey  Geigerigg  and HydraPak) feature seamless technology with minimal welded seams. Top right: The CamelBak features smaller  more durable seams. Bottom left: Platypus features large seams that we could literally pull apart. Bottom Right: MSR features super strong welds in the fabric outer.
A look at the seams and construction of the four main bladder types. Top left: HydraPak varieties (hosted in Osprey, Geigerigg, and HydraPak) feature seamless technology with minimal welded seams. Top right: The CamelBak features smaller, more durable seams. Bottom left: Platypus features large seams that we could literally pull apart. Bottom Right: MSR features super strong welds in the fabric outer.

Weight and Compression


With a middle-of-the-road weight (6.25 oz) and a decent level of compression, it does quite well in this metric, fitting easily into packs when empty.

Best Applications


We mainly use the 2L version to fit well inside our smaller hydration packs. We like using it for day hikes, biking, climbing, and walking the dog. Use it for anything, but make sure it fits into your pack.

Value


Retailing at around $37, the price is high for its lower quality and performance.

Conclusion


We like this hydration bladder. However, it didn't quite rise to the competition to capture any awards. It is a good all-around reservoir, but we didn't particularly like the bite valve. It also lacks some key features we are fond of in other models.

Amber King

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Most recent review: July 21, 2018
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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