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