Platypus Hoser Review
Cons: Harder to clean, bite valve doesn't lock off
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hoser offers lightweight performance at an unbeatable price. Loaded with versatile functionality and great flow on the go, and it's one of the most affordable bladders we've had the pleasure of testing.
Ease of Use
This lightweight bladder offers plenty of different use opportunities. Its lightweight design is simple to carry in any backpack. The bite valve is simple and offers great flow, but isn't as fancy as other options on the market. Unfortunately, it does leak if accidentally squeezed and does not have a locking mechanism. As a result of this issue, it earns a lower score in this metric than most of the competition.
We love to use this bladder while hiking, running, climbing, and backpacking. Unlike other bladders, the tube screws into a bottle-sized cap at the bottom of the bag. The sizing makes it functional with some water filtration systems, and can easily be turned into a gravity filter if the functionality is needed! Unfortunately, this type of attachment is not compatible with other hydration bladders, so you're stuck with the tube you get.
The bite valve is new with a better flow than the previous version. When we received ours, the bite valve was actually sealed (which must have been a manufacturer's defect). However, when we cut a little slit through it, it worked just fine. The tube has a larger diameter, which facilitates ample water flow. Bite softly, and water will flow readily.
The valve itself does not have a lock on the bite valve, which was a bummer for some of our testers. We offered this bladder to use for a tester, and they declined as the bladder would be stored in their pack on an approach to a climb. Since the valve couldn't lock, we both feared the contents of his climbing bag would get wet.
When our main author opted to use it on a multi-pitch climb and hike in the Red Rocks of Nevada, the tube leaked and spit water on her when she accidentally squeezed the tube or nozzles. As a result of these issues, while it's simple to put into a pack and access the water when you want it, we weren't impressed with its lock-lacking nature. Also, it can't be switched out, so you're stuck with it.
Ease of Care
While you can easily keep this bladder clean with careful and routine care, it's not as easy to care for as other options with a wide top or screw-top construction.
During our testing period, we used this bladder with plain water and electrolyte mixes. Through it all, we needed to take special care to ensure that we didn't forget about emptying and cleaning it. While this may not be a huge deal for other bladders that can easily be flipped inside out or scrubbed with a brush, this is where the Hoser receives a couple of demerits.
On a daily basis, we would simply empty the bladder, rinse it with regular water, and dry it on our drying rack, so the water drains out. All the parts that connect on the hose can disconnect, so if any of those parts get grimy, you can use a hose cleaner kit to wash it out.
Unfortunately, if you forget about a little sugary substance in your bladder and lock it away in a closet for a week, you'll come back to a bacterial colony and washing it out will be tough. The bottle-top opening does not allow larger cleaning wands or other instruments to clean it up. Also, it can't be flipped inside out to scrub, as bladders with a wide-mouth opening can. While swishing it around with a cleaning tablet can help, when the bacterial build-up is heavy, you might find yourself tossing this reservoir. That said, if you are diligent in your clean-up practices with this bladder, or stick to just water inside, you shouldn't have any problems.
Playtpus has added an embedded silver-ion layer that is supposed to protect from bacterial build-up. During our testing, we didn't notice any problems with bacterial build-up, so this material embedded inside is potentially doing a fine job. Overall, this isn't the easiest product to clean (in comparison), but regular practices will keep it bacteria-free for many years of use.
Ease of Filling
At any water tap, lake, or river, this hydration bladder is easy to fill-up to keep you hydrated and far from unhappy.
The only way to fill this bladder is through the screw-top on its bottom. The opening is relatively small, but simple to fill at taps. While shallow sinks force you to crumple the bladder into a bunch at the bottom, we could still fill it quite easily. In deeper water sources like a lake, or a running source, like a river, it is easy to fill.
Like most bladders, where it struggles are super shallow puddles with no flow. The smaller opening makes it harder to capture water than those with a larger opening. Bladders with big handles and larger openings do better in this metric.
On a camping trip, we found that when trying to scoop up water, we could only get a tiny bit from our water source. There was also a lot of silt in the water. In the end, we ended up scooping the puddle with a smaller cup we had on hand, then filling the bladder manually and using a water filter.
Quality and Durability
We took our time tugging at the seams and testing the durability of this bladder. We loaded it into climbing and running packs, we left it out in the car, we let our dog lay all over it. We appreciate the durable and high-quality design that'll last for many years.
The polyurethane and polyethylene combines in the plastic film used in the construction of this bladder. The material is thick, which offers protection from punctures that you might encounter when backpacking or camping. All the seams are welded, which provide security from leaks over the years.
Our only caveat is the mouthpiece that came without a slit to drink water from (weird!). This probably isn't the 'norm' for each Hoser that ships out. If you get one like this, simply just cut a hole and start sippin'!
While we've only tested this product over just a few months, we've tried our hardest to break this bladder. We've put it in the freezer, exposed it to warm temperatures, and pulled at the seams. We assess the quality to be up there with the top performers. We'd expect this bladder to last for many years. No leaks or issues so far!
Weight and Packability
Weighing only 4.2 oz, this bladder is incredibly lightweight and works with a variety of different backpacks and bags. Of the competition, it's the lightest and most packable option we've seen, making it great for travel and lightweight carry.
The slim profile is longer than most bladders and fits nicely into even the narrowest of hydration sleeves. We tested it in running packs, backpacking bags, and climbing fastpacks. The larger hanger at the top worked with most packs to help suspend it in the bag.
We also appreciate that this bladder rolls up into itself for easy packability when it's not in use. We found this incredibly helpful on trips where packing space was limited. Its lightweight nature makes it seems as if it's not even there. Overall, one of the most packable and lightweight hydration bladders that we've tested so far.
It has amazing value! At the lowest price point in this review, it receives our Best Buy Award. While there are some caveats, none of its flaws are fatal. With amazing durability and a great price, you get a hydration bladder that works. Enjoy it on all your future adventures and explorations. Just be sure to be diligent about cleaning it after each use, especially if using sugary substances inside.
The Platypus Hoser is an affordable and lightweight hydration bladder. It uses a unique design where the only opening is a bottle top-like construction at the base of the bladder. The durable design of this super packable bladder, paired with its low price, makes it the best-valued product in this review, earning our Best Buy Award this year.
— Amber King