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Hands-on Gear Review
Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 Review
Bottom line: Our Editors' Choice all mountain hydration pack - for good reason.
Our Editors' Choice award winner, the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 is described by Platypus as "a quintessential all-mountain pack" and we couldn't agree more. The Duthie is a fully-featured all mountain pack equally at home on the backs of mountain bike riders, hikers, trail runners, and even springtime backcountry skiers! With a 3-liter water carrying capacity, the Duthie is in for the long haul, whatever your outdoor activity of choice. The pack sports durable materials, a great assortment of pockets for your gear storage needs with an emphasis on mountain bike users, excellent ventilation, solid support and an easy to fill water bladder. Keep reading to see how the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 measured up against similar all mountain, larger capacity packs like the Osprey Raptor and the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 is the go-to pack for mountain bike riders seeking almost every convenience of today's hydration packs. It boasts well-thought out storage and organization, combined with a supportive and well-ventilated design make this model a standout. Check out the chart below (shown below in blue) to see how the Duthie A.M. 10 scored against the competition, ultimately winning our Editors' Choice for larger capacity hydration packs this year.
Ease of Drinking
The Duthie is supplied with an ample 3 liter hydration bladder that delivers water through a Big Zip Drink Tube to their classic HyperFlow bite valve. Like the CamelBak M.U.L.E., the Duthie also includes a highly effective shutoff valve. When it came time to start hydrating, we found the Platypus HyperFlow bite valve delivered an adequate flow of water after finding the sweet spot to put our teeth on the silicone bite valve. Unlike the CamelBak bite valves, the HyperFlow bite valve is a bit more positional, requiring the user to bite in a specific location just upstream from the flare of the bite valve for maximum water flow. After comparing the Platypus bite valve to CamelBak, all of our testers preferred the greater flow rate of the CamelBak Big Bite valves. Our testers found the ninety degree bend of the bite valve made drinking easier, especially on the mountain bike.
The Duthie's drinking tube is routed through a simple opening at the top of the pack and can be routed down either shoulder strap through webbing loops for security. It attaches easily to the water bladder with a quick disconnect fitting that attaches directly to the bladder at the bottom. The tube is made of a flexible polyurethane material and has plenty of length, although not excessive. A magnetic hose retentions system is also included and provides quick access to water when it's needed, although can only be used when routing the tube through the right shoulder strap.
The shutoff valve ensures you don't lose any precious liquid during your rides, runs, or hikes and operates solely by rotating the bite valve itself approximately 120 degrees. Our testers did find that while this is a good extra security measure, it really wasn't needed the majority of the time since the bite valve didn't leak a drop. The shutoff valve may come in handy while transporting the pack when full, preventing accidental squeezing of the bite valve.
Ease of Filling
When compared to some of the other packs in our lineup, the Duthie really shines when it comes to fill the bladder up.
The pack comes equipped with a 3 liter Big Zip LP reservoir that ultimately opens on the top end of the bladder. The bladder is located in a dedicated hydration sleeve, complete with hooks that keep your water securely attached at the head of the bag, preventing any movement.
This portion of the pack quickly opens with an easy access U-shaped zipper that allows quick and convenient access for fill-ups. After opening the generous zipper, it's easy to simply unhook the water bladder, lift, and pop the quick disconnect of the drinking tube free. No more disassembling your entire pack just to fill up!
After putting our pack on the first time, we almost immediately found the comfort of the pack was in the running for most comfortable. The foundation of the Duthie A.M. 10 is a wire frame that incorporates an extremely breathable tensioned mesh back panel. Attached to the main pack bag are highly supportive and ventilated shoulder straps that feature multiple layers of mesh materials. This design has a lot in common with the Osprey Syncro 10, which shares the tensioned mesh back panel and ventilated shoulder straps. A sturdy and relatively wide waist belt provides additional support.
When loaded down with a day's worth of riding gear, we found the Duthie provided us with excellent support and comfort, even while climbing on warm days. The ventilation of the FloatAir back panel was superior and kept our backs sweat-free during long climbs. The tensioned mesh and wire frame prevents the pack from contacting users' backs with a comfy and breezy inch of space for sufficient ventilation.
Our pack weight was supported comfortably by the substantial waist belt which provides a solid connection to the hip bones of riders and runners. The belt is easily adjusted for length and has plenty of length for adjusting for to accommodate different layers or diets. While the belt aids in carrying the pack and increasing the overall comfort factor, it does restrict movement somewhat, so if you're someone who prefers a more flexible pack fit, some of our other test subjects like the Osprey Raptor 10 may be a better choice.
At 10 liters of pack space, the Duthie isn't the largest pack we tested; that title goes to the Deuter Compact EXP 12. It is runner up in the cargo category with the Osprey Raptor 10 and Osprey Syncro 10. The Duthie was in a tight battle for the best storage design, along with the Osprey and Deuter packs. All of these models are designed with convenient bike-friendly pack organization with a plethora of bike-specific features.
The Duthie has a main storage compartment that opens with a large zipper with a semi-clamshell design that creates excellent access. The outer flap portion of the main compartment has a zipper-secured mesh pocket that measures approximately 9"x4" and also has a key clip. No losing your keys with this pack. The lower portion of the zippered flap houses two nylon sleeves that worked well for our tire and shock pumps, keeping them in a stable location. The inner side of the compartment contains two open-topped mesh pockets for storage of small to medium-sized items like bike repair tools, food, sunscreen, etc. The lower of the two is stitched into two independent portions that each span half the pack width.
Additional storage space is available with a front stretch stash pocket that carried our helmets, even full face, as well as pads and gloves. The lower portion of the stash pocket is an attached stretchy material and secures at the top with four small quick release buckles. There is also a smaller zippered exterior pocket on the front of the stash pocket that can also carry small items. Platypus included a zippered, fleece-lined goggle/sunglasses pocket on the upper portion of the stash flap.
At the bottom of the front of the pack, a zipper accesses a small pocket with an included raincover for those rainy days. The cover completely covers the body and can be unclipped and left at home for minimal weight savings.
Our testers appreciated the convenient and stretchy pockets that are integrated into the belt and were able to stash small items like granola bars, lip balm, and even cellphones. This makes for easy phone access without having to carry it in your clothing pockets. The belt pockets are easily opened with looped zipper pulls that easily accommodate fingertips for quick access. With all of these storage options, it's easy to see why the Duthie was a standout and chosen as our Editors' Choice.
At a measured 1lb 14.4oz, the Duthie is in the middle of our test packs when it comes to weight. This Editors' Choice winner is almost identical in weight to the Osprey packs as well as the CamelBak M.U.L.E. but weighs nearly a pound less than the Deuter Compact Air EXP 12.
Ease of Cleaning
As you'd likely imagine, with the fully-opening hydration bladder, the Platypus Duthie is a breeze to clean, and the pack scored a 9 out of 10, being narrowly edged out by the even easier to access Osprey Syncro 10.
Once the fun is done, simply open the hydration sleeve up, unclip the bladder, pop the hydration tube loose with the quick disconnect, and clean to your heart's content. Want to wipe it out with a sponge? Go for it. Dish cloth? Definitely. Cleaning the Duthie is no problem and can be done in a flash, much like the easy-access of the Osprey and Deuter packs. The easy cleanability of the Duthie's hydration bladder easily won out over the Camelbak options.
Cleaning the pack's hydration tube is almost as easy as the bladder and a skinny cleaning brush easily does the job. With all of that being said, we only cleaned the pack once for test purposes yes, we know that may repulse some of you, and are aware we're bad.
The Duthie is your go-to pack for your hydration needs if you find yourself spending long days in the saddle or on your feet, especially if your travels take you far into the trails of your backcountry area of choice. The Platypus Duthie A.M. 10 has plenty of storage space for all of your gear, extra clothes, pads, and enough water for long efforts.
The Duthie is a fully-featured hydration pack and the price shows it. At $140, the pack is at the top of the pack of packs in price. If the functionality of the Osprey Raptor 10 suits your needs, it may be a better choice at $10 less. The other packs with similar features in our test stable have an even greater price difference, potentially saving you even more money.
If you're someone who wants a solid pack that can handle the long haul, whether on foot or wheels, check out the Platypus Duthie A.M. 10. If you're out for long rides on technical trails and want excellent rider-friendly storage for all of your tools, pads, snacks, and extra layers, this could be your go-to hydration pack.
— Jason Cronk
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