Hands-on Gear Review

Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle Review

Top Pick Award
Price:  $14 List | $11.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Useful carabiner attachment, well-designed lid, lightweight, very collapsible
Cons:  Not free-standing, hard to clean
Bottom line:  The DuoLock is an updated version of the SoftBottle that has a new lid, making it easy to drink from.
Editors' Rating:   
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Volume (L):  1 L
Empty weight:  1.12 oz
Body Material:  Nylon/ Polyetholyene
Manufacturer:   Platypus

Our Verdict

We have explored many iterations of the collapsible bottle over the years. We have found that it is surprisingly hard to make a new, yet still effective bottle that is lightweight and compact. Well, it seems that Platypus has done just that with the Platypus DuoLock. This bottle is super light, easy to carry, and has a revolutionary lid design that changed our opinion on collapsible bottles in general. The Duolock also has a carabiner attachment point that we found to be very useful for climbing, as it can be attached to your harness. There are many pros to this new design from Platypus and we are happy to give the bottle the Top Pick for Collapsible award this year.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Water Bottles for Hiking and Outdoors


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jane Jackson

Last Updated:
Tuesday
May 8, 2018

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Much like its predecessor, the Platypus SoftBottle, the DuoLock is light, portable, and ideal for hiking in the backcountry or climbing up a multi-pitch route. The bottle is easy to fill and the new lid makes it easy to drink from. The downsides to this bottle are also similar to the SoftBottle. It is difficult to drink from at times, since it is flexible its tents to be a bit floppy. Also, the bottle is one of the more difficult ones to clean since its mouth is narrow and there are many nooks and crannies that can be hard to reach.

Performance Comparison


Ease of Use


The DuoLock has a collapsible plastic body and screw-on cap. What sets the DuoLock apart from previous Platypus models is its newly designed lid, which has two parts. The lid can be removed for easy filling, but it also has a flip cap that makes for easy drinking. We found that we spilled water on ourselves a lot less. Some bottles like the LifeFactory have similar lid designs, but the DuoLock's actually made sense with the overall design of the bottle. Another plus for this contender is that it forms to the space available in your pack for easy stowing. The flexible body is also helpful when filling the bottle in shallow streams in the backcountry. It is leak-proof beyond any doubt, and easily rolls up and fits into your pocket when empty.

When full  the Platypus DuoLock stands up on its own  even on uneven surfaces!
When full, the Platypus DuoLock stands up on its own, even on uneven surfaces!

On the downside, drinking from this collapsible bottle requires a learned skill, and requires two hands. Its soft flexibility makes it flop around when trying to grab a drink, which will lead to spills if you're not careful. This is not a one-handed drinking bottle, but if you're using this bottle, hopefully you are in the backcountry or on some kind of adventure where you will have time to use both hands to hydrate yourself! The DuoLock also had a tendency to fall over, which reminded us a lot of both the Soma and the SoftBottle.

This contender also has one of the smallest mouths of all bottles we tested, making it hard to fill up from faucets with large or powerful water streams. As we mentioned with the Platypus SoftBottle, the DuoLock has a small mouth that will require a different bottle for purification with a filter or a Steri-Pen. This s a reminder for those who are planning on taking this bottle into the backcountry.

The DuoLock combines a secure lid with a useful and effective spout  making it our new favorite over the older  simpler Platypus SoftBottle.
The DuoLock combines a secure lid with a useful and effective spout, making it our new favorite over the older, simpler Platypus SoftBottle.

Taste


Drinking from this water bottle tasted fine at first. However, if you store your water in this bottle for over 24 hours, expect it to have a plastic-y taste. It also retained the taste of the flavored sports drink in subsequent fills. Much like the LifeStraw Go, we recommend filling the PlatyPus DuoLockwith water only. This is the downside of the bottle being plastic, and collapsible as the malleable plastic seems to impart its flavor on the liquid more than solid plastic bottles, like the Thermos Intak, CamelBak Eddy, and LifeStraw bottles.

Unfortunately, the DuoLock ran into the same issues that the SoftBottle did in terms of soapy flavor retention. After an issue with lingering soapy flavor, we were able to return the bottle to a neutral taste after filling it with baking soda and vinegar for 12 hours and rinsing. The best way to use these malleable plastic bottles is to simply use them for drinking water and try not to get other flavors imparted into their plastic walls. For a bottle that does not retain taste, we recommend checking out the Yeti Rambler or another stainless-steel option or a glass bottle, like the LifeFactory Glass FlipCap.

The carabiner on the DuoLock is substantial enough to clip onto a harness when rock climbing.
The carabiner on the DuoLock is substantial enough to clip onto a harness when rock climbing.

Durability


The DuoLock can easily handle drops and falls onto hard surfaces. It breezed through our drop tests, barely suffering a scratch (a minute scratch on the cap was all). That said, you can't expect a collapsible bottle to last forever. It held up fine in our three-month review, but in personal experience, we haven't had a collapsible bottle that held up much more than a year. For this reason, we recommend always having another water container as a backup. If you fold the bottle up for storage frequently, the bottle will wear more quickly along the fold lines and could risk having a hole form on the seam.

The DuoLock gets its name from this lid design. Instead of screwing the lid down  it locks into place  eliminating leakage.
The DuoLock gets its name from this lid design. Instead of screwing the lid down, it locks into place, eliminating leakage.

Ease of Cleaning


We must admit, the DuoLock bottle is not easy to clean. You'll need a specialized, expensive brush if you want to really get in there. Without such a brush, it took us about 5 minutes to clean this bottle. Other bottles, with wide mouths especially (the Nalgene Wide-Mouth, Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated, or the Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth) were much easier to clean, but none are as portable as the DuoLock. That being said, you probably won't be filling this bottle up with coffee or flavorful teas, and a light rinse is enough to get it clean in the backcountry, so it cleans well enough for the settings it is most comfortable in.

Weight


The DuoLock is one of the lightest bottles in this review, weighing in at 1.12 ounces. Somehow, this is just a hair lighter than the Platypus SoftBottle, which weighs 1.2 ounces (a fairly small difference!!). That works out to being only four hundredths of an ounce per fluid ounce. That means that the weight in your pack is not your bottle, but just the water you need to keep going on the trail. Really no bottle came close in comparison to this contender in terms of weight, except of course the Platypus SoftBottle. It is in this category that the bottle really shines. Other lightweight bottle options are the Nalgene Wide-Mouth or the CamelBak Eddy, both of which weight in at around 6 oz, making them light, but still nearly 5 oz heavier than the DuoLock.

Here  the compact size of the DuoLock is shown on the left  while the Platypus Meta on the right does not collapse nearly as well.
Here, the compact size of the DuoLock is shown on the left, while the Platypus Meta on the right does not collapse nearly as well.


Best Applications


The DuoLock will serve you best in the backcountry. It stows neatly, it's very light, and can handle rugged treatment. This product makes a great backup reservoir and even better primary vessel when equipped with an auxiliary drinking tube. You can even fold it up and fit it in your back pocket, making it the most portable bottle we tested. The carabiner clip is useful for attaching to your harness, and we found this bottle to be the best option for an on-route bottle out there. It can also be attached to a backpack if you like hanging your water on the outside of your pack.

Value


At $14, the DuoLock is a bottle of decent value for those of us who frequently go on multi-day trips. It is packable and light, and easy to fill from streams. That being said, the value of this bottle significantly drops when using it in the office as your primary bottle. It doesn't stand up well on its own, much like the Soma Bottle, one of our glass contenders. The Platypus SoftBottle is $5 cheaper, but we really liked the lid design of the DuoLock and felt like it was worth the extra few bucks. Other inexpensive options include the Nalgene and the Thermos Intak 24.

This bottle is best used on hikes or stuffed into a climbing pack because of its weight and portability.
This bottle is best used on hikes or stuffed into a climbing pack because of its weight and portability.

Conclusion


The Platypus DuoLock is an ideal bottle for backpacking and traveling. Its lightweight design, clever lid, and incorporated carabiner clip make this bottle a great option for those counting ounces for their next adventure. The flexible body can collapse into the size of a plastic bag and stows away easily. It is easy to fill this bottle from a stream, but the narrow mouth makes it hard to filter water. It also requires two hands for drinking, which means it is not the most ideal bottle for road trips! Overall, the DuoLock was a great bottle and our new Top Pick for collapsible bottles.

Jane Jackson

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