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Platypus SoftBottle Review

With its lightweight design and packability, this is one of the best collapsible bottles out there
Platypus SoftBottle
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Price:  $10 List | $8.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, collapsible, simple design
Cons:  Not very durable, difficult to clean, retains flavors
Manufacturer:   Platypus
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 30, 2022
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46
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 16
  • Ease of Use - 40% 3.0
  • Durability - 25% 3.0
  • Weight - 20% 10.0
  • Taste - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

Compact and lightweight, the Platypus SoftBottle is a hydration tool that's been in our backpacks for years. Carrying water without the extra weight of a bottle is a huge advantage when backpacking for multiple days, as well during single-day activities that involve transporting water over long distances. Upon finishing your liquids, it packs up as small as a candy bar for easy stowing in your pack or pocket. It was brought along on long backpacking expeditions without question. Many of the features that make it great in the backcountry, however, are drawbacks when using it as a lifestyle bottle. It's awkward to drink from, slow to clean, and retains flavors.

Editor's Note: This product review was revised on March 28, 2022, with further water bottle comparisons and buying advice.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Platypus SoftBottle
Awards  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $8.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$11.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$19.47 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$30 List
$26.99 at Amazon
$20.00 List
$20.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, collapsible, simple designLight, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingLightweight, well-insulated, simple design, reasonable price tagSleek design, affordable, low-profile for filter bottleAffordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, portable
Cons Not very durable, difficult to clean, retains flavorsDiameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingCarrying handle is an odd size, rim of bottle is a bit sharpLimited to water use only, small capacityPaint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack security
Bottom Line With its lightweight design and packability, this is one of the best collapsible bottles out thereA tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably pricedThis bottle offers the lowest weight among insulated stainless steel bottles that we have testedA bottle that is aesthetically appealing and effective at providing filtered water without leaks and other mishapsThis is one of our top ranking bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensive
Rating Categories Platypus SoftBottle Nalgene Wide-Mouth GSI Outdoors Microl... Brita Stainless Ste... Simple Modern Summit
Ease of Use (40%)
3.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Durability (25%)
3.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Weight (20%)
10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
4.0
Taste (15%)
4.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Platypus SoftBottle Nalgene Wide-Mouth GSI Outdoors Microl... Brita Stainless Ste... Simple Modern Summit
Body Material Polyethylene Eastman Tritan co-polyester Stainless Steel, Polypropylene, Silicone 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel
Empty weight (oz) 1.2 oz 6.4 oz 10.5 oz 13.9 oz 12.4 oz
Volume (oz) 34 oz 34 oz 24 oz 20 oz 22 oz
Bottle weight (oz) per fluid oz capacity 0.04 oz 0.19 oz 0.43 oz 0.7 oz 0.56 oz
Mouth diameter 1 in 2.5 in 2.25 in 2 in 2.25 in
Base diameter 6 in 3.25 in 3 in 2.8 in 3 in
Height 13 in 8.25 in 9.3 in 10.75 in 9.5 in
Body Type Collapsible Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional
Free of Materials BPA-free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA-free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap/Lid Type Closure cap Loop-top screw cap Screwtop Screw-cap with straw Screw Cap
Volume Options 0.5 Ltr, Push-Pull cap 16 oz, 48 oz 17 oz, 24 oz, 34 oz 20 oz 14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz
Warranty Usable lifespan warranty/repair services Lifetime Guarantee for normal use Lifetime warranty 30 day Limited Warranty

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The lightweight, compact Platypus gets stashed in Eric's back pocket...
The lightweight, compact Platypus gets stashed in Eric's back pocket after a ride.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Ease of Use


The SoftBottle has a collapsible plastic body and a screw-on cap. It has a simple design and only two parts, making it easy to operate. The lid is small and opaque, which definitely runs the risk of becoming misplaced, but as we found out during testing, if you do lose the lid, it is easy to order a replacement online for only a few extra bucks. 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.

On the downside, hydrating with this collapsible bottle is a learned skill requiring two hands. Its soft flexibility means it flops around when you're trying to grab a drink, which will lead to spills if you're not careful. This is not a one-handed drinking bottle, so it's not ideal as a bottle for use in the car or for quick sips in the gym.

It also has a small mouth and tips over easily, two more downsides. The small mouth makes filling up from faucets with large or powerful water streams difficult. On this note, if you are planning on purifying your water, the Softbottle requires a different bottle for purification with a filter or a Steri-Pen, which should be noted if you're planning on taking this bottle into the backcountry. It works well as a backup but needs another bottle for filling and purification.

Additionally, this contender was challenging to clean. You'll need a specialized brush if you want to really get in there. Without such a brush, it took us an average of three minutes and 30 seconds to hand wash this bottle. Wide mouth bottles are generally much easier to clean. Though, 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.

Durability


The SoftBottle can easily handle your average tumble onto hard surfaces. It breezed through our drop tests, barely suffering a scratch (a minute scratch on the cap was all). However, you can't expect a collapsible bottle to last forever. It held up fine in our three-month test period, 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.

Weight


The SoftBottle weighs just 1.2 ounces. That works out to being only four-hundredths of an ounce per fluid ounce. You'll notice the water in your backpack, but not the bottle. It is in this category that the bottle really shines.

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. We recommend filling the SoftBottle only with water. This is the downside of the bottle being plastic, and collapsible as the mailable plastic seems to impart its flavor on the liquid more than rigid plastic bottles.

The SoftBottle also retained a strong taste of soap after washing it. This is common with plastic bottles, especially soft-sided bottles. Fortunately, we were able to return both bottles to a neutral taste after filling them 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.

Great for traveling because it packs down to nothing, the Platypus...
Great for traveling because it packs down to nothing, the Platypus fits pretty much anywhere.

Should You Buy the Platypus SoftBottle?


We love the simplicity of the SoftBottle and find it ideal for backpacking. The lightweight design that makes it nearly perfect for this uses also adds to the drawbacks of the SoftBottle's use around town. The flexible body can collapse into the size of a plastic bag and stows away easily. On the downside, the bottle has trouble standing up on its own on a table and is nearly impossible to drink from using only one hand. However, for the backcountry or anywhere weight is a concern, it's a useful and inexpensive option.

What Other Water Bottles Should You Consider?


The SoftBottle is a bottle you want in your pack when going on long hikes and multi-day expeditions. We've recently been convinced, though, that the Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle is a worthy upgrade from the OG SoftBottle. It has a few nicer features, like a carabiner clip and a mouthpiece that's much more pleasant to drink from. We also like the Nalgene Wide-Mouth for backcountry excursions. If you need an around-town bottle, check out our top bottle, the Yeti Rambler 26.

Jane Jackson
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