OR - Platypus Hydration plusBottle - Ray Estrella
2012-07-01 21:39:55 GMT
Whew, this is a first. Back when, I had a couple calls that I got a hat trick but four OR's in 3 days is a new best. And one I don't want to do again. My eyeballs hurt.
HTML may be found here:
Platypus Hydration plusBottle
By Raymond Estrella
July 01, 2012
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)
I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs Inc
Web site: www.cascadedesigns.com
Years manufactured: 2009
Size: 1 L (34 fl oz)
Listed weight: 1.3 oz (38 g)
Actual weight: 1.2 oz (35 g)
Dimensions listed: 6 x 11.5 in (15.5 x 30 cm)
Dimensions verified accurate
Actual full volume: 1.03 L (35 fl oz)
Diameter when full: roughly 3.4 in (8.6 cm)
Photo courtesy of Cascade Designs
The Platypus Hydration plusBottle (hereafter referred to as the plusBottle) is a light weight collapsible bottle made for carrying liquids. I believe it was the second major design change for their bottles (along with the SoftBottles which I shall review separately) and they say that this one has been upgraded, "to make it the finest one-liter vessel on the planet".
The plusBottles are made of a new type of film, different from any of my past or present bottles. It is a polyurethane/polyethylene blend that they claim is softer and more flexible than the old styles. (And it definitely is.) It also has received a silver-ion based anti-microbial treatment that they call SlimeGuard. Being a huge fan of silver as a anti-microbial, I was very intrigued by this.
The plusBottle's body is made by welding the edges of the film together creating a 0.18 in (4.5 mm) seam around the body, the smallest of any Platy bottle in my experience; it is a little thicker at the top around the handle. It is made with a pleated construction that allows the bottom to swell open under pressure from the water. When full this creates a somewhat stable base to keep the bottle sitting upright.
The threaded polypropylene spout has an opening roughly the size of most pop bottles and comes with either the standard white polypropylene Platypus Closure Cap found on most of the company's products or a Push-Pull Cap depending on model. The common Platy size means that it works with the dual-valve HyperFlow Cap, Hoser tubes and Gravity Works filter tubes also. This cross-platform ability is what has made me switch at least 90% of my water-related products to the Platypus brand.
Another first for any of my Platypus bottles is the handle found to the right of the spout (when viewing the Platypus logo). The oblong handle opening is roughly 1.45 x 0.6 in (37 x 15 mm).
The plusBottle has been made with a slight hour-glass shape to allow for a more comfortable and secure grip when using it. It also has measurement marks at quarter-liter increments.
Most use of the Platypus plusBottles has occurred in Minnesota. They have been used in Itasca, Maplewood, Lake Bronson (seen above), and Old Mill State Parks, and in the Chippewa National Forest and Paul Bunyan State Forest. Temperatures have been between 34 and 90 F (1 to 32 C). Elevations very low, from 800 to 1100 ft (240-335 m), and conditions are usually raining, getting ready to rain, or sunny.
My children also used them at San Jacinto State Park in California where hiked to Round Valley at an elevation of 9200' (2800 m), the weather was great, sunny and a high of 78 F (26 C), there the plusBottles are the base of the hydration systems I made for them. Actually anytime they have their hydration tubes there is a plusBottle at the other end. Here is a shot of them in Itasca State park on a bug-infested, drink-challenged backpacking trip.
I first saw the Platypus plusBottles when ordering the companies SoftBottles for my kids. I decided to try one and later got a couple more. I really like the feel of the new film they use for the body. I like the fact that they are using silver-ion technology to keep the microscopic critters at bay, although to tell the truth I have only had a problem with one Platypus product ever getting funky. And that was because I left a Hoser that had contained Gatorade in my pack for about 5 weeks in a hot warehouse. Oops, maybe if I had less packs
To be honest I wasn't as "wow-ed" as I thought I would be. I have lots of friends that love handles on water bottles but I have never cared about them. I hate anything swinging around from my pack, shoulder strap or hip belt so this aspect has never been used except when I walk back from the filter spot.
I found that they are the worst of all my Platy bottles at staying upright when stood up after filling. The flange created by the seams and the envelope at the bottom isn't very wide and it turns easily. I tried to take a picture showing what happens, seen here to the right. This is when I carefully set it down, if I hurriedly set it down and hit that edge it is an "always over" deal.
Of course there is a silver lining to this storm cloud. That same narrow edge makes it easier getting into a pack's side pocket.
What has happened for us is that the plusBottles have become kind of specialized. I mostly carry one rolled up in my pack to use in camp or at night for drinking water. Because of the silver-ion treatment I also think that it is a better option for water that may sit in the container for a long time, since water filtered in the backcountry has no chlorine or the like to keep it "fresh". So I use the plusBottles as the container for my children's custom-Dad-made hydration systems. I paired the plusBottles with Platypus Hoser tubes that I shortened to fit their packs better.
Lately I have been coming back from a very bad ankle/lower leg accident and have been trying to keep my weights down as much as possible. Since my distances are curtailed too I found that I don't really need to carry as much water as I normally do. While I can just use a bottle in the side pocket, some trips work better with a hose and thinking of the kids' systems I have been using a plusBottle with a very short Hoser tube. I just lay the plusBottle on the very top of my load, right under the pack's lid. This puts the weight in a good spot and lets gravity help me draw the water. Here is a picture of it in my Exos 46 while packing for a three-day trip.
I don't use drink mixes of any kind in my plusBottle, but the kids have. (Only because their cousin did I am sure In the picture above Emma has raspberry-lemonade and Raymond has fruit punch in their plusBottle-based hydration bags. The plusBottles clean very easily. Usually all I do is rinse well with city water once I get home and let it air dry. Only when a drink mix is used do I even need to use soap.
Drying the plusBottles is like drying all Platy bottles in my experience. A long process, even longer now that I am in humid Minnesota. Ha, as I write this I look in the kitchen to see a Hoser (from the trip before last!), four assorted Platy bottles and a Big Zip from my filter system in various stages of drying. Yeah, call us a Platy Family
I'll close with a picture of a plusBottle on the side of my quilt, ready to quench a night-time thirst.