User Review: Platypus Big Zip SL
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $35
Worked well enough, however I found better options in my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012.
- Durable bladder
- Zip top is awesome
- Developed leak at hose connection
- Bite valve gets really dirty unless you purchase valve cover
I started out with this at Springer, but sent it home in favor of just carrying two Powerade bottles by Pearisburg. Now, I wouldn’t have thought about making that switch if it wasn’t for an unfortunate leak that somehow developed where the hose attached to the bladder when I was in Virginia. Luckily I purchased it at REI and so I was able to return it later.
Really at the time I figured I would use Powerade bottles just for a few weeks or until I could get it exchanged, but after the first few days I didn’t even bother. I absolutely hated having to stop for water, pull out the bladder from the sleeve inside my pack, fill it up and then attempt to fit it back in the pack which usually resulted in me having to entirely repack everything because it was kind of bulky.
I also found that because I was fearing having to go through this process, that I wasn’t drinking as much water as I should have. With two Powerade bottles, I could simply chug all 2L of my water, then refill them both without much bother and be on my way. Plus, after maybe three weeks of using the same Powerade bottles, I would throw them away in town and then purchase two brand new Powerades. You get tired of drinking plain water, so this was very welcome.
I discovered later that you can actually get a connection at the bite valve which allows you to pump straight from your filter into the bladder without having to remove it from the pack, which is awesome. If I’d had that I might have actually stayed with this system.
In the end though, I’m glad I dropped the Platypus for my thru-hike, but also realized that I might actually still use it for future day-hikes. Super lightweight plastic Powerade bottles are just much simpler.