Platypus Sprinter XT 35
Whether you're out on a day hike, bike ride, or even…
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Platypus for testing and review)
Whether you're out on a day hike, bike ride, or even an overnight backpacking trip, the Platypus Sprinter XT 35 is a great pack that has many features to fit your needs. Cascade Designs has put a lot of thought on the design and functionality of this backpack. I would definitely recommend this pack.
- Independent hydration sleeve
- Waterproof zipper closures
- Comfortable shoulder straps
- Pack compression is great
- Removable aluminum stay
- Roomy external pockets
- Very durable fabric (Weatherproof Diamond Ripstop Nylon)
- Great design and usability features
- 2 lbs. 13 oz. for Large size
- Aluminum stay and back sleeve support weigh 9 oz.
- No load lifters to support heavier loads
- Poor pack ventilation
Review Platypus Sprinter XT 35
I. Product Features:
Main Compartment and Top Pocket:
Hate cinch-top closures? Fortunately, this pack has none! The Sprinter XT 35 features weatherproof zippers and taped seams. The main compartment has a ton of room for your gear that is made very easily accesible due to the use of the zippered enclosure. The top pocket also utilizes weatherproof zippers and taped seams. Storing items you need to access fast are best stored on this top pocket.
Independent Hydration Sleeve:
The Sprinter XT 35 features an independent hydration pocket. I find this feature very useful because taking your bladder in and out of your pack can be obtrusive. Having the bladder in its own sleeve makes loading and reloading your water quite convenient and easy.
Shoulder Straps and Suspension:
The Sprinter XT 35 features ventilated shoulder straps which makes it very comfortable to carry. However, with the lack of the top-load adjusting straps, you have to make sure to not overload this pack with too much weight. Though Cascade Designs does not list the weight capacity of this pack, I would not want to load this with more than 25 lbs. of gear. I am sure the pack could carry more weight, however, your shoulders will not be thanking you later.
The Sprinter XT 35 also features two hip-belt pockets, side pockets, and a large shove-it pocket to store any items you would normally want accessible throughout the day.
The pack also has trekking pole loops and ice axe loops for easy stowing.
One last feature that I think is just smart, is the ability to tuck in the hip belt. This makes this pack a great carry-on on flights and also when just storing it in your trunk.
Per the manufacturer, the pack volume is 35 liters or 2135.83 cubic inches. Depending on how much you carry, this is enough room for your overnight or weekend long trips. You can see from the photo below how much you can actually fit in this pack.
I wasn't kidding when I said this pack is full of features. My favorite is definitely the independent hydration sleeve. It made a huge difference not having to fight with your packed gear to get the water out.
With loads of less than 20 lbs., I have found this pack to be very comfortable despite not having load lifters on the shoulder straps. However, with heavier loads, one could start feeling a bit of a shoulder strain. I did find that hip belt does transfer the weight very well to your hips and it is quite comfortable.
So far, this pack gets a very positive vote in my book. However, there are some features on this pack that I didn't like. Let's talk about weight. For a 35 liter pack, I expected this to be a lot lighter than it is. The dry weight of this pack is 2 lbs. 13 oz. — 3 oz. shy of 3 lbs.! After looking closely, I was able to remove the aluminum stay and back piece. This was then weighed and on my scale it registered a little over 9 oz.
With lighter material options these days, I feel that Cascade Designs could have used a lighter aluminum piece that is just as strong. With the amount of design pluses so far on this pack, I was disappointed by this. The good news is that you do have the option of not having the support. By not having the aluminum stay, you are potentially reducing the pack weight down to 2 lbs. 4 oz.
With the weight aside, the other issue I had with the Platypus Sprinter XT was the ventilation on your back. Compared to other packs I have used in the past, the Platypus Sprinter XT has poor ventilation. Every break I took where I took off the pack, my back was drenched in sweat. This wouldn't be much of an issue during warmer months of hiking but if this is used during colder months, having a sweaty back could be dangerous. I hope that Cascade Designs will review this and it would be interesting to see what they can come up with to improve the ventilation design of this pack.
IV. Final Thoughts:
Overall, I must say that the Platypus Sprinter XT 35L is packed with very functional features. It's a very well designed and comfortable pack. 4 out of 5 in my opinion...it would've have been a 5 if the weight of the pack was lower and if there were no ventilation issues.
Your reviewer on an overnight bikepacking trip :)
For more information about the Platypus Sprinter XT 35, check out Cascade Designs.
V. Testing Conditions
Testing of this product was done on four separate outings in the San Gabriel Mountains, Angeles National Forest, Griffith Park Trails, and Verdugo Mountains (backpacking and day hiking).
- Manker Flats to Mt. Baldy
- West Fork Bike Trail to Glenn Trail Camp
- Stough Canyon - Youth Camp Loop
- Griffith Park - Glendale Peak and Hogback Peak