Strengths: Absolutely no plastic taste in your water, I love that. Very user friendly design, I had the hoser 2 style that came standard with the Vaude hydration packs. I like that you can leave the drink tube attached to the pack, but take the bladder out to clean, fill, dry etc. Very easy to air out as well, just empty, blow into the bag to open up, and stand on its end.
Weaknesses: None that I've run into with this design
The best hydration bladder on the market for: A)ease of use and care, B)lack of taste transmitted to water, C)durability(no leaks in over two years of use), and D)overall design.
Similar Products Used: Camelback bladder, awful plastic taste and hard to air out between rides (every day)
a Weekend Warrior
from Bellevue, WA USA
Date Reviewed: July 23, 2002
Strengths: Great design, easy to fill and clean, rugged as anything, hose exits from side of bag, not front/back - reduces chafe & makes it more useful.
Weaknesses: Takes practice to quickly close the Zip lock tight -
The Platypus bags can be used anywhere, so when your Camelback bladder gets too hard to clean out, replace it with a better bladder - the Platypus. The wide-mouth ziplock makes it easy to fill the bag and add ice, and easy to clean out sticky grunge from energy drinks. Heavy Grommets make hanging the bag in any pack or recumbent bike seat a breeze.
Their bite valves don't drown you and don't leak like a Camelback valve. The hose attaches to the side of the bag so the fitting is not digging into your back.
Cascade Designs makes quality products and stands behind them. This bladder beats any Camelback bladder hands down. Overall, a great value for a 70oz or 100oz capacity bladder.
Similar Products Used: Camelback with all the necessary cleaning racks, brushes and other garbage to maintain them. (Ugh! get the Platypus!)
Bike Setup: Two fast recumbent road bikes - Barcroft and Rans. Why suffer the pain of a slower wedgie bike when good recumbents are now available?
Laurens van Rooijen
from Bern / Switzerland / Europe
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2001
Strengths: Affordable compared to bladders of CamelBak or Blackburn. Material has a shape of its own: you can take the bladder out of the pack and put it somewhere - an it's standing! The material does not pick up tastes of things you pour into it easily (e.g. a «Planters punch»: OJ with rum and crusher ice, we've tried that at open-air music festivals, ;o)...)
Weaknesses: The material is too stiff and stubborn: after half a year of use, it starts cracking at stress points. Leaking is next... The amount of water passing the mouthpiece is insufficient compared to CamelBak, and that's by far! Cleaning is close to impossible when you've got the version with the screw-on hose: be sure to get the zip-closing. The mouthpiece is hard to remove as well, leaving fungus in the hose after a while as no brush is long enough to cover the full length of the hose. Intruding from both sides of the hose is impossible as there's a straight angle in the hose where it connects to the bladder. Pls redesign this, otherwise it's a real reason not to buy or recommend the article.
Platypus inserts are very flexible, i.e. they fit a lot of packs, even those not intended to work as hydration packs. Plus they are inexpensive compared to their competitors. BUT: the material is too stiff, which leads to its cracking after some month of heavy use. The flow-through is insufficient compared to CamelBak. Plus: cleaning is an absolute nightmare with the screw-on hose. Be sure not to get that one, will you? Overall, the system is rather for the occasional and recreational user than for die-hard bikers.
Favorite Trail: Anything narrow, twisty and rollercoasterish
Duration Product Used: 6 months
Purchased At: testing goods
Similar Products Used: Various CamelBaks, Blackburns, K2 hydration systems, Cannondale. Did I say I earn me salary by testing bikes and related stuff?
Bike Setup: Freerider: Cannondale SuperV-frame, Moto FR-monsterfork, standard drive chainrings (no mickey mouse gears, please), DH-worthy-wheels (Mavic 121s, 32 DT Alpine spokes, brass nipples, XT hubs), Magura HS33 Tomac-Edition, XTR, Azonic, Chris King, 2.3"-tires from Schwalbe... weight 30 lbs ++ Hardtail: Cannondale CAAD3, Fatty D w/lockout, Mavic Crossland, Shim. LX crank/chainrings, SRAM 9.0SL, XT V-brake, riser bar. Weight: bout 23 pounds
a Weekend Warrior
from Mountain View, CA
Date Reviewed: November 15, 1999
Strengths: No bad taste and a zip lock top. The zip top makes it incredibly easy to fill with water, ice, or both. There is a ice screw attach for the hose, which makes it easy to take apart and clean.
Weaknesses: The bite valve is worthless, but that's OK, because that's not why I bought the bag - I just stuck on my Camelbak valve.
In my opinion, Blackburn and Camelbak would do well to dump their inserts and use the Platypus insert from Cascade Designs. My three riding buddies and I have all switched, and we would never go back. Two of us have Camelbak bags, and two have Blackburn. The Cascade Designs bags don't look like anything special, but the insert beats the others cold.