Can a simple piece of one ounce gear invoke actual love? Yes. I admit it. I love my Platypus SoftBottle!
When we first started day hiking and camping, I used a 1 liter Camelbak bottle. It’s rugged, leakproof, easy to fill. I also used it for carrying water around town in my daily life. I could even fill it with ice cubes so I’d have cold water later in the day. I liked it. It worked. But once I started backpacking it didn’t work so well. It was heavy, bulky, and took up a lot of space even if empty. Worst of all, it didn’t fit in my pack’s side pockets so I had to take off my pack to get a drink of water.
No worries, I thought. I bought an inexpensive hydration bladder. Talk about super convenient! I could sip water all day long and never take off my pack. But with use I realized I couldn’t tell how much water I had left. And the stupid thing leaked both at the nipple and disastrously in the middle of my pack at the start of one trip. I had to find another solution.
The guys at our local gear shop, Dynamic Earth, suggested a Platypus Softbottle. I was skeptical. It’s thin plastic. It’s squishy. It’s going to be hard to drink from. But there were so many gearheads raving on it online that I figured it would be worth a try.
And I’ve not regretted it once. Oh yes, I’ve already mentioned that I love it.
It weighs just 1.2 ounces empty. It gives no nasty taste to the water. It’s rugged and has held up with no leaks. It collapses down as I drink the water. It molds to the shape of my pack’s side pocket so I can stuff it in there and it won’t fall out. I have the screw-on cap model and have had no problems drinking from it, no dribbles or drips. Even though it’s collapsible, the bottom is made so that it stands on its own for filling. Since it doesn’t leak, I think nothing of shoving it down inside my pack or lying it on the floor of the tent next to my bed for sips in the night. I’ve not done it, but you could fill it with hot water to be used as a hot water bottle during cold nights in the tent.
I’ve never put anything inside the bottle besides pure clean water. So I never need to wash it. Just a quick rinse. And between uses I store it empty in the freezer so that slime doesn’t grow in it. Something we do with all our water gear.
Now 1 liter isn’t really enough water for me to carry for the day when backpacking. So I now have a larger 2 liter Platy Bottle for storing water that I carry in my pack. Gary also carries a 6L MSR Dromedary, filling it with as much water as we think we’ll need til the next water stop. We’ve already written about our water purification strategy.
I’ll have to mention that Gary stubbornly sticks with his .75 liter stainless steel water bottle. I think it’s just because he likes the color. We’ve now bought the kids Platy Bottles of their own for day hiking and backpacking. No more leaky bottles. And no more trying to stuff a large rigid bottle into a small side pocket of their smaller packs. Yup.