One liter equals about 34 ounces. In a Platypus 1L soft bottle, weighing in at a hefty 1.2 ounces, the total weight tips the scale at a little over two pounds. I suppose you could go lighter, like carry water in a plastic sandwich bag, but you will get wet.
I bought the 1L Platypus (I’ll simply call it the 1L from here on out) for a mission trip to Alaska, wanting to pack a carry-on as lightly as I could. After handling it a bit and rolling it up, I wasn’t so sure that I could trust the keeping of water in it.
So I bought another that I could “test.” Actually, the testing became more of intentional abuse. The abused 1L was purchased at a local sporting goods store. It was the last one on the rack and was marked down as a result of what might be rough handling marks by some novice stock boy. Also, the lid was missing. I haggled for an additional 20% off and walked out of the store with a $3 Platypus.
Finding a cap was no problem. The lid from a rubbing alcohol bottle fits perfectly and, of course, is pre-sterilized. I also discovered that the sip cap from one of my vintage Bota (of Boulder) bottles fits perfectly. I guess I could simply buy a replacement cap but that would cost more than what I gave for the 1L.
I was really more concerned about how the bag itself would hold up. Fitting an alcohol bottle cap, I filled the bag with water and put it through some very rough handling exercises, with a few 1L selfies to document the proof:
First, I snugged the cap and let the bottle rest on its side overnight. No leaks. I set it in the sun for a couple of days (which included some cool nights). No leaks. Not being satisfied that natural forces were doing a good job, I squeezed the bottle hard numerous times – too many to count. In fact, hard squeezing was routinely performed between other test procedures. No leaks.
Next came some really rough handling (more than the stock boy who put some dings in the surface). I dropped the full bottle on the cap over 25 times from about four feet high. No leaks. Next, to simulate field use, I threw the bottle around… way around. I tossed it into the air; I threw it as if throwing to someone (who would miss it). I spun it up and let it bounce on the ground. I tossed it onto the work bench and other places I carried it: concrete floor, grass, outdoor chairs. No leaks.
I thought that the true test would come in work-hardening the plastic material, so I emptied it and rung it out (rolled up as one would carry it), first one way 25 times, then the other way 25 times. Then rung it across the body, trying to work the top of the bottle. I rung it hard enough that it held the shape, as pictured. I then filled the bottle with water, snugged the cap, and squeezed it. No leaks. Now filled, I let it rest on its side day and night. No leaks. I propped it upside down on the cap in my garage. No leaks. I squeezed it, toss it around a bit, and removed and replaced the cap numerous times. No leaks. Nowhere. Not in the beat up body, not in the area of the cap.
The 1L now clearly bore some wounds, but nothing that leaked, oozed, or otherwise failed. I fully expected that at some point the bottle would fail – a pinhole leak, broken seam, cap failure, or cracked surface. It showed no signs of abuse, just signs of what I would call normal handling. And for what it’s worth, I have no problem drinking from it: I’ve read that some people claim that it’s easier to use two hands but I have no problem using it one-fisted.
Under normal circumstances in most outdoor adventures, the Platypus 1L soft bottle doesn’t need to be babied. I don’t know that it would hold together if dropped from the edge of a cliff by a rock climber. Not sure it would survive being run over by a four-wheeler. And I suppose an animal could chew its way to a refreshing drink of clean water. Outside of these instances, which would damage pretty much any water container, the 1L will get you there and back again.
The nice thing is, you can carry one for clean water and one for filtering water. Some after market filtration systems fit Platypus bottles; and Platypus markets one specifically for their products. Filling the bottle from a shallow source might be tricky though but outdoorsmen are reasonably resourceful people.
The only downside I’ve read about might be cleaning the bottle. But I had no problem simply rinsing it out, draining it, leaving it “inflated” with the cap off, and setting it upside down on the counter. Next day, it was still a little wet inside so I placed it on the dash of my truck in the sun. It dried out well. I plan to store it open and “inflated” until convincingly dry, but from experience I can state that I see no problem in this regard. As for long term storage, I’ll store it with the cap loosely fitted, as I do all my cleaned and dried bottles.
Perhaps trying to clean dirt and debris from the inside might be a little more problematic. But all I need to carry is water. Clean water. And the Platypus 1L soft bottle will perform this task admirably.
I took my Platypus 1L soft bottle to my church’s Man Camp for three days. It shrugged off any use given it, from bouncing around in a kayak, to boys tossing it on the ground, to lying in the heat, to any other number of handling activities. No leaks.
It survived a week in Alaska, full of water and in the pocket of my cargo pants or in my hands on the trail. I dropped it a time or two, and accidentally knocked it off a table. I did not baby it. It also accompanied me to a camp for children where I was camp pastor. Same story: knocked around, on the ground, in my cabin, and in my hip pocket (yes, when the 1L is full of water, it’ll fit in the hip pocket of my size 36 jeans).
While in Alaska, I stopped and shopped at an outdoor supply store. They had Platypus caps on sale: 2 for $1.50. I snatched them up. My well-worn 1L now wears its own brand push/pull cap. Stored, I keep it rolled up in a small drawstring pouch but I also carry the alcohol bottle cap just in case I lose or damage the factory cap, which at this point seems unlikely since it, too, has seen a fair amount of dings and knocks.
Just an added reminder about drying the Platypus. After rinsing it out with clean water, I place it inflated on the dash of my truck in the sun. It dries out in less than a day. Perhaps direct sunlight will one day deteriorate the material but that, too, will factor in with my product testing. So far, after several drying sessions, it’s fine.
So, even at the regular price of around $9, the Platypus 1L Soft Bottle is well worth owning… and using without much care.