Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir

Last updated date: September 9, 2019

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We looked at the top Hydration Systems and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Hydration System you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 64 expert reviews, the Platypus Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir placed 5th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 25, 2020:
Checkout The Best Hydration Pack for a detailed review of all the top hydration systems.

Expert Summarized Score
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
866 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The big bite valve and wider tube used with the Platypus Big Zip offers the best rate of water flow and is comfortable to drink from. It's easy to load into a bag but has a wider profile.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
The large opening to the reservoir also means it is easy to get in at to clean. I only ever put water in my reservoir so a rinse does the trick after use.
- Cool Hiking Gear
The bite valve proved to be sufficiently reliable in terms of water flow and leak-proofing capabilities. The Hilo self-sealing bite valve features a unique design that completely shuts off water to prevent any leaks.
- Camping Maniacs
This bladder is extremely light and weigh less a pound which means it is easy to pack and carry with you
- Gear We Are
This platypus bladder has an ergonomically designed mouthpiece that feels natural when it's in your mouth
- WalkJogRun
Divided compartments which make for less sloshing whilst on the move
- Mountain IQ
The reservoir has a wide slide closure at the top which allows easy refilling, cleaning and draining.
- Best Hiking
June 7, 2019 | Full review
What experts didn't like
It still feels light in your backpack. It has a wider profile that makes it a little harder to pack in narrow backpacks, but we learned that it was only super tiny running packs that the 3-L capacity did not work in.
- Outdoor Gear Lab
No protective cover on the bite valve to protect from dirt
- Cool Hiking Gear
Flimsy handle on the clip slide closure.
- Camping Maniacs
No flip-top opening
- Gear We Are
One concern that affected a small percentage of users was the durability of its construction. One user reported that they experienced splitting seams after just a few uses which can, undoubtedly pose a concern
- WalkJogRun
Horizontal orientation of the hose attachment is not compatible with other quick release systems without a connector
- Mountain IQ
Unfortunately, the valve does not come with a cover for protection against the dirt – the cover is sold separately.
- Best Hiking
June 7, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir for Hydration Backpacks offers an evolution in hands-free, taste-free hydration. Available in two styles: The EVO with Fast Flow Valve and the Standard Valve. The Fast Flow Valve delivers an extremely high flow rate (50% more than the Standard Valve), self-sealing HyFLO bite valve, large 5/16-inch drink tube, simple one-handed filling, easy cleaning, fast drying, quick access drink tube disconnect, and leak-proof shutoff valve, while the Standard Valve features a 1/4-inch drink tube, easy cleaning, and a low profile design. The Big Zip is a top pick for hikers, backpackers, travelers and mountain bikers for their hydration backpacks. This hydration reservoir features embedded silver-ion to protect clean water from mold and bacteria. All materials are certified food-grade, BPA-, BPS-, phthalate-free and taste-free for a clean taste. The Platypus Big Zip+ is available in 3 sizes: the 1.5-Liter measures 8.5 x 13 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces; the 2.0-Liter measures 8.7 x 15 inches and weighs 6 ounces, and the 3.0-Liter measures 9 x 17.2 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces. Manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty. Made in the USA.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 6
2. Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 11
3. Source Widepac Hydration System
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
4. WACOOL 3L 100oz BPA-Free Hydration Bladder
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 4
5. Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 7
6. TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
7. Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 7
8. MARCHWAY Tactical Hydration Pack
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 4
9. FREEMOVE Camel Backpack 3in1
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Hydration Systems

Hydration is important when you’re engaged in strenuous activities, particularly while outdoors on a hot day. Whether you’re cycling to work, hiking or indulging in some other type of sporting activity, keeping fluids in your system is essential. Without it, you could start suffering from dehydration, which can include a drop in energy, headaches and dizziness. If left unchecked, dehydration can even cause fainting.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

But dragging along enough water to last for hours can be tough, especially if you’re trying to keep your load light. Hydration systems are designed to make it easy to stay hydrated without having to deal with water bottles. A hydration backpack affixes to your body to keep your hands free, so you can focus on the day’s activities. You’ll drink through a tube that serves as a giant, flexible, leakproof straw.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Before you start shopping, consider whether you want an all-in-one hydration backpack or a separate water bladder that you can slide into whatever pack you’re carrying. You can save money and get more versatility from a hydration bladder, but you’ll need to consider how you’ll attach it to your body or bicycle to keep your hands free.

The type of activity you’re doing will also affect which hydration pack you choose. “Many manufacturers have tailored the design of their packs in terms of weight distribution, the location of straps and its profile to your body’s movement,” says our home goods expert Vicki Liston. “Cycling systems, for example, will fit differently on your body than a running or hiking system.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Since most hydration packs feature similar water capacity, pay close attention to the weight and size of the model you choose so that you can keep your load as light as possible while you’re out and about.

As for the bladder itself, there are plenty of features to consider before you buy. You’ll want a hydration system that doesn’t leak, as well as one that insulates the liquids inside to keep them cool as long as possible. That means the tube that runs from the bag to your mouth should also be insulated to keep the liquid cool as it moves through.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

The opening on some hydration systems is small, which will keep you from being able to insert ice cubes or get in to clean it. Look for one that allows for this if you plan to use ice, or you’re concerned about keeping it clean. You’ll be glad, in the end, that you chose one that makes clean-up easy.

Lastly, there’s safety as a consideration. Some consumers prefer to steer clear of materials made with BPA, so you’ll want to search for one that promises to be BPA free if this is important to you. Some hydration bladders are also antibacterial, which will help protect against mold forming, even if you accidentally leave liquid in the pack for days at a time.

DYWM Fun Fact

When experts discuss the importance of hydration, it’s easy to assume plain water is the only option. But there are plenty of other liquids that will hydrate you. In fact, for some athletes, sports drinks heavy in electrolytes may be more beneficial. Tea and coffee can hydrate, but they also contain caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, flushing some of that fluid from your body before you can get the benefits of it. Decaffeinated tea and lemonade can keep you hydrated, as long as you keep them as low in sugar as possible. Milk is also good for hydration, as are some foods, including fruits, soups, hamburger meat and chicken breasts.

The Hydration System Buying Guide

  • As you start shopping, you’ll notice multiple options when it comes to the design of your hydration pack. Backpack-based designs build the hydration pack into a padded garment that you wear like a vest or backpack. Then there are freestanding hydration packs that you can slip into an existing backpack or bag.
  • If you opt for the backpack design, make sure you choose a model that’s comfortable. The Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack is built with padded shoulder straps, while the TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack has straps that are adjustable to help you find the perfect fit.
  • Ventilation is also important if you’ll wear your backpack outdoors in hot weather. The Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack is made from breathable mesh that promotes airflow as you move, keeping you cool whether you’re bicycling around town or hiking your favorite trail.
  • It’s also important to look for a hydration pack with an easy-to-use on/off valve for when you’re ready to drink. With the Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack, you simply pull the valve out to use, then push it back in to lock it in place until it’s time to hydrate again.
  • Leaks are no fun, especially with a product like the Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder, which is designed to go into an existing backpack or bag. The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder is designed to keep liquids inside the bag when you aren’t drinking. The Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack uses a click connection that keeps leaks at bay much better than traditional screw designs. The Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack is also 100%  leakproof.
  • Over hours of wear, a hydration pack can weigh you down, so you’ll find you benefit from not choosing a pack that adds weight to the water you’re carrying. The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder weighs only 0.8 pounds when empty, putting it among the most lightweight you’ll find, but you’ll have to add the weight of the pack you choose to carry it in to that weight. The TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack is a bladder and pack in one and weighs only 0.9 pounds when empty, and the Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack beats that, weighing 0.8 pounds without liquid. The TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack and Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack are also very small in size, which means they won’t take up much room on your back.
  • You won’t want to worry about your hydration pack breaking when you’re far from home. Fortunately, many water packs are built to last. The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder is both pressure- and wear-resistant, meaning you can expect to enjoy many years of use. If you have a problem with it, the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • Science has come up with all kinds of ways to keep liquids cool for hours using insulation. But with hydration packs, you’re not only dealing with the bag storing that liquid, but also the tube through which you drink. The Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack insulates its tube, but the initial sips often are warmer than later sips. The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder features superior cooling, with a seal that keeps water cool. The long hose is also insulated.
  • The openings on some hydration packs make it tough to insert ice. With the Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder and the Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack, you’ll get a large opening that makes getting ice inside easy. Another benefit of this large opening is that it lets you easily insert cleaning brushes inside to keep it clean.
  • The TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack does require you to fully remove the bladder from its pack before you can refill it.
  • Consumers are increasingly looking for materials that don’t contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical being reviewed by the FDA for its safety. BPA is found in cans and certain plastics. If you’re concerned about BPA, the Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder is made from BPA-free material.
  • Safe or not, bags that leave an aftertaste make hydration difficult. The Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder doesn’t have that chemical taste that can be especially noticeable when drinking water. The material in the bladder is also antibacterial — a helpful feature to have in a product that will be exposed to moisture for hours at a time.
  • “Look for a hydration system that’s easy to clean,” says Liston. “The bladder, drink tube and mouthpiece will be teeming with bacteria if you don’t thoroughly clean,  sterilize and allow it to dry. If it’s hard to get inside the bladder, you’re probably going to miss some spots and the growth will begin.”
  • If you’re hitting the trails for the day, you’ll want a pack that can hold enough water to get you through. The Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack, Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder, TETON SPORTS TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack and Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack hold 2 liters of water, which compares to the amount of liquid you get in a large bottle of soda.
  • Pockets can be helpful no matter where you’re wearing your hydration pack. The Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack and Mubasel Gear Hydration Backpack Pack have three storage compartments, handy for storing your keys, money, glasses and other items.
  • For those on a budget, most hydration packs are priced reasonably. However, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re getting for your money. With the Aquatic Way Hydration Bladder, you can save significantly over competitors, but keep in mind you’ll need a bag to carry it in, which is an extra expense.