Monday, 28 September 2015 13:44

Platypus Mountain Bike hydration packs tested and reviewed Featured

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Platypus claim to have redefined Mountain Bike Hydration Packs for 2016 by introducing three new ranges. The Duthie A.M., The Tokul X.C. and the women specific Siouxon and B-Line. When the chance came I was only too happy to take the Duthie A.M and the Tokul on trial to see if these claims could be justified. Obviously I took the packs to the delights of the red runs at Afan Argoed and Coed y Brenin but I also used them commuting because most packs like these spend their days doing so and subjected them to the "Stuey and his inability to sort his gear out after mountain biking test"

When the packs arrived I'll be honest I don't like the colour schemes. But then I'm 40 years old so I have so sense of contempory style anyway and this was confirmed by a quick straw poll of colleagues who liked it. However neither bag grabbed me by looks alone.

Both packs feature the expected features of a bike pack with loopy things to attach lights, reflective detailing and clips inside to attach your keys. The Dothie also features a reflective rain cover. The bags also come with 3l hydration bladders and a magnetic clip to keep the drinks tube tidy whilst riding.

The Tokul RidgeAir back system

The Tokul X.C. come in a 5 litre and an 8 litre version. I chose the five. It features two main compartments one for the bladder and one for your kit. It really is a minimalist bag so taking a lot of kit is not an option especially with a full hydration system. It does however have a number of mesh pockets perfect for gels, light layers and a little cash.

When first putting on the bag feels far far too small. It seems to sit very high on the back and the straps feel flimsy but then you get a on bike and it all makes sense. The back system curves with the rider and in a matter of seconds you forget your wearing it. Its low profile reduces aero drag and the whole thing stays stable over the rough stuff. One fault I'd mention is that when the bladder is filled when it encroaches onto the other compartment making access didfficult. However you know what you are getting when you buy a pack of this capacity. All in all a very good fast and light X.C pack.

The Dothie All Mountain Pack though is in a different league. I opted for the 15 litre version (it also comes in a ten) and it is cavernous. This is a big 15 litres believe me. Like the Tokul it features a separate compartment for the bladder and  one main one for kit. It also features a small external pocket and a smaller padded one for your phone. It also has two mesh pockets on the waist belt and probabley has more I'm yet to discover. The outside of the pack has a mesh section for storing a Full Face lid or crash pads. This pack is huge!

I managed to get my crash pads two spare layers, a first aid kit, a d-lock, full spares, pump, fork pump and food in and still had space even with a full 3 litres of energy drink on board. I reckon this pack would be ideal for photgraphers on the trail due to internal space alone and with plenty of mesh pockets in the main compartment organisation of bobbins is easy.

The Dothie A.M uses a Floatair back system and even with all the weight I was carrying the pack was stable and comfortable. No I'll go further than that, it was amazing. When riding in the dark down a black section at Coed Y Brenin I forgot I was wearing a pack. The Dothie A.M. is that comfortable.

Now I hate rain covers on pack. They're stupid. They add weight, flap about, get lost and breed a false sense of security but commuters love them so I begrudgingly put it over the pack and wet for a commute in the good old Welsh weather. Well it worked and every stayed dry so now I'm removed it so lets never speak of it again.

Now onto the most important test. I'm rubbish at sorting myself out after a ride and I have been known to leave my bag weeks unpacked with energy drinks giving life to new civilisations. I've ruined at least two hydraytion systems like this so one that is easy to clean is vital to me.

So I packed up the bag filled the bladder with juice and water and went to Croatia for 5 nights. True enough when I came back the bladder was "minging". However the ziplock wide opening made it very very easy to clean. One tablet of false teeth cleaner and a thin brush down the tube and good as new. If it can stand up to me it can stand up to anything.

There are a few niggles however. You have to make sure the tube comes out on the left or the magnetic clip doesn't work properly and the tubes have a habit of kinking if you put the them in wrong. (Oh and I don't like the colour), but these are minor things. All in all whilst not quite redifining Mountain Bike Hydration packs both packs are near to perfection. The Dothie A.M especially, has now got a place the Hall of Stu's favourite kit archive. I just need to find a bike that doesn't clash with it.


Last modified on Saturday, 03 September 2016 08:19
Stu Thomas

A former bank worker now working for a major national outdoor company Stu is an avid mountain and road cyclist and tests kit for MyOutdoors around the BreconBeacons and South Wales. As a member of South Wales Mountaineering Club stu, along with partner Julie (who also tests for us) also both climbs and walks. When not tearing up mountain bike trails Stu can be found on the road either commuting by bike or taking part in muscle draining sportives in the Peak District.

With his retail experience and insight Stu is able to help us with real time buying trends and reviews based on a wide range of kit for comparisons. Stu has also started writing for MyOutdoors Blog, first documenting his "conversion" to a road cyclist and soon to be reliving some of his recent cycle tours that have taken in both the Balkans and Estonia/Latvia. You may even be able to pick him out in photos of wild camping in Magillicuddy's Reeks on the site - Stu gets around!

Preferred activities: Hillwalking ,mountain biking, road cyclingg, climbing, skiing