Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Sucking on a Platypus – a hydration review, I promise

Posted by MarkC | January 8, 2024 | Leave a comment

Platypus Hoser 1.8 ;itre/60 ounze bladder
At some point in the history of mountain biking hydration, the bladders for back and hip packs become complicated.

Suddenly, there were spring valves and corners that led to mould and a far-from-healthy draft to slake your thirst. For the last 12 months or more, I’ve been using the Platypus Hoser bladder in a Camelbak.

Platypus is not, as the name may suggest, an Australian company, but hails from the USA. It is part of the same business as MSR whose lightweight tents are beloved by bikepackers, and Thermarest, whose travel mattresses are essential kit if you are not one of the moles that insist on a five-star hotel!

Platypus claims to make all their hydration systems, which includes filters and bottles, in their own factory in the USA.

Drinking from a reservoir has become such a part of mountain biking that it is hard to recall just what a step change it was in the mid-90s.

Before the Camelbak, bottles in cages on the frame, as used in road cycling, caught everything the Crudguard didn’t. You wrapped your lips around it and swallowed soil and anything else that was in or on top of that soil. Given our propensity to ride along bridleways shared with horse riders and dog walkers as well as traversing farmland, you consumed more than just water – and I’ll leave it there.

Camelbak was founded following a bike race in which medic Michael Eidson competed and experimented with a reservoir on the back rather than a bottle. The full Camelbak story is a good read on Wikipedia.

My bladder

Sums up middle aged mountain biking

The Hoser is a basic 1.8-litre reservoir that harks back to the original reservoirs of the early Camelbak bags but with one simple innovation: the cap for filling the reservoir is the same connection as the hydration pipe.

This simplifies the reservoir and makes it easy to keep clean. At 1.8 litres (or 60 American ounzes), it’s the right size for a Camelbak and most hip bags if you want more than a bottle for a longer ride. The reservoir is 13.5cm wide and 30cm long, so it is a flexible size for many different pack options.

Platypus claims an “embedded silver-ion protects reservoir from mould and bacteria”, and though the science is beyond my simple brain, the usage suggests it to be true. I freeze my Hoser after each ride, which I find keeps the reservoir and pipe clear of mould.

Taste test

As a plastic bag of water with a pipe, there’s not a huge amount I can review other than the essentials, which are:

  • It does not leak
  • Has been robust when removed from the Camelbak and placed on the shed bench
  • It is easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • The water tastes like water, not plastic

Platypus Hoser with cap open

For the average four to five-hour mole ride on a Sunday, I find a litre is enough, though, in the heat of 2022, the additional capacity was welcome.

The Platypus Hoser is available from outdoor stores such as Blacks or online with Amazon. If you would like to keep hydrated on a ride, it is worth considering.

Filed under Accessories, Reviews in January 2024


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