Hard Goods / Tech / October 1, 2020

Platypus Tokul XC 3.0 Hydration Pack

This barely there hydration pack will appeal to the parched minimalist runner or biker who wants to keep hydrated without the excess bulk of a full trail bag.

Platypus Tokul XC 3.0 Hydration Pack, $70, Available Jan. 2013

The Good: Featherweight bag with enough storage to hold the essentials for a minimalist trekker.

The Bad: It would be nice to have a small mesh outside pocket within reach for my camera.

The Ugly: This bag can help replace the water in your body, but it won’t erase the exercise stank from your workout gear. Go take a shower, hippie.

The human body is about 70% water, and when you’re out there chugging life it is important to replace all that manly perspiration.  But it’s difficult to take enough aqua out there to keep up with a heavy workout, without feeling like a pack mule saddled down with a bulky pack.  We wear minimalist shoes, lightweight top layers, and ultra thin shirts to save on weight, so why shouldn’t our hydration system follow suit?  That is exactly what the designers accomplished with the featherweight Platypus Tokul XC 3.0 hydration system. Designed for shorter runs, or as a biking pack, it features a 2L reservoir, 1L gear storage, inner bike pump pocket, and an outer pocket for keys. This is just enough for minimal needs, without any excess fluff. One caveat to this design, I would have loved a small mesh pocket near the hip or lower back for easy access to a camera or energy gel without having to take off the pack to get at everything.

The pack is made up of durable 10,000mm coated waterproof fabric with water resistant zippers and sealed seams. The shoulder straps are a durable but thin padded mesh for a barely there fit and the padded back channels kept my back cool and relatively dry during my most strenuous testing activities. Speaking of testing activities, in addition to about 30 miles of street and trail runs, this was the support bag I brought along on my recent NorCal Tough Mudder run.  The pack held on tight as I scaled walls, rolled about in the mud, and dunked into the most frigid water imaginable over the course of 11.5 miles of brutal terrain. Although I did have my doubts about strapping on a bag then crawling under barbed wire in the mud or squeezing through dark submerged culverts, I never caught, snagged, or even thought about it until I wanted to get a camera or some energy chews out. Although it didn’t stay completely dry after such a brutal ordeal, within minutes of full prolonged submersion the bag was barely damp.  This was due to some strategically placed drain holes and the lightweight material used. There was simply no point on the bag where moisture could linger.

A hydration system is only as good as the guts that hold and deliver the precious water we all need to keep running strong.  I was very happy with the quality and design of the system, notably the multiple upper and lower hose routing options, low profile anchor points, and easy to reach chest hose clips. The mouthpiece is a standard bite valve with a 90 degree twist lock to keep leaking to a minimum.  ON the inside, the BPA free anti-microbial reservoir features a fast zip top, integrated toggle mount and hose quick connect made for painless refills, with a leak-free closure that was easy to confirm.  My gripe with the reservoir would have to be that it is difficult to fit a hand into the bag due to the size of the opening.  On other hydration bags I’ve used, the round openings are a bit easier to reach inside and clean.

The new line of platypus hydration packs also includes workhorses with larger capacity, more pockets and bigger reservoirs; while keeping the lightweight and durable construction consistent. So if you need to keep hydrated out there (of course you do), but shudder at lugging around excess gear then take a minimalist jaunt with this sleek water pouch and chug a post-run brewski with a guilt-free conscience.

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Tags:  backpack hydration hydration pack hydration vest Mudder platypus race running Tokul Tough Mudder trail running Water

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David Skinner
David Skinner
With a wife & two kids, adventure has to come close to home. It’s a good thing he lives in Northern California where a short drive in any direction will land him near the water, a trail, or a mountaintop. His passion for adventure comes from a growing up in the Trinity Alps, and a few trips to the other side of the world. With about 10 years of paddling behind him and mountains all around, he’s ready to share a fun take on what makes this world a wonderful place to explore – one adventure at a time. Contact him at [email protected]

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May 06, 2020

[...] sent us a question related to our review of the Platypus Tokul XC 3. This is a lightweight hydration pack with a 2L reservior and about 1L of stash space. I’ve [...]

Oct 05, 2020

Nice Review Skinner!

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