Platypus Duthie AM 17 Hydration Pack Review
Every year my mountain bike rides get longer and more remote, and my need for carrying more essential gear, food, and clothing with me increases. This season I have been searching for a “mid- to large-sized” hydration pack to take on longer backcountry rides, and recently had the chance to test several. A long-time leader in the bladder game, Platypus has entered the pack game with cross country, all-mountain, and hiking oriented hydration packs. The Duthie is fairly large, and falls into the all-mountain category, and I tested it packed with everything I could think of to take on several rides in the foothills and mountains of Colorado.
Fit and Comfort of the Platypus Duthie AM 17
The straps and waist belt have a fairly ergonomic shape with some decent padding, and first impressions were that the pack is comfortable to wear. The hydration tube, shoulder straps, and waist belt all fit me well enough at 6’2″ with adjustment to spare for shorter folks. The Platypus Duthie AM 17 doesn’t have as sophisticated of a back ventilation system as other packs, and it shows. Most of the back panel lays against your body, especially when full, and with a pack this size the lack of ventilation was noticeable on long rides in warm temps. When riding with this pack I noticed it had a tendency to move around on my back, especially on rough downhills. Even with the wide, comfortable waist straps cinched down the pack would ride up a bit and move around.
Internal (and External) Organization
Gear organization is where the Platypus Duthie AM 17 really shines. The bladder has it’s own compartment, and there’s another large compartment with internal mesh pockets for various types of tools and gear. An outside “stash pouch” is great for stowing a jacket quickly, and there’s a couple of smaller outside pockets for snacks, electronics, or other quick-find items. Round this all out with generous waist-belt pockets in the stashable waist straps and you’ve got plenty of places to carry your stuff.
Another standout feature of the Duthie, and one that makes it a great pack for gravity-oriented riders, is the full-face helmet and body armor carry system. The straps that hold body armor double as compression straps, and those that hold a full-face tuck away when not in use. Many of the straps on this pack don’t attach with standard side release buckles, but rather a hook system that makes them fairly versatile where they clip to the pack. This was a bit different to use at first, but I got used to it easily.
This pack doesn’t come with a rain fly, which some other packs feature. On one particularly long ride I was caught in a torrential downpour (hail and everything) and several items in the top pocket of the Duthie got pretty wet. A couple of easy ways to deal with this are to buy a separate rain cover (several companies make them) or just get your rain jacket out right away and put it on over the pack.
So Just How Big is the Platypus Duthie AM 17?
This pack holds 14L of gear plus the 3L bladder. And I can attest, it’ll hold a lot of gear. Everything I normally take on an epic, all-day, high-country ride fit in the main compartment with no issues, and I had to tighten the compression straps as tight as they’d go. I could have easily taken a heavier jacket in addition to my essential gear, and the Duthie would have hauled it no problem. The internal organizer pockets were laid out both high and low in the pack, which helped spread the weight of tools and gear around fairly evenly. The boxy shape of the Platypus Duthie AM 17 hydration pack allowed for a lot of variation when packing, no streamlined contours to work around when trying to fit taller items (like pumps, for instance) inside the pack.
The Platypus Duthie AM 17 comes with the Big Zip SL 3L hydration bladder, the flagship of the Platypus badders. The opening features the Secure SlideLock clip that slides and locks over the folded bladder to completely seal it, creating a large mouth to easily fill or clean the bladder. The material the bladder is made of BPA-free material, and has SlimeGuard™ antimicrobial treatment kept the water tasting great.
For all the great features of the Big Zip SL, I found the bite valve to be somewhat troublesome to use. The shut-off valve is engaged with a 90-degree twisting motion that I found relatively easy to move from closed to open, but difficult to re-close with one hand while riding. I also felt the flow of water through the bite valve wasn’t as free as I would like. The hose features a quick-disconnect from the bladder, which can interface with a Platypus water filter (sold separately) for trail-side refills. Finally, you can route the hose over or under either side, and place it exactly where you want it.
The Bottom Line on the Platypus Duthie AM 17
Overall, I didn’t feel this hydration pack was suited for my needs. However the full-face helmet and body armor carry ability, plus the large boxy storage areas, would make it a good choice for a rider needing to carry their gear at a gravity oriented bike park or BMX/dirt jump type location. And this is exactly the type of rider that the Platypus Duthie AM 17 is designed for. This pack weighs 2 lbs., is available in Raven/Molten Lava and Raven/Golden Yellow colorways and retails for $129.95. For more information, please visit https://www.platy.com/