Climbingjourney scoop after several long training hikes, a few climbing excursions and one day multi-pitch climb.
I have owned several hydration systems, but by far my favorite is the Platypus Big Zip SL Hydration System.
Why? As a climber, I thought I would have strong fingers….and I do. However, I would rather preserve my fingers and somehow I do not look forward to opening jars that are tight, bottles and well, the screws in the front of the hydration system!
The Platypus system I just tested has a top zip lock type system where you slide the top to close it and boy I tested it. Turn it up side down and shake it all around, and no water comes out! Believe me, I tried to break this thing, so I guess it is with me for good after surviving my abuse.
My friends and I noticed that having the cool top open feature means we could fit our hands right in it like a bag (haha), so filling it up and cleaning it is super easy.
I also tested the ease of disconnecting the hose and it does make it easier swapping packs because you can take out the reservoir from the pack, but then no more struggling getting the valve part through the back pack slot.
The valve is a bite valve and worked just fine for me while hiking. I also liked the lock feature, it was really sturdy. I had a Camel Pack hydration system and that lock would always slide and get my friends crag pack wet on our ride home. This one locks in tight.
So Climbingjourney gives this hydration system a perfect 10. I have the 3.0 which is too big for a lot of packs, but I use for 5-12 mile day training hikes and the 1.7 which is perfect for cragging and fits in most packs.
This hydration system can be purchased at most outdoor fitters stores such as REI, or even cheaper online (e.g., Backcountry, etc.). They run in the $20-30 range and totally worth it. Go get it!
Thank you Platypus for making the perfect hydration system, be sure to check out their other products at http://cascadedesigns.com/platypus.