The Platypus Hoser Reservoir is a cheap and robust way to carry a lot of water on your bike or back. There are some good features, but a few niggles too.
Water bladders have been very common among mountain bikers for decades, carried in backpacks for easy access. Long-distance cyclists have taken to the idea, with frame bags accommodating hoses for clean looks and easy drinking. While there are some drawbacks – notably, how to fill a bladder up if it's under a load of stuff in a bag – there's no arguing that a large bladder is a far more efficient use of space than multiple bottles.
The best place to store a heavy object like a water bladder is as low as possible in your bike's frame. Lowering the mass lowers the bike's centre of gravity, which is a good thing for cornering, and also when pedalling out of the saddle as it reduces the 'pendulum' effect as the frame swings side to side.
Looking at a typical bike frame, when the two water bottle cages are installed there's a fair bit of unused or unusable space around and below the bottles – and it's this space that a well-matched frame bag and bladder can fill.
Enter the Platypus Hoser. The bladder material is a tough yet highly-flexible material, with the generous seams welded in a manner that gives confidence in longevity. Around the threaded mouth there's a thick wedge of supporting material to spread the stresses, and at the other end there's a chunky hanging hole.
The mouth is only 21mm wide – just enough to fit a narrow tap – and this is one of the Hoser's drawbacks. Bladder manufacturers have to strike a balance between really wide-mouthed openings that are easy to fill but bulky and heavy, or smaller, lighter openings that are harder to fill from shallow water sources. If you're thinking streams or puddles, Platypus doesn't offer a specific filter kit for the Hoser, so this product is really focused at filling with clean water via a tap. If you have a separate filter-bag system, you could fill the Hoser from it, but some bodging will be needed; some bikepackers and ultra-distance riders rig up quick-fit systems to decouple the end of the drinking hose, to be able to feed clean water into the bladder without removing from a frame bag – but this is at the niche end of the use case spectrum.
In the Hoser kit you get the 9.5mm outside-diameter, 100cm-long drinking hose and mouthpiece, but no on-off valve or end cap to keep the valve clean. You can buy a cap from Platypus for £8, and it also does shut-off valves, but doesn't say if they are compatible with the Hoser hose.
There's also a plastic clip that can be attached easily to a shoulder strap or, in the case of a bike setup, a Velcro or webbing strap up to 25mm wide. I threaded it onto my top tube bag's headset strap and it worked perfectly to keep the hose secured.
Installing the bladder at the bottom of a frame bag on an XL-framed gravel bike, I was just able to safely bend forwards and drink from the tube without having to stop – a real bonus for keeping up with hydration. While shorter riders on small-framed bikes may have no issues, the less-flexible or more risk-averse may want to arrange a longer tube – but Platypus doesn't offer one. One option could be to purchase its 'Big Zip' Evo Drink Tube Kit and attach that to the existing hose – it looks like it will fit, but again Platypus doesn't say it will.
Water or sports drink through the Hoser doesn't taste of anything untoward to me – as claimed, it's a 'taste-free' product.
The threaded fixture attaching the hose to the bladder is rock-solid and didn't leak a drop, but the bite valve with no lockout will probably leak if stuffed into a gear bag or similar when full. It's comfortable to drink from with a good flow rate, but after decades using Camelbak valves with integrated locks, the Platypus offering seems a step backwards. Fortunately, generic locking bite valves are easily sourced for around a fiver if you want one.
The narrow opening means keeping the bladder clean and dry can be a chore. If you're using any kind of carbohydrate drink you'll be wanting to buy a bladder cleaning kit to keep things healthy. I fashioned a metal coat-hanger into a spreader I could insert and hang up to let the bladder dry quickly after rinsing post-ride. Platypus doesn't sell its own drying-spreader-thing, but Decathlon does a nifty cleaning-and-drying kit for £8. The Hoser has 'embedded silver-ions' to 'protect clean water from mould and bacteria' so that's a plus to help keep things clean.
For a long time Camelbak was the go-to cycling hydration system, and its Crux 2L bladder comes with an on-off valve for a rather pricey £37 at rrp. It has a very wide mouth designed for Camelbak's backpack systems, but the hose stays attached, making cleaning the tube potentially challenging.
Many newer entrants to the hydration system market are using easy-fill designs that fold over the top of the bladder and secure with a large plastic slide-on clip – whether these are robust enough to be buried in a frame bag and bounced around with other kit is questionable. Looking at the price ranges, for 2L systems you're generally north of £30, so at £26 for a very tough design the Platypus design wins value points.
All in all, the Hoser is a well-priced and tough way to carry a decent amount of water inside a frame bag or backpack. You may want a longer tube or a locking valve, and you'll need a decent cleaning/drying kit. These aside, the Hoser is a good choice that should last you many backcountry adventures.
Good solution to carrying water in a frame bag or backpack – a few niggles aside, it's a solid choice
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Platypus Hoser Reservoir 2 Litre
Size tested: 2 litres
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for people needing to carry lots of water, in a bag or backpack.
Platypus says: 'The original Platypus® water reservoir that became a backcountry classic, the Hoser™ is an ultralight, minimalist hydration system that delivers taste-free hydration with a versatile, durable design that makes it great for backpacking, thru-hiking, and day hikes. Updates include a new self-sealing HyFLO™ bite valve that delivers a 30% increase in flow rate, making it quicker and easier to hydrate on the go.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Capacity: 2L / 70 fl. oz
Dimensions: 40.5 x 15cm
Very solidly built.
Let down a bit by no lock.
The build is very tough.
The bite valve is comfortable and easy to drink from.
Compared to the competition it's pretty good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I'd like a slightly longer tube, but otherwise it's fine.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tough connection at the hose.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of lock on the bite valve.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is good – we haven't reviewed any bladder-only solutions, but the Hoser is well priced.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If the Hoser came with a locking valve and was a little wider, I'd score this 8. As is, it's a solid choice.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L