Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Platypus Origin 3.0 Hydration Pack

Built upon the Platypus heritage of well-designed hydration systems, the Origin series of packs marks Platypus’ foray into the world of hydration backpacks.

The smallest of the Origin line-up, the Origin 3.0 Hydration Pack provides the outdoor enthusiast the ability to carry up to 2 liters of liquid refreshment and still have storage space - 183 cubic inches worth - for keys, nutritional supplies or any other goodies you may want for your trek.

Similar to its larger sized siblings, comfort and durability are at the foundation of the Origin series of packs. The contoured fit of the Origin 3.0 is designed to support aerobic activity. The BioCurve ventilated backpanel conforms to your movements while allowing air to flow freely between you and the pack. The padded ergonomic shoulder straps provide comfort without compromising maneuverability. Both the BioCurve backpanels and the shoulder straps are overlayed with a soft, stretch-woven fabric that provides next to skin comfort and suprising durability.

Constructed from 200D nylon and treated with a urethane laminate for a waterproof finish, the Origin 3.0’s got your back when the sun fades behind those dark clouds and Mother Nature turns on the water works. Add to that welded, water-resistant zippers and heat-taping on all critical seams, and the Origin 3 is ready to handle the toughest of adventures.

Origin 3.0’s hydration system is second to none. It uses the same lightweight, puncture resistant, BPA free 2 Liter Big Zip™ SL Reservoir place in a dedicated reservoir pocket  as the Origin 22.20 hydration pack designed to keep your gear dry while maintaining the pack’s internal storage capacity.

Like the entire series of packs, the Origin 3.0 utilizes unique toggle mounts for the Big Zip SL reservoir, creating a more stable, secure housing for the reservoir. This housing system effectively eliminates the lateral movement and instability suffered by reservoirs in similar hydration packs.

The leak proof antimicrobial reservoir keeps water fresh and taste free and opens with ease for stress-free filling and cleaning. Add to that multiple housing options for your hose and an on/off position on the bite valve you’ve got a hydration system that is not only adaptable, but keeps the water in the reservoir and not on your stuff.

Room for Improvement...
Overall, the Origin 3.0 is well-constructed, provides lots of room for those much needed goodies and provides enough liquid refreshment to tide over an elephant. As with all gear, though personal preference rules the day and as such there are a few critiques offered for consideration by our field team:
  • For our medium sized field testers the pack worked well for short day hikes and outings on the mountain bike, the Origin 3 but was too broad and bulky for running on those mountain trails or busy city streets.
  • When we handed the pack over to our Clydesdale Category tester, the pack felt more appropriate for trail runs, but felt small on the back and was problematic in terms of adjustment for the sternum strap.
Bottom Line...
Looking for a small sized hydration pack perfect for high-energy, low-duration pursuits?  With an ergonomic fit, sizable storage space and easy to use hydration system, the Origin 3.0 has a plethora of quality features to offer.  Coupled with durable weatherproof construction this pack will serve you well for years to come.  

That being said, whether you add this pack to your closet of outdoor goodies will depend on the intended use.  If you’re looking for a streamlined hydration pack that rides tight and close for longer trail runs this first generation pack may not be the ideal fit.  However, for quick power outings around town or out on the trail the Origin 3 is a great buy for the medium sized hiker who doesn’t mind the fit and feel of a broader pack.

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