21 June 2014

MYOG: Platypus repair

The date stamped on the edge of my first Platypus bag is 12-1-00, and since getting that one I have only had them fail on me four times in three different ways.  The first way is that the edge has become delaminated at a common fold spot and has happened twice.  The first time, I had filled the bag and set it on a counter and it started making the oddest noise as it poured out a little water from the edge and then sucked in air to replace it.  The second time, I had filled the bag in the evening before heading out and it was half full in the morning.  Both of these failures were simple inconveniences.  I inspect the bags sometimes before using them, but usually I just do not fold them anymore.  The second way one has failed is when I managed to get the hose tightened onto the bag a little crooked.  This left the bag draining very slowly into the bottom of my pack and I felt I was sweating a bit more than expected until I found the problem.  At the end of the day when I watched the sunset from a peak, I went for my fleece to find it soaked and I was decidedly uncomfortable wearing it, at least for the first ten minutes.  This was purely user error and I had been using the thing for far too long to have done it.  It is preventable, just pay attention.  The third way one has failed is when I had it full and tucked into the top strap on my pack and could not be bothered to rebalance it as it slipped a little, so it tumbled to the ground where it might have just hit dirt, but instead hit two very sharp rock points.  Water poured from the fresh wound and I transferred it to the backup bag.  There is some user error involved in this one, too, and that is not a high rate of failure, but it is a very important piece of equipment and some sort of repair kit, especially if it is only a gram or so, might be nice to have.

The bag afflicted with holes from a fall, while full, of about five feet onto two sharp rocks.

Two days after holing my bag, I wanted it to be useful again and realized I was carrying the repair for it wrapped around my extra GPS batteries in the form of waterproof first aid tape.  Applied, the bag holds water again.  There are no moist spots in the tape and it has been reliable for use 2-3 times a week since February when it was placed.  It is working so well, that I have preemptively placed tape on what I expect to be one more failure mode, a spot where the top folds over, especially if the bag is overfilled.  (The bag pictured above is overfilled.  This user may error quite often with these poor, abused bags.)

Pre-bandaged top of a Platypus.

So here is another very simple do it yourself to have a repair kit for Platypus bags:
1. Take a length of waterproof first aid tape, about one foot.
2. Fold it onto itself in a small roll
The tape I have is from CVS and is just the store brand.  While it has been exceptional for linear tears in the side of the bags, I expect that it will not fix delamination at the edges.  On the up side, it does seem to take about ten years to have that problem.  Oh, I despise duct tape.  It weathers badly, it wears badly, and anything you are doing with it can be done better with something else.  (What do people do with it?)

Repair kit on the right and the tool on the left.

Well, that was a very small thing, so here is a bonus MYOG I found in a Backpacking Light forum.

Ultralight folding bowl:
Take one Platypus 2.5 liter bag and cut off the top.  Comes in around 14 grams.  Otherwise, the lightest bowl on the market is the foldable Fozzils at just over 30 grams.  Also mentioned in that thread is using the bottom of a milk carton, which does not fold but should be comparable to the Fozzils bowl in weight.

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