Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Platatac Bravo Hydration

With the upcoming Tough Mudder Australia event this weekend, I wanted to show you one piece of kit that I've been using, both for preparation for this, but also on my Stargate Lasertag LRP events, as well as a good solid piece of outdoor and adventure kit. This is the Platatac Bravo Hydration System, which is coupled with a Source WXP 3L Bladder. This was an item that I managed to put on my wish-list, and was lucky enough to receive. I've always been fond of keeping fluids on me, mostly with my combination of my SIGG bottle, which I've reported on, and carry in a FUP pouch everywhere I go. However, sometimes it's more practical to sling all of that onto a backpack, rather than hanging off a belt, especially if you're going to be away from reliable water for a while, or know you'll be doing some hot hard work. That's where a bladder reservoir comes in so handy, especially if they are well made, and carried. That's where the Bravo comes in.

As with all the Platatac range, it's made from the 1000d Cordura, and features a 4 channel, 6 row battery of PALS/MOLLE attachment points on the back, as well as 3 nylon D-clips on the sides of each ventral edge. These are great for either attaching the pack to another piece of gear, like a pack or plate-carrier, or to sling shock-cord through to attach items to the Bravo itself, like a poncho, or the like. The Bravo also comes equipped with a reinforced drag-handle, with hook-and-loop for nameplates or the like and also a hanging loop, which I've found very useful. As you can see from the side-profile, the pack itself expands quite a lot, and there is in fact room for an entire second hydration bladder, should you so desire, (remembering that 1L water = 1kg!) but it also means that there is room within the pack for other things (be sure not to pack anything pokey though!). You could also use the D-clips to use shock cord to compress the pack, keeping the load snug and secure, and adding some water-pressure, but I haven't had any concerns with this.

 The "front" of the pack looks like front side of most backpacks, with a couple of exceptions. As well as the usual Fastex clips and webbing loops, a couple of D-Clips and a sternum-strap for stability (which also includes a signalling whistle in the clip, nice one Platatac!). The backing of the Bravo is a moisture wicking-mesh, and features a drainage grommet. The zipper for access to the insides of the pack is on the "inside" and can be seen as the big curved arc at the top of the pack here. There are ports for the hydration tube at either shoulder, and large squares of hook-and-loop towards the top the shoulder-strap gives you more control over the placement and movement of the tube. The wide mouthed screw opening of the bladder fits snugly into the dorsal side of the pack, and is totally removable.

The Source bladder that came with the Bravo is all kinds of awesome as well, featuring their TASTE-FREE™/BACTERIA-FREE™/CARE-FREE™ Grunge-Guard™ System which basically equates to a easy to clean, easy to maintain, and nice to use bladder and drinking tube (which is in itself covered in a woven tube, for protection, UV resistance and insulation). The mouthpiece is angled 90o which means it is easier to use, with less cod needed to get it into your mouth, and features a really good drinking valve. Both the mouthpiece and tube detach from the bladder for ease of cleaning, with spill-free valves built in, and the bladder itself has both a wide mouthed screw opening and a fold-and-slide closure too. I had some misfortune with my first bladder, after not reading the care-manual, I rinsed it out with hot-hot water, which somewhat melted and warped the bag. DON'T DO THIS!

I'm really pleased with the Bravo, and the Source bladder Platatac paired it with. Its been out adventuring with me a couple of times, and will be getting a serious workout this Saturday at Tough Mudder. Wish me, and my gear, good luck!


I survived the Tough Mudder, as did my Bravo! I really appreciated having a source (har har) of hydration along the way, and it also gave me a good platform to run my Contour GPS off (although running makes the footage a bit jiggy).

The pack stayed snug to me as I ran, crawled, slid, swam, climbed and trudged my way through the course, was barely noticeable as far as wear and rubbing is concerned and the tube system was really convenient. The mud-cap worked really well, and hardly any muck got on the mouthpiece, even when I was caked with almost an inch of it to my whole front. I saw a lot of discarded hydration systems, mostly cheep looking ones, Camelback being the only name I recognized, but there was no way I was going to discard mine! One thing I noticed, the wide-mouth screw-cap leaked a bit. Should it have an o-ring in it? Maybe Platatac can let me know if I've lost mine, or just didn't screw iit down tight enough.


  1. Very cool, I was debating the merits of camelback-style water carriers the other day, now I know where my vote goes!

  2. Got one of these recently to replace a very old camel back. New one is great but for a small clip that holds the mouth piece on. This opens easily to remove the whole mouth piece, this I've lost it in transport. Fortunately there's a range sold separately so it's not a total lose.

    The rest of the kit is really good, very tough and comfortable even on a big back.

    1. yes indeed Andrew, I dragged mine through Tough Mudder, with no ill-effects (even kept the mud out of the mouthpiece for the most part) and now it forms the backbone of my daypack


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