Platypus Tokul XC 3 Hydration Pack

They Say - The Tokul XC 3.0 is the go-to pack when all you need is hydration, fuel and tools. Its low-profile rides as cool as it looks, and the pared-down feature set will please anyone that believes less is more.

Key Features:

  • 2.0L Big Zipâ„¢ SL reservoir.
  • One liter of gear storage.
  • Hydration Pocket with reservoir suspension and pump sleeve.
  • Small zip pocket for keys, food and tools.
  • Ventilated shoulder straps and back panel.
  • Helmet/accessory lash points.
  • Reflective detailing.
  • Light loop.

 

We Say - I got this pack because I was planning to do the Rat Race London to Edinburgh cycle ride but then I found that the ride was so well organised that there was little need for any backpack at all. All our food and drink was catered for at regular roadside pit stops and the little we did have to take could fit, along with our tools, into our saddlebags. Ok, this wouldn’t be the case if we were mountain biking on our own, which we shall be at the end of this year when I use the pack during an off-road jaunt across the island of Sri Lanka, but that’s later and I wanted to let you know about this pack this summer…

So although I was using it during 3 months of cross country training runs, I was left with one actual event in which to test out this pack in a competition situation, and that was The Wall, a unique Ultra run across England tracing the line of the Roman monument known as Hadrian’s Wall. It’s a 69 mile run spread over 2 days and a requirement is that you have to carry a minimum of 1000 calories worth of spare food and at least a litre of liquid, together with a space blanket, first aid kit, phone, money and spare outer layer, at all times. Here’s a shot of me wearing the pack on day 2 of the run.

The pack could have handled my raincoat as well as the other kit but it was raining off and on all the time so I used to just tie the coat around my waist to avoid stopping too often to put it on/take it off, as I was running.

As you can see, the pack looks pretty small. It’s stated capacity is 1 litre of gear plus 2 litres of liquid and I had doubts whether it could take all the kit I needed it too. After all, how are you supposed to know what 1 litre of kit looks like? So I just loaded up as I needed to and it managed well, holding 6 large Maxifuel Gels plus all the other mandatory kit I’ve already mentioned, so I can imagine that it’ll also hold a small repair kit as well as a bit of food and an outer layer if you were using it whilst biking.

The important things to note about this pack are as follows;

1/ It was comfy and didn’t rub at the points where it touched my back. At the end of the Ultra run I was showering in the communal area and it was impossible not to notice the red marks, and sometimes open wounds, that many other runners had on their shoulders and backs, courtesy of their packs that had rubbed badly over the weekend. I had nothing of the sort, no marks at all. Perhaps this was a result of the ventilated shoulder and back straps that didn’t allow sweat to build up in these vulnerable areas, and thus kept me free of chaffing. Whatever it was, I was pleased to be one of the only chaps walking away from the race with intact skin.

2/ It’s not totally waterproof but it’s near enough. There were many rainstorms during the run, even hail at one point, and whilst a map that I had in the outer pocket got wet the money that I’d placed in an envelope next to the water bladder, which is protected from the weather by 2 layers of material, was totally dry.

3/ It’s very light, just 482 grams.

4/ It distributed the weight of gear and water well across my back and didn’t wiggle around at all as I ran.

5/ The hydration bladder is easy to remove and fill. A little tip, if you’re filling it with isotonic drink powder then put the water in first, otherwise when you add the water the dry powder might get pushed down into the drinking pipe and cause a blockage. Another tip is to leave a little gap at the top of the bladder, then when it’s sealed you can tip it upside down and suck on the pipe so the air is expelled. This’ll make sure the liquid doesn’t slosh around as you run/move.

6/ The light colour and reflective detailing are a handy safety device to have when your route takes you onto the main road, as our running route did at times.

7/ I’ve been using the pack once a week at least for the last 3 months on my training runs and it’s still working fine, no leaks or tears at all.

8/ There are no negative aspects to report upon.

In Summary - The Tokul XC3 delivers as a lightweight running pack, perfect for Ultras or long training runs. I’m also happy to take it along on our Sri Lanka mountain biking jaunt where the humid climate will mean I need to drink often and the rough roads will require me to carry a repair kit. It didn’t rub, it carried all the gear I needed, it was light and it was really comfy. Excellent.

To see the Tokul XC3 online please visit http://cascadedesigns.com/en/platypus/hydration-packs/xc/tokul-3/product

To find out more about Platypus and to see their full range of outdoors equipment please check their website out

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/platypus

 

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