The Platypus Tokul XC 3 hydration pack is a perfect pack for when you need hydration without bulk. It holds a two liter bladder and claims to have 1 liter of storage capacity, giving it the 3 designation. It is light and very comfy, making it a great race day pack as well as an every day adventure pack.
I’ve used the Tokul both as a day-hike pack and as my primary hydration pack on the bike for single day rides and bikepacking. I have filled it with only water and have also filled it to capacity with water and other gear. In all instances, it performed well and impressed me with the details that smaller packs often skimp on or overlook.
One of the most impressive features of the Platypus Tokul 3.0 is its fit and comfort. This allows the pack to be noticeably unnoticed. The straps and back are padded. The shoulder straps in combination with the chest and waist strap keep the pack secure. This is the first pack I have used that has not required re-positioning when used on rough terrain. The White Rim Trail was in pretty rough shape when I bikepacked it, but the teeth-jarring bumps transmitted through my full rigid bike did not displace the Tokul, even when loaded with 10 plus pounds. Also, the pack stayed in place while fording rivers, jumping puddles, exploring the backcountry, and climbing through slot canyons during hikes around Escalante.
The storage capacity of the Tokul 3 is in the form of a small external zip pocket with an integrated key loop. This pocket can hold a wallet and phone or a few small snacks. However, there is also room for additional storage in the main compartment which houses the bladder. This storage is ample enough to stuff plenty of ride-fuel in or even a rain jacket or arm/knee warmers. I found that the capacity of this pouch was sufficient to allow me to stuff an extra 2 liter water bag in during my desert bikepacking.
The 2 liter bladder supplied with the Platypus Tokul is the Platypus Big Zip. This is the easiest to open (and close) bladder I have used. Despite the ease of closing, the zip seal and plastic slide closure ensure a solid seal that never leaked. The large opening makes it a breeze to clean. The hose disconnects from the bladder, which makes in-ride refilling easy and much quicker by eliminating the need to reroute the hose. Integrated loops in the bladders slide closure connect the bladder to the bag and prevent bunching and sagging of the bladder.
My Tokul has been great for both hikes on foot and bikepacking. Next up is to use it as a no-frills race pack for hydrating during training, and then for racing the Dirty Kanza 200. I expect it to perform just as well in those tasks too.
The Platypus Tokul XC 3 is available for $69.95 on the Cascade Designs website. There are other Tokul XC Series available as well. The 5 liter comes with a 2 liter bladder and claims 3 liters of storage. The 8 holds a 3 liter bladder with 5 liters of storage space.
I can highly recommend the Platypus Tokul XC 3.0 if you are looking for a hydration pack for day hikes or for primary hydration on short to medium rides. For longer rides, the pack’s main compartment does allow one to stuff in an extra bladder if so desired. The Tokul 3.0 is also a smart choice if you want a simple, light, and comfortable hydration pack for racing. It fits like a glove and will stay put, letting you concentrate on the job at hand.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)