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Platypus - Duthie AM 10L

posted Feb 20, 2014, 7:06 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Oct 23, 2014, 3:48 AM ]

Always searching for the most innovative and versatile products, Go Out Project came across the new collection of backpacks by Platypus, the US company famous for its hydration systems. We were lucky to get a sneak peek for 2014 of a new Platypus backpack: the Duthie AM 10L.

Technical Description

The Duthie 10 is a lightweight backpack built for riding singletrack all day long! It can carry a full-face helmet and pads and it offers quick access to food and hydration.
Key Features:
  • 3.0L Big Zip™ LP Reservoir
  • Carry system for full-face helmet and pads
  • Pump sleeve and tool pockets
  • Fleece-lined eyewear pocket
  • Ventilated suspension
  • Magnetic hydration hose retention
  • Waist belt pockets
  • Light loop
Capacity: GEAR 7L + HYDRATION 3L = TOTAL 10L
Materials: 210D PU-Coated Diamond Ripstop Nylon, 210D PU-Coated Oxford Nylon, YKK® Zippers
Weight: 760 g

Our Test

We tested the Duthie for four months, for more than 80 hours, for trail running, mountain biking, skiing, winter hiking and also slack lining! Weather conditions: generally stable or variable with temperatures between -5 °C and 18 °C, some days of rain and unstable weather and a couple of snow storms.

Our first impressions through the first comments from our testers:
  • "Nice!... it's the first word that came to my mind as soon as I saw it... Compact!... as soon as I grabbed it... Comfortable!... as soon as I put it on my shoulders." 
  • "With all the water you can carry, you can cross the desert!" 
  • "Great for a thousand adventures! I pack my slack line in, jump on my bike, and go searching for fun out there."
Lightness and versatility are the characteristics that we've appreciated the most. It may look like a small pack, but in most circumstances there is actually enough room in the main compartment (7L) for a day trip. We have comfortably fit even a 25m slackline in it!

Design & Functionality
Conceived as an "All Mountain" pack for biking, the Duthie AM 10 is well suited for many purposes and outdoor activities and it has numerous technical features that make it a top-quality pack.

The 3L hydration system has a good hermetic sealing and it has 2 plastic hooks inside the dedicated compartment, which lock it securely to prevent annoying fluctuations. The hydration bag can be easily and quickly detached and it has a very large opening that makes it very easy to keep it clean and dry (very important to prevent mold and bad odors/flavors). The small magnet on the shoulder strap is also practical: it allows to quickly fix the
hose in the correct position on the strap and it also allows to bring the bite valve to the mouth in a fraction of a second.

The hydration-system compartment is well separated from the rest of the pack, and if you are not using the water bag, it becomes a convenient accessory compartment. The 3L hydration system is a bit too large for this kind of pack: a 3L reservoir is generally excessive for most daily outdoor activities. It is, in fact, preferable to only partially fill the bag (1-2L are generally sufficient) or to use one of the two smaller bags offered by Platypus (1.5L or 2L).

The main compartment can be opened up completely, which ease the access, and is equipped with storage pockets, a pump sleeve, and a top pocket with zipper and key clip. This helps to keep bike tools, food, and keys always tidy, separated, and within easy reach. The top external fleece-lined eyewear pocket is perfect to store your sunglasses safely.

The external helmet/pad carrying system is very practical and versatile. It can be used to attach everything. For example, it's ideal to carry a jacket, gloves, or anything you want to keep handy.

The ventilation mesh on the back is very comfortable, although for more intense trail running sessions, the ventilation it was not always adequate.

On the balance the weight is not far from the nominal value: 775g! Despite the "massive" hydration bag, the pack is not very heavy.

Freedom of Movement 
When riding the bike you hardly notice it on your shoulders! You always have great freedom of movement, you don't sweat excessively when pedaling uphill and the pack is always stable on jumps. It's perfect for hiking, while during trail running, some of the straps, though well fixed, tend to flutter on the arms. It's also a great climbing pack, since it's very compact and well balanced.

The padding on the shoulder straps and waist belt is comfortable and does not cause any pain or chafing on the most critical areas. Given the relatively small size of the pack, heavy loads are hardly reached, but also when fully loaded the Duthie is still very comfortable, compact, and stable. The pack has an excellent balance, thanks to the well-studied design: tapered shape at the bottom, overall compactness, and wide range of adjustment on shoulder straps and on the waist belt. The mesh on the back also has a relatively good grip, which helps increasing the overall stability of the 
pack on the back.

Weather Resistance
Even intense rain or snow showers are of no harm for the Duthie, which never gets wet on the inside. The mesh on the shoulder straps, however, tends to absorb water with some unavoidable annoyances. We haven't tested it for scuba diving... but maybe that is not necessary!

AM, stands for "All Mountain". In our view, this really meant we could do everything with this pack on the mountains. It is very well suited for mountain biking, fast hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and climbing. Where it doesn't excel is, perhaps, in the most demanding trail running, due to the lack of large handy pockets and because of the fluttering straps, which are sometimes annoying.

Tough and resistant in the most critical spots and with really sturdy zippers! The material used for the main body has an excellent wear resistance. Four months of use cannot be considered a real endurance test, but after the test the Duthie still looks brand new!

Our Verdict 

The Platypus Duthie AM 10 is always comfortable and has enough space for everything you need for a day trip out there. It has been one of our favorite backpacks for mountain biking, but it has also convinced us for its great versatility demonstrating its really good qualities in many other activities, such as hiking, skiing, climbing, with the only exception of trail running perhaps. We have also especially appreciated its
lightness, compactness and stability, as well as the quality of materials and its well-studied design.

 Lightness  7/10
 Design & Functionality  9/10
 Comfort  9/10
 Freedom of Movement  8/10
 Weather Resistance  8/10
 Versatility  7/10
 Durability  8/10
 Total Score  8.0/10

+ Freedom of Movement
+ Comfort
+ Perfect for fast hikes and MTB

- Not very good for Trail Running 
- The 
3L hydration bag is oversized