Platypus Tokul XC 8.0 by Cascade Designs

There are hydration packs, and then there are Playtpus hydration packs. I‘ve recently had the privilege of testing Cascade Design’s Playtypus Tokul XC 8.0 extensively. The Tokul XC 8.0 provides a double dose of awesome by combining both a very well-designed pack and the Big Zip LP reservoir.

Before I get to the features of the pack itself, I‘d like to focus on the Big Zip reservoir.  It features a whopping 3.0 liters of water storage! That is HUGE.  When I first received it, I gave it an initial rinse and drain. After that I filled it to capacity and zipped out on a nice ride. And in all of my time with it, I can say that it really is taste-free. Not a single instance did I have a chemically or waxy taste. The reservoir is light (as I‘d expect for cycling). It is also designed to be really low profile. For handling three liters when full, there is still plenty of room in the pack itself for other goodies and gear.

Platypus Tokul XC 8.0 by Cascade Designs
Platypus Tokul XC 8.0 by Cascade Designs

The mouth of the reservoir is super easy to open and seal thanks to the “Slidelock” closure. It just takes a firm tug to open, but when it is sealed, my water is locked in. One thing I really liked about the Slidelock was that has a securing strap to the reservoir. After I slide the lock off, it will just hang there attached while I fill the reservoir. Speaking of filling, the mouth is very wide and makes filling it really easy. I even poured ice water from a pitcher into it without spilling. It is that wide! A handle built into the Slidelock makes removing, carrying and inserting the reservoir convenient.

I find the hose to be flexible and it can easily be set up on the right or left strap on the pack. Great for lefties! The quick release tube makes it easy to keep things set up while I remove the reservoir for rinsing or filling. After filling it, a quick snap, and I am back in business.

The bite valve is comfortable and flows generously. It even has a shutoff that allows me to throttle or shut off the water altogether. With a twist of the shutoff, I could share water with my four-legged hiking buddy.

Platypus Tokul XC 8.0 by Cascade Designs
Bite valve on the Platypus Tokul XC 8.0

Now, onto the pack itself. First off, it has lots of storage space for such a small pack. There are plenty of mesh pockets for my gear and snacks. It also has an outer pouch that expands to hold my helmet when I am taking a break. This pouch is not too big, but it does have adjustable straps to fit most helmets.

The shoulder straps are ventilated, which helps keep my shoulders comfy and reduces sweat. They adjust easily and have bands that can be used to cinch up any slack. I should warn those who are a bit bigger that the waist straps run small. I am 6‘2” and 218 lbs. The straps fit me fine, but I only have 4-6” of room to spare. If you are of larger stature, you may find it better to keep them unbuckled and cinched up. The pack features a sternum strap as well that is adjustable for a nice secure and custom fit. The sternum strap is also home to a magnetic clip that holds the bite valve and makes it easy to pull of and secure. In my time with the the Tokul, I found that taking the time to dial in the straps was the key to comfort.

Platypus Tokul XC 8.0 by Cascade Designs
RidGeair cooling on the Platypus Tokul XC 8.0

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Speaking of comfort, you can kiss sweaty, pack-back goodbye with the Tokul. The super cool (pun intended) RidGeair back panel allows air to flow between the pack and my back. This really made my longer hikes and rides more comfortable. I didn‘t have to peel a sweaty shirt off of my back. The ridges are soft and comfortable too, I hardly felt them.

Visibility is always an issue when cycling. It is nice to see that the Tokul features a couple strips of reflective material and also an attachment point for a light at the rear of the pack. I would have liked to have seen the strips a little wider though. You can never have too much visibility.

While the Tokul is an awesome hydration pack, I am bummed that it doesn‘t have a bite valve cover or sleeve. When travelling through dustier areas, dust and dirt start to stick to the bite valve and I have to wipe it off with my shirt before taking a drink. I am sure that there are some who would prefer the convenience of not having to take a sleeve off and are fine with a little dirt when riding hard and needing a drink pronto. To be fair, I bothered me more when hiking than when riding.

Overall, at a very reasonable MSRP of $99.95, the feature-packed Tokul XC 8.0 is an amazing hydration pack. It offers lots space for gear, incredible comfort , and a whopping 3 litres of water storage.


A huge thank you to Cascade Designs for providing the Tokul XC 8.0 for review. I love it.


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