I’m quite picky with the daypack I take on holiday. It has to fulfil different needs from the packs I use at home, and the Origin 32 from Platypus made itself a firm favourite during a recent trip to Cape Verde.
You see, I’m not one for heat. I don’t mind the odd week somewhere tropical in order to satiate the Wife’s need for seeing the sun, but I prefer to sit in the shade, or don a smothering of factor 80 and head off for a wander around old towns or rugged coastlines and feel like I’m doing something other than slow-baking. For that reason I like to carry a hydration system and Platypus have been around for Donkey’s years with some of the simplest bladders, and now some of the most feature-packed packs.
The Origin 32 is available in two back-lengths and I have the 20-inch, hence the full name 32.20. It’s a physically big daypack which is at the size where you need to start taking weight on your hips to avoid fatigue. With that in mind, the Origin 32 has a fairly substantial waiststrap and hip pockets which although aren’t in the same league as a waist system on a larger pack do take some of the strain.
The pack I have is a vibrant green colour, which makes it very easy to identify when crammed in to an overhead locker somewhere on a plane, but can feel a little conspicuous when in a very poor country.
The materials are lightweight and yet very waterproof (10,000mm) which means that the contents of your bag will remain dry in the heaviest of rain. The zippers used are rainproof too, and have a nice positive closing action which instills confidence. Any zipper will eventually give in to rain, but these feel like they’d last a while before any ingress occurs.
The main pocket of the bag is cavernous, with plenty of room for beach towels, books and snacks. 32L is as big a daypack as I’d ever really want to carry, but the Bio-Curve system (shaped to fit your back) and generous padding on the Origin do well to keep things comfortable on your back.
The hydration system works well. The bite valve is chunky and simple, and the whole thing is easy to remove from its dedicated pocket and clean out when it starts smelling of old socks. The tube is held in place by fabric retainers and clips, so it never whacks you in the face if you break into a trot towards the ice-cream booth on the beach.
The side pockets are made from the same stretchy fabric (like Lycra) as the tube retainers and are OK for stuffing odd shaped objects like apples or tennis balls into. The waiststrap has additional zippered pockets for things you need to access like your keys, phone and money, but they’re not the easiest pockets to get in to when you’re on the move.
The pack has an ice-axe loop and a curious stretchy compression, er, panel which I couldn’t find a use for. It has an open bottom so I’d be a little paranoid of storing anything in here that I couldn’t also clip on to the pack for fear of losing it. In fact, with the compression panel in place, the main zipper is partially obscured, which can get annoying. I think that if I had to live with this pack long-term I’d remove the panel altogether.
SUMMARY: The Platypus Origin 32 is a big daypack with cavernous main pocket. It has an excellent hydration system built in to a pack which is finished to a very high standard. It’s lightweight (750g) and comfortable when not packed too heavily. Waterproof and good-looking, I’m just slightly confused by the compression panel and would end up removing it.