Reviewed by RetroBug from Sacramento, California on Thursday, January 22, 2015
I have the 4L (paid full price elsewhere), and have used it backpacking for a number of years - lots of trips. I started packing (years ago) with 4 1qt nalgene bottles, migrated to large bladders, then platypus bottles, and have now settled on one 1qt nalgene bottle to drink from, and the pack tap as my main water hauler. I went this route because I can't mix gatorade in a bladder, and this setup saves considerable weight over carrying 4 or 5 nalgene bottles. I keep the pack tap in the pack until I get to camp. I don't fear freezing as a source of damage, but do want water, not a frozen block of ice in a bag, so I keep it in the tent/shelter with me at night. It has never leaked.
The pack tap is essentially in three parts: a bag, a cover, and a plug/tap. The bag is a mylar water container, and is like the mylar bags you get in a bulk wine box. Replacement mylar bags can be ordered from Sea to Summit, but I've never needed one. The nylon cover protects the mylar just fine. The tap fills from a removeable rubbery (I don't know the material) plug with a simple tap in it. You use your fingers to pull out the plug to fill it. A black plastic cover protects the plug/tap.
I wouldn't carry this outside the pack where it could be poked by sharp branches or banged against granite. It might hold up fine, but I don't care or need to find out. Carried inside the pack, it's well protected. Most people who look at this fear the weak point is the plug/tap, which looks like it could pop out under pressure or drip-leak from the tap. I thought it would when I bought it, and expected to use a customer satisfaction guarantee to return it. But it has never leaked or popped out. In fact, I carry it on top of the rest of my gear in the pack (including a view camera), and from experience know not to fear leakage. (I do keep everything damageable by water in ultralight dry bags, but not for fear of this product leaking.)
The only other thing some fear is that your fingers will contaminate the plug when you pull it out - that's where the drinking water flows out. I personally simply keep that in mind when filling, and wash my hands before pulling the plug if I need to. That's worked fine for me.
Hike your own hike, do what works for you. For me, this is an excellent product which works very well. At STP's price, this thing is a steal. If the size is right for you, go for it. Then test it before you send it back. It's way stronger and better designed than it looks or feels.
Reviewed by Linda from Washington on Sunday, September 7, 2014
While the outside cover of this pack tap is very substantial, the thin plastic of the water container within it does not seem very durable. I did not put any water in it, but returned it unused as I did not think it would survive many excursions.
Reviewed by Lost in the HIlls from Texas on Thursday, June 12, 2014
A lot smaller than I thought, and not sure if it will really hold 2 liters (doesn't look it), but I plan on using it by throwing it in my freezer and than strapping it on top of my bow while kayaking so I'll have ready access to cold water while out on the river.