I recently reviewed the groundbreaking water bottle called the Camelbak All Clear, which takes tap water from places you’re not supposed to drink the tap water and makes it safe for you to gulp down. This Groove Insulated bottle has a filter in it, but it’s not meant to be taken that far. Rather, this is a bottle meant to wean people off their commercially filtered bottled water that’s dinging their wallet and destroying the environment. Picture the last time you had to dump out your water bottle before going through security at the airport, then were faced with the prospect of spending another $3 on the other side to duplicate it. With this Groove bottle, you just fill up at the water fountain (remember those things?) and you’re good to go.
I just spent three weeks in Eastern Europe and used this bottle daily, not once needing to pick up a bottle in the supermarket. You can drink the water there and sometimes it’s natural spring water that tastes great, but with this I could fill up anywhere and never get hit with the taste of chlorine.
The way it works is, a tubular filter in the middle is attached to the spout where you suck out the water. The force of that pulls it through the filter and it comes out the other end tasting neutral. The way the insulation works is, there’s a double wall of plastic. That’s not as effective as stainless steel, so don’t expect the kind of stellar “ice cold for hours” results I got with the Under Armour Thermos bottle I tried out last year, and it only holds 20 ounces (6/10 of a liter), but it’ll fit into most backpack pockets and water carriers.
Eventually you’ll have to replace the filter and the only way to know that time is here is when you can taste that it’s not doing the job anymore. The specs say it’ll go for 48 gallons on one, which is a good stretch. Replacement ones are $10 for two, $25 for six.
Camelbak has a good reputation for quality and they back up these bottles with a good replacement warranty. I did find this bottle to leak at the top sometimes, but overall I’ve been happy with it otherwise. It takes a lot less suction force than I expected to use it, so the filter part hasn’t been an inconvenience at all. I once bought a no-name brand bottle with a filter like this before a hike a few years ago and was ready to stomp it to pieces by the end of the trek: it kept coming apart where the filter meets the spout. No such troubles with this one as it’s much more intelligently designed.
The Groove Insulated bottles come in the color you see here plus a gray/black version and an aquamarine version. This one is easy to find in stores or shop for it online with these direct links to Backcountry, REI, Moosejaw, or Amazon.
Tim Leffel is founder of the Practical Travel Gear blog, as well as the Cheapest Destinations blog and the narrative webzine Perceptive Travel. He is the author of The World's Cheapest Destinations (now in its 4th edition), Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune, and A Better Life for Half the Price.
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