CamelBak has developed a bacteria and protozoa blasting UV light that makes it safe to drink water in the backcountry! UV light is what municipalities use to make our drinking water safe, and now CamelBak has a portable UV light that us hikers can use in the wilderness.
CamelBak just debuted the CamelBak All Clear at the Summer 2011 Outdoor Retailer show, so it is yet to hit the market (it will be available in March 2012). While I haven’t had a chance to use it in the backcountry, playing with it at the show convinced me that it will be a compelling product!
How it Works
The CamelBak All Clear uses a high-powered ultraviolet light, just like the SteriPEN products. The light kills 99.99% of viruses and 99.9% protozoa, making it more effective than pump filters (because filters can’t kill protozoa).
At the show, the CamelBak rep explained how they’ve made it really simple to use… the steps are even shown in pictures on the outside of the bottle!
Step 1: After filling up the bottle with water from a stream, lake, etc (a Pre-filter can be attached to eliminate some dirt), the user holds the power button down for 2 seconds.
Step 2: After the power is on, the user then begins to rotate the bottle so the UV light can reach all the water.
Step 3: LCD screen shows when the purification cycle is finished!
Pros and Cons
I don’t have one of these yet (they hit the market in March 2012), but after seeing it used at the Outdoor Retailer show, it seems very easy to use, and priced right!. The only potential drawbacks I see are that it only works with a 0.75L bottle…if you need a lot of water for cooking and drinking on a backpacking trip, 1 Liter at a time is more convenient than 0.75L. However, the cycle only takes 60 seconds for 0.75L, so it is slightly faster on a per Liter basis than the 90 second cycle with a SteriPEN that will purify 1 Liter. Lastly, it could be on the heavy side and bulky side, especially compared to SteriPEN’s new Freedom, which weighs just 2.6 ounces.
- Life of UV Bulb: 10,000 cycles.
- Battery: The battery can be charged with a USB cord, so it needs to be hooked up to your computer, cell phone, solar charger, or wall mounted at home…the battery holds a charge that will handle 80 full cycles (so 80 x 0.75 Liters = 60 Liters of water)
- Time per purification cycle? 60 seconds per 0.75 Liters of water.
- Price: MSRP $99. Will be available March 2012. Pre-Filter will cost $15.
Getting water out of a stream shouldn’t cause any hiker to panic… and now that both SteriPEN and CamelBak have easy to use UV lights, more people will have peace of mind drinking water in the wilderness or 3rd world countries!