Hands-on Gear Review
Compare backpacking water purification ratings side-by-side >
Street Price: Varies from $31 - $39 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Can drink filtered water right through the bottle, easy to use, no treatment time, insulated.
Cons: Flow is mouthpiece is very slow, heavy, can't use for cooking or other purposes, filter has short lifespan.
Best Uses: Hiking and camping.
If you plan on some casual day hikes in the mountains and would like the option of refilling from a stream or mountain lake safely, the Aqua Vessel is a perfect option. It is a water bottle that doubles as a sterilization filter and is easy to fill on the go. It is heavy, so it is not as ideal for a long distance hiker like the Aquamira Water Treatment Drops and the flow through the mouthpiece is really slow, so not as ideal for setting up camp and treating quantities of water for cooking as the Platypus Gravityworks Water Filter. The activated coconut shell filter strains out microscopic pathogens and particulate, but does not purify for viruses. It does also function as an insulated water bottle, and comes with an extra straw attachment for when you are using potable water in the filter, so is more versatile than pump filters, which only have one purpose.
Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The activated coconut shell carbon filter strains out 99.99 percent of Giardia and bacteria, as well as chemicals and heavy metals. It also filters out Cryptosporidium, which is the cyst that most chemical treatments such as iodine do not eliminate.
It seems very reliable except for the fact that it is difficult to drink from the straw with the filter attached. The water flows very slowly, which can be frustrating for a thirsty hiker.
At over 14 ounces, the Aqua Vessel is not the most weight efficient method for the volume of water it filters (.75 liters at a time.) If you would carry a water bottle with you anyway, then the filter itself doesn't add much weight and the bottle does add convenience.
Time Before Drinking
There is no wait time; you can drink immediately after filling through the filter. However, the flow through the straw is slow, so no gulping of clear water, and it would be difficult to dispense water into a cook pot.
Ease of Use
It really couldn't be easier. Fill and drink.
Durability/Uses Before Maintenance
This bottle is good for 378 fills before the filter needs to be replaced. That seems like a lot for a bottle, but in comparison to other filters such as the MSR Miniworks EX which can treat 2000 liters, this one needs a lot of upkeep.
The taste of water as it comes through the filter remains unchanged. If anything, the flavor is improved as chemicals, heavy-metals, and particulates are strained out.
This bottle is most ideal for use on day-hikes. Its weight is prohibitive for the long-distance hiker, and the flow and quantity of water treated per fill is not useful to a group setting up camp. However, it is much lower maintenance and easier to use than a pump, and is very appealing for the casual hiker.
If you only need to filter water a couple of weekends a year, this is an excellent choice. It only costs $36, which is much less than a filter, will keep you protected from bacteria while hiking, and doubles as a sleek insulated bottle the rest of the year.
Aqua Vessel Insulated, 25 oz.
Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite, 25 oz
Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite, 17 oz
Challenge 21 Ultra Lite
— McKenzie Long
Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 20, 2013
Where's the Best Price?
*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Related Gear Reviews
Recent Best-in-Class Reviews