Hands-on Gear Review

Compare backpacking water treatment ratings side-by-side >

CamelBak All Clear Review

   

Backpacking Water Treatment

  • Currently 3.4/5
Overall avg rating 3.4 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: August 23, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $88 - $99 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  UV cap can be used on other CamelBak bottles, can be charged with a solar charger, treats viruses
Cons:  Lamp and battery are non-serviceable, charging takes a long time (5 hours for complete charge), whole system is heavy, does not treat water on threads of bottle
Best Uses:  Hiking, international travel
User Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0 of 5) based on 2 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (2/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   CamelBak
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ August 18, 2014  
Overview
For a UV purification method, the CamelBak All Clear is unique in that it treats water directly in your bottle and takes a tiny bit less time than a SteriPEN. It has an advantage over pump filters in that it treats for viruses, but like other UV methods, it does not strain out particulate or treat water on the threads of the bottle. Compared to both SteriPEN models in this review, the whole system is heavier but it is a plus that it can be recharged through a mini USB cable or a solar charger. The downside is that the lamp and battery are non-serviceable and non-replaceable, so once it maxes out (after 10,000 cycles), you need to get another one. This is a handy and safe treatment method for a single person on a day-hike, but it would be difficult to treat large quantities of water at camp.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

A water bottle with a UV light built into the cap, the All Clear bottle purifies water, meaning it treats for viruses as well as bacteria and protozoa. It does not filter out particulate though. A little heavy for backpacking and limited to only treating small amounts of water at a time, it is an excellent choice for day hikers who want to combine their water storage and treatment method into one.

Performance Comparison
Click to enlarge
The CamelBak All Clear UV purifier in action at night.
Credit: Luke Lydiard

Reliability/Effectiveness
The CamelBak All Clear uses UV light technology to incapacitate harmful organisms such as viruses bacteria and protozoa, similar to the technology used in the SteriPEN Journey LCD and the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti. The way UV light works is that it does not actually kill pathogens, but instead scrambles the DNA of the organisms so that they cannot reproduce, rendering them harmless to you. One thing to note is that since the organisms remain alive in your water, if the treated water is exposed to visible light for a length of time before drinking, it is possible for the microbes to heal and reactivate.

The drawbacks to the CamelBak version is that is still does not treat the water on the threads of the water bottle, and with this specific method, it only treats .75 liters at a time, making it difficult to treat a large quantity of water for multiple people or for use around camp.

Weight
One of the draws of a UV light purification system is that it can be very lightweight. This is one main reason the SteriPEN is so popular. However, the All Clear is not the lightest system. The cap by itself weighs 7 ounces, roughly the same as the SteriPEN Journey, but if you weigh the whole system with cap, bottle, case, and charger it weighs 12.51 ounces, which is average for a pump filter, yet this system is not as versatile.

Time Before Drinking
At 60 seconds treatment time for .75 liter, the All Clear is slightly faster than the SteriPENs, which take 90 seconds. It is quick for this amount of water, but would be difficult to use to purify large quantities.

Ease of Use
This method is very simple: scoop up some water, screw on the cap and hold the button for 2 seconds. Once the UV light comes on, agitate until it goes off. It is much simpler than a pump and as a bonus, the UV cap can be used on other camel bak bottles, so you can bring along extra containers that you already own.

Durability/Uses Before Maintenance
The maintenance that needs to be preformed on this model is charging the battery in the light cap. If it is completely dead, it takes 5 full hours to recharge, and usually longer if using a solar charger. If you are in the backcountry for an extended period of time, you could maintain the battery charge decently well with a solar charger.

The lamp and battery are not serviceable or replaceable. The All Clear is programmed to stop working after 10,000 cycles, after which you need a whole new one.

Taste
As with all UV treatments, particulate such as silt, sticks, and dead bugs are not filtered out of the water, so you may have to drink around the floaters. Otherwise the taste of the water is unchanged and chemical-free.

Best Application
This treatment method would be best used car camping, on short hiking trips, and while traveling. It is on the heavy side, which is not as conducive to backpacking, but it does treat viruses, which makes is a great option for traveling internationally.

Value
At $99, the All Clear is average in price for a UV water purification system, and slightly more expensive than most filters. For such a hihg-tech gadget, the price is reasonable, but if you are on a budget look into something like the Saywer Squeeze or a more standard filter like the MSR Sweetwater Microfilter.

Other Versions

The CamelBak Classic, $65, is still one of our favorites and wins our Best Buy award.

The CamelBak Octane LR, $100, is great for light mountain biking and is a running workhorse because it's very versatile.

Check out the women's specific Camelbak, the Camelback Women's L.U.X.E., $100.

The CamelBak Racebak, $100, is the only hydration pack integrated into clothing that we tested.

The Camelbak Products M.U.L.E. NV is a more tricked out and expensive option. The NV is short for N.V.I.S. (not Nevada) which is CB's more tricked out back panel system. The regular M.U.L.E. is the original and streamlined option and the NV ads a rain cover, storage to the waist belt, more adjustability to the shoulder straps and better air-flow between your back and the pack. It costs $135 and is heavier. We prefer the original M.U.L.E. because we value a lighter and more simple design (for less money).

The Camelbak Eddy, $15, is a consistently high-performing sipper-lid bottle.

If you're looking for a durable bottle that will filter tap water while you drink, then the Camelbak Groove, $22, is for you.

CamelBak Cleaning Brush Kit, $10.

The CamelBak Antidote Thermal Control Kit, $20, can help keep your tubes from freezing when temps dip down.

McKenzie Long

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 23, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 67%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 2 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Aug 23, 2014 - 02:18pm
I've used this product on trips all over the world, from West Africa, Eastern Europe, to Eurasia. It has lasted me years, and is still going strong. Not once have I gotten sick while using it, and I've drunk from some pretty sketchy water sources with it.

I have two complaints with the product, but they're not deal breakers for me. First, the size. The UV cap takes up a lot of space compared to other filter types out there--not desirable for someone trying to remain minimalist with the amount of gear they're carrying. Second, the large mesh in the screen prefilter allows for particulates to pass through. This can be remedied a bit by supplementing the prefilter with a coffee filter.

The battery life is outstanding. I used mine multiple times a day for 10 weeks straight and never had to recharge it.

Couldn't be happier with it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Jul 12, 2014 - 12:56pm
sanloz · Hiker · Frankston, victoria
I have used this bottle on one week or less hikes and I am very happy with it. It's hard to say how effectively it works since I'm not sure if I have in fact drunk contaminated water with it, but I have not gotten sick.

I like how quick and easy it is to use and that I'm not using any chemicals. It's also very fiddle free and pretty much fool proof.
I have used this bottle to supply water for four fellow hikers and it wasn't inconvenient at all, despite the small quantity it holds. Yes a little patience was required but since everyone else planned on boiling their water it was a super easy option compared to that!

For extra water I would purify and then transfer into other drinking bottles until they were all full.

Floaters were a problem though. I just drank them though.

I am very happy with this purifier over all and despite the weight issue it's a pretty cool gadget, but I would still like to try something else next time purely because of the floaters. It would be good if there was a detachable siv.

Overall pretty neat product and fiddle free and user friendly, also super easy to clean!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the CamelBak All Clear?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
CamelBal All Clear Bottle
Credit: CamelBak
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Amazon $87.99  -  11% off!
MooseJaw $98.95
REI $99.00
Compare prices at 3 sellers >

*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
The Best Backpacking Water Filter and Treatment Systems

The Best Backpacking Water Filter and Treatment Systems

A detailed comparison of 17 water treatment methods for backpacking and travel.
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter