There are numerous ways to purify water on a trip into the backcountry. You can boil water, use purification tables, pump or gravity filters like the Platypus, and the more recent portable technology of UV purification. The CamelBak All Clear bottle creates an all in one UV purification system for easy, ready to drink water in just one minute.
The CamelBak All Clear makes the perfect accessory for those days on the trail when you are close enough to a water source to refill as needed. Having an all in one purification system saves you from carrying a separate water filter or an entire day's worth of water along with you as you hike.
The CamelBak All Clear system includes a .75L clear water bottle together with a UV Cap featuring a power button and LCD display screen. To purify water, simply fill up the bottle then screw on the UV Cap. Pushing the power button for 2 seconds will illuminate the UV bulb. As the LCD display counts down 60 seconds, rotate the water bottle up and down to agitate. When the 60 seconds are up, you will get a check mark on the display screen indicating successful purification.
UV Purification works by utilizing UV-C light to destroy microbe DNA of all sizes including: bacteria, Protozoan Cyst (Cryptosporidium), and water-borne viruses. Destroying the microbe DNA prevents reproduction. Without the capability of reproducing, the microbes are neutralized and rendered harmless.
As you are most likely to dunk your bottle in the water source to fill, you have to be careful of cross contamination. Use your shirt or something clean to carefully wipe down the lip and threads of the bottle before you drink. That small amount of water on the lip probably won't hurt you but it's better to be safe than sorry.
During the days we hiked around Havasu Creek in the Grand Canyon, I brought the CamelBak All Clear with me so I wouldn't have to carry tons of water for the entire day. Havasu Creek runs pretty clear this time of year so even though it is loaded with minerals, only UV purification was required in order to render the water safe to drink.
If you plan to only have access to dirty water, you might want to stick with the more traditional filter route. For clear water areas such as the Boundary Waters, fresh water or spring fed lakes, and Yosemite rivers, UV purification should be enough in order to kill the nasty bugs that will make you sick.
I can see using the All Clear to travel to third world countries where you might not feel safe drinking the water. Instead of having to continually hunt for bottled water, you could purify the water coming out of the tap in case of an emergency or purify any water you plan to drink just to be safe.
For murky water areas, CamelBak offers the All Clear Pre-Filter accessory that conveniently snaps over the opening of the All Clear bottle and is designed to keep the threads dry while submerging the bottle into your water supply. The Pre-Filter will also clear out the big chunks of dirt, hopefully leaving you with clear water in the bottle.
Two rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries in the CamelBak All Clear UV Cap deliver 80+ cycles per full charge, which equates to roughly 3 bottles per day for 26 days. A battery icon on the LCD display screen lets you know how much charge is remaining. The All Clear can be charged from virtually any (100 – 240V) USB compatible power source including wall chargers, car chargers, solar chargers, and your laptop.
Bottom Line: If you have access to visibly clear water and just want to kill the nasties, the CamelBak All Clear makes a great personal water purification setup. If you only have access to more murky water or need to purify water for a large group, you are probably best to stick with traditional filtering methods.
The CamelBak All Clear UV water purifier retails for $99 and is available now.