Drink It Straight From the Source: CamelBak All Clear

When getting a glass of clean water is as simple as turning on the faucet, it’s easy to take water sources for granted. It’s not until I’m looking for water to brush my teeth with in a cheap, third-world city hotel room, or when my mouth is parched from backpacking in remote, high country that I want assurance the water I’m drinking will nurture my body, not make me sick. With CamelBak’s new All Clear water bottle, which takes UV purification and makes it simple and portable, I can rest easy and drink as much purified water as I need anywhere and everywhere.

All you have to do with the CamelBak All Clear is fill it up (if you are in the backcountry, you might want to get the pre-filter to get all the twigs and debris out of the water), press the button to turn on the UV light, agitate the water as the timer counts down from 60 seconds, and voila, 3/4 of a litre of purified water. It’s designed to be sturdy and survive travel. The UV bulb is tested to be just as effective from day one to the end of its lifetime, which according to CamelBak is about 10,000 cycles (as in three bottles a day, everyday, for nine years). And you can recharge the battery with any USB power source.

Tahoe Mountain Sports Owner Dave Polivy took the CamelBak All Clear out on a backpacking trip earlier this month and put it to the test. Here’s what he had to say:

I have wanted to try this bottle/device since it first showed up at the shop. With a backpacking trip planned, it was finally time. I’ve used traditional water filters like the MSR Miniworks for years, enjoyed many a bottle of water flavored and treated with Iodine tablets, and used the Steripen Classic on a number of trips as well.

My first impression of the CamelBak All Clear was it’s weight. It is a bit heavy when compared with a Steripen. But when you realize you are carrying the bottle and the purifier in one package, it seems to be an OK weight range, though still not the super lightest. Other than that, it looks just like a normal water bottle, just with a bigger top.

A couple of usage tricks I figured out: You only need to hold the button down for about 2 to 4 seconds or until the timer starts counting down and gets to 58 seconds. If you hold it longer than that, it will flash with an “E” for error and stop working. If you don’t hold it down long enough, it won’t even start counting down. After I did this a few times, it was easy to hit that sweet spot. Once the timer is counting down, that is pretty much it. Flip the bottle up and down a couple times to “agitate” it. Then wait for the UV and the check symbol and you are good to go.

We went backpacking with four adults and two kids for two nights and this was the only system we used for all our water needs, including drinking and cooking. We filled it up, purified it for 60 seconds, dumped it into somebody’s water bottle or dromedary bag and repeat. It worked perfectly the entire time and we probably did about 20 to 30 treatments throughout the weekend. The battery life only lost 1 bar, or a quarter of its power during that time.

Verdict: While this might not be the lightest setup for everybody, it works and it works well. There is no room for user error like with a Steripen, and it is way easier than a pump filter and about equal the weight as a MSR Miniworks. I would highly recommend this for the avid traveler and for the backpacker who is concerned with performance and ease. Again, not the lightest purifier on the market, but an affordable one that works.

CamelBak All Clear
MSRP: $98.95

CamelBak Antidote
MSRP: $34.95

CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle
MSRP: $14.95

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