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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

AQUA VESSEL TRITAN FILTER WATER BOTTLE

Initial Report - April 29 2012
Field Report - July 10 2012
Long Term Report - September 11 2012

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.net
Age: 46
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions.  I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30 lbs (14 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer:

Eco Vessel

Year of Manufacture:

2012

Manufacturer’s Website:

http://www.ecovessel.com

MSRP:

US$25.95

Measured Weight:

7.65 oz (217 g) w/ filter
5.65 oz (160 g) w/o filter

Product image
Images courtesy of Eco Vessel

Product Description:

The Eco Vessel Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Tritan Filtration Bottle, aside from being quite a mouthful (pun intended), is a “Tritan” plastic 25oz (0.74 L) water bottle, with a flip top drinking spout and included filter. It is part of their line of filtration bottles that also includes two sizes of stainless steel bottles (17 & 25 oz / 0.5 & 0.75 L) of similar design.

Initial Report

April 29 2012

This water bottle is offered in three colors: Bolder Blue (what I received), Khaki, and Violet. They come with an in-bottle water filter, which I will address below, and has a flip top lid with removable/replaceable silicone drinking spout. The bottle is made from a BPA free plastic. It is shaped with a narrower section just above the middle to make it easier to hold and the lid has a loop built into it. The mouthpiece folds closed into the lid of the bottle. The mouthpiece has a thumb tab molded into it to make it easier to open, as well allow for one handed opening/closing. The bottle fits in my hand nicely due to the narrower section, and while I can carry it by hooking a finger through the loop in the lid, it is not quite big enough for me to two fingers. The documentation says that it is dishwasher safe but recommends hand washing with warm soapy water. It recommends that the filter section be rinsed in just plain water and air dried.

Note that the documentation for the bottle warns that since the rubber mouthpiece can be removed, it could be a choking hazard and so is not recommended for children under 8 years old.

The included filter is attached to the lid via a plastic straw. The bottle comes with a longer straw that can be used when the filter is not wanted/needed. The filter is advertised as being able to improve taste and eliminate odors as well as removing toxic chemicals and reducing heavy metals. The documentation also states that it reduces microscopic pathogens including removing 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium. I could find few details about how the filtration is achieved aside from a mention of using “coconut activated carbon” as the filter and that it utilizes “Miraguard Antimicrobial Technology” to keep the filter clean. From what I could find online “Miraguard” is a silver based technology that helps prevent the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold and mildew within the filter. Most filters I have used advertise the filter mediums pore size (often 0.2 micron) indicating the smallest particle that the filter will block thereby demonstrating what kinds of micro organisms it will filter out. I can only assume from the information provided that this is comparable to most other filters I have used that will filter out most bacteria and parasites but not viruses. The filter is listed as being good for filtering up to 100 gal (379 L) of water. Replacement filters can be ordered from the manufacturer. The website FAQ states that the way to know the filter is no longer working is that it will be more difficult to drink through and the water may taste different.

Something not mentioned is if the filter can withstand being frozen. Most filters I have used specifically warn against freezing as the expansion of water when it freezes will damage the filter media. Utilizing the “contact us” link on the manufacturers web site (not identifying myself as a tester) I submitted a question regarding how the bottle and filters ability to withstand freezing temperatures. I received a reply within a few hours stating that the bottle is “resistant to extreme temperatures” but that the filter should not be subjected to temperatures below freezing.

Eco Vessel offers a lifetime warranty against defects, and container accessories such as tops and spouts, and although not specifically mentioned I presume the filter fits under this category, have a 1 year warranty. As usual, normal wear and tear is not covered. A return authorization form is available on their web site and requests a photo of the damaged product be submitted. They also have a 30 day return policy if the product is new and unused.

Something not mentioned is that since this bottle is intended to be used with and without the filter it would be a good idea to thoroughly clean the bottle after it has been used for questionable water sources before using it without the filter.

First sipFirst use: Upon receiving the bottle I did a quick inspection looking at all the features and examining it for any signs of flaws or defects. Finding no problems I tried swapping out the filter with the included straw. The filter was easy to remove and the replacement straw was easy to install and attaches firmly making it unlikely that it will come off accidently. I rinsed out the bottle and lid, but intentionally did not rinse the filter, and filled the bottle with tap water (my tap water smells of chlorine). Having experience with carbon filters I spit the first mouthful into a glass (see photo). As expected it was black with carbon dust, nasty to look at, but not harmful. Rinsing the filter before first use should prevent this. After a few sips the water was clear and I could detect no chlorine taste/smell. As expected, drinking from the bottle with the filter in place required more suction then drinking directly from a straw. The suction required did not seem excessive but it will take using it on the trail to before I can tell if this is will be a problem or not. When I tried it using the straw in place of the filter it required minimal suction and the flow rate was as good if not better than my hydration packs. The drinking spout is firm but soft and quite comfortable in my mouth. I like the straw top for the ability to drink while on the go without spilling, but often avoid bottles with drinking spouts as they tend to get dirty on the trail and sometimes need to be cleaned before drinking from them. Since this straw folds away into the lid, it is probably a bit less likely to get dirty then some other designs I have seen, but my experience is that silicone picks up dirt readily and is not easily wiped clean.

I wanted to get an idea as to how well the lid/spout seals and if it is likely to leak with changes of air pressure or temperature. I put carbonated water in the bottle, closed lid, turned it upside down and gave it a good shake. No leaks. As a bonus, when I opened the spout, expecting a fountain of water, the vent hole allowed the pressure to escape. Nice!

I did a bit of research online into the Tritan material that the bottle is made of, and it seems that it is supposed to be a very strong plastic. From initial appearances this seems to be likely, so I could not help myself but to smack it on the edge of my desk a few times while half full of water (standard disclaimer: “Don’t try this at home”) not hard, but hard enough to get an idea of how durable it might be. The result? It seems pretty tough.

Field Report

July 10 2012
Usage
  • 2 day (one night) backpacking trip Umtanum Creek Central Washington State- 
  • 2 Day hikes Umtanum ridge
  • 2 day (one night) backpacking trip William O Douglas trail
@ campSoon after completing the Initial Report I started thinking about using this as my only method of filtering water while on overnight trips. For me to make the weight of the filter worthwhile there would need to be a trade off, and the most logical would be to not carry another water purification system (e.g. filter or UV purifier). The problem with that is; what if I need to carry more water than the bottle will hold. I quickly realized that I could carry unfiltered water in other containers and transfer it to the Aqua Vessel for use. I did this using a second 1L water bottle to hold unfiltered water and it worked very well with one exception. When hiking with my daughter this forced us to drink from the same container so for me the filter is only really practical for trips where I will not be sharing gear/water with others.

The extra suction needed for the filter has been less of a problem than I thought. Not having to mess with a filter or UV purifier is well worth it. And the soft mouth piece has been very comfortable and does not seem to get as dirty as I expected it to.

The loop has come in handy both for carrying the bottle as well as clipping it to my pack with a carabineer.
During my hike of the new William O Douglas trail I was faced with a 26 mile (42 km) hike from the start of the trail to where I was going to camp.  Hydration for this would be important and I wanted to use an electrolyte drink mix but realized this would probably not be a good idea when using the filter, so for this trip it was water only.

Long Term Report

September 11 2011
Usage
  • Evening hike up Ahtanum ridge (Yakima Wa) to see the full moon rise and fireworks put on by the local baseball team
  • Two day climb of Mt Adams
  • Daily use (home, office, car, etc)

ScratchedWell I have come to the end of another gear test for a product that is bound to be part of my gear for a while.  For the length of this test series I used the Eco Vessel on a total of 3 overnight
backpacking trips and 3 day hikes.
The final phase of the test held one surprise for me. While climbing Mt Adams my expectation was that if ever I was going to have difficulty with keeping the mouthpiece clean this would be it due to the dust, dirt and sand this trip entails. As luck would have it while setting up camp I managed to drop the bottle in the dusty sand. I picked it up fully expecting the silicone mouth piece to be filthy and difficult to clean but I was wrong. What little dust stuck to it was easy to remove. But there was an unexpected issue; there was grit between the mouthpiece and the lid so that when I attempted to open it to take a drink I could feel the grit grinding between the moving parts. I could find no way to dissemble it so I just had to work the mouthpiece open and closed enough to work most of the grit out wondering if this was going to damage the seal and cause it to start sucking in air when I drink. It took most of the rest of the following day before I was able to completely work/rinse the last of the grit out and I could clearly see the scratches that the grit had caused (see photo). But to my surprise the bottle seems no worse off. As far as I can tell the seal is just as good as ever! The rest of the bottle is also showing some signs of use. There are some scratches and scrapes on the sides and bottom of the bottle from being dropped on various surfaces. The lid has a few scratches from hanging from a carabineer, and one kind of deep scratch from being dropped on some rocks but all of these are superficial and I believe the product has shown to be quite durable.

The filter has been a nice feature. For trips like Mt Adams, I have started out using the bottle without the filter and then simply replaced the long straw with the short straw and filter when refilling the bottle from a stream. This is not only convenient but also a real weight/time/effort saving vs. carrying my pump filter.

As for ongoing use after this test is complete I can say I fully expect to continue to use this bottle. I already use it without the filter at home, work, and in my vehicle and it easily replace any of my other water bottles (of similar size) for day hikes. For longer trips, bringing along the filter will allow me to save a bit of weight by not bringing along my pump filter, unless I intend to filter water for multiple people.
Clipped to pack
Likes:
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Multifunctional (filter & store water)
  • Does not require assembly/disassembly to filter water
Dislikes:
  • None

This concludes my  report. I would like to thank the folks at Eco Vessel and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



Read more reviews of Eco Vessel gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wilkes

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle > Test Report by David Wilkes



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