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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle > Test Report by Edwin Morse

AQUA VESSEL TRITAN FILTER WATER BOTTLE
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 28, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 74
LOCATION: Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)
TORSO 18 in (46 cm)
CHEST 35 in (89 cm)
WAIST 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I have made one- and two-week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. Now my pack weighs between 22 and 32 lb (10 and 15 kg). I'm slowly learning what lighter gear works.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Eco Vessel
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://ecovessel.com/
MSRP: US$25.95
Listed Weight: ?? oz (?? g)
Measured Weight: 6.9 oz (196 g)
Measured bottle Weight: 3.6 oz (102 g)
Measured lid Weight: 1.8 oz (51 g)
Measured filter Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Measured straw Weight: 0.1 oz (2.8 g)
Measured extra straw Weight: 0.2 oz (5.7 g)
Measured bottle Diameter: 3.0 in (7.6 cm)
Measured bottle Height: 10.0 in (25.4 cm)

Other details: Listed volume: 25 oz (750 ml)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

My first thought was I have another nice looking water bottle but it is a little heavy. The bottle is clear blue-green plastic. Below is a picture of the bottle with the drinking spout up.
BOTTLE WITH SPOUT UP
BOTTLE WITH SPOUT UP

The lid is gray plastic with a flip up drinking spout. The flip up drinking spout is black with a separate orange cover over the spout.
TOP OF CAP
TOP OF CAP

The filter is lighter gray in color with the word "aquamira" molded on one side.
FILTER
FILTER

There is a statement on the hang tag: "For added versatility, we have included a rigid straw, in addition to an extra silicone straw, so you can also use your Aqua Vessel as a water bottle without filtration". I find the statement just a little confusing. It seems to imply, to me, that there should be a total of three straws.
BOTTLE WITH EXTRA STRAW
bottle with extra straw

I received two straws in the bottle that appear to be the same except for the length. The shorter straw, attached to the lid and the filter is 6.625 in (16.83 cm) long. The extra straw is 8.5 in (21.6 cm) long.

When I unscrew the lid and lift it off the filter comes out too. The straw slips over small protrusions in both the lid and filter. Here is a picture with the filter out of the bottle.
filter out of bottle
filter out of bottle

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Instructions on the hang tag state that the bottle is dishwasher safe. They recommend hand washing the lid before the first use and for everyday cleaning.

It is also stated that the filter should be rinsed with water and air dried.

TRYING IT OUT

I washed the bottle and all parts, except the filter, in hot soapy water. I rinsed the filter with clear warm faucet water. After all parts were dry I re-assembled the filter, short straw and lid. Then I nearly filled the bottle with tap water and then put the lid on the bottle.

Our faucet water has an odd taste but drinking through the filter bottle there was no taste. This bottle might get lots of use at home. Of course, as I expected, it was a little harder to suck water through the filter than through just a straw with no filter. I've been using a bladder and hose for drinking while hiking for several years. I would say sucking water through the Eco Vessel filter is no more difficult than sucking water from the bladder in my pack.

The next day I had arranged to meet another member of our local hiking club. We had several fallen trees to cut off the trail. I knew we had two creeks to cross near the work area. I stopped at the first small creek and filled the Eco Vessel bottle. By the time we finished work I was out of water and filled the bottle again. .

SUMMARY

I can already see that the filter bottle will allow me to carry less water (therefore less weight) on all hikes and most trail work days. I am always looking for ways to make my pack lighter. At first I thought that carrying a 6.9 oz (196 g) water bottle rather than my 2 L (2 qt) hydration bladder weighing less than 4 oz (113 g) was adding to my pack weight. Using the Eco Vessel filtration bottle just once gave me a different perspective. Rather than carry a bottle plus 24 oz (680 g) of water or the hydration bladder with two L (2 qt) of water I can just carry the empty bottle and fill it from the nearest water source. On the trails I hike most often I am seldom more than three miles (5 km) from a decent source of water.

According to the website the filter "Removes 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium". There are other similar statements about what the filter has been tested to filter out. I could find no statement about how fine it filters. One filter system I own claims it filters to 0.2 microns. While I am not sure exactly what this means. I have more confidence in a filter that filters to 0.2 microns than I do in one that only filters to 2.0 microns. A little searching on the internet tells me that the Giardia Lamblia cysts are 8 to 12 microns in size while Cryptosporidium is 4 to 6 microns in size.

I've used the Eco Vessel Tritan filter water bottle at home with tap water and on one short day hike where I dipped water from a small creek.

What I like:
It can reduce the weight I carry,
It is convenient - just dip and drink

doubts and concerns:
How fine is the filtration?
Can it really filter out the most common harmful organisms?

This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in about two months to see how the Eco Vessel is preforming for me.

I would also like to thank Eco Vessel and Backpackgeartest.org for allowing me to be part of this test series.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've been out on eight day hikes, five trail work outings and six overnight hikes during which I wore the SS Ace Crewe in the last two months. All my hikes in the last two months have been within 80 miles (130 km) of Traverse City, Michigan and at elevations between 750 feet (230 m) and 950 feet (290 m).

Overnight hike May 2 & 3, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, near the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. This was planned as a three-day hike on which we intended to gather GPS data for mapping and pictures of points of interestfor possibly creating a loop trail and relocating a 10 mile (16 km) section of the North Country Trail. We had severe thunder and rainstorms most of the night. The next morning my hiking partner woke to a very sore knee. Rather than 10 miles (16 km) of bushwhacking as planned, we found a shortcut back to the vehicle. The high temperature was 76 F (24 C) with a morning low of 54 F (12 C). We had periods of rain while hiking and a hard storm during the night.

Overnight hike May 16 & 17, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, near the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. This was a solo hike on which I planned to do what we failed to do on the previous hike. I decided to do the hard part first with the 11 miles (18 km) of bushwhacking. The weather was sunny with 42 F (6 C) to start with a late afternoon high of 54 F (12 C). The terrain was mostly level since I was hiking along the Manistee River and then along Fife Lake Creek.
During the night the sky stayed clear and the temperature dropped to 24 F (-4 C). The second day was an easy 10 mile (16 km) walk back to my Jeep on the existing north Country Trail. Again I had planned on a three day hike but I finished in two days. This time I accomplished my goal.

Overnight hike June 4 & 5, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, south of the village of Williamsburg, Michigan.
One of my projects with the Grand Traverse Hiking Club (GTHC) is to create a list of short overnight hikes to help people get started backpacking so this year I'm doing several short overnight hikes. This hike was on the North Country Trail from Highbanks Rollway, above the Manistee River, west 6.6 miles (10.6 km) to Anderson Creek. The terrain is relatively level with a few steep descents of about 100 feet (30 m) and slow easy climbs.

While I was hiking the high temperature was about 65 F (18 C). It continued to get warmer while I was setting up camp eventually up to 74 F (23 C). There was bright
moonlight most of the night. With clear skies the temperature dropped to 40 F (4 C) just before sunrise.

An overnight hike June 16 & 17, 2012 starting five miles (8 km) south of Williamsburg, Michigan, continued my long-standing tradition of a Father's Day hike and added to my list of easy overnight hikes. My son, his wife and daughter hiked with me on a four-mile (6 km) section of the North Country Trail. The terrain was slightly rolling with a mix of deciduous and evergreen forest, selected for my granddaughter's hiking fun. She likes to hike with Grandpa especially when we end the day where she can play in the water. The hike started bright, sunny and 75 F (24 C). It was up to 80 F (27 C) by the time we got to Dollar Lake. A storm moved through sometime during the night. It stayed fairly warm with a low of only 55 F (13 C).

This overnight hike June 18 & 19, 2012, starting ten miles south of Traverse City began at the Conservation Education building. One of my hiking buddies is on a committee to create a 45 mile (72 km) loop trail, starting and ending at the library in Traverse City. He had asked two of us GPS users to hike with him to help create a proposed trail map of an area that had not yet been trail mapped. We hiked nine miles (14 km) to Jaxon Creek where we camped for the night. The early evening storm became the hardest wind and rainstorm I've ever seen while backpacking in Michigan. The high temperature was 87 F (31 C) with an early morning low of 61 F (16 C). The terrain was generally level since we mostly followed the Boardman River.

I did another overnight hike on June 23 & 24, 2012 in the Manistee National Forest southwest of the village of Mesick, Michigan. I met a new friend at the trailhead. It was 55 F (13 C), partly cloudy and windy when we started hiking. The terrain was mostly flat, except the last 3 miles (5 km) were a little hilly.
It was 78 F (26 C) when we reached Sawdust Hole CG after hiking 12 miles (19 km). We discovered that the water pump had been removed so we walked down to the river for water.
The low when I woke at 5 AM was 55 F (13 C). I got rained on for about an hour. I did the 12 mile walk back in four hours, a bit faster than I normally hike when backpacking. I paid with aching legs the next morning.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The first hike I went on during the Field testing was a group hike. I stopped to refill the Aqua Vessel bottle at the second creek we crossed. I thought I was the last in the group but there were four women behind me. They caught up just as I dipped the bottle in the water. Someone told me that I shouldn't drink from the creek. I showed that I was using a filter bottle. Then ssomeone asked how long I had to wait before I could drink. While I was screwing on the cap I replied about this long and took a big drink. The Eco Vessel Tritan filter bottle was the main subject of conversation for several miles. Several people wrote down the website and price of the bottle. I only went on the group hike bacause it was an area I already planned to hike.

About two weeks after my Initial Report I received an email from Carly Miller of Eco Vessel:
"I read your Initial Review of the Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite. Glad the product seems to be working well for you. Just to let you know, our filter filters 3 microns/4 logs. The filter reduces 99.9% of the Giardia and Crypto. It meets and exceeds NFC standards 42."

This information gives me a way to compare the Tritan filter with other filters I have used as well as greater confidence. The only way I have to judge the effectiveness of any water filter is how fine the company says it will filter and what they say it will remove.

All my day hikes were planned to cross at least one creek. I usually filled the bottle from the first creek I crossed. The routes of three of the overnight hikeswere planned by the other person. Except for the June 18 hikeI knew the trail well enough that I knew howsoon I could get more water.

I find it hard to judge the performance of any water filter system. If I don't get sickI have to assume it is working properly. I've been careful to fill the filter bottle from water sources that look clean. I can easily pass on a scummy pond since I know I will come to a flowing creek soon.

Using the Eco Vessel Tritan bottle has allowed me to carry less water when I start hiking. Before I received the bottle I always started hiking with at least two litersin a hydration bladder. Now I carry the filter bottle and on longer hikes I usually add a one liter Platypus bladder full in an outside pack pocket to start my hike.I just checked on my postal scales. the two liters of water in a Platypus bladder weighs 65.4 oz (1843 g) while the filter bottle and a full one liter Platypus bladder is 68.5 oz (1928 g). The filter bottle alone full of water weighs 33.6 oz (953 g). I often hike with just the filter bottle for water when I know I will be working near a water source or hiking past several creeks or lakes.

When I carried the two liter bladder with a drinking hose I never knew how much water I had left - until I ran out. Now I check the amount in the Eco bottle each time I take a drink. I never have more than a few miles to a water source.

SUMMARY

The Aqua Vessel filter bottle is so easy to use that now I don't consider hiking without it. Before I started using the filter bottle I did not have any good options. Now I just take the cap off while approaching a creek, dip the bottle and keep hiking. I screw the cap back on and get a drink.

GOOD THOUGHTS
I have not run out of water since I started carrying the Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite filtration bottle.
It is quick and easy to refill.
It eliminates the odd taste in our water at home.

DOUBTS
I worry that I won't know when the filter should be replaced.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I did several solo day hikes in the last two months. I tried to get pictures of the Eco Vessel filter bottle in use. Setting up the camera and getting pictures of the process did not work. I took the opportunity for a group hike, mostly along 22 Mile Creek, and asked one hiker to take some pictures for me. Here I'm refilling the bottle from the creek.
quick refill
getting water

Then I replaced the filter and cap on the bottle.
replacing filter and cap
replacing filter and cap

In this last picture in the sequence I get a drink of clean water.
cold clear water
drinking clean water

This day started with a light rain, which soon cleared away and the temperature rose to 87 F (31 C) by the time we finished the eight mile (13 km) hike. This area appears to have never been logged with many large pine and cedar along the creek and steep hills.

I started a four day hike on July fourth about six miles (10 km) east of the village of Vanderbilt, Michigan. The terrain is hilly with a constantly changing forest cover. I walked through areas of white pine, Jack pine and through cedar swamps. There were even stands of hard maple in some higher areas. The first day started as ideal hiking weather with a sunny 65 F (18 C), gradually warming to 88 F (31 C). I got to my first planned campsite at 11 AM, after walking 10 miles (16 km). Then I made my first mistake of the hike - I refilled my bladder and water bottle and continued hiking. The next campsite was another 12 miles (19.3 km). I arrived at the small lake right at sundown. I had walked too far for the first day out and my feet were tender. The next morning I woke to the sound of thunder. I got everything packed except the tarp before the rain started. I hiked in a hard rain for over five hours. It took nearly nine hours to cover the 11 miles (17.7 km) to the Canada Creek shelter. I lost the poorly marked trail three times. I used GPS, map and compass to get back on the trail each time. The sun came out a mile before I got to the shelter. Here is a picture where I dropped my pack in front of the shelter.
shelter after a long wet day
Canada Creek shelter

After I got all the wet stuff hung up to dry and started my dinner to rehydrate I sat down to study the map and consider options. Both feet were macerated and sore from hiking too long through wet ferns, brush and briars.
Here, with water bottle at hand, I'm looking for a short way back.
map time
checking options


The next day I hiked out to a state highway, then a slow walk south to a State Park. There I found a ride back to my Jeep after another night and day.

The longest hike I did during the long term period was 12 days and 105 miles (169 KM) of backpacking on Isle Royale National Park which is located in western Lake Superior but still in the state of Michigan. The weather varied from bright and sunny to heavy clouds and hard driving rain. The temperature ranged from a low one morning of 44 F (7 C) to a warm 76 F (24 C) the sunny morning I boarded the Ranger III ferry for the ride back to Houghton, Michigan. I hiked in steady rain for over two hours on three different days. In between were a few nice sunsets. Here is a view from my tent at Todd Harbor.
good hiking tomorrow
Todd Harbor sunset


The trails were never the same for any great distance. Some areas of the trails were fist size rocks and bare roots, some areas were climbs up and over large bare rock, with a few areas of open footpath through the forest. Several areas of trail were overgrown with brush or ferns so it was difficult to even see the trail. All wet areas were crossed on narrow boardwalks.
through wet areas
narrow boardwalk

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I carried very little water on the dayhikes, since I generally depended on refilling the Eco Vessel bottle in creeks or lakes. I continued the practice on the four-day backpack hike. I did carry a liter of water in a bladder in addition to the filter bottle when I did the long road walk. I ran out of water as I turned into the drive to the State Park campground.

Before I started packing for the Isle Royale hike I sent an email to Isle Royale headquarters with a few questions. One question I asked was if I could use my Steripen. The answer was no, the manufacturer would not guarantee that it would kill the tapeworm cysts. The Ranger recommended a filter good down to 0.3 microns or less. The answer both eliminated using my Steripen and using the Eco Vessel bottle as a filter bottle.

I left the filter for the Aqua Vessel bottle home. If the Rangers on Isle Royale recommend a filter good down to 0.3 microns or less I listen. When I received the Eco Vessel there was a longer straw included to use the bottle without the filter. This hike appeared to be the right time. When I took out the filter I first washed out the bottle with a chlorine bleach solution. Then I washed it with dish soap and then rinsed several times with clear water. I used the Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite bottle as an extra water bottle.

I prefer to use a bladder and hose hydration system when hiking. On Isle Royale I used a one liter bladder carried in a side pocket of the pack for the shorter, 10 mile (16 km) or less, days with the Eco Vessel bottle in the opposite side pocket. Each time I used this method I finished the hike by drinking most of the water in the Eco Vessel bottle. When packing for the longer days I started with a two liter bladder in the pack with the Eco Vessel bottle in an outside side pocket.

Late the second day of my hike I discovered that the adaptor that came with my new MSR filter screws onto the Eco Vessel bottle. From then on I mostly filtered into the bottle and poured water into the bladders.

It was at night that the Eco Vessel bottle earned its place in my pack. I like to have water close by at night. Over the years I've tried keeping a bladder inside the tent. After two disasters I tried keeping a bladder just outside but that never worked well. This trip I set the Eco Vessel bottle just outside the tent door.
all ready for the night
set for night

Here the bottle is easy to reach from inside when I need to take pills or just get a drink. I usually set the bottle outside because there is not much room in my little tent. When it did tip over inside the tent no water leaked out. I had to experiment when I got home. I found that when tipped it only leaks slowly if the open spout is at the bottom. If the bottle is tipped and rolls the spout will not be in the bottom position and will not leak at all.

The three nights I slept in shelters I just set the bottle between my mattress and the wall where it was within reach and would not get kicked away during the night.
The Eco Vessel Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle has worked very well for me in ways I did not expect.



SUMMARY

Everything I've said in the previous summaries still applies. Used as a water bottle with a straw I have found a few more things I like. I have found a few more ways to use the Eco Vessel bottle. I can use my MSR filter to filter water directly into the Eco Vessel bottle when I don't use the Aqua Mira filter. The bottle is a safe and convenient way to keep water close during the night. When I go on (for me) longer backpacking hikes I like to cut as much weight as possible while still feeling safe and comfortable. The filter bottle is a compromise between light weight and convenience.

MORE GOOD THOUGHTS
When not using the included filter I can use my MSR adaptor to filter directly into the bottle
It is a safe way to keep water close by when I'm sleeping at night
Whether hiking or sitting in the tent the bottle is easy to drink from
The bottle does not usually spill if tipped over
When hiking it is a good way to keep extra water easy to reach.

NOT SO GOOD
The bottle does weigh more than any of my bladders
I have no way to know when the filter should be replaced

This concludes my Long Term Report.
I would like to thank Eco Vessel and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be part of this test series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Eco Vessel gear
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