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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle > Test Report by Ralph Ditton
AQUA VESSEL TRITAN FILTER WATER BOTTLE
Test series by Ralph Ditton
Initial Report : 4th May, 2012
Field Report : 30th June, 2012
Long Term Report : 1st September, 2012
My playgrounds are the Bibbulmun Track, the Coastal Plain Trail, Darling Scarp and Cape to Cape Track. I lead walks for my bushwalking club and they consist of day walks and overnighters. My pack weight for multi day trips including food and water, tends to hover around 18 kg (40 lb) but I am trying to get lighter. My trips range from overnighters to six days duration.
When I first saw the bottle after opening the parcel I was immediately struck by the colour. I could not place what the colour was. However, on the base of the bottle is a sticker "Khaki Aqua Vessel Tritan - 25 oz". Mystery solved. I do love the colour.
Inside the bottle I saw two additional silicone straws. It was not until I read the hang tag which explained why. The additional straws are included because: a) A replacement soft silicone straw for the filter, b) A rigid silicone straw to be used without the filter when the bottle is used as a water bottle only.
The bottle looked exactly as depicted on the web site so there were no surprises there. When I eventually picked it up I was surprised at the weight. It was heavier than I anticipated. The filter is a large unit so that would account for the surprise.
I removed the cap from the bottle and found that the silicone ring had come out of its housing. I had a bit of difficulty in trying to get it back into place. It looks suspect as there is a large blob on it. I am not sure if that is where the ring is joined. I'll have to keep an eye on it.
The other surprise is that the filter unit is sealed. As I have another type of filter that screws onto a bottle, it is able to be pulled apart and have fresh filters replaced.
The bottle is made out of Tritan copolyester from Easton. The bottle is quite stylish with a slight narrowing around a third of the way down. This allows me to comfortably grip the bottle at this point. See top photo. With the khaki colour, I can see easily into the bottle and straight through it. In reality, there is just a hint of colour. The bottle holds 740 ml (25 fl oz) and this allows for the filter and straw to be in place also. The water level comes up to about the second thread on the neck.
The cap is made out of Polypropylene as there is a "5" within a triangle stamped on the inside of the cap. This material has a high melting point and can accept hot liquids. On the exterior there is a flip up spout with a soft orange coloured mouth piece. This orange section is removable. The hole in the centre of the mouthpiece is quite large. Some 4 mm (0.15 in). I found it adequate to get a good mouthful of water sucking on it without too much effort. The mouthpiece has a knob on its side to be used in assisting in raising it from the housing in the cap for use. I use my thumb as I find that works best. Immediately behind the base of the mouthpiece is a small vent. This vent allows air to enter when sucking on the mouthpiece. This vent is plugged when the mouthpiece is closed. There is a small protrusion on the underside of the mouthpiece which locks into the vent making the cap watertight. There is a rigid handle on the side of the cap that allows the bottle to be carried with a few fingers.
The silicone straws are easy to remove and replace on the cap outlet and filter outlet.
On the filter there is an arrow. This arrow points the way for the water flow and which end the silicone straw is attached. As mentioned previously, this filter unit is sealed. According to the hang tag, this filter is only good for about 378 litres (100 gallons). This works out at roughly 500 refills. The manufacturer sells replacement filter units.
According to the manufacturer this filter does the following:
• Improves tastes, eliminates odors
Reading the instructions, I washed out the bottle and cap with soapy water and flushed the filter out with clean lukewarm water. I then went in search of dripping rainwater as it is currently raining to collect into the bottle. I managed to collect a small amount. Sucking on the mouthpiece was easy. I found it no different from sucking on a water bladder hose and it did not require any extra effort. The rainwater tasted sweet and the filter did not allow any visible floaties to pass through it.
I will be leading a walk on Sunday and I will be using this bottle. There is the wonderful promise of more rain so I should have the opportunity for wild water.
I have used this bottle on four occasions during this period.
Two have been to the same location, Mt. Cook and the others were Kitty's Gorge and Mt's Randall & Cuthbert.
Mt. Cook: The location was the Bibbulmun Track with an off track section heading north from Nerang to Mt. Cook campsite. This section of the track has the highest elevation in the Darling Scarp of 583 metres (1,912 ft) . The base of Mt. Cook sits at an elevation of around 200 m (656 ft). There is a very steep climb up a granite face which is very exposed and slippery in the wet. This mountain is 43 km's (26.7 mi) south east of the Perth suburb of Armadale.
On the first walk, the temperature was overcast and cool reaching a maximum of 18 C (64 F). However, with the wind blowing at around 27 km/h (17 mph) the chill factor was around 12 C (54 F) when we stopped for morning tea.
On the second occasion it was cold and wet. The temperature reached a maximum of 9 C (48 F) with intermittent rain squalls.
The wind on the exposed part of the mountain was gusting up to 38 km/h (23 mph). This produced a chill factor of -2 C (28 F). I was wearing a rain jacket but it was next to useless as I was wet on the inside of it due to the perspiration not venting.
Kitty's Gorge: It is located an hours drive from Perth south south east.The day was wet with storm fronts coming through and the winds reached speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph). The temperature hovered around 10 C (50 F). The chill factor was -3 C (26 F) when we were in the wind. Mostly we were protected from the wind as we were in tall timber country.
Mt's Randall & Cuthbert: They are located about 8 km's (5 mi) north of Mt. Cook. This day was overcast, cool temperatures around 13 C (55 F) with a slight breeze on top of Mt Cuthbert. Whilst in the bush we were protected from the breeze so there was no effect from it on our bodies and clothing. The previous day had been raining so the vegetation was laden with moisture which wet our trouser legs from the knees down. This hike was approximately 14 kilometres (8.6 miles) in length and 99% was off track.
Use in the field
On the first occasion in the Mt. Cook area I was unable to locate any wild water although it had been raining a few days before. The ground was that thirsty after a long dry summer that there was no runoff. Even the crevasses on the granite slabs were empty but damp. I ended up using the tank water at the Mt. Cook campsite.
The second time in the Mt. Cook area I had a bit more luck in finding wild water. Not a lot but enough to fill the bottle to about ¾ full from a little gnamma hole.
In the Kitty's Gorge I was in a land of water riches. I could get wild water from any stream, rivulet etc. It was everywhere. I filled the bottle, drank my way through it during the day and refilled it again.
Mt's Randall & Cuthbert was disappointing to say the least. Even though the week had been wet, the ground muddy and damp along with water seeping down the granite rock face, there was no running water deep enough to dip the bottle into to collect. The only way to drink wild water that day was to use a straw sucking up the water running down the granite. Again I resorted to use the tank water at the Monadnocks Campsite. All campsites along the Bibbulmun Track advise walkers to boil/treat the tank water.
I found sucking through the mouthpiece very easy. The very initial first suck to draw the water up through the filter took a little more effort, but once it was full and water in the plastic tubing, it was dead easy.
Two faults I found with the bottle. I made the first mistake of tipping the bottle up at the regular position and tilting my head back when I drink from a bottle/container. Usually around the 15º mark above the horizontal. I got a face full of water. The water came jetting out of the air hole in the cap. I got caught a few times before I wised up and learnt to suck the water up holding the bottle in a vertical position.
The second problem is that water leaks from the cap when the bottle is tilted enough for water to reach the cap. The seal does not seem to work no matter how tight I screw it on. I suspect that the cause is the dodgy O ring with the queer join. See photo below. The odd join is at the top of the photo.
I learnt this to my cost when I laid my pack down in the boot of the car I had a lift in for our trip back home. The bottle was in a side pocket of my pack. The water wet the floor of the boot and my pack. Not happy.
I am happy to report that after drinking the wild water and tank water I have not suffered any ill effects so either the water was safe or the filter did its job. It is hard to tell. I'll put it to more test in the next phase of testing when there should be lots of wild water to collect due to more rain that has been fore casted by our weather bureau.
The bottle has attracted the interest of a lot of the people who have been walking with me. They are intrigued. My wife even grabs the bottle for her water needs when she goes walking around the river with her friend as the shape is comfortable to hold onto and the finger loop offers another holding method. I carry the bottle in a side pocket on my backpack using a carabiner through the finger loop and a strap on the pack. This is because the pocket is a bit too big to snugly hold the bottle. I do not want it falling out when rock hopping or climbing granite slopes.
It is hard to tell if the filter is removing 99.9% of any Giardia and Cryptosporidium should they be present in the water. Normally on the west coast, our wild water is usually safe to drink without chemical treatment, although boiling is recommended. I have drunk tank water at campsites in the past that has been untreated and not boiled, without any ill effects. Notices at campsites do recommend boiling the water because bird droppings can enter the collection surface. To date I have suffered no ill effects from drinking water collected that had passed through the filter. One thing I have noticed is that there is a ring scuff mark on the inside of the bottle. It is caused by the top of the filter rubbing against the side as it rattles around when being jolted in rough country and when screwing and unscrewing the cap.
Unchanged from the Initial Report
It has been announced at the end of our winter that this has been our 4th driest winter on record. Winter is when the South West of Western Australia receives its bulk of rain fall. Needless to say our rainfall average was way down to around half. We received 262.6 mm (10.3 in) instead of the long term average of 478.7 mm (18.8 in). This meant that wild water was very hard to source when out bushwalking.
The usual gullies and creeks were damp from recent rains but contained no surface water that could be harvested.
I did manage to find some at the foothill of Mt. Cuthbert where I had a number of day walks during this testing period. It was not running water, just a pool of about 50 cm (20 in) deep that extended for around 70 cm (27.5 in) in diameter. It did not have that stagnant look about it. Water was seeping into the pool from the ground around it. I sourced all of my wild water from this spot on the three walks that I did in the area. As the wild water supply was bit iffy, I also carried scheme water from home. I topped the bottle up at Monadnocks Hut where two rainwater tanks are located. One of the tanks was dry, the other, shown in the photo below, about ¼ full.
As we were in a group situation, we did not tarry long when I collected the water, so no photo exists of me collecting it. The photo taken at the hut was when we stopped for lunch.
I had to be careful when laying my pack down to ensure that the bottle was upright as the seal (O Ring) around the cap leaks. I made mention of it in the Field Report. It is of a very poor standard.
Additionally, I have learnt not to tip the bottle up with the base pointing towards the sky when drinking as water squirts out from the air hole in the cap. It was a habit that took a little while to break.
As a test after the second outing, I left the water in the bottle at home for a week and took a sip daily to see if I got sick or if there was any change in taste. I am happy to report that I did not get ill, nor did I notice any change in taste from the filter. I even tipped a bit of water from the bottle (unfiltered) into the dog's bowl for him to try out. Did not turn a hair. I guess the wild water was quite safe and that the filter did its job.
The only overnighter that I was able to do was in an area that was sandy where wild water soaked into the ground so I was reliant on tank water.
I did not boil the water from the tank. I just filled the bottle and drank from it through the filter. I suffered no ill effects.
It is hard to clarify how effective the filter was because I did not suffer any tummy troubles from drinking water that had been passed through the filter. Overall, I drank around 10 litres of water in this testing phase using the filter.
The filter seemed to suffer no damage from being immersed in water for a week. Although it is a sealed unit I shone a light into both ends and everything appeared fine. The only sign of scunginess is in the tube where it joins onto the filter. It only extends for about 4 mm (0.15 in) up the tube. It was easily cleaned off using a cotton bud.
scunginess in tube
I would recommend that the manufacturer consider some sort of protection on the outflow end of the filter such as an O Ring sitting in a groove or a rubberized cap to protect the inside of the water bottle from being scratched from the rolling around of the filter when being carried over uneven ground. My bottle has a very marked circle from the rubbing of the top of the filter. Consideration should also be given to checking the quality control at the Chinese end of the production to prevent a repeat of the faulty O ring inside the cap which I have put up with.
As a filter system, it appears to work well because I did not get ill.
The Thumbs Up/Down remain unchanged from my Field report.
Thanks to Eco Vessel for making this item available to test and BackpackGearTest.org being the vehicle in securing the item and passing onto testers.
This concludes my test series of reports.
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Read more gear reviews by Ralph Ditton
Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Aqua Vessel Ultra Lite Bottle > Test Report by Ralph Ditton
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