SPORT BERKEY WATER BOTTLE
BY DOUG WHITE
December 07, 2014
Boulder, Colorado, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
170 lb (77.10 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been backpacking for several years. I have tested a lot of different systems to find what works the best for me. I pack as light as possible without sacrificing comfort and functionality. I enjoy backpacking in all kinds of weather including winter. I also do snowshoeing and year round mountaineering as well. I backpack in Rocky Mountains just below treeline most of the time. My trips are normally at least a few miles (3 or more km). Anytime I can get out and enjoy the mountains, even for a day hike, I do.
Manufacturer: Berkey Filter
Manufacturer's Website: www.berkeyfilters.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 5.8 oz (165 g) empty, this includes the filter
Length (Measured): 11.5 in (29.2 cm)
Diameter (Measured): 3 in (7.6 cm)
Capacity: About 22 oz (0.65 L)
The Berkey Sport Bottle is a portable water filter bottle. It is an all-in-one enclosed system. It uses a 2.5 in x 1.25 in (6.3 cm x 3.1 cm) "Black Berkey Filter Element" that uses Seychell's Ionic Adsorption Micro Filtration Technology which is a 2-micron filter, and has been tested by State and EPA-accredited laboratories and meets and exceeds EPA protocol. On their website, Berkey lists many contaminates that the filter removes as well as claims the filter can remove food coloring from the water. The filter is inside the bottle (submerged in the water) and is attached to the drinking tube with a light press fit. Water is sucked through the filter as the water is drunk. The bottle can also be squeezed moderately to release filtered water from the spout. The bottle is constructed from non-leaching BPA-free plastic. It is easy to fill, easy to clean, easy to use, and easy to maintain from my experience. I just open the lid which leaves the filter attached. I fill the bottle with water, then re-fasten the lid. Then it is ready to drink. The filter is claimed by the manufacturer to filter Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E-coli, and 99.9% of other bacteria. The manufacturer also claims a 50-year storage shelf life for the product. It has an easy flip open/flip close lid. The lid has a loop for various carrying/fastening options. Berkey claims that each filter will handle 25-100 gallons (94-378 L) of water use depending on cleanliness of the water source.
I have taken this filter bottle on about 80-90 trips, including some day hikes. I have used it on single day and multi-day backpacking trips. I have used this bottle in various temperatures, as low as 0 F (-17 C) and I have used it on hot summer days around 90 F (32 C). I have used this filter in running mountain streams as well as standing water in lakes and ponds. I have used this above tree line as well to filter glacial runoff.
I feel I can give a very thorough review of this product as I have used this filter bottle for over 5 years now as a primary filtering option. I like this system as it is simple to manage as opposed to other filters I have used that have many more parts. I have used this product to filter water from fast-moving streams and standing water in lakes and ponds. I like the simplicity of this type of system. I can filter water at a source in about 20 seconds and not have to take anything out of my pack. I keep it attached to my sternum strap with a small carabiner so I can have water while I hike and I can easily re-fill at a water source. The bottle has a good strong feel to it and while squeezing it, I don't feel like I will ever break it. It feels like it has enough elasticity that it won't crack or break. The bottle itself has one section of light texturing that goes around its diameter for better grip. The bottle also has an inward ridge molded in to it to aid in handling, similar to a water bottle on a bicycle. I have found this works very well in a side pocket of a backpack as the top of the pocket elastic secures tightly into the ridge on the bottle.
The tube and cap hardware also feel strong and the flip cap has a good detent to ensure it is closed so that water doesn't leak out on its own. The cap closes over the suction tube to keep it pinched preventing unwanted water flow and it appears that this keeps the suction tube clean and protected as well. After using this product for a couple of years, I did have to replace one bottle due to the lid breaking from normal wear/use at the hinge location. This may have been due in part to using it multiple times in the winter and the plastic became brittle, but it seemed more like normal wear to me. It wore out at one of the hinges. I have found that the O-ring between the cap and bottle does eventually wear and require more force to secure the lid over time to achieve a good seal. I have never had it leak though. The seal must be tight in order to make sure the water is sucked through the filter. I replaced one o-ring for this concern that I obtained from a hardware store. The ring wore out after about 100 uses of the bottle, but again did not leak.
I have had the inner tube freeze when temperatures drop into the low teens F (-10 to -12 C); this happened one time, but it was not permanently damaged. For overnight use in the winter, I drain the tube empty, then bury the entire bottle with the filter under about 1 foot of snow. I haven't had any issues since I've done it that way while I'm using it in the day in cold conditions. I make sure and not leave water in the tube while it is sitting for long periods of time.
The cap has a large plastic loop molded on it that allows the bottle to be fastened in many ways or even carried alongside by hanging it on one of my fingers. All moving parts of the cap also have texture on them. When moving these textured parts, I feel I can grip them well rather than have my hand slip, even with gloves on.
The suction tube goes through the cap and fastens on the filter with a ribbed fitting. It is very secure and I have yet to have it come off. The tube and filter sit inside the bottle where the unfiltered water is. The outside of the suction tube is secured inside the cap and does not touch the unfiltered water. When sucking through it, the water is drawn through the carbon filter and out the suction tube. I find this product very useful as I have filtered some very questionable water during two separate trips that were near large cattle feeding areas and I did not get sick with this filter bottle. I have never gotten sick from using this filter bottle. I have only had to change the filter once, due to my own negligence of dropping it. As far as volume capacity goes, I haven't had to change it so far. To change it, the filter easily presses into the suction tube as you can see in the photos.
It is easy and fast to use in my experience. All I do is unscrew the cap which leaves the filter and tube attached, then dip the bottle in a water source and re-fasten the lid. When using for the first time each trip, the filter does have to be primed which involves filling the bottle with water, fastening the lid, and then squeezing about half the water out; I do this at home before leaving on my trip. The filter bottle is then ready to use.
I find that one downside to this bottle is that if water in an area is limited, this filter bottle has limited capacity. I have to plan accordingly depending on where I am hiking. If I know that water sources will be sparse on my trip, I will carry extra water.
As far as maintenance goes, there is no back flushing. The manufacturer recommends running clean tap water through it one more time once arriving back home. I have always just rinsed everything out really well and let it air dry. I have found it takes a good 3-4 days of air drying before all the moisture is out before storing it. Another issue with the bottle that I don't like is that I feel the flow isn't as strong as other filters I have used, even when the filter was new. It takes hard sucking to get a good volume of water out of it.
I feel the Sport Berkey Water Bottle is a good portable water system that is easy and fast to use and it performs well in the field.
THINGS I LIKE
Easy to use and maintain
Light to carry
Less water and filter parts to carry compared to other products I've used
Less time at water sources
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Flow isn't heavy/strong
Limited capacity for sparse water sources on trail.
Limited colors, only available in blue
Product Reviewed and Tested by Doug White
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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