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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Vapur Element Bottle with Microfilter > Test Report by Kara Stanley

VAPUR BOTTLE AND FILTER
TEST SERIES BY KARA STANLEY
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 20, 2016

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kara Stanley
EMAIL: karguo at yahoo dot com
AGE: 33
LOCATION: Phoenix, Arizona
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)

I have been hiking most of my life and backpacking since 2006. I have hiked mostly on the east coast, doing weekend trips in the Appalachian Mountains. Since moving to Arizona, my hikes have ranged from short desert hikes to overnight backpacking trips in the mountains. Recently I have taken up canyoneering and off-trail hiking/backpacking to spice things up. I currently use a solo non-free standing tent, canister stove, purification tabs, and lightweight trail runners, conditions permitting, to cut down on weight. My hikes are solo and range from an overnight trip to 4-5 nights on the trail.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Vapur
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: Vapur.us
MSRP:
MicroFilter - US$34.99
Element Anti-Bottle 1 L (34 oz) - US$13.99

Listed Weight:
MicroFilter 1.1 oz (31 g) as listed on the box
MicroFilter 1.5 oz (42 g) as listed on the website
Element Anti-Bottle N/A

Measured Weight:
MicroFilter without removable carabiner 1.5 oz (42 g)
MicroFilter carabiner 0.2 oz (6 g)
Element Anti-Bottle without lid 0.7 oz (20 g)
Element Anti-Bottle lid without carabiner 0.5 oz (14 g)
Element Anti-Bottle removable carabiner 0.2 oz (6 g)
MicroFilter, carabiner, and Element Anti-Bottle (how I will carry the system) 2.6 oz (74 g) - this combo was measured empty and with a dry filter.

Other details:
Element Anti-bottle is made in the USA, BPA free, dishwasher safe, and freezable.
MicroFilter is designed in California and made in Korea. The filter is capable of purifying water from potable and non-potable sources and can filter hundreds of liters over its lifespan. The box directs the user to Vapur.us/outdoor/microfilter which contains an informational video about the filter system. The website states that the filter can be used in 3 ways, 1 - as a bottle-filter combo, 2- as a squeeze filter and 3 - as a straw to drink directly from a water source.
There is also a handy PDF info sheet that discusses the MicroFilter in detail, below are a few of the important points from this document.
The absolute pore size is 0.2 microns, which removed 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and organic matter and 99.9% of protozoa.
The temperature limits for this filter are minimum 32 F (0 C) to 131 F (55 C) for operation.
The MicroFilter can filter up to 500 L (~125 gal) of water and has an auto stop feature that will not allow water to pass through the filter once the membrane pores are filled.
The MicroFilter does not use any type of chemicals.
To clean the MicroFilter, simply rinse with clean water and leave to air dry.
There are no replacement MicroFilters available at this time.
IMAGE 1
MicroFilter and Element Anti-Bottle in packaging
IMAGE 2
MicroFilter compared to a 12 oz (355 ml) soda can
IMAGE 3
Anti-Bottle compared to a 12 oz (355 ml) soda can

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The MicroFilter box had limited information on it, but it did provide a link to the website, which was very informative and provided detailed information. Cleaning, storage, and usage directions were not included with the MicroFilter. While this information is on the website, the packaging does not provide me with the conditions that the filter should be used or the micron size of the pores. Additionally, while reviewing the website, I did not find any information related to water conditions - i.e. let the water settle if very muddy. Since I hike in Arizona and often drink from cloudy to down right muddy water sources, having this information would be very useful. There were not any handling instructions as to the fragility of the filter. This information would be useful as backpacks can be dropped and/or tossed on my off trail hikes and I'd hate to get to camp only to find out that my filter is broken.

The Anti-Bottle packaging provides the information needed to use and carefor the bottle and shows how the bottle can be rolled up for storage.

I was very pleased with the weight of the MicroFilter and Anti-Bottle set. At under 3 oz (85 g), this is a very lightweight system compared to my almost 1 lb (0.45 kg) ceramic pump-style filter! The Anti-Bottle seems very durable and well constructed. I love the detachable carabiners with come with the MicroFilter and the Anti-Bottle. I will use the carabiner to hook the system to my backpack to prevent it from falling out. I also like that I could clip it to my belt or use the carabiner as a carrying handle for the system. These are plastic, so it will be interesting to see how they hold up over the next 4 months.

Since I will be taking this as the main water purification system for my husband and I on upcoming backing trips, I will be interested to see if the flow is fast enough to use this as the only filter system for two people.
IMAGE 4
MicroFilter and Anti-Bottle system
IMAGE 5
Anti-Bottle Opening and Lid
IMAGE 6
Filter system rolled up for storage

SUMMARY

Overall I am very excited to test this filter system out. In fact, I will be hitting the trail with it this weekend for a test run.

Pros:
* Lightweight
* Appears easy to carry
* Simple to use
* Carabiners (provided they last the test period as they are plastic)
* Has an auto shut off feature when the filter is no longer usable

Cons:
*Packaging information for the MicroFilter was lacking


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Location: Superstition Wilderness, Arizona, USA
IMAGE 2
Filling up the bottle

When: January 2016
Length: 2 days/1 night
Mileage: about 18 miles/29 km
Elevation: around 2,500 ft/800 m
Weather: sunny, high around 60 F (15 C), Low about 35 F (1 C)
Trail Conditions: well-maintained trail, dry and dusty with some coble stone areas.

Location: Superstition Wilderness, Arizona, USA
When: January 2016
Length: 2 days/1 night
Mileage: about 14 miles/22 km
Elevation: around 2,500 ft/800 m
Weather: sunny, high around 70 F (21 C), Low about 40 F (4 C)
Trail Conditions: partly well-maintained trail, partly overgrown trail with some stream crossings

Location: Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
When: March 2016
Length: 3 day/2 night backpack
Mileage: 20 miles/32 km
Elevation: 2,500 ft/800 m to 7,000 ft/2,000 m
Weather: sunny, high around 85 F (29 C) low around 45 F (7 C)
Trail Conditions: well-maintained trail

Location: Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, Arizona, USA
IMAGE 3
The bottle stays open while being filled

When: April 2016
Length: 2 day/1 night backpack
Mileage: 10 miles/16 km
Elevation: 3,000 ft/900 m
Weather: sunny, high around 85 F (29 C) low around 60 F (15 C)
Trail Conditions: use trails with multiple stream crossings

Location: Death Valley National Park, California
When: April 2016
Length: 3 days of day hikes/exploring the park
Weather: hot and dry with blowing wind and sand
Note: I did not use the filter on this trip, but I carried it with me in case we did any long hikes that had access to water.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1
Overnight drip system
I have taken this filter on several backpacking trips and also added it to my gear for day hikes.

On the backpacking trips I have used this as my personal water filter around camp. I fill the bottle up and carry it around camp and on short hikes away from camp - drinking directly from the filter. On one trip, I
IMAGE 5
How full I could get the bottle in a flowing stream
took the Vapur filter system as the only source of water for three people during a few hour day hike in a creek bed. We passed the bottle around and refilled it from the stream as needed. I like using this bottle for water around camp because when the water inside the bottle gets warm, I can dump it out and get fresh, cool water from the stream or spring.

The bottle seemed like it held less than the 1 L it was advertised to hold. At home, I measured the amount and found that if filled to the top, the bottle does hold a full liter. Some water is displaced when the filter is used, but it was less than 50 ml (1.7 oz). On one of my trips, I was able to set the filter up as a drip filter into my hydration bladder overnight. Since I allowed it to drip over night, I did a timed experiment in my kitchen and found that in 10 minutes 700 ml (24 oz) had been filtered, and in just over 20 minutes about 850 ml (29 oz) had been filtered and the dripping had pretty much stopped. I personally do not see myself planning to use this as a drip filter on a regular basis, but if I have the time, I might drip some water to refill a bottle or bladder for the next day. I would not plan on using this filter for more one person's water needs.

Vapur states that this filter can be used as a straw to drink directly from a water source. I did try this on one trip, but found that I had to get too close to the water in order to drink. There are intake holes about 2 in (5 cm) below the mouth of the filter that need to be submerged for the filter to work as a straw. If I am filtering the water, I do not want to get my mouth that close to the water in order to drink. I guess that knowing I can use the filter like a straw is good to know in case the bottle would become unusable during a trip.

IMAGE 4
Using the filter like a straw
Overall, I found the bottle easy to fill and use. During hikes I would carry the filled bottle and filter using the attached carabiner as a handle. When not in use, I strapped the filter and bottle to the outside of my pack for easy access and hooked a compression strap through the carabiner. During my March Grand Canyon hike, I did not use the filter as we had potable water the entire time. However, I took the filter as a back-up in case the water system was down or we needed water between campsites. At 2.6 oz (74 g), I do not mind carrying this filter as a back-up water supply. I plan to add this to my day hiking kit as well for backpacking trips along bodies of water in case I run out of water or if I just want to carry less with me. I have used this filter on 3 trips and have not had any stomach issues, so I think that the filter is doing its job and keeping me healthy.

All the water I have filtered has been clear or very slightly murky - as in the water needs to be several feet (or about a meter) deep in order to see that the water is not perfectly clear.I do not think I would take this filter on a trip where I knew the water might be cloudy or brackish since there are no field cleaning instructions.

For the bottle part of the system, I have a love-hate relationship. Overall I love it because the wide mouth makes it pretty easy to fill from streams or pools. This also makes it easier to keep the bottle open to dry out after use. The only down side is that this filter can only be used with a Vapur bottle, if something was to happen to the bottle, I could not use a different brand bottle. I did see Vapur bottles for sale in the gift shops in Death Valley, so that was reassuring.

SUMMARY

Overall, I like this filter as a back-up filter. Since I normally use a hydration bladder while backpacking, I prefer a pump filter to this one for refilling my bladder. I have enjoyed using it on water hikes and will use this as my water filter of choice on creek hikes were I have access to water the whole hike. The wide mouth bottle is easy to fill and dry. The bottle seems durable as there are no holes in it despite being strapped to the outside of my pack for several hikes. I have some concerns about finding a replacement bottle if something were to happen to this one on the trail as the filter and bottle system is proprietary. At least the filter could be used as a straw in a pinch!

Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Vapur for allowing me to test this bottle and filter system! This concludes my test series.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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