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Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Bota Outback Filtration System > Owner Review by Ernie Elkins

Bota of Boulder
Outback Water Filtration System

Owner Review by Ernie Elkins
August 25, 2007

Personal Information

Name: Ernie Elkins
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 5'9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)
E-Mail Address:
City, State, Country: Denver, North Carolina, USA


I've been an avid hiker and backpacker since the late 80s. I try to get out at least once a month, and most of my trips are two to three days in duration. I prefer solitude, so I usually hike alone. I also prefer a light and simple gear kit -- my base pack weight (excluding consumables) averages about 8 lb (3.6 kg) in summer and 12 lb (5.4 kg) in winter. I usually rely on a tarp and/or bivy for shelter.

Product PhotoProduct Specifications

Manufacturer: Bota of Boulder
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Manufacturer’s Website:
Listed Weight: N/A
Weight as Delivered: 4.7 oz (133 g)
Capacity: 22 fl oz (0.65 l)
MSRP: $19.99 US

Product Description

Despite the big name, Bota of Boulderís Outback Water Filtration System is a lightweight and simple solution for filtering water. At the heart of the Outback system is a removable, replaceable filter that eliminates 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium (according to Bota, the filterís performance was evaluated by an independent lab). The filter fits snugly into the included Nalgene ATB bottle. This bottle, which is designed to fit into standard bike bottle holders, has a 22 fl oz (0.65 l) capacity, a push/pull spout, a textured grip, and a locking, Lexan ďmud capĒ that helps to keep the spout clean.

Field Conditions

Iíve used the Bota Outback system on six backpacking trips in the North Carolina and Virginia mountains for a total of about 12 days in the field. Iíve filtered water solely from streams and creeks at elevations of 1500 to 6000 ft (457 to 1829 m) in daytime temperatures ranging from the 40ís to the 80ís F (4 to 31 C).


I purchased my Outback system for one primary reason Ė itís among the lightest water filtration options on the market. Minimizing my pack weight has become an increasingly important goal for me, and the Outback system is about half of a pound (227 g) lighter than the pump filter on which I used to rely. It also serves double duty as a water bottle, so, in reality, it offers an even greater weight reduction.

The Outback system is easy to operate Ė you simply squeeze the bottle, thereby pushing water through the filter and out of the drinking spout. When squeezing with two hands, Iíve measured an average flow rate of 0.5 quarts (0.45 liters) per minute, which is about half the rate of a typical pump filter. Since that rate is quite a bit slower than what I consider to be a satisfactory drinking rate, I rarely drink directly from the bottle. Instead, I prefer to use my Outback system to filter water into another container. This allows me to carry more ready-to-drink water and allows me to drink at my own pace.

I usually filter about two quarts (1.8 liters) at a time, which takes about six to seven minutes on average, including the time it takes to refill the Outback bottle several times. The filtering process is relatively easy. The bottle has a slim profile, a finger groove, and a textured grip, so itís secure in my hands, and the filter is easy to remove when itís time to refill the bottle. It doesnít take a lot of force to squeeze water through the filter at the outset, but it does require more pressure as the water level drops. By the end of the process, my hands are a bit tired from the effort. The fatigue passes quickly, though, and I see it as a reasonable trade-off for the arm fatigue that comes with pump filters.

Dome Cap Filter
A Lexan dome cap helps to keep the spout clean.
The removeable, replaceable filter removes 99.9% of Giardia and Cryptosporidium and has a 200-refill lifespan.

My only complaint about the filtering process has to do with the bottle design rather than design of the filter itself: the push/pull spout requires very little force to snap in or out, so it has a tendency to close if I accidentally press it too firmly against the bottle into which Iím filtering the water. Since this wouldnít be an issue if I used the bottle as it was intended (drink-as-you-go), I can hardly fault Bota or Nalgene for this design choice. It would be nice, though, if the spout required a bit more force to open or close.

The fact that Iíve only filtered water from relatively clean creeks and streams makes it hard for me to evaluate the efficacy of the filter itself. Itís unlikely that there were a statistically significant number of contagious microorganisms present in the unfiltered water, but, nonetheless, Iíve had no reason to doubt the fact that the filter has worked as advertised. I can say that the filtered water looks and tastes pure and clean and that the filter leaves no noticeable aftertaste.

Thus far, the Outback system has proven to be durable and reliable. Thereís actually very little that can go wrong, and it requires no routine maintenance whatsoever. When I return from a trip, I take the cap off the bottle and pull the filter out. I then place it on a shelf for a couple of days so that it can dry thoroughly (the one time I forgot to do this I noticed mold growth on the filter). Once itís dry, thatís it Ė I put it away and donít think about it again until itís time for my next trip. It will be quite a while before I need to replace the filter (Bota suggests a 200-refill lifespan), but when the time comes the replacement filter is readily available and very affordable.


Overall, Iíve been very happy with my Bota Outback Water Filtration System. Itís inexpensive, lightweight, reliable, and requires minimal care. Itís the perfect solution for my water treatment needs, and I plan to continue using it for many years to come.

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Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Bota Outback Filtration System > Owner Review by Ernie Elkins

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