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Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Camelbak Groove Portable Filtration > Test Report by Kristine Mar

CamelBak Groove Portable Filtration System

Test Series by Kristine Mar

Initial Report - September 20, 2010

Biographical Information:

Name: Kristine Mar
Age: 45
Gender: Female
Height: 5'3" (1.6 m)
Weight: 120 Pounds (54 kg)
Email address: kmar546@yahoo.com
City, State, Country: New York, New York, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background:

My love for the outdoors began about ten years ago, while I was living in Northern California. Most of my hiking experience includes day hikes with an occasional 2-3 day backpacking trip. I'd consider myself an all season hiker and generally like to keep my pack as light as reasonably possible. I am currently living in New York City. I've hiked in various parks in several states and countries and enjoy hiking in various terrain, but prefer mountainous terrain for the vistas and views, and enjoy forest/river hikes for the scenery.

Product Information:

Manufacturer:  CamelBak Products, LLC
Year of Manufacture/received:   2010
Manufacturer Web site:  www.camelbak.com
Volume / Storage Capacity: 0.6 L (20 fl. Oz.)
MSRP: From the Manufacturer's Press Release, the CamelBak Groove will be available in bottles made of BPA-free Tritan plastic ($25) or stainless steel ($35) starting in November at REI. Replacement filters will be available for a suggested retail price of $10 for two filters and $25 for six.
Listed Dimensions: N/A
Actual Dimensions: 9 inches (23 cm) with bite valve open x 3 inches (7.6 cm) diameter
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 6.5 oz (184 gms)


Product Description:

CamelBak provided a press release about the Camelbak Groove which describes the product as a portable filtration system that is easy to use and carry, giving consumers great tasting, freshly filtered water anywhere. Camelbak describes the filter in the Groove as being integrated into the straw, which makes the bottle more stable than its competitors who generally have top heavy designs with filters in the cap.

The filter in the CamelBak Groove was designed to improve the taste of water by reducing the levels of chlorine in potable tap water at levels far exceeding the NSF 42 standard, as confirmed by third-party tests. Chlorine is one of the most common chemicals added to tap water in treatment plants. The replaceable filter is made of sustainable, plant-based coconut carbon, which has more active sites for absorption. Because of CamelBak's unique design and the material used, the Groove's filter is good for two months, or 200 refills - helping to replace up to 250 disposable water bottles with each filter. I contacted the representative to find out more about the filter itself and to determine if any other microbial agents could be separated out of the water and I was advised that, "the Groove filter was created specifically for portable tap water (not as a purification device)".

CamelBak Groove Lid, Filter, and Bottle

The Groove also claims to feature CamelBak's exclusive Big Bite™ Valve which is designed to prevent spills, even when open, and enables a high flow rate for easy sipping - no squeezing or tipping required.

The bottle which I received for testing is made of a durable BPA-free plastic. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a potentially carcinogenic compound found in many plastics. I received the "cool blue" color for testing. The press release stated that the water bottle would be available in multiple colors in the plastic finish and would also be available in a stainless steel finish for an extra $10. I contacted the product representative and was advised that the colors available were: Blush, Cool Blue, Seafoam (looks like a light green sea color), Graphite (clear black), White Stainless and Natural Stainless.


Test Plan/Strategy:

Living in New York City, I make it a habit to filter all of my drinking water. I will test this product over the next few months to determine if there is a noticeable difference in the taste of the filtered tap water run through the Camelbak Groove filtration system in comparison to other filtration systems. I will also evaluate the size, capacity, and the weight of the bottle.

CamelBak Groove Lid with Bite Valve

The straw containing the filter is the main feature of this bottle which differentiates it from any other water bottle. I will evaluate the carbon filter to see if any of the carbon residue escapes through the filter in to the water and I will test the bottle to determine if the bite valve is in fact, leak free, unless bitten. I will determine if the straw and the mouth piece are easy to clean or whether it would make more sense to replace the entire piece when the filter needs to be changed.

Unfortunately there were no specifications listed on the website at the time of receipt of the product, and there was no information included with the product providing more in depth information about the filter, the method of changing the filter, or other colors and/or sizes the product might be available in. I will attempt to obtain this information from the manufacturer so that a more detailed report can be provided over the next few months before the Field Report is due.

Summary:

My first impression of the water bottle is that it was a good size for walking about town or for short day hikes or outdoor excursions. In general, for outdoor pursuits in hot weather, I generally like to carry at least 2 L (68 fl oz) of water which would be more than three times the capacity of this bottle, so the size that I received seems a little small for practical use in this respect.

So far, I like the weight, the feel of the bottle in my hands, and the fact that it would easily fit into a small daypack or purse. I also like the clear blue color which I received as shown in the photo. In the coming months, I will test this product on short day hikes and outdoor excursions, and comment on the practicality of the water bottle and the taste of the filtered water in this context.

This concludes my initial report on the Camelbak Groove Water Bottle. I would like to thank Camelbak LLC and Backpackgeartest.org for allowing me the opportunity to test this water bottle with a built in filtration system. Please follow up for the results of my field tests in two months.


Field Conditions:

I have used the water bottle at least 20 times over the last two months and have filled it approximately 55 times. The bottle was used as I was walking about town, going to the movies, shopping, and for short day hikes usually from 3 miles (5 km) to 6 miles (10 km). The weather conditions ranged from 45 F to 75 F (7 C to 24 C) and the hikes and walks were not too strenuous, at a pace not exceeding 3 miles (5 km) per hour and elevation gains of never more than 1000 feet (300 m)

Whenever possible, I would fill the water bottle up with tap water, then chill the bottle in the refrigerator at 40 F (4 C) overnight, or until I needed it. If I was out and drank all the water, I would refill the bottle if I saw a drinking fountain, or if I needed to, from the tap.

If I was using my backpack, I generally had a side compartment specifically made for a water bottle which kept the bottle in an upright position, preventing leaks and spills. My purse, however, did not have such a compartment so to be safe, I would place the water bottle into a plastic bag just in case the bottle leaked. I would say I used both the purse and the backpack each 50% of the time testing.

After each day of use, I would thoroughly wash the bottle and mouth piece with warm water and soap and rinse the straw out.


Observations:

The Camelbak Groove water bottle is a good size for carrying in a daypack or stashing away in my purse for day trips around town including days out shopping, going to the movies, and for short outdoor excursions. The water bottle is convenient when I can chill the water in advance, otherwise for the most part, I felt like I was drinking water straight from the kitchen faucet, which might be slightly cooler than room temperature.

The taste of the water is better than straight from the tap due to the filter. I did notice that the chlorine taste from the tap water is not as pronounced when drinking through the filtered straw of the Camelbak. The only issue that I have with the filter is that it might be difficult to remember when a change is required which is recommended after 200 water fills. I also never figured how to adequately clean the straw. So far, I have been rinsing it in hot water.

The no-leak bite valve is great. Although the bite valve may have dribbled a drop or two immediately after filling, and tilting the bottle, for the most part, I would say that there was never any leakage or accidental spilling from the valve, with the exception of these few drops. It works as advertised; water comes out when the valve on the mouth piece is bitten down on.

My purse generally has many items which I do not want to get wet including a small laptop, cell phone, my leather wallet, and reading materials. I was afraid that the mouthpiece would get snapped out of place and somehow the water would dribble out of the straw. However, thankfully, this never happened.


Summary:

The Camelbak Groove water bottle with the built in filtration system is a convenient bottle to have for daily use or short outdoor excursions. The bottle allows me to have great tasting water available all the time. The bottle is a convenient size, and the most importantly it doesn't leak. I will continue to test this bottle over the next few months to see if there is any change in taste of the water, as the filter sustains more use, and I will also keep an eye on the straw to determine if just rinsing with warm water is sufficient for getting it clean. Check back in a few months for the final results.

I would like to thank both Camelbak Products, LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me the opportunity to test this item.


Field Conditions:

Since I submitted my Field Report in November, I have continued testing this product by using it on a daily basis at home and at the office. I have filled the bottle at least 120 times total during the testing period which includes refills. I have continued my testing mainly in indoor environments and I have not taken it out on excursions in the outdoors for extended periods since there have been many days when temperatures have dropped below freezing (32 F or 0 C) and I was afraid that the water would freeze.


Observations:

My impression of the Camelbak Groove water bottle has pretty much remained the same from the previous testing period. Overall, I felt the bottle did a great of job of removing the chlorine taste from regular tap water and the bite valve continued to perform flawlessly without any noticeable accidental leakage in my bag. The compact size that was tested allowed for easy transport in my purse, but it would be a nice option if the bottle came in a larger size as well. A 2 L (68 fl oz) size would be a nice option for me especially while hiking during the hot summer months.

The bite valve was great at dispensing water only when I bit on the valve, but I found that cleaning the mouth piece was a bit cumbersome. I first had to pull off the rubber bite valve and cleaned this part with a small round brush. The straw holding the filter was then removed, and the mouthpiece inside the cap was cleaned with a Q-tip. The third part of the straw under the filter was also cleaned with a Q-tip as I did not have a cleaning utensil that would fit inside the straw.

The carbon filter worked great throughout the entire process without ever leaving a trace of residue. Although I did not change the filter, I did pop the filter out and found that it would be easy to change when it was necessary. The price of the filters as provided by the product representative seemed reasonable at a cost of $10 for two filters or a cost of $25 for six.

The bottle, which was made of BPA-free plastic, was nicely designed and was comfortable to hold in my hand and felt nice to the grip. The colors and options that the bottle is available in, were also very attractive.


Summary:

I found the Cambelbak Groove Water Filtration bottle did a great job of providing great tasting water in a bottle which was leak free. The size of the water bottle was convenient and fit nicely into my purse or day pack for easy transportation. I liked the fact that the mouth valve worked flawlessly with no leakage. I did find that cleaning the straw and mouth valve could be slightly cumbersome and I would like to see the bottle offered in more sizes.

    Things I like:
  1. Carbon Filter removes the Chlorine Taste from Tap Water
  2. Leak-proof bit value
  3. BPA-free material, nice shape and design
    Things I don't like:
  1. Cleaning of the straw and mouth piece was a little cumbersome
  2. I would like to see the product offered in more sizes.

Thank you to CamelBak Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this item.



Read more reviews of CamelBak gear
Read more gear reviews by Kristine Mar

Reviews > Water Treatment > Filters > Camelbak Groove Portable Filtration > Test Report by Kristine Mar



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