RENOVO MUV ECLIPSE WATER FILTER
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
April 11, 2019
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
126 lb (57.20 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a co-ed scout group which made a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since college in Pennsylvania. I have hiked 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail and 2/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail. My typical trip is in the Sierra Nevada from a few days to a few weeks long. My base weight is lightweight at 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt. Longer mileage summer trips are now stoveless.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Renovo Water
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.renovowater.com
MSRP: $159.00 US
Listed Weight: 14.5 oz (411 g) for gravity bag, pump and water bottle (not including filters)
Measured Weight: 14.6 oz (414 g)
MUV1: 1 oz (28 g)
MUV2: 2 oz (57 g)
MUV3: 1.65 oz (47 g)
All 3 filters were weighed and confirmed the listed weights.
Measured weight including everything EXCEPT the water bottle and bucket adapter: 22 oz (624 g)
Measured weight of water bottle: 5.5 oz (156 g)
Made in China
(1) MUV1 Activated Carbon Fiber Filter
(1) MUV2 Hollow Fiber Module Filter
(1) MUV3 Nanalum Module Filter
(1) Pre-Filter Pre+28 Assembly
(5) Pre-Filter Felt
(1) Out+28 Assembly
(3) Hose Adapters
(1) Hose - Blue/Clean Water - 18 in (46 cm)
(1) Hose - Grey/Dirty Water - 36 in (91 cm)
(1) Strainer, Pre-Filter
(1) Water Bottle
(1) Water Bottle Tube
(1) Gravity Bag Kit (10L/10.6 qt Gravity Dry Bag, Hose Clamp, Quick Connects, and 36 in/91 cm Hose)
(1) Hose Clamp
(1) Bucket Adapter
First let me explain the filter types which they call MUV 1, MUV2 and MUV 3. The MUV1 is an Activated Carbon Fiber (ACF) filter that removes chemicals and improves taste. This sounds similar to what I'm familiar with in a home filter but it is NOT. The Renovo website explains the differences in detail. Most home-type carbon filters are Block Activated Carbon (BAC) which necessarily have low-flow rates or require pressure. The ACF allows for high flow rates while still achieving high absorption of contaminants. It is rated for 150 gallons (568 L). The MUV2 is a hollow fiber filter that removes bacteria similar to most filters that are on the market for backpacking. It is rated for 100,000 gallons (378,547 L) and is the only one of the three that can be cleaned via backflushing. Last is the MUV3 which is a high-tech nanalum filter that does all of the above PLUS removes viruses. Wow, that is something I haven't seen in any typical backpacking filter. It is rated for 90 gallons (341 L).
The filters can be used individually or stacked in-line using any two or all three filters depending on the water situation and what needs to be filtered out. There is a pre-filter that can be attached to whichever filter is in direct contact with the dirty water. For the opposite end that has clean water coming out, there is either a drinking mouthpiece that can be attached or a connector that allows use with a hose.
Moving on to water collection, the filters can be stacked with the mouthpiece atop and water drunk as a straw directly from the source. Or there is a 10L bag which can be filled and then filtered via gravity. A water bottle is included that has a straw inside for attaching any filter. Other options would be to fill my own water bladder or threaded water bottle and then filter in-line while drinking. Lastly, for the really difficult to access water, there is a pump to assist with getting the water into any of these containers.
The filters themselves have some neat design features. They are not completely cylindrical in that they have a flat side which keeps them from rolling off of a flat surface. They also have molded-in finger detents for good ergonomics. The high-visibility orange on the filters is a rubber material for good grip and the bright color makes it easy to find the filters in a backpack or on the ground. Each filter shows the flow direction of the water being filtered for an easy visual instruction.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
The Renovo MUV Eclipse Water Filter arrived pretty much as expected based on previously checking out their website. There is SO much to this set. There are instructions included but I also referred to the website to figure out more easily which pieces went where and with which set-up. There is a lot to digest but it because this system has so much capability and flexibility.
The MUV Eclipse seems to be a very complete and versatile system for not only providing all types of filtration (carbon fiber, hollow fiber and nanalum), it also provides every type of water collection and drinking method (straw, water bottle, gravity bag, hydration bladder and pump). It is apparent in the design and organization of the package contents that this system was very well thought out. I honestly cannot think of any way to collect water, filter water or drink water on the trail that is not accounted for with this system. Way to go!
There is so much to this system that it would initially seem like a heavy, overkill thing to be carrying in my backpack. However, I quickly realized how modular it all is and how I can tailor what I choose to carry with me based on the type of trip, the water sources I expect to find, how much water I'll need for my group, etc. I'll add the actual weights of what I carry with me on each trip in my future reports. I love that the 'dirty' unfiltered water bag and hose are gray while the 'clean' filtered water hose and mouthpiece are blue. This is a great visual reminder of which water has or has not been filtered.
I put the filter system together in each possible configuration just to make sure that I understood how it all fits and what the options are. Although the attachment methods and use of the filter system seemed pretty self-explanatory, I followed the included instructions step-by-step to see if they made sense and if I'd learn anything. They were well-written and easy to follow.
I learned how to use the bucket adapter by attaching it to a five-gallon bucket (after drilling a hole) and then I could have a large amount of water to filter via gravity. That could be really useful in a large base camp.
For some reason, the gasket for the pump is not installed and has to be added prior to use. It comes in a separate plastic bag with a scan code for referencing the video to explain how to install the gasket. It turns out that the installation is simply removing a nut, installing the gasket and replacing the nut.
I also discovered a couple of issues. One, there were two hose adapters included instead of the advertised number of three. Second, the female lower end of the MUV1 filter was not permanently attached to the filter so it pulled off and stayed attached to the male top end of the MUV2 filter. I contacted Renovo and was able to explain, send photos and got excellent service on correcting the situation. They immediately sent out another hose adapter and a new MUV1 filter and gave me the tracking number so that I could keep tabs on it.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
There is a sheet including instructions (written only in English) explaining how to use the filter in each configuration: gravity bag, in-line with hydration bladder, bucket adapter gravity system, threaded water/soda bottle, included water bottle, and as a straw.
I found them to be useful but also consulted their website for additional photos, video and information. Wow, did I learn a lot about filtration and water!
The Renovo MUV Eclipse Water Filter is a complete and versatile system allowing for all types of water collection and providing filtration for all levels of water quality.
Three filter types: Carbon fiber, hollow fiber and nanalum
Various usage options: in-line, straw, gravity and pump
Color-coded to indicate clean and dirty water
How quickly will water flow through the various filters?
How well do the various collection and filtering methods work?
How packable is the system?
How easy and efficient is the pump to use?
Unclear why the pump gasket isn't installed prior to shipment
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the Renovo MUV Eclipse Water Filter System for hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking for both day and overnight trips. I also used the water bottle extensively for those trips as well as for playing softball and just around town.
Haul Road, Mendocino Coast, Northern California: 7 mi (11 km); 45 to 54 F (7 to 12C); nearly sea-level; clear conditions with blustery winds
Caspar Headlands Reserve, Northern California: 3 mi (5 km); 50 F (10 C); nearly sea-level; partly sunny conditions with blustery winds
Van Damme State Park, Pygmy Forest, Northern California: 3.5 mi (6 km); 47 to 50 F (8 to 10 C); 200 to 600 ft (61 to 183 m); partly sunny
Multiple hikes in Auburn Recreation Area, Sierra Nevada Foothills, California: 2.5 to 4.5 mi (4 to 7 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 45 to 63 F (7 to 17 C); mostly clear to partly cloudy conditions
Donner Lake, California: 2.5 mi (4 km); 5,935 to 6,000 ft (1,809 to 1,829 m); 24 to 32 F (-4 to -1 C); partly sunny and breezy and cool
Coldstream Valley, Northern Sierra Nevada, California: 3.5 mi (5.6 km); 5,935 to 6,236 ft (1,809 to 1,901 m); 37 to 43 F (3 to 6 C); mostly sunny and warm
El Dorado Trail, Sierra Nevada Foothills, California: 11 mi (18 km); 50 F (10 C); 1,827 to 3,033 ft (557 to 924 m); mostly cloudy
GETTING IT READY & TESTING
First, I had to install the gasket on the pump plunger. I followed the video instructions provided via a scan code link to a YouTube video. There was no audio but it showed someone removing a nut with needle-nose pliers, adding the gasket and replacing the nut. I'm not sure that pliers were the best tool for the job, but it seemed to work ok and I wanted to follow the recommendation. I'm still unclear why the gasket wouldn't be installed by the manufacturer.
As mentioned in the Initial Report, I received a MUV1 filter replacement for my initial one and also a third hose adapter which was missing. The MUV1 filter arrived in packaging and I noticed that it had a flow rate listed of 0.4 L/min (1-2/3 cups/min). So that compelled me to check out the ratings on the filters and test them. The flow rates are 0.4 L/min (1-2/3 cups/min), 0.5 L/min (2-1/8 cups/min) and 0.5 L/min (2-1/8 cups/min) for the MUV1, 2 and 3 respectively.
I tried the gravity filter system with all three filters in-line and about 3L (100 oz) of water in the bag. I hung the bag so that the hoses would be fully extended before reaching my collection cup. I opened the hose clamp and ready, set, oh? Nothing happened. So, then I tried with only the MUV2 filter with the same result. Then I sucked on the clean hose to pull water through and now I had some flow! Ok. I then timed some combinations to see how long it took to filter 0.5 L (17 oz) of water with the following result:
All three filters in-line: 2' 40" - 3' 05"
MUV1 only: approx. 1' 35"
MUV2 only: 42" - 1'06"
MUV3 only: 47" - 1' 05"
So, the MUV2 and MUV3 filters measured up to or beat the advertised 0.5 L/min (2-1/8 cups/min) rating. However, the MUV1 was a little slower than the 0.4 L/min (1-2/3 cups/min) rating and the filter combinations only slowed things down even more. The individual filter times are a little slower than I'm used to but not bad. If/when I need all three filters though, I'll have to plan on an extended break.
I then did a little experimenting with the pump to measure how much water is displaced with each pump. I took two measuring cups and filled one with water and then made several pumps noting with each pump how much water was removed from one cup and poured into the other. I tried with all three filters stacked and on average each pump moved 1 cup (240 ml) of water in 50 pumps. I then tried each filter individually and found that the MUV1 was similar to having all three probably since it seems the most restrictive. The MUV2 alone took 25 pumps to displace 1 cup (240 ml) of water and was flowing the most freely. The MUV3 alone took 30 pumps and so was just slightly more restrictive than the MUV2 filter. The combination of different filters seemed to be as slow/fast as the slowest filter.
The pump worked fairly easily but seemed to vary quite a bit in how much water each pump pulled and expelled despite my keeping the set-up identical for each pump motion. I could feel that some pumps really pulled and expelled the water well while others just seemed to slip and not do much.
Overall, I found that I hoped to not need to use the pump very often. Certainly, there are water sources that require pumping so in those cases, I'll be glad to have a pump to add on to my filters that I'm already carrying. But I would hope to find a way to fill the gravity bag instead.
I noticed during this process of swapping out filters that the round pre-filter paper kept falling out and by the end I had lost it. My husband found it the next day but clearly this is something that could easily be lost on the trail. Fortunately, a bag of five extras were included.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
If I was only carrying the gravity filter then I used the provided bag into which I could fit the gravity bag, the hose and all three filters. I appreciate that the gravity bag holds a large capacity (10L/10.6 qt) especially for dry sections when I need to carry a lot of water. And the roll-top closure provides a good way to close the bag for carrying.
When I wanted to also carry the pump and other pieces, I used my own waterproof stuff sack. I was glad that I had chosen a waterproof sack because there was always some residual water in the filters and hoses. It was good to have that water contained and not wetting anything inside my pack.
I assembled the MUV2 filter in-line on my hydration bladder which I used for hiking and mountain biking. Using the filters in-line required additional sucking power which was usually fine for normal hiking. However, when I was climbing or generally exerted, I found it a little harder to get a good drink while being out of breath.
I fell in love with the water bottle in general. I, like everyone, seem to end up with a zillion water bottles and use only one or two of them, but this one is my new favorite! The capacity (22 oz/0.65L) is just perfect for most of my activities. I used the bottle with and without the MUV1 filter. Since I was drinking clean water, I only used the MUV1 filter to see if I could tell any improvement in taste. The carbon did seem to improve water taste. I love the carry strap which is attached to the lid. The flip-top opening is great for keeping the mouthpiece clean and protected. The flow is perfect for getting a good healthy drink. The only improvement I could even fathom is to make the mouthpiece blue in color to indicate 'clean' water.
I mentioned in the Initial Report that I liked having color-coded parts to remind me of what was clean and unclean water. Besides having the mouthpiece on the water bottle blue, one of the hose adapters could also be blue. Then I would use that one only on the output side. I colored one of my hose adapters with blue marker for this purpose since I didn't want to mix them up.
I've always kept all of my drinking vessels clean and only used a dirty bag for collecting unfiltered water. So, it felt uncomfortable to me to use a water bottle and/or hydration reservoir for containing dirty water.
I tried the filter in the straw configuration and found that I could drink freely without having to exert too much extra sucking power to get a good drink. This held true even with all three filters in-line. I wouldn't want to use this configuration as a primary method, but it certainly works ok.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the filter in various configurations on multiple short backpacking trips.
Joshua Tree National Park, California: 2 days; 7 mi (11 km); 3,000 ft (914 m) elevation; 28 to 52 F (-2 to 11 C); clear
Marble/Cottonwood Canyons, Death Valley National Park, California: 3 days; 34 mi (55 km); 1,167 to 4,680 ft (356 to 1,426 m) elevation; 32 to 62 F (0 to 17 C); clear to cloudy with breezy conditions
Tonto National Forest, Arizona: 2 days; 12 mi (19 km); 3,964 to 4,100 ft (1,189 to 1,250 m) elevation; 38 to 62 F (3 to 17 C); clear to mostly cloudy
Bulldog Canyon, Arizona: 2 days; 6 mi (9 km); 1,500 to 2,500 ft (457 to 762 m) elevation; 50 to 70 F (10 to 21 C); sunny and clear
Lake Mead Recreation Area, Nevada: 2 days; 10 mi (16 km); 1,230 to 2,470 ft (375 to 753 m) elevation; 55 to 72 F (13 to 22 C); partly cloudy to rainy
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I like that the MUV Eclipse system has multiple configuration options so that it is possible to decide which parts to carry for the expected conditions on any given trip. However, since I was testing, I carried the entire package on every trip just to try out everything. I stored the entire filter system in my own dry sack in my backpack. This kept any residual water in the filters or hoses from getting my other gear wet. At night I would keep it all inside my pack to keep the filters from freezing when low temperatures were expected.
The gravity filter works great but needs a little coaxing to get flowing so I suck on the outlet to get it primed. After that the water flows freely. The dirty bag hose connection is spaced up from the bottom of the bag presumably to allow any silt to settle and not get pulled through the filter. This prevents quite a bit of water from being filtered so I move it around to push it through the filter if the water is clear.
I really like the black color of the dirty bag for warming water (if desired). I'm anxious to try it this summer for heating water for a shower. The strap is nice and long and very convenient for hanging even around larger tree branches.
The dirty bag is definitely NOT a sealed dry bag though. Note that it isn't advertised as one either. However, my husband is used to our other gravity filter which features a sealable dirty bag, so he filled this one with water before a desert hike and then packed it into his backpack. Fortunately, we discovered that the water had spilled out inside his pack before we left. Otherwise we would have been seriously short on water. We were glad that we use dry sacks for our quilt and clothing too or else it would've been a major problem drying out gear before the trip.
I filtered into various vessels such as a water bottle, cooking pot and hydration reservoir. It worked great to directly filter into the hydration reservoir maybe because it is sort of a closed system with no air. I also found that I could speed along progress by squeezing the dirty bag to keep up a good flow.
I loved using the filter in the straw configuration! I have to admit that I've joked about the ridiculous advertisements (not Renovo's) of a hiker lying down using a straw filter. Right. As if we all aren't dirty enough while backpacking that we want to lie in water, dirt and mud to get a drink. But with just the simple addition of a section of hose, this is my preferred method of filtering now when I'm on the move. There is no lying down in mud or water necessary and I can get a good drink right away and keep going. The filter is easy to suck water through so that I can get a lot of water without a lot of effort.
As in the Field Report, I used the MUV2 filter in-line on my hydration bladder but just didn't warm up to this method very much. I found it too hard to suck water through when I was really thirsty and winded. Having the filter attached to the hydration tube was also cumbersome, and I wasn't able to find a convenient way to position everything that worked for me.
I also tried having the filter attached to an empty 1L water bottle. It was easy to thread the filter onto the top and I stored it in my side backpack pocket for easy access. I liked being able to squeeze water through the filter while drinking. However, it didn't work as well as I'd hoped when I left the filter attached. The filter twists too easily and would unscrew itself inadvertently. I ended up capping the bottle with its original cap and screwing the filter on when I needed a drink.
Lastly, I found the pump to be nearly unusable. I wasn't able to get much water flowing at all and would only use this in a desperate emergency situation. It only pumped a small amount of water with each pump and only on the outflow stroke. I'm used to my other pump filter flowing continuously as I'm pumping. The Renovo pump filter sputtered with a few good pumps here and there but mostly spits of water.
I still love using the MUV water bottle and seemed to have it around nearly every day at home and on the trail. I just like the volume it holds, the mouthpiece and the fit in my hand. It's a keeper!
I like the color-coding of blue versus gray for clean versus dirty water. This makes it easier to keep clean pieces clean. I ended up storing clean things like the clean hose and adapters in a separate zip-top bag to keep them clean and together.
The Renovo MUV Eclipse Water Filter is a complete and versatile system allowing for all types of water collection and providing filtration for all levels of water quality.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Complete variety of filtering options
Love the water bottle!
Stackable filters for any water situation
Gravity filter bag has lots of capacity
Straw configuration is great on-the-move
Slower than my other gravity filter
Pump efficiency is poor
Pre-filters are easy to lose
This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to Renovo Water and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in the test of this unique filter system.
Read more reviews of Renovo Water gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith