Camelbak Allclear water purifier

By Simon Madden 4 April 2014
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Avoid dehydration and giardiasis with this UV water purifier.

Few things are more damnable than finding yourself in a “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” situation. Sure, it takes a few days of thirst to expire, but drinking bad water can make a terrible mess of you long before you draw your last breath.

Bloating, cramping, crapping, chundering, weight loss and, at the risk of being overly dramatic, the aforementioned case of death – all this can result from drinking contaminated water.

And it’s not only in shipwrecked sailors’ laments that you can find yourself short on potable water – any spring or creek, even water from the tap in the wrong country, can harbour serious nasties. There are a bunch of ways to counter this problem, but new on the scene is the Camelbak AllClear microbiological UV water purifier.

It’s almost frighteningly simple: fill the bottle with clear, ice-free water, switch on the unit, agitate by turning over in your hands for 60 seconds. And voila, the lurking bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts are now dead.

In testing, I treated water from Grampians streams and Thai taps and I’m still alive and kicking, with no gut issues. In terms of battery life, about 30 cycles depleted just over one bar, in line with the manufacturer’s claimed 80+ per charge.

There are some negatives: the lid and bottle combination is on the heavy side (482g), some people won’t like being restricted to the in-built USB rechargeable battery and you need to be careful to wipe the bottle mouth after treatment to ensure no contamination of your just-purified water.

And it isn’t a filter, all the grit, silt and organisms in the water when you start will be there when you finished. To counter this, add the optional pre-filtration cap.

I found the AllClear to be simple, fast and reliable, a good solution for when you don’t trust the water source, be that wandering in the bush or in the backblocks of Phang Nga.

RRP $159