There aren’t many places scarier in the world than a public toilet in a small Bolivian village at the dead of night. With no light, no water and a smell which turns a Gringo’s stomach (even more than it already is) at 20 paces, only flies, rats and tourists who have drunk dirty water dare to enter.
So I did everything I could to avoid having to enter any public convenience when travelling South America a couple of years ago, and that included drinking everything that wasn’t beer from a filtration bottle (I had a Katadyn at the time). I now appreciate a good filter when I see one.
The Aquapure Traveller is made by UK based Pure Hydration, and holds approx 680 ml (24oz) of water in a flexible plastic bottle, like a bicycle water bottle. The filter is fitted directly to the drinking spout and is about the size of a 35mm camera film canister (remember those?). The bottle and filter weigh 125g, which is not an awful lot, and considerably lighter than my old Katadyn.
The filter itself works in three ways:
firstly a physical filter sifts out any debris in the water;
secondly an antimicrobial M.A.D (Mechanically advanced disinfection) filter takes out any nasty bugs, bacteria and viruses;
and finally an active carbon filter gets rid of chemicals, metals and the remaining nasties.
The result is that you can pour in your average stream water (being extraordinarily careful not to get the drinking spout wet or near the water) and then immediately drink it, knowing that your backside will not do a Vesuvius impression shortly thereafter.
The Aquapure Traveller will act as a water filter for over 350L of water, which is just over 500 bottles full. The instructions go on to say that the filter will protect you up to 5000L of water, so long as it doesn’t get blocked up with particulates over time… so lifespan depends on what you put into it. Either way, if you’re travelling to an area where the water is dodgy and would usually purchase bottled water, the Aquapure Traveller could save potentially dozens of used water bottles going to landfill. Which is nice.
It’s a bit of a weird shape, which takes some getting used to. I don’t think this serves a practical purpose, except for the two ribs near the top, which help with grip. Otherwise, it fits in a cycle bottle carrier or backpack side-pocket.
The drinking spout itself on my Traveller was a bit of a let-down. It’s a ‘click up – click down’ type nozzle, but it doesn’t ‘click-up’ and can be frustrating in use because you invariably get either a trickle or a flood when expecting the other. Also, I’d really like to see some kind of dirt-protector for the nozzle itself – a silicone cover or something to avoid contamination by the water source, dirt or dust. They’re the only areas for improvement though.
Price wise it sits at £35 (£25 for new filter) which is in the right ballpark for a portable filter. It’s somewhat cheaper than a pump system, and has the advantage of removing particulates, which UV sterilisation systems don’t.
SUMMARY: The Aquapure Traveller is a neat little water bottle filtration system which is exactly the sort of thing I’d take travelling. It’s a no-brainer to use and doesn’t require any special treatment or cleaning. The price is OK, the quality is OK and the information supplied is good. I’d just like to see an improvement to the drinking nozzle, and maybe a protector for the same. Otherwise, a darn useful piece of kit.