It’s not often than I describe a product as a must-have for backpackers; beyond the all-important backpack and a few clothes, my usual policy is ‘if you won’t die without it, you don’t need to pack it’. But, having recently tested and started using a new water bottle, the Water-To-Go Filtration System, I’m adding a new item to my must-pack list. A well-sized water 75cl bottle which includes a replaceable filter developed for the NASA space programme, my Water-To-Go bottle instantly filters over 99.9% bacteria, viruses and more harmful content from water, providing safe, refreshing drinking water anywhere in the world.
In many popular backpacking destinations, it’s not safe to drink the tap water, meaning that until now I’ve always had to rely on purchasing bottled water. It’s not only an added expense, but an inconvenience too – especially when I have to carry a huge 1.5 litre bottle with me on a day hike when I know I won’t be able to buy any more water.
Psst – I have a Water-To-Go discount code exclusively for my readers. Used ELUX15 when you check out to save 15%!
Drink Safe: How it Works
Nano alumina along with 33 % carbon and other filtration ingredients are utilized to bring about this amazing new patented process. The nano alumina emits a positive charge when wet and attracts the negative charged contaminants of protozoa, bacteria and virus.” Water-To-Go
You can check out the full list of exactly what the filters remove on the Water-To-Go website, but just to give you an idea, the list includes chemicals like flouride and chlorine, metals including lead and mercury, Hepatitis A, Typhus, Dysentry, and tapeworms.
The filter works instantly to clean water as you drink it, removing not only bacteria, diseases and chemicals, but also the bad taste – meaning that you really can drink from pretty much any water source (except sea water) safely!
A Backpacker’s Best Friend
- Save Money: No more buying bottled water! It’s the one thing almost all backpackers forget to account for when planning their budget, and it can often account for a significant amount of your daily spend. Bottled water may be pretty cheap, but even in the cheapest countries those additional few bottles a day still add up. Take Thailand as an example: the average price of a 0.33 litre bottle of water is 19p. Six of those (2 litres) a day is £1.14 a day, which equates to £102.60 over three months. In many countries you’ll be paying even more: an average of £1 for 50 cls in the UK. A Water-To-Go filter lasts three months when used to filter 2 litres a day*, and a pack of two filters costs just £17.99.
- Reduce Waste: No more wasting plastic bottles by disposing of them in countries which have no or limited recycling. Last year 30 billion single use water bottles were consumed in Europe, and while the plastic may be recyclable it rarely is: plastic bottles and bags are the most common form of pollution found on our beaches and oceans. Reusable bottles like the Water to Go bottle will dramatically reduce the unnecessary use of plastic bottles.
- Save the Planet: It’s not just the six bottles a day you’d be saving, either. In a 2009 study, researchers Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley from the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, estimated the energy required to produce bottled water to be between 5.6 and 10.2 million joules of energy per litre: 2,000 times the energy required to produce a litre of tap water. So reusing one bottle and filling it from the tap is a far greener way to get your daily drink.
- Safe Drinking: In many popular backpacking countries, waterborne diseases are still a very real threat. Even drinking from tap water can carry dangers. The Water-To-Go Filtration System eliminates over 99.9% or waterborne diseases, bacteria, and viruses – so you can fill it up from the bathroom tap in your hostel, at a river or pond, or from any other water source, and have clean, safe drinking water, instantly. A fabulous way to avoid not only more serious diseases, but also the Backpacker’s most common ailment, TD (Traveller’s Diarrhoea).
*FYI – the filter lasts for 200 litres of usage, which is three months if you’re using it for two litres a day, but it won’t die on you after three months if you’ve only been using it for 2 litres a week.
Yes, It Really Works: My Experiences
Throwing around statements like ‘space programme technology’ and ‘developed by NASA’ is all well and good, but it’s still easy to be dubious of such an amazing sounding product. Clean water on the go from any source – it sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, the Water-To-Go bottle has been independently tested by three different laboratories and all of them confirmed that the filters eliminate over 99.9% of harmful contaminants in water. While I can’t submit the filter to any truly scientific tests, I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it definitely seems to work for me – no bad tummies whatsoever!
On my latest trip, three days in Brussels, I took the Water-To-Go bottle with me and used it exclusively. Not buying bottled water made a surprisingly big difference to my budget; although it was only a three day trip I was on a very tight budget and saved myself a few euros a day. I filled the bottle up from the bathroom tap in my hostel. Although that might not seem like a particularly unsafe water source, it’s definitely not something I’d normally drink from. Some bathroom taps are supplied by a separate water tank which can be less fresh than those supplying the kitchen, so while it probably won’t kill you, it’s certainly better to avoid it. At any rate, the tap water in my Brussels hostel had a distinctly unpleasant metallic taste which was enough to put me off drinking it.
The Water-To-Go bottle completely removed the bad taste, which is enough of a reason for me to continue using it and buying new filters: all water I’ve filtered through my bottle has tasted as clean as bottled water. I’ve only used it once at a less savoury water source, filling it from one of the canals close to our housesit in Dordrecht, The Netherlands – and that time there was no bad taste, either, and I didn’t get a bad tummy at all. I’ll definitely be taking the bottle on all my travels, and I’m completely confident using it in countries where the tap water is considered a no-go.
Most other water filtration systems I’ve come across have been better suited to serious hiking trips – jaunts into the wilderness or jungle treks – rather than your average ‘Joe Backpacker’. The Water To Go bottle seems like a perfect blend of the two; it’s super lightweight and the perfect size and shape to fit in my day bag without bothering me – in fact it’s no bigger or bulkier than the plastic bottle of water I’d normally buy. But this one I can reuse again and again safely, without worrying about the wasted plastic or finding a safe place to fill up. I like the cool, simple design, which doesn’t look too technical and therefore doesn’t look out of place in my daypack as I wander around a European city. Equally, though, it’s ideal for hiking – lightweight, small, and instant to use. Perfect for any occasion!
The only real complaint I can think of is that, for longer hiking trips where water sources may potentially be far apart, it might be desirable to have a slightly bigger bottle in order to carry more between refills. But, it’s not a huge deal; and you can always fill up a second larger bottle or water bag, then transfer it to the Water To Go bottle in small amounts for drinking. Since the filtration is instant, that’s not much of an inconvenience.
Other than that, it’s a brilliant product. The size is good for everyday use – especially for travellers – and the shape is nice, plus it’s available in a range of funky bright colours. It can’t be used with squash or juice, nor can it filter sea water, but for fresh drinking water it’s an absolutely brilliant product. The flip-out drinking spout is a good design, and water comes out in a fairly constant stream. It’s a little slow going and I find I need to suck a little, but it’s similar to drinking from a water bottle with a sports cap. Generally, it works like a decent, sturdy, water bottle – with the incredible added benefit that it’s filtering water on the go.
This really is a must-pack item for travellers and backpackers. Safe, clean drinking water on the go, filled up from any source without worrying – plus no wasted money or wasted plastics. It really is a fantastic addition to your kit.
Water to Go Bottles start at £24.99 including one filter. Replacement filters cost £17.99 for a pack of two. Head to watertogo.eu to buy yours now.
Get an awesome 15% discount by using the exclusive Emily Luxton Travels discount code: ELUX15. Don’t miss out!
Filters last 200 litres, an average of three months based on drinking two litres a day.
NB – the first three images in this post were borrowed from the Water to Go website and Pinterest board.