Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Friday, 2 May 2008

Wednesday 30 April 2008 - Testing the Aquagear Water Filter

It’s Friday now, but the test was carried out on Wednesday. I’ve given it 36 hours for any ‘after effects’ to make themselves known. I’m pleased to report no recorded repercussions.

Across the road we have the Bridgewater Canal. I was tempted to source the test water from there, but the canal water just drifts along, it doesn’t exactly ‘flow’. For example, yesterday’s ‘Lord’ will still be in roughly the same position, probably still on his country seat, today.

The Aquagear instructions say:

Note: Only filter water preferably from running non-saline watercourse.”

So this doesn’t encourage the use of canal water, and infers destruction of the filter if salty water is used.

At the end of our road a small stream, Sinderland Brook, runs under the canal. Its source is next to junction 5 of the M60 near Wythenshawe Hospital, and its short journey to the River Mersey reaches its conclusion near Partington.
An ideal source of the test water.
Here’s where I obtained the test sample.

The brook is actually quite attractive – here’s another photo taken downstream from the same spot. The bluebells are just coming into flower.

Anyway, from what I thought was a full bottle, 400 ml of filtered water was soon produced and stored in the fridge alongside a jug of tap water. The only other time I had filtered water was when canoeing in Canada, and the regular pumping ritual was quite tedious. This system is lighter, but for large quantities could become equally tedious.

Daughter was coming for tea; she always washes her food down with tap water. I provided the first glass (the filtered water) and she didn’t comment. The experiment was then explained, and all three of us tried the water from both jugs. Sue expressed a slight preference for the tap water, but Daughter and I couldn’t tell the difference. To the best of my knowledge there have been no after effects.

A successful test…

A few observations
1 The quoted 500 ml capacity is an absolute maximum; 400ml was all I could get from the shallow brook.
2 The sleeve could absorb water from where it is sourced, and drip in to the receptacle along with the filtered water, thereby contaminating it. So I suggest removing the sleeve before use, and drying the outside of the bottle before filtering.
3 I wasn’t 100% confident about the seals, and the ‘dust cap’ is loose. So I wouldn’t be too confident about carrying the bottle full of water. In any case, with a 400-500 ml capacity, it isn’t a substitute for the 1 litre bottle that many of us like to carry. The 200 gm weight therefore has to be set against the much lower weight of purification tablets (or additional fuel for longer boiling).

Conclusion
The Aquagear seems to work, and for those with a nervous disposition about water sources it could become a valued piece of kit. For those of us who quite happily drink clear running water from high mountain streams and springs, with no ill effects, perhaps if we bore in mind the manufacturer’s comment:

“Consider all untreated water sources as suspect however clear they appear. They often contain disease causatives, chemicals and sediments.”

we might just take one of these gadgets along for use ‘when in doubt’.

The product is available from backpackinglight.co.uk whose Bob Cartwright has reported on it thoroughly in this podcast.
Several other UK outdoors bloggers have obtained it, but (like me) haven’t really thoroughly tested it. They will no doubt be writing more about it in future entries.

Weird Darren
Andy Howell
PTC
London Backpacker

We’ll be taking ours on the TGO Challenge and will report back after that.

3 comments:

PhilW said...

So you experimented on your daughter without telling her beforehand ?!!....

Phreerunner said...

Yes...oh dear, am I a bad father?!

Phreerunner said...

Redeemed!
Daughter's Grandma, an avid reader of these pages, has emailed:
"I liked the Aquagear
experiment"
Phew!