I wouldn't call myself a water snob, but there's definitely some water I won't drink. In short, if the water tastes like metal, I'll pass. Normally I would bring some water bottles to work and drink those throughout the day. However, for those knowledgable about staying hydrated, that would mean I would have to drink quite a bit of water over the span of 9 hours. So that leaves me with three choices:
- Bring a ton of water bottles
- Buy water everyday from a nearby store or vending machine
- Get water from the drinking fountain at work
The first solution doesn't really fly for me as I like to travel light. And although the 2nd solution allows me to travel light, there's a lot of economic waste going on.
So that leaves me to the last option — the drinking fountain.
Ah, the drinking fountain — My comparisons about the flavor of the water from that metallic water hole are similar to the breakroom coffee — it tastes like crap. It's like I can taste every inch of metal pipe that the water has traveled to in order to defile my tastebuds.
Now there are a couple options for that. When I make coffee at home, I use a Brita filter in order to filter out some of the offending tastes. While it may not be the super-fancy reverse osmosis water, it gets the job done for me. So why not bring a Brita pitcher to work?
I work around a lot of technological equipment — some of which are very important in terms of legal matter. Call me paranoid, but the last thing that I want is to have that pitcher spill over and destroy something. Then I remembered that there were drinking bottles with filters built in. So I went on a quest.
After doing some research online, I found three popular bottles with built in filters.
After remember seeing the Brita in one of the stores near by, I had my mind set on that. However, reviews over the web had complained about how these bottles leak. So of course, that was a bummer which automatically disqualified it from the running. The two finalists as a result ended up being the Bobble and the Camelbak.
Oddly enough, I recalled seeing a Bobble bottle in our house. So I decided to take it for a "test drive". The glowing remarks about this bottle were about how well it handled tap water. Upon filling up the Bobble with cold sink water, I gave it a taste to see if it tasted better.
To be honest, it did. I don't know how hard or nasty our tap water is at the house, but the filtered result didn't taste bad. Now for the ultimate test — I took it to work.
While the Bobble was able to handle our house tap water, it was no match for the rusty pipe tasting water at our work. Having felt confident at the Bobble's ability to handle tap water, gulping a mouthful of that vile liquid with my poor tastebuds unguarded was truly a scarring experience.
So I went back to the store in search for the Camelbak.
Having found and purchased the Camelbak at our local Target, I wanted to see what financial advantages/disadvantages this bottle had over the competition.
This is the criteria that I used for calculation:
Used the Mayo Clinic's general recommendation of daily water intake for a male, which is 13 cups or 104 fl. oz.
For filter longevity, I used the recommended replacement time based on the volume of water filtered — not the estimated months.
If recommended replacement for volume filtered was not stated, I used the number of refills they recommend based on the volume of the bottle.
All prices are based on how much Amazon sells them — in other words, I did not use the prices from Amazon Marketplace vendors
|Bottle||Price||Filter Price||Filter/Pack Longevity||Filter Pack Price Per Day|
|CamelBak Groove (20 oz)||$20.29||$8.77 (2 pk)||36.92/73.84 days||$0.12|
|Brita Water Bottle(20 oz)||$10.99||$6.88 (2 pk)||48.7/97.4 days||$0.07|
|Bobble Filtered Bottle(18.5 oz)||$13.231||$8.13 (1 pk)||49.23/49.23 days||$0.17|
- The Brita appears to be the cheapest in terms of price per bottle and for the pack of refills.
- The Bobble has the most expensive filters
- The CamelBak is the most expensive bottle
The CamelBak Groove is made from hard plastic which has a tube extending nearly to the bottom of the bottle for the straw function. The tube widens as it reaches the top of the bottle, where it stores the cylindrical carbon filter. To replace the filter, you would screw off the tube2 from the bottom of the lid which will give you access to the filter. Unlike the Brita pitcher filters where you would have to submerge the entire unit in water for 30 mins or so, all you need to do to prime a CamelBak filter is rinse them in water for 15 seconds.
At the top of the lid, there is the bite valve which CamelBak uses on all their water bottles which eliminates the problem of dripping and leaking. It can be flipped open or closed with the push of the thumb. In conjunction with the bite valve, I believe the purpose for its ability to be flipped open or closed is more for the sake of not having (most of) the valve get in contact with the environment.
As with cup or bottle, the Groove needs to be cleaned every now and then — especially the bite valve, which some reviews say mold can develop. I feel this is a downside of the bottle as it reminds me of cleaning a French Press vs the seemingly easier maintenance the Bobble provided (to complete the comparison, as easy as an Aeropress).
To complete the lid, there is a loop which you can use to attach it to your bag — or swing it around carefree when I roam the halls at work.
The feel of the plastic bottle is pretty solid. When I felt the Brita bottle at the store, it felt pretty flimsy and waxy. To give credit, the Bobble also felt solid for being a plastic bottle. Due to the CamelBak's straight forward design, I feel pretty comfortable lugging that thing around the office as opposed to the curvy Bobble — which garnered a lot of stares.
Despite the looks, feel, and features of the bottle, the most important criteria is its performance. Does it work? Are there any downsides?
I tested it at home first. Filled it up with tap water. I figured if it didn't make the tap water great, there was no way it was going to make the drinking fountain at work taste any better.
Success. It tasted fine. Similar to the Brita water filter pitcher that I have.
Now came the true test — the drinking fountain at work.
I filled the bottle up with its refrigerated metallic-tasting water. Nervously — I walked back to my desk preparing for the taste.
Success — the water actually tasted fine.
While it didn't taste as "good" as bottled water or as soft as your super-expensive foreign water, it didn't taste metallic. The filter had done its job in removing offending flavors from the water.
In terms of leaking, there is none. Nothing more to comment on it other than that it doesn't leak. However, sometimes when you drink from the bottle, a little bit of the water stays inside the bite valve. When this happens, there is a chance that water will drip out as you flip the valve closed. It's a minor annoyance I've experienced maybe 2-3 times after owning this bottle for a few months.
One thing that I did have to get used to is the orientation of drinking this bottle. Sometimes I forget that the bite valve is connected to a straw, and will tilt the bottle up as I drink (think of drinking a normal water bottle). If this happens, of course you won't get any water if the bottle is about half full. To drink from this bottle, you have to drink it upright — just like you would drink any bottle or cup with a straw. While I don't see it as a defect (because it's a damn straw), personally I had to rewire my thinking slightly.
Now I don't always drink straight tap water with this bottle. Sometimes if there are water bottles around, I'll dump it in there. Or if I'm at home, I'll pour some of the Brita water in there. Having a bottle that where I can drink any potable water, good tasting or bad, is a great thing. Also having the confidence to throw around the bottle and not fear that it will leak, even if the valve is flipped open, is truly a blessing.