NEW ORLEANS – The Aquamira WaterBasics Series II Red Line filter and bottle claims to be the “best” solution on the market for drinking water safety. Granted the claim may seem too strong, at best, but, there is enough science and technology here to warrant serious consideration for any survivor or traveler.
While the company offers several filtered water bottles, this particular version – the Red Line Series II – is its top of the line. And, at an MSRP of $49.99, it is not an impulse buy.
The bottle is light (7.3 ounces by my measurement), and easy to carry.
It has a bite valve, a transparent orange cover and an “eye” to tie it off or clip it to a belt or backpack. This version is bright orange (easy to see) and labeled on the exterior with fill line measurements showing eight ounces, 16 ounces, 20 ounces, 250 milliliters, and 500 milliliters respectively.
According to the packaging it is certified by International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Research and Testing (IAPMO R&T) to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Microbiological Purifier test standard for the reduction of cysts, bacteria and viruses. Also, it is certified to NSF/American National Standards Institute 372 for lead free content.
Made in the USA, the bottle is free of BPAs, iodine, and chemicals.
For my review, I started with their “Certificate of Listing,” available online from the IAPMO R&T. This third party testing company certifies the product will do what it says. In this case, it says that this filtered water bottle will reduce the levels of bacteria, virus, and cysts in accordance with the EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers, as well as the IAPMO R&T Certification Mark.
The IAPMO R&T is also certified by the American National Standards Institute to perform a wide variety of testing.
Because the product uses a mechanical process, to meet the standards the product must filter .2 microns to stop giardia cysts. Ecoli measures .5 microns.
What Aquamira Says
I briefly interviewed one of the developers, Max Gyllenskog. Aquamira designed the bottle as a personal filter for one individual exposed to questionable water sources. Examples include backpackers or business persons traveling abroad. Gyllenskog says it really pays off is for the international traveler.
Even though the filter’s projected life span is about 120 gallons, Aquamira’s tests show that it filters much more if necessary. When it stops flowing, you know the filter reached the end of its life span. No guesswork, it just stops working. And, as with all systems, the cleaner the source of the water the longer the filter lasts. Users can dry out the filter and reuse it multiple times.
The filter is not designed to be, nor should it be, back-flushed.
My Positive Findings
My not-so-scientific personal testing shows that it will reduce the taste of chlorine from tap water to levels that I was not able to detect. I also performed a dye test and used Great Value’s Assorted Food Color and Egg Dye just to see what it would do.
I first used the red dye, which was a mix of red dye #40 and red dye #3. Five drops to one cup of tap water.
My understanding of this test is that the red dye #40 molecule is very large and comparable to some bacteria while the other dyes, including red #3 and blue #1, are much smaller molecules. Smaller even than a virus.
I went into this expecting that the blue dye and some of the red would not be filtered out. What I ended up with was a very pale pink instead of bright red.
The blue was filtered down to a pale blue. As far as this test went, the filter performed.
In terms of its design, it is a functional design and is fairly tough. I made sure to drop mine several times and it still works.
As an individual piece of equipment within what it was designed for, it is a good product. Aquamira’s Gyllenskog convinced me the company wanted to make a quality filter. Since the company is respected, it probably can be trusted for most situations.
The Down Side
I don’t like bite valves. The reason I don’t like bite valves is that it makes the water bottle an individual tool. It’s for one person and one person only.
For me, it’s like a football mouthpiece or a tooth brush. I don’t see how to clean it or get it ready for another person to use. Sharing and providing for my wife and children are important. For use as a broad spectrum piece of preparedness gear, it doesn’t work. Aquamira did not design the bottle to serve a group.
It will not help you fill a coffee pot or filter water to cook a pot of noodles. Since I very rarely only take care of myself, by design it won’t work.
Or will it?
My complaints aside, there is a product hack that makes it a group tool.
The Red Line II comes with a nippled filter refill. The nipple doubles as a gravity fed filter for a larger container. Ideal for a group of people. It requires about six feet of vertical lift on the water source to get enough pressure (approximately three PSI) to make the filter work properly. With the right connections and hose lengths, the supplied filter will work the same way.
Aquamira designed a good product. It should be a reliable safeguard from questionable water and it can be hacked to protect a family.
Thank you for reading my review.
The Aquamira WaterBasics Series II Red Line Filter and bottle is available online and at a variety of stores including Walmart and Amazon. Replacement filters also are available for about $30 at Walmart and other stores.
Troy Tomlinson is a Real Estate Broker licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi with an office in Gretna, La. serving the New Orleans Metropolitan Area and adjoining rural areas. He specializes in properties used for self-reliance. Motivated by Hurricane Katrina to educate himself as a Prepared American, Tomlinson completed CERT, Appleseed, Cub Scout Training, CPR, First Aid, and beer brewing. He is a licensed Ham Radio Operator (Call Sign – KF5GFB).