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Water-to-Go Bottle Review:
Water Filtration For Hikers

By Diane Spicer

carry your water. Read this Hiking For Her Water-to-Go review of a bottle and filter combo that can give you safe drinking water wherever you go. #hikinggear #gearreview #waterbottlereview #hikingforher

This Water-to-Go bottle review presents an important option for safe water consumption on a hike: the ability to remove 99.9% of contaminants while going easy on the environment.

Disclosures in this Water-to-Go bottle review

Hiking For Her never does paid or sponsored reviews.

All the words you read are the truth, pure and simple. No hidden bias or profit agenda, ever.

Water-to-Go contacted Hiking For Her and suggested that I try one of their bottles. After looking at the technology in their filter design, I agreed.

A bottle was received free of charge, with no obligation.

If you use this Amazon link to purchase a bottle, HFH may receive a small commission but you pay nothing extra.

One more thing to disclose: I was a microbiologist in a previous career, so I perked up when this company claimed to be able to filter viral particles like Hepatitis A (water borne hepatitis) with their technology.

In addition, the filter is designed to remove bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides.

That's a big job for one little filter, and it intrigued me.

That's why I agreed to take a look at this bottle, and share my findings with you here.

What's being reviewed

Feeling thirsty?

I hope so, because a thirst for facts in a hiking gear review makes you a smart hiker!

Water-to-Go offers a variety of products for travel, hiking, camping and survival needs.

The water bottle I tested for this review was their Water Filter Bottle for Outdoors or Travel, designated the Active bottle.

Water-to-Go Active Bottle and filter in Hiking For Her gear reviewImage courtesy of Water-to-Go

This is a one person bottle, meaning it is not designed to filter large amounts of surface water for cooking or sharing with other hikers.

That makes it perfect for day hikers and ultralight backpackers!

Product specifications

Always look closely at the specs in a hiking gear review, especially in the case of safe drinking water technology.

Here they are:

  • Empty weight 4.9oz (139g)
  • Size 9.5 in (240 mm) to fit easily in backpack side pocket
  • Filter life 3 months or 53 gallons (200 liters)
  • Replaces 400 single-use plastic bottles
  • FDA-approved BPA free plastic, available in bioplastic Q1 2024

Details on the filter

The company has designed a three step water filtering process into its filter cartridge:

  • Small pore size to hold back large contaminants such a parasites
  • Activated carbon to grab hold of particles
  • Nanofiltration using positive charges on nanofiber strands to snag negatively charged contaminants

This design removes a lot of problematic waterborne contaminants for you:

Water To Go Filter and contaminant removal graphicImage courtesy of Water-to-Go

All of these numbers and features were shared with Hiking For Her from the Water-to-Go company website.

I did not verify them myself.

How to use this water filtration technology

Do you think it's overstating things to call a water bottle "technology"?

Not when it contains a sophisticated filter like the one in this Water-to-Go bottle review (see above).

The end result of water passing through three physical, chemical and nanofiltration steps in an intact filter is water that is safe to drink.

All you have to do is fill up the bottle and start sipping, once you have activated the filter.

Keep reading for more information on how to use this bottle properly.

What hikers will like about this bottle

Water bottles are as important as boots and jackets for a hiker.

As I hiker, here's what I like about this filtration bottle:

  • The aforementioned ability to snag 99.9% of pathogens in addition to other nasties (technical term for water borne contaminants) means you can use any accessible surface water.
  • There's no need to flush the filter, just fill up the bottle and start sipping.
  • You have no tubing, floats, bags or delicate filters to wrestle with.
  • The ergonomic design allows your thumb and forefinger to grasp the bottle without strain, and the lid flips up with one finger.
  • The bottle is fairly priced, a good value compared with other water filter technology.
  • The bottle and filter casing is recyclable.
  • The filter itself is compostable. Zero waste, in other words.

More on sustainability and its appeal to hikers

We hikers are notorious for re-using, mending, getting the last squeak out of every piece of gear until we absolutely can't.

Then we recycle or repurpose it (garden flowers grow out of an old pair of my boots, in my case).

So you'll be glad to know this amazing fact:

  • The plastic used to make this bottle will be sourced from plants (sugarcane) beginning in Q1 2024.

In other words, it's the only bioplastic water filtration bottle on the market that I'm aware of at the time of this writing.

So no landfill for this water bottle!

That, along with its recyclable/compostable filter components, make it an appealing choice for the trail.

Concerns in this Water-to-Go
bottle review

It's important in any gear review to share what gives me pause with an outdoor product.

Safety, comfort, ease of use, durability, pricing, sustainability, all of these factors are considered for this section of any review from Hiking For Her.

Here's what stood out to me while writing this Water-to-Go bottle review.

Durability of the bottle

My first hesitation in recommending this bottle to day hikers and backpackers is the plastic bottle itself.

It's not super soft like single use plastic bottles.

But it's not rigid like the Nalgene or metal bottles you may be used to carrying on a hike.

If you're hard on gear like I am (dropping, or standing on, or sometimes rolling over on the bottle inside the tent), you'll want to add some sort of protective boot to the bottom of this bottle.

You can also go full on dirt bag hiker, and wrap it in duct tape. Ugly, but effective.

Plus, a handy stash of duct tape ;)

On the other hand, if you are gentle with your gear, this bottle will hold its own.

Does it work?

My second hesitation is the normal one any of us hikers have when relying on technology:

Will this filter perform each and every time to keep me safe?

Here are all the testing results from the Water-to-Go company.

They've been in business for twelve years, and have worldwide customers who rely upon this technology.

And consider this.

Because the filter uses a triple method design, a fresh filter is going to keep you out of trouble with the big stuff like parasites and their eggs, as well as the vanishingly small stuff like viruses.

  • The technology should be able to snag chemicals including pesticides, too.

Because you never handle the filter, and it is encased in protective plastic, you won't damage it and render it inoperative.

Put all that together, and you have portable, reliable and easy to use water filtration.

Now for the reality check

To keep your filter intact and operating at peak efficiency, you will need to be diligent about several things.

Guard this filter in cold conditions to safeguard its reliability.

  • Keep it in plastic inside your pocket or inside several layers overnight if the temperature is below freezing.
  • It won't work if frozen, but should work once it has thawed.

If in any doubt at all about the condition or age of the filter, you can also boil the water (heat inactivation), or use chemical treatment tablets before using it as a secondary measure.

More filter care tips

Let's continue our theme of taking excellent care of the filter, and thus, yourself.

Technology is only as good as the hands that wield it, and the company that designs and manufactures it, right?

This filter claims to deliver 200 liters (53 gallons) of clean water before needing replacement. Those numbers are quite high for an individual using a water bottle.

But to be sure the filter is performing well, you have to monitor how often you use it.

Don't guess! That's setting yourself up for waterborne illness like these.

I recommend keeping a water filter log book, or devote a section in your hiking trail journal.

And I don't mean to get cranky, but I will anyway.

Please read the instructions before you take this bottle on its first hike.

  • The filter requires a 15 minute pre-soak to activate it the first time it's used. Easy instructions are included on a flap on the bottle's paper packaging.
  • Caveat: If you put your bottle on a shelf for months at a time, re-activate the filter before you use it again.
  • Don't use this filter with salt water, because drinking super clean filtered salt is still going to make you sick.
  • Keep the bottle lid and your hands clean, or you risk contaminating your just-filtered water supply.

Patience and planning

This bottle is forcing water through a filter, so it will deliver a slower rate of flow than you might be accustomed to in your gulp-and-go water bottle.

Patience, my dear. Don't force the issue.

As for planning, order replacement filters before you need them.

Paradise River Falls in Mount Rainier National ParkYou may not always have access to free flowing water on your hike

When pre-filtration is your friend

You may plan to hike to surface water that will contain a lot of debris:

  • sediment (shallow lakes or ponds)
  • glacial runoff (alpine rivers)
  • plant materials (bogs, slow moving streams)

Here's how to use your clean bandanna as a pre-filter.

  • Pour the murky, chunky or sediment laden water through the cloth and into a dirty receptacle.
  • Allow thirty minutes of gravity sedimentation to pull out any fine sediment that made its way through.
  • Then fill up the Water-to-Go Active bottle and allow the filter to do its work as you sip.

Trail Tip:

Good labeling is required when you use multiple bottles to hold unfiltered water, urine (a.k.a. a pee bottle in the tent), and filtered water.

Your Water-to-Go bottle will be easy to spot, with its distinctive color scheme and labels.

One more tip in this Water-to-Go bottle review

If you're traveling and hiking in a congested area and must rely on untreated surface water for cooking and drinking, please consider changing out the filter more often than recommended.

  • On an extended trip, carry several replacement filters with you, as they may not be available.
  • In fact, add them to your gear list right now.

Conclusions in this
Water-to-Go bottle review

Dripping glacier melt water and rocks

Clean, safe drinking water is incredibly important to your stamina and well being as a hiker, regardless of how long you plan to spend on the trail.

Treat your water each and every time, with technology that you trust and understand how to deploy.

Here's the cold hard fact you must swallow right now:

  • Clean drinking water is getting harder and harder for anyone to find on this planet.

For hikers using front country U.S. trails, in particular the overcrowded Appalachian Trail, viruses from fecal contamination of shared surface water sources are a mounting concern.

If you travel internationally on hiking trips you may have to rely on contaminated water sources, whether rural or urban.

At home, you can use this technology if you no longer trust your water source. The bottle is designed to fit easily beneath your kitchen faucet.

And it can fit well into your emergency preparedness plans for earthquake, flood, fire or storms.

Bottom line for this Water-to-Go bottle review: This technology can play an important and affordable role in your hiking, travel and home hydration strategy.

But it's up to you to keep the filter and bottle in peak performance mode.

  • A partnership of good gear and good hiking habits to keep yourself healthy sounds like a good deal to me.

Take a look at all your options for water filtration from this company here.

Thanks for reading this Water-to-Go bottle review!

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Water-to-Go Bottle Review