How do you know it works? CamelBak cites independent lab tests and EPA protocols. You can open PDF documents on the company website and read detailed reports on “ultraviolet light as a sanitizing agent,” stats about reducing bacteria by 99.9999%, and so on.
In the end, you need to trust that the brand is telling it straight. I drank a few bottles’ worth of lake water and am still standing and functioning fine.
As noted above, the All Clear costs $99. This is on par with some of the competition, meaning mainly SteriPEN, which has products that run between $49.95 and $99.95 depending on weight, size, and functions.
As for the All Clear design, I like the integrated form of the purifier and bottle in one. But it is heavier than SteriPEN products — the UV cap weighs 7 ounces.
Together, the bottle and UV cap measure 10.8 ounces on my scale. This may look heavy to a backpacker counting every gram.
However, my use of SteriPEN models, which weigh 2.6 to 5.5 ounces depending on the version, has usually been with a 1-liter Nalgene bottle. That extra bottle and the SteriPEN unit added together equal the approximate same weight of the All Clear system.
Despite the ounce counting, CamelBak made the All Clear more as a camping and traveling tool, not necessarily for the ultra-light crowd. You can use it in iffy hotel rooms or at water pumps in remote villages as well as at wilderness lakes and streams.
Its lithium-ion battery lasts for 80 purification cycles, CamelBak cites. You can plug it into a wall outlet or a laptop via USB for a charge.
The company notes 16 gallons of water can be made pure for each battery cycle. That’s a lot of liquid, a lot of Wisconsin lake water for me to drink.