CamelBak All Clear Review

CamelBak All Clear Review

When the All Clear dropped in March of this year, everybody wanted to see what CamelBak’s UV gizmo would end up looking like.  As one of the biggest names in outdoor hydration systems, CamelBak had high expectations and they definitely delivered on the ‘cool’ factor.

CamelBak All Clear Features:

  • Portable purification system is built into your water bottle
  • Utilizes proven UV technology to effectively neutralize microbiological contaminants
  • Treats 80 cycles or 16 gallons with each charge
  • Impact and weather-resistant cap insulates UV bulb for effective purification every time
  • LCD screen verifies success
  • Fill from taps, streams, spigots and more
  • Available in the U.S. only
  • CamelBak® Got Your Bak™ Guarantee: If we built it, we’ll Bak it™ with our lifetime guarantee.
  • Includes an Eddy bottle, a CamelBak Classic cap, the All Clear cap, a USB cord, and a carrying case for the All Clear cap
  • MSRP: $99

CamelBak All Clear Water Purification Bottle Review

The All Clear is a water treatment system with a high-powered UV light mounted in the cap of the bottle – a departure from the popular UV wand design.  It features a rechargeable battery within the head that uses any USB port to power up. Admittedly, I didn’t find myself spending much time plugged in because each charge is enough to purify 16 gallons of water.  It’s good it lasts so long because the charge times are agonizingly slow: around five hours in a wall outlet, and up to twenty hours using a solar charger.

The All Clear is specifically designed to work with CamelBak’s Eddy water bottle.  The kit comes with a .75L Eddy that features water purifying instructions printed on the bottle so befuddled backpackers need not remember the steps.  That being said, purifying water using the All Clear is dead easy: stick it in a clear water source and fill it up to the fill line.  Then, put on the cap and hold the power button for two seconds to turn the UV light on.  After that, invert the bottle every ten seconds for one minute.  Once the water is purified, make sure to wipe any water off of the rim of the bottle since the UV doesn’t reach there.

The All Clear is definitely a nifty system, but there are some marked drawbacks.  Many would argue that the weight of the system makes it unattractive for backpackers: the All Clear clocks in at a hefty 1lb 1oz, which is largely due to the rechargeable battery in the cap.  Additionally, CamelBak only recommends using the All Clear cap on the .75L Eddy bottle included with the kit simply because they haven’t tested any other bottles.  Lastly, and most importantly, the water needs to be clear in order for the UV to work properly; CamelBak sells a special pre-filter for cloudy water.  In fairness, all UV systems need clear water to work properly — this is only a drawback when compared to a pump filter.

The All Clear has an advantage over traditional pump filters because it treats for viruses; this is especially important when going abroad to areas with questionable water quality.  It should be noted, though, that there are several pumps on the market that also handle viruses, so that’s not unique to UV purifiers.

In the course of my testing, I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d be out of luck if the UV bulb ever broke: naturally, I started trying to break it.  I dropped it on concrete, then I threw it onto concrete.  Failing to break it, I dropped it off a bridge onto rock and it didn’t break.  Then, I repeated this several times with the light on and off.  My highly scientific approach yielded one conclusion: the All Clear is built to last.  In this regard, it certainly has more durability than a ceramic filter – kudos to CamelBak for making such a robust product.

Good All Clear

  • Impressive durability
  • More convenient than other UV systems
  • High-intensity UV eliminates viruses
  • Faster than many pump filters
  • Simple and fast to use

Bad All Clear

  • Quite heavy when compared to other UV systems and pumps
  • Lengthy charge time
  • Water on threads doesn’t get purified

Bottom Line: CamelBak All Clear

The All Clear is definitely a cool system, and one that I would recommend for people traveling to areas with dubious water quality. However, individual backpackers should evaluate their needs when considering the All Clear because this system for everyone. Its weight will turn some people off, while its durability will certainly attract others. All told, it’s definitely a solid offering to the UV purification market.

Buy now: Available at REI.com

Written By

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living in Northern Nevada. He hikes, bikes and backpacks where he grew up near the beautiful Ruby Mountains, not to mention a little place called Tahoe.