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The Water-to-Go Active bottle fits inside a standard bottle cage, and claims to filter out 99.9999% of contaminates as you drink. It is a great solution for proper wilderness adventures, and cuts down on gear in your pack, but its flow rate is limited and some of the plastics seem poorly chosen.
There are various ways to make water safe to drink, including tablets and UV filters. Each has pros and cons – tablets leave an unpleasant taste, take time to work and do nothing about bits, for instance, while UV filters also take up time and space.
Water filtration directly in your bottle, then, is an attractive proposition. It takes no time to work, takes no extra space and the filter (allegedly) removes 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses, micro-organisms and heavy metal particles.
While we obviously can't test this as our biohazard lab is currently being wallpapered to match our windtunnel, the filters have been tested (in 2013) by an outfit called BCS Laboratories in Florida – its report can be read here.
I can at least say that, while it doesn't make Welsh stream water less brown or earthy tasting, none of it has killed me or even made me sick when drunk from the Active bottle. Given what could be decomposing upstream, that's a serious win.
The lid is made from BPA-free plastic (which may or may not be healthier for you) and has a flip-up cap to keep the spout clean and sealed. It's wide for the best flow, but inevitably the filter means it's still slower than normal.
Supposedly the Active bottle is squeezable to help with this, but it's pretty stiff and if you force it, water leaks around the lid.
That spout is smooth and all but gripless, too, and several times I almost lost the bottle when attempting to readjust my grip. A lip, or a softer material, would work better for cycling use.
One other gripe: it can't actually hold 750ml with the filter in place. I measured the useable volume around 675ml – still good, but really the specs reflected the reality.
The filter lasts for 200 litres, apparently, or 296 full bottles – a reasonable amount. I am not sure how you keep track though, and there's no way of knowing when it's time to change it. At least the replacements are only £10 each, which is cheaper than similar filters from the likes of LifeStraw and Sawyer.
At £30, the Active bottle looks expensive against a normal one, and expensive against purification tablets too. Against other filter systems, though, it looks good. A LifeStraw Go bottle is €46.95 (£42) for instance, but will not fit in a standard bottle cage. UV filters, meanwhile, are around £70.
The Water-to-Go Active bottle is excellent for big rides where fresh water supplies can't be guaranteed. It's instant, convenient and durable.
The spout could be friendlier and the bottle walls more flexible but, between dealing with that or facing dehydration/poisoning, the choice is a no-brainer. The flow rate is limited and some of the plastics seem poorly chosen, but even so, it's a great solution for proper wilderness adventures.
Makes suspect water instantly drinkable – if you're into adventures, it's brilliant
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Water-to-Go Active bottle
Size tested: 750ml
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Water-to-Go says: "The Water-to-Go 75cl Active bottle includes a unique 3-in-1 filter with a BPA-free bottle, and click lid with integral drinking spout and protective, flip cap cover. It is perfect for those with a healthy, on-the-go lifestyle and this filter bottle has been specifically designed to fit in bike cages. Our unique 3-in-1 filter has been created based on technology originally developed for the NASA space programme."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Squeezable bottle for rapid water delivery
Fits any bike cage and includes a detachable carabiner hook
New single-handed action click lid
Lid covers drinking spout for hygiene
Weighs just 137 grams
Translucent material and content markings so you know when to refill
The filter removes:
99.9999% for bacteria like E.Coli
99.999-99.9999% for viruses like Polio
99.99% for micro-organisms
Heavy metals (like lead) and also Chlorine and Fluoride are also filtered
The spout is the only real issue – it's too hard and slippery.
Filtering performance seems very good.
Filter claims to last 200 litres, which would work out at 296 bottles at 675ml per bottle.
Heavier than a standard bottle or tablets.
More expensive than water purification tablets, which is likely the cheapest way to ensure safer drinking water. For me the convenience is worth the extra, though.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. The filter is reasonably small, so it does not take up too much space and replacement filters are not too expensive.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Makes sourcing safer drinking water easier on big, wilderness rides.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The spout – with a small lip or softer material it would be much nicer.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The only similar bottle (also from Water-to-Go) was tested back in 2015 and is much cheaper now at £14.99. It isn't designed to fit a bottle cage though, and is smaller at 500ml.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is an extremely useful and convenient thing to have, and both the bottle and the replacement filters are well priced for the use they give. It could score higher if the various plastics used were more suitable to a squeezy bottle and a drinking spout, but even so it's good and a seven.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.