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Survival / July 31, 2016

Gear Review: Pure2Go water purifier

Written by: Kevin Linderman

As I sucked the Colorado mountain creek water through the Pure2Go water purifier, I thought to myself, “This could be really great or totally foolish.”

It’s a leap of faith to drink creek water. Even in the Colorado mountains, untreated water is often home to intestinal parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Sip from the wrong source, and you could end up sick for weeks.

Still, I drank. After a couple of pulls to get the flow started through the unit and expelling the first few tastes of water, the system started flowing and I starting drinking and drinking and drinking. It was a leap of faith, but that faith was not entirely blind.

The maker of the Pure2Go (Water One, Inc.) is a big deal in the water purification world. The company specializes in large-scale industrial purification systems, but has been working on mobile “straw” capabilities for several years. Because of their efforts in this space, they were approached by the US Military to solve a specific problem: keep the troops from getting sick.

The next generation of military “straw” capabilities needed to be light, portable, and functional, and not just filter but purify. Most importantly it needed to work in line with the troops’ camelbak-style hydration bladders. Not only is the water not potable in areas where the troops are, the packs themselves are not maintained properly. Often, troops get sick even if the water is potable in the pack.

WaterOne embraced the challenge and is now ready to bring the latest generation of Pure2Go purifiers to the public market.

Straight out of the creek

The source bag has a sturdy handle for filling and tightens onto the intake side of the Pure2Go

Filtration versus Purification

There are lots of water filters on the market. Filters by definition trap bacteria and cysts (think floating zits) as water moves through the internal membrane. Because filters trap bacteria and cysts but do not kill them, over time these can accumulate in the filter causing a real health concern. Moreover, filters don’t typically try to trap or eliminate viruses, which is a huge concern and could be detrimental to the unfortunate user.

Purification is really the use of multiple systems to trap, eliminate and kill bacteria, viruses and other contaminants as they pass through the process. The Pure2Go runs water through three stages of purification:

Stage 1: Ultra Filtration Membrane

UltraFiltration (UF) is an industry term for a standard set of expected results. Essentially it means the process of forcing water through a membrane that traps “suspended solids and solutes of high molecular weight while water and low molecular weight solutes pass through the membrane in the permeate”. In other words, the UF stage is good at eliminating many water contaminants, including trapping cysts like Crypto and Giardia as well as reducing the levels of Mercury, but it does not kill or eliminate viruses typically. To do so, the UF stage would need to be restrictively tight resulting in a very slow flow-rate hampering the overall experience.

Stage 3: Granular Activated Carbon (G.A.C) 

Yes, I’m going out of order. That’s so I can save the best part for last.

“For Organics, Pesticides, and Herbicides, the standard treatment, and in most cases the only treatment recommended, is activated carbon.” Carbon has been used as a standard feature in water treatment for centuries. It also has been known to improve the overall taste of the water as well. However, for effective removal of other contaminants, it should be used in line with features like the UF.

Stage 2: ViroBac, WaterOne’s Proprietary Media

The middle layer of the Pure2Go filter features WaterOne’s Proprietary purification media. ViroBac kills waterborne bacteria and viruses instantly, on contact and on demand. “The Pure2Go Water Purifier with ViroBac meets and/or exceeds ANSI/NSF 53 and P231 water purifier standards for microbial removal; 6 log10 or greater (>99.9999%) for bacteria and 4 log10 or greater (>99.99%) for viruses. These tests show that water purified by Pure2Go has a residual of 1.8 ppm of iodine or less than the iodine found in table salt or naturally occurring in seaweed.”


Gravity feed source water bag

Gravity feed process in action

Filling my 32oz bottle at 16oz per minute of purified water

WaterOne is leader in water purifcation


We demoed the Pure2Go Travelers version (the filter and the source water bag) as well as the full kit which includes the gravity feed and the pump. Drawing through the straw was not difficult and once the water started flowing there was no issue at all. No matter the source of the water, the resulting taste seemed to always be the same. The system itself is easy and intuitive to use. The gravity feed was surprisingly fast. At first I was worried as the water slowly dripped through the straw. But similar to pulling directly with my mouth, once the water started flowing at a rate of 16oz per minute, my 32 oz water bottle was literally filled in minutes with purified water. Installing the straw inline in my camelback was simple. A quick slice of the tubing and the Pure2Go was easily installed. Pulling on the camelback mouth piece I hardly noticed the resistance of the purification system once the water started flowing.


Attaching the Pure2Go inline with the Camelback

Pulling the creek water through the Pure2Go directly from my Camelback

“783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water ”

My only complaint was the pump mechanism. You can use the pump to draw in the source water and then force it through Pure2Go in order to purify the water. So instead of your mouth or the gravity feed, this version is using the pump. The pump was awkward in the sense that I had to hold both the Pure2Go and the pump in one hand while keeping my other hand free to manipulate the pump. My wish would be to affix the purification straw to the pump itself or integrate the contents of the Pure2Go into the pump making the pump a self-contained purification system.


Using the pump option

Need pretty big hands to hold the pump and the Pure2Go all at the same time

Applied Uses:

If you are stranded, particularly in harsh conditions, water is a top priority. For our audience of explorers and adventurers, water purification is essential and can make the difference between life and death. The best part about this system is time and convenience because you can filter as you go. No need to stop, build a fire, boil the water etc. No need to filter and carry more water than you need; you can literally filter and purify as you go. So bike-packers, hikers, trail runners, and self-supported racers of any kind need this water filter. Especially if you are using a CamelBak, you just scoop and go.

If you prefer using water bottles over a CamelBak, the gravity feed system is a perfect fit. Simply fill the gravity feed bag with the source water, affix the Pure2Go at the bottom of the tube and wait 3-5 minutes for your purified water.

Travelers to countries with sketchy water need this. Drink water from the tap with confidence utilizing the Pure2Go as a straw.

From a disaster preparedness perspective, you need this system. Although it is important to store gallons of drinking water, you may run out and you will need a convenient water filtration system that is easy to use for you and the family.

Obviously our brothers and sisters in the military have and will continue to benefit from the Pure2Go as well.

Globally though, according to the waterproject,org:

  •       783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water
  •       1 in 9 people globally do not have access to clean water
  •       443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related issues
  •       In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions

The list goes on. To say there’s an overwhelming need for a simple water purification product is only overstating the obvious. From a philanthropic perspective, this powerful system could literally impact the viability of millions of people on this earth.

At Shoulders of Giants, we aim to bring you the insider scoop and make recommendations on products that we think change the game. Well, Pure2Go from WaterOne is one of those products. We are excited to work with the WaterOne team to help them bring the product to the market and into the world at large.

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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