Hello, everyone! First time posting on the site (I'm a real newbie to
forums, so feel free to help me out with the etiquette side of things!).
I'm excited to get some solid feedback for this review, so read-on!
General Ecology "First Need XL" Water Purifier
Name: Rachel P.
Height: 5 feet 8 inches (roughly 172cm)
Weight: 155lbs (72 kilos)
City, Province, Country: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: September 30/2010
Backpacking Background: I grew up camping, hiking and canoeing in Elliot
Lake, Ontario - a Northern community that has established itself as a
thriving outdoor recreation town. My parents often took us out
vacationing in the interior, and I am mostly familiar with the mixed
terrain of the area's backcountry (rocky, hilly, mixed deciduous and
coniferous forests typical of the Canadian Sheild). As a teenager and
later, an adult, I have begun to collect my own gear, looking for
lightweight options that strike a balance between affordability and
a. Manufacturer: General Ecology (www.generalecology.com)
b. Listed Weight: 16oz
c. Purchased At: Tent City, Toronto Ontario
d. MSRP/Purchased Price: $125 CDN
e. Output: 2 quarts of water per minute (roughly 2 litres)
f. Filter Capacity/Life: Roughly 150 Gallons, depending on water quality
g.Product Description: A double-action, hand-pump water purifier
intended for outdoor recreation and travel. Can also be used with its
carrying bag (included) as a gravity-style filter.
h. Micron Retention: 0.1 nominal (0.4 absolute)
a. Location(s) of Test(s): Algonquin and Sleeping Giant Parks, Ontario,
b. Description of Terrain: Canadian Shield - Rocky, hilly, forested
c. Weather Conditions: Raining and windy for both trips, night-time lows
d. Product Performance: Performed well on both trips, did not need to
backwash or field-service.
Having just started to buy and collect my own gear, I spent hours
agonizing on whether or not to invest in a water filtration system, or
keep it minimalist and just boil my water daily. After my first trip out
last year, during which I opted for boiling, I was left low on stove
fuel, unable to get a fire started in the sodden backcountry, and
nervous about the prospect of getting sick without clean water. I
decided immediately to invest in a water system. I chose the First Need
XL - and I'm glad I did!
The XL sets itself apart as a water purification system, rather than
just a filter. This means it effectively removes bacteria, protozoa, AND
viruses, without needing to treat with chemicals. It pumped water
quickly, filling three 1L Nalgene bottles (which screw directly onto the
unit) in just over a minute and a half. The adjustable float on the
intake tube worked well to keep the tip out of sediment, and the
prefilter kept big debris out of the unit. The unit felt solidly made,
and I had no issues with it on the two trips it's been on. It made my
subsequent outings much more enjoyable, not having to worry about
boiling water every day was one less chore around camp, and my fuel
usage reflected just how much time, energy and resources it takes to
boil enough water for a day's work.
The unit is heavier than its filtration counterparts, but I found the
First Need XL to be well worth its weight - I even stopped carrying
extra Nalgenes on my last trip, knowing that refilling one would be much
easier. My only other concern was that the tube seems to be quite long
and cumbersome, but this can easily be remedied by removing one end,
trimming it, and re-attaching. Oh yeah, and the water tasted amazing!
Things I like: No chemicals, fast, removes pretty much everything,
durable, carrying bag.
Things I didn't like: heavy, bulky, long tube.
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