Water-to-Go: A Sustainable Filter Bottle


In the wild, few things are more important than finding a supply of fresh, clean water. Unfortunately, this resource can be hard to come by, especially in certain parts of the world where diseases like Giardiasis, E. Coli infection, and Cholera run rampant in the water supply.

A water filter bottle can solve this problem, but with so many options out there, it can be hard to choose the most appropriate one. That’s why we’re going to dive into Water-to-Go, a brand focused on providing clean water in a highly sustainable vessel. Is it good enough to use in both average and extreme outdoor conditions?

Let’s find out.

Water-To-Go Overview

Sustainability. If I had to use one word to describe Water-to-Go, that’s the word I would choose.

Dave Shanks, the founder of Water-to-Go, used to work in the textiles industry, so he had firsthand experience with the rampant misuse of plastic in the world. Shocked by what he saw, he decided to make a difference by creating a water filter bottle that could be used over and over again.

What I appreciate about Dave’s philosophy is that he doesn’t view plastic as evil. Instead, he acknowledges that it has a place in the world, and that it’s often mishandled by individuals who don’t recognize the harm it can cause. In fact, the Water-to-Go bottles are still made out of plastic (or bioplastic). At the same time, each filter can replace 400 single use plastic bottles before it needs to be changed. The difference might seem small, but when everyone bands together, it can have a huge impact on the environment. And while I’ve never met Dave, I believe that achieving this level of groupthink is ultimately what he’s hoping to accomplish.

Where it Shines

On the surface, Water-to-Go looks like your standard water filter bottle. But when you delve a little deeper, you’ll find that it outperforms some of the giants in the industry, like LifeStraw and Katadyn. Here are a some of the points that really stood out to me:


I have two Water-to-Go bottles that I’ll use when I’m hiking and camping: the Active bottle (25 ounce capacity) and the Bioplastic bottle (18.5 ounce capacity). I also own an 18 ounce Purist bottle that I use for day-to-day drinking when I’m sitting at my desk.

I mention the Purist bottle because despite having a smaller capacity than the Bioplastic bottle, it actually looks and feels bigger. That’s partly because the Purist is designed with insulation in mind, but even so, the difference is noticeable. If I really cared about portability, I would choose the Bioplastic bottle every time.

Now, the Active bottle is definitely bigger, but that’s to be expected, considering the larger capacity. In fact, it’s quite comparable to my Grayl Geopress, which is something that I’ve taken on many backpacking adventures. However, the Active bottle is much lighter than my Geopress, making it even easier to carry around in a backpack.


man in hat and sunglasses drinking from a water bottle by a river

A filter bottle is only as good as its ability to remove contaminants from the water. And while most filter bottles generally do a good job sifting through dirt, particulates, and some bacteria, there are quite a few that are pretty lacking in this department. And if your filter bottle can’t remove all of the dangers from your drinking water, why do you even have it in the first place?

What I love about Water-to-Go is that they didn’t cut corners with their filter. It’s honestly one of the best that I’ve encountered, combining three different filtration methods for maximum efficacy. Mechanical filtration is the first, and it’s a fancy way of saying the filter has a very small pore size, which prevents many contaminants from passing through. Next there’s activated carbon, which is what many filter bottles are using nowadays to trap the majority of illness causing pollutants.

In fact, many filter bottles stop there, relying solely on mechanical filtration and activated carbon to get the job done, since they work so well. However, Water-to-Go takes it one step further, making use of electropositive nanofiltration to trap the remaining hazards that might still be present in the water. As the company aptly puts it, it’s “like a net within a net within a net.” All of these layers of filtration are enough to block out hepatitis and other harmful diseases, which is something that not all filter bottles can say.

But it doesn’t stop there. Viruses, bacteria, protozoa, heavy metals, chemicals, and particulates don’t stand a chance. Without a doubt, this is one of the most effective filters that I’ve ever seen.


I’ve already touched on Water-to-Go’s focus on sustainability, but they really bumped it up a notch when they developed the Bioplastic bottle. Unlike normal plastic, which is made from petroleum, the Bioplastic bottle is actually made from sugarcane.

Only the top portion of the sugarcane is harvested, which grows back in roughly 100 days. The harvested portion of sugarcane is processed like normal, making sugar and a waste product. The waste product is what the Bioplastic bottle is made from, and the waste from that process is used to fertilize the sugarcane. This cyclical procedure is one of the most sustainable methods that I’ve encountered in the world of water filter bottles, which should be highly attractive for those who care about eco-friendliness.

And before you ask, yes, these bottles are still machine washable and just as durable as regular plastic. At the time of this writing, Water-to-Go is working to convert all of their bottles to sugarcane bioplastic.

Ease of Use

white water bottle in a river

Looking at the bottle itself, you’re probably not going to be super impressed. Regardless of what style you get, it will look like a normal container – and for all intents and purposes, it is one. All of the technology is in the filter, which is connected to the lid, while the bottle is just ergonomically shaped plastic.

However, I tend to find this simplicity quite appealing. In practice, all you have to do is fill the bottle up from a water source, screw the lid back on, and drink. The water will pass through the filter as you suck, taking care of all the hard work while you sit back and drink pure, refreshing water.

Does it take some effort to suck the water through the filter? Absolutely, especially when compared to a “normal,” non-filter bottle. Even so, the general simplicity involved with the filtering process makes this a moot point in my opinion.

Potential Pain Points

Inability to Filter Large Amounts of Water at Once

gray and red water bottle at a river

All of the bottles work to filter water when you’re sucking the liquid through the mouthpiece. That being the case, you won’t be able to filter water to dump inside a different container (like a bladder) to save for later. This could be problematic if you’re backpacking long distances in an area without many water sources, as you’ll be limited to drinking what the Water-to-Go bottle can fit inside of itself.

That being said, every water filtration method has pros and cons. Systems that can filter large amounts of water are often large and clunky, requiring some muscle to use and more than a little space inside your pack. Still, something like the Lifesaver Wayfarer is better for processing large amounts of water, while the Water-to-Go bottles are great when you need water in a pinch.


I have to admit, the Active and Bioplastic bottles are more durable than they look. But even so, the thin plastic can only take so much abuse before it starts to show signs of wear. Neither of the bottles have broken on me yet, but they are a little scuffed up and scratched after using them in the wild a few times.

Am I concerned about their longevity? Not too much, though certainly more so than my Grayl Geopress. For the average camper, though, I don’t see durability being a huge issue. As long as you take care not to play too rough with them, either bottle (or any of Water-to-Go’s other products) should last for many years to come.

Final Verdict

two water bottles on the bank of a river

How often do you hear about water filter bottles being made from bioplastic? Probably not too often. That fun fact, along with the portability and efficacy of the Water-to-Go bottles quickly made me fall in love with them.

Yes, this style of filtration has its flaws, particularly when it comes to purifying large amounts of water. However, if you’re not trying to fill a water bladder or cookpot, these bottles are some of the best you’ll find for regular drinking.

Curious? Check them out below!

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Meet the Author!

By the age of 20, Spencer had already tackled some of the most famed mountain ranges in Europe, Asia, and North America. His mission is to help others accomplish their own outdoor-related goals, even within the time constraints of a 9-5 job and a busy life schedule.

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