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Customer Review

on June 16, 2011
Other reviewers have been very thorough and led me to purchase the Vario. I bought this to equip my world traveling daughter for her upcoming 2-month trip to Dehli. My review is just initial thoughts upon sitting with her to go through using the thing.

1. Other than getting the inlet tube assembled and the inlet and outlet tubes in place, it is EASY to use. It pumps VERY easily, fingertips are enough and the flow rate was surprisingly good - it seemed very quick to get a liter of water through it. Filtering 2 - 4 liters of drinking water per day should not take more than a few minutes and should be easily done in the morning or evening.

2. It removes anything that is clouding the input water quickly and effectively. It also removed the very slight chlorine taste in our local tap water. It requires putting a liter or two through it to get rid of the initial charcoal dust which we just turned around and filtered out with the next pass.

If you want a way to quickly and easily get small amounts of clear and tasteless drinking water, this seems to do the job.

Those things said, there are caveats.

1. as others have noted, it is made of plastic and while it seems likely to be sufficiently durable for one or two people, durability remains to be seen. I will report back in a couple months or so.

2. if you are going somewhere where disease beasties may be a likely problem, you will require some additional water purification method. Typically that would be chemical (chlorine or iodine) or UV-C. I chose the later in the form of the SteriPen Traveler. (Chemical treatments take a while as well as being most easily used on larger amounts of water than the 0.5 and 1 liter amounts she is most likely to work with). The SteriPen also seems VERY easy to use and almost certainly adequate for drinking water for one or two people.

3. while it may seem obvious, it is important to keep inlet and outlet tubes separated. The outlet tube has its own marked ziplock. I added one for the inlet. I also dropped a desicant packet in each of the ziplocks just to aid in drying while stored.

My suggestion to my daughter is to make a habit of using both SteriPen UVC and Vario filtering (in full "Longer Life" mode).

If she is drinking clear water (from tap or bottled), SteriPen first to disable beasties and then filter to remove larger beasties and unpleasant tastes. The reason for this is that it will be that much harder for beasties to build cultures in the Vario if they are disabled when they enter. Since UV-C doesn't work with cloudy/turbid water, if the input water is not clear, it must be filtered first and then UV-C'd.

I also sent her with two charcoal replacement packets. These are approx. $10 for the two pack) - much cheaper than the antibiotics necessary should the beasties get her.

When she returns I will review her results as well as cleaning and filter replacement if required.

I only gave 4 stars due to the number of loose parts one needs to keep track of and packed up in the pouch and the slight difficulty of fitting them all into the pouch. I did find the product easy to use and disassemble. Somewhat difficult to assemble the inlet tube but nothing unmanageable. I didn't find any leaking issues while operating. A bit of a water mess when opened but nothing significant (provided the outlet tube or clean water containers are not in the way and wind up contaminated).
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