A couple of weeks ago, Bastian from RenovoWater contacted me via email and asked me if I would be interested in checking out one of their new water filters, the Renovo Trio. After reading through the information provided on the RenovoWater web site, I was a bit intrigued by the water filter, however, to be honest, I was not so sure that I was going to be able to get any sort of review up on my blog about it. Bastian went ahead and sent a filter despite this, and it just so happens that the weather is crap today, so I figured I will try to get something up on it…
Just to be clear, I only received this filter a few days ago, and have only filtered a liter of water through it here at home to try it out. I do not have any field use with the filter though, so this is just an initial impressions “review.”
The first thing that caught my attention about the Renovo Trio filter is that it uses a 0.05 micron UF (Ultra Filtration) hollow fiber membrane filter (seen in photo below). This is the same type of filter that is used in the popular Sawyer (Squeeze & Mini) water filters, however, those are only rated to 0.1 microns. (Keep in mind though that many other popular filters are only rated at 0.2 microns, or even more, so 0.1 microns is awesome anyway.) As well, Bastian verified that the 0.05 micron filter in the Renovo Trio water filter is an “ABSOLUTE” value, as opposed to a “nominal” value (again, like in some of the other popular water filters on the market today, and actually means “at best”).
As some may guess, the word “Trio” (in Renovo Trio) means that there are actually 3 filtration stages that take place inside the filter. The first stage is through a 5 micron prefilter, which is a small disc located in the bottom of the filter that removes the larger debris from the water before it makes its way to the next stage. Next, the main, hollow fiber filter, removes bacteria and protozoa (such as Giardia & Crypto, among many others). And lastly, the water moves through an activated charcoal filter, which “reduces chemicals, metals, and even some viruses” in the water, and can even improve the taste.
Another nice feature about this filter is that each individual filter can be replaced on its own as needed. In the beginning , the entire unit cost $43.99, and is rated at 1,000L. Once the 1,000L is reached, or if the filter is suspected of not functioning correctly (due to possibly freezing, or just stopped up) a new hollow fiber filter can be purchased for only $12.00, and it is quite easy to replace. The activated carbon filter also has a 1,000L life expectancy, however, it only has a 12 month life expectancy. (This is also why the filter is “packaged in a hermetically sealed bag” which preserves the carbon filter’s life until opened.) According to the RenovoWater site, simply being exposed to air will reduce its effectiveness, so a replacement activated carbon filter is also available for only $10.00, and again, is easily replaced. As for the prefilter, a few extra discs are included with a new filter, however, these can easily be cut from coffee filters when they are all used up.
The filter can be used in a few different ways. It can simply be screwed onto a soda, or water bottle (with matching threads), and then one can simply drink through the sipping spout on the clean side. Or if a soft bladder is used (such as a Platypus, or an Evernew bag), then one can roll the bag and force the water through the filter into a clean bottle or bag. If you are using a hydration bladder, there is also a nipple on the dirty side of the filter that the hose can be attached to (see photo below), however, since there is not a nipple on both ends, this filter cannot be used inline, but it can be attached at the end of the drinking hose and simply sip water straight from the filter. As well, one can simply attach a hose to the nipple, then place that hose in the water source and drink this way…
As I mentioned, I have filtered 1L of water through the filter just to try it out. I tried an older 2L Platypus soft bottle, a newer 1L Platypus soft bottle and a 1.5L Evernew soft bottle with the filter. IMO, none of them looked exactly right to me (they didn’t appear to screw straight down, but instead, cocked to the side a little), however, none seemed to leak either. It is interesting that the Renovo Trio does not include a gasket, or a rubber washer on the dirty end to seal the connections. Instead, there is a small protruding ring that looks like it should fit inside the mouth/opening of the bottle being attached, which creates a seal. At this point, it seems to work, but I wonder how it will hold up.
This filter has a listed flow rate of 200 ml/min, however, I assume that this represents gravity flow, and likely with a bottle attached directly to the filter, although, I could be wrong. I filled my 1L Platy soft bottle and then squeezed the water through the filter into a bowl, which took me a minute and a few extra seconds to complete. As well, when drinking straight from the sipping spout with the same Platy bag attached, I found it easy enough to drink through. Although, as with other similar filters, when the bag is nearing empty, or not inverted, sipping becomes progressively harder.
The filter measures right at 7 inches long, which I am fine with considering it’s relatively slim. I always pack my water filters in the front pocket on my pack, so I prefer a slim, taller profile. The filter housing is made from a hard, durable plastic which should stand up to way more abuse than the filter should ever be subjected to. The lid which covers and protects the sipping spout is made of the same plastic, and is held in place by a flexible rubber (or silicone?) band, which also retains the cap when the filter is in use. There is also a lanyard hole located just below the cap, on the activated carbon filter housing, for those that would like to attach a section of cord to the filter for whatever reason.
When assembling/disassembling the filter, the activated carbon filter housing attaches to the main filter housing by aligning 2 different sized notches up with slots on the main filter housing (see photo below), and then locking the 2 pieces together by twisting (similar to connecting a Jetboil stove to the pot). Being that the 2 notches are different sizes, the correct sides need to be lined up. The prefilter housing is simply threaded and screwed into the bottom of the main filter housing. I assume that they used different attachment methods at each end to maintain the correct orientation of the main filter…
The weight of the Renovo Trio water filter is listed at 3.5 oz, however, when I threw the still-packaged filter on my scale, I saw 3.3 oz! After opening the filter, and weighing it on its own, I saw 3.1 oz, or 87 grams. However, as most folks may know, I don’t really bank on a filters dry weight since the filter will never be the same weight after its first use. Instead, I record a wet weight. So, after forcing a little over a liter of water through the filter, I went outside and flicked the filter to remove most of the remaining water. When I came back inside and set it on the scale again, I saw 3.7 oz, or about 106 grams, which is what I will call the final weight on the Renovo Trio filter.
So, the big question, how does it compare to the other water filters out there? Well, I will not answer that as we all have different needs. But, in my honest opinion, this filter is a very nice filter. The way I see it, this is a near 3.5 oz water filter that removes more than most any other filter out there, and includes an activated charcoal filter which can also improve the overall taste. It’s easy to use, and each filter can be replaced at a fair price. It is easy to pack and seems to be a pretty durable filter.
However, as with many other filters on the market, this type of filter cannot be allowed to freeze. If so, the filter could potentially be damaged, and should be replaced. As well, being that it is a 0.05 micron filter, if proper care is not maintained, it could potentially clog easily (although, the prefilter should prevent this a great deal). Back flushing is recommended on the RenovoWater site, however, at the moment, I am unclear as how to do so with this particular filter.
Either way, I think this filter is easily going to make its way into the water filter market.
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclaimer: The Renovo Trio filter was provided to me for free, from RenovoWater. However, I was not obligated to “review” this item. The thoughts in this post, as well as the forthcoming video, are of my own opinion, which I formed after handling the filter.