I was excited when I heard that we’d be taking a Guzzle H2O Stream on our Outback Pub Experiences trip as I’d seen one used by the team from Expedition Overland during a Baha adventure. Being able to see for myself how it performs in Australian conditions and if it was a piece of kit that could be added to not only my setup but yours too. My passion is remote solo Overlanding so being able to keep my drinking water safe and topped up by using the Stream, could be a lifesaver.
The Guzzle H2O Stream is a portable water filter that can be used to fill anything from a water bottle to a jerrycan or the water tanks on your camper, caravan or 4WD. When camping off-grid, running out of water is a real liability, however, the Stream is designed to turn freshwater into safe, drinkable water instantaneously.
The first thing I did was read the instructions. I know, that’s not something a bloke does, but I wanted to make sure that it not only provided clear and easy to understand instructions but to also know how to set up the Stream correctly. I can say that the instructions are easy to interpret, however, some of the specifications could be converted from gallons to litres for us Aussies.
The first thing that surprised me about the Stream is how compact it is, at 330 x 255 x 215mm and weighing approximately 6kg. The hoses and other bits and pieces live in mesh bags, making it easy to see what is in each bag. The unit itself has a blue dot for water out and a red dot for water in and the hoses are colour coded as well. There is a port for the 12V charger to plug into and a power button. The case has a waterproof rating of IP67, meaning it can handle getting wet and muddy. The idea is to take the Stream to the water source and then pump it to your water carrier.
There is a three-stage process to filter and purify the water. The first is a pre-filter attachment where you wrap the pre-filter cloth that restricts silt, sand and sediments from entering the next stage. This is only required when drawing water from a freshwater source. The second stage uses an activated carbon block 0.5-micron filter to remove particles larger than 0.5 microns while also chemically filtering the water of bad taste, odours, chlorine, NFS 412 emerging contaminants, lead, mercury, volatile organic compounds, sediment and cysts. The third stage uses LED UV-C that has been tested to prevent 99.99 per cent of bacterial, protozoa and viruses.
The Stealth is powered by a rechargeable 3000mAh LifePO4 battery that will treat approx. 121L of pumped water per charge or approx. 340L if using a pressurised water source (tap). The maximum flow rate of the Stream is 2.7L/min if pumping water and 4L/min if using tap water. The Stream also has a pressure switch that senses if the incoming water is pressurised (from a tap) or non-pressurised (from a water source). The carbon block filter should be changed every 3785L of use and it is suggested you carry a spare in case the filter becomes blocked.
While the Stream might seem expensive, if you consider what it’s designed to do, it is a piece of kit that probably should be carried by anyone who loves heading off-grid. The unit is distributed in Australia by Off-Grid Adventure Co, based in Sydney, and retails for $2200, which is on par with a household rainwater filtering system. The cost of the carbon block replacement cartridge is $35 and the 10m outlet hose is $95.
The first time we used the Stealth was at a silty waterhole, frequented by cattle, wildlife and plenty of water birds. This scenario was a challenge for the unit and while the water was filtered extremely well, the water still had colour and tasted earthy. We decided not to fill up the OPUS water tanks at this time, but I also didn’t get sick from drinking the water.
The second use was at a swimming hole on the Kiewa River where the water was still high and fast-flowing due to flooding. The water was being stirred up by the flow, so the water was mildly silty. I used it to fill up my jerrycan with the 10m extension hose and a drink bottle to sample the filtered water that was very clear but tasted a little earthy also. In hindsight, I wondered if I should have flushed the unit with tap water beforehand in case the carbon block filter still contained some sediment from our first test.
The third test was using a pressurised tap that pumps water from a rainwater tank. I was very keen to try this scenario, as it would be nice to be able to source free filtered water to fill the drinking water tank in the Prado. I threaded the hose fitting onto the tap, connected the hoses and pressed the power button and within seconds, I was drinking crystal clear and pure water. There were no odours, no taste of chlorine, it reminded me of my childhood when the garden hose was the favoured way to drink clean, freshwater without tasting added chemicals.
In my opinion, the Guzzle H2O Stream is a game-changer for overlanders worldwide. Being able to refill water tanks with clean, safe water from almost any freshwater source is a lifesaver. I even liked the way the inlet and outlet connectors on the unit are sealed so that water doesn’t leak out during storage. There is one thing that I feel could bring an additional benefit and that is a battery level, so users know beforehand if the Stealth needs to be recharged.
I wondered if the Stealth should be flushed with clean fresh water after being used in a silty scenario and Steve from Off-Grid Adventure Co explained that the pre-filter should be cleaned after every use. He also suggested, “For long term storage, it’s a good idea to remove the carbon filter and run the system dry, it will pump the water out of itself. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to flush (the unit) with clean water if your source was particularly nasty. Then store the system with the carbon filter housing removed so that the insides can air dry as much as possible.”
I will be purchasing a Guzzle H2O Stream for my setup as I was very impressed with its performance, functionality and size. That way I will also be able to provide a long-term review in 12 months.