Titanium–used for jet engines, medical implants, and now personal water filtration.
The Walkabout Ti and Walkabout Ti Ultralight are groundbreaking, world first devices–Titanium personal water filters. All other personal water filters are made of hollow fiber plastic or ceramic, materials that break or fail easily. Not Titanium.
Personal water filters are great–they can save you the hassle of carrying big water containers when you are enjoying the outdoors and avoid the risk of drinking tap or bottled water from unknown sources. They are also useful in the event of "boil water" advisories, which are becoming more and more common. They also help reduce the number of plastic bottles made and disposed of for bottled water.
You have to be careful with personal water filters–You never really know when other water filters are going to fail–from dropping, freezing, sitting on, overheating, or just cleaning one to many times or with too much pressure. And often you don't know if they have failed. You can be sure that Titanium won't fail.
The kid gloves are off–Walkabout Ti filters are amazing, lightweight, rugged personal water filters that you can count on to give you safe drinking water when you go walkabout.
You know the drill–details about our awesome filters (and us) are below, but first, why not have a look at the rewards?
Note: If you want to combine rewards, like a filter and a hat, or a couple of t-shirts, just add the two pledge values together when you sign up. When the campaign is over we'll send out surveys for sizes, colours, and combinations. Easy as.
So How Do They Work?
Ti Core–At the core of the Walkabout Ti filters is a robust Titanium micro-filtration membrane with a pore size of 0.2 microns (about 1/500th the width of a human hair!). The membrane is sealed inside a tough Titanium casing with high quality O-rings. The membrane is rated to stop bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium for life.
Double and Triple Filtration–The Walkabout Ti Ultralight has two stages of filtration, a pre-filter to catch the “big” stuff and a micro-filter to make the water safe to drink. The Walkabout Ti, sized for a family or group, has those two stages plus a third activated carbon stage to make the water taste better by removing chlorine, heavy metals and odours.
Integrity Indicator–With such robust membrane and casing, the only thing that can fail on the Titanium filter is the O-ring seal. For this reason, we use a double O-ring seal on our filters. If a seal leaks, the water will leak out of the casing, not through to the filter outlet. With other filters unfiltered water will just flow into your clean container (or your mouth - yuck!).
Lightweight, Flexible System–The filter can be used in a variety of ways:
- as a squeeze filter–screw it onto any standard PET bottle and squeeze safe drinking water ,
- as a gravity filter–hang up the included 2 litre hydration bladder and let the safe drinking water flow while you relax,
- as a pumped filter–connect to an electric sump pump or a hand pump to filter fast as,
- as a filter straw–put it straight into a cup or glass for safe water sipping,
as an inline filter between your hydration bladder and bite valve.
At just 6 x 1" (160 x 25 mm) and weighing 5 ounces (145 grams), the Walkabout Ti Ultralight is compact and light enough to take anywhere. The Walkabout Ti is no heavyweight either. At 10 x 1.5" (254 x 38 mm) and one pound (455 grams), this family-sized filter will not weigh you down.
Robust–Did we mention Titanium?–Like we said above, with Titanium membrane and construction and no moving parts to fail, the Walkabout Ti filters will take real-world use and abuse and still perform. As Outdoor Gear Lab say when comparing personal water filtration systems "the most important factors we considered were reliability and effectiveness, because if your system doesn't work, then there is no use in carrying it."
Simply put, the Walkabout Ti will be a better personal water filter for you.
How did we come up with this? And why?
We are a small group of inventors, engineers and craftsmen with a passion for quality and durability. We also love to go walkabout (hence the name). We love being out in the bush, camping, fishing, biking, or exploring, both at home in Australia and abroad. Between us we have lived and worked in eight countries and have gone walkabout in many more.
When we are not out and about we like to get together for a beverage and a chat after work on a Friday afternoon. One Friday some years ago the topic turned to something that afflicts up to 50% of those who travel overseas.
Montezuma’s revenge, Delhi Belly, the runs–call it what you like (and we have some fairly rude phrases for it), having diarrhea is no fun. And let’s face it: you can’t always trust the water that is available. Drinking from a stream or a lake, or drinking a potentially dodgy bottled water abroad (we have personally seen them being refilled from the tap!) is always a risk.
Now we have been, separately and together in some pretty dodgy spots over the years, and all of us have our share of stories to tell. Some of us have learned from our experiences and have invested in personal water filtration. While comparing notes on our experiences with these filters we found that we all had a common complaint.
Plastics and ceramics just don't last–there are a number of personal water filters on the market, and some of them do a good job, but sooner or later they all need replacing. Ceramics are disposable by design - you have to remove some of the ceramic each time you clean them. Plastic hollow fibers are by nature breakable - too cold, too hot, too many times sanitizing and a fiber can break. We've seen it in industry and in personal water filters as well. And since there is no way to tell when they will need replacing, everyone agreed that they have always felt safer replacing them just before a trip, and have sometimes taken a spare, just to be sure.
Well, it turns out we were spending a lot more money than we originally intended at the time of purchase. In a lot of the systems, the whole filter is basically a throwaway item. We try not to buy things like that, but the alternatives in personal water filtration are not a lot better.
After buying a top quality (looking) filter, one of us was surprised to find that the replacement filter elements were more than half the cost of the filter! In our group we saw that replacement filter elements were from 40% to over 75% of the original price of the filter. Each time.
Tired of hidden costs–We think that we are a lot like you, tired of finding out about the true cost of things after buying them. In-app purchases, two year warranties (who buys something for two years?), non-replaceable batteries, and replacement filters. A rough calculation on the filters we have been using showed that the lowest amount spent in our group was a total of three times the purchase price in “spares” (really new filters) over four years.
You could say that we should have known in advance, and admittedly there was a bit of impulse buying involved in a couple of cases, but why does the burden have to be on the buyer? What is a reasonable life for the things we buy? How were we to know that we would need six “spares” (actually new filters) in four years when we bought the thing?
Good, technological advances can make things obsolete. But the basics of water filtration haven’t changed in thousands of years. It is possible to make a tough filter that would last a lifetime of real-world use. We thought: “Why don’t we?”
A better membrane–that is what started us down the path to Titanium filtration–we simply wanted to make a much longer lasting filtration membrane that would take what is thrown at it–water freezing in it, cleaning with boiling hot water, dropping on the ground, you name it. While there are some very big companies making metallic filtration membrane, they are far too heavy and expensive to be considered for personal water filtration.
We don’t really know why we thought we could do better than these mega-companies, but we did. One reason is that we had over 30 years of commercial filtration and metal manufacturing experience between us. No where near as much as the big boys, but maybe they don’t really want to sell you metallic filters. Why would they, when they can keep selling you throwaway “spares”.
Why Titanium–Titanium is amazing - it has the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal, is the most biocompatible (hypoallergenic) material known, it can be chemically cleaned and sterilized more aggressively than even stainless steel. It can be boiled, it can be frozen. And let’s face it, Titanium is cool.
We can do it–as it turns out, we could do better; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. It has taken years of nights and weekends to get where we are now. Years of wrong turns, dead ends, and surprises, but also years of real development. We are incredibly proud to say that we now have a proven filtration membrane in Titanium much stronger, more durable and much longer-lasting than the plastic hollow fiber membranes or ceramic normally used in personal water filters. We have also developed a simple, durable Titanium case that will be expandable and adaptable to pumped, squeezed or gravity filtration. Used as recommended (and not left lying on the train tracks), this filter will last for your lifetime.
Expensive to make–the problem is, with our current equipment it takes too much time to make a single filter. Time that we could spend going walkabout. Time that we would have to charge you (our families have to eat, too), making the filter too expensive. So, we have an incredible filter, but we need to be able to make it more efficiently so that people can afford to buy them and so that we can turn this passion into a paying job.
New equipment–with some additional tooling and equipment (molds, dies, CNC tools and a laser welder) we can, if not exactly mass-produce, at least make these Titanium filters for a reasonable cost in our own facility and ship them all over the world. We already have contacts in the United States and Europe for distribution and customer support.
Ready to go–having a funded Kickstarter campaign will free up this time and allow us to get the material and tools we need to do the membrane slimming, as well as streamline production so we can deliver the filters to you.
Risks and challenges
There are risks and challenges with any project, and this is no exception.
Machines break down, suppliers don't always deliver on time and going from design to production can be a challenge.
We have been there and done that.
Between us we have over 50 years of combined fabrication, machining, welding, wiring, troubleshooting and repair experience, much of it with the machines we will use to fulfill this project. We can maintain and fix everything we will be using.
Since we are making it all here in Australia, we are buying in only standard materials that we can get from a number of sources. If one supplier isn't performing, we can always switch.
We do all of the design work in house and work closely with a couple of local companies for tooling and equipment, which streamlines the modification and ramp-up to production greatly. Again, we are making it all here, we have control.
We also have contacts in the US and Europe ready to help us with the distribution should it prove to be too much to deliver directly from Australia. And we have factored this into our delivery dates and costings.
Thank you for taking the time to consider our Kickstarter project. We hope that you are as excited about the Walkabout Ti as we are and that you can help us to make it a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)