Fort Jones, California-based Tortoise Gear aims to make products so users can thrive in practically any environment. The brand’s SOL Water Bag (which is currently crowdsourcing on Kickstarter) is a compact, solar-powered water-purifying bag for all kinds of outdoor adventure. Unlike many water-purifying systems, the SOL needs no chemicals or tech gadgetry and, as with so many inventions, the idea came to CEO Eric McCormick during a real life situation. “The idea for a bag that could also treat water didn’t hit me until I was out camping one day with a friend,” McCormick—who heads up the company with his wife Angela—tells CH. “He pulled out a battery-operated UV sterilizer device to treat his water. I thought, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ But then it hit me: why couldn’t this be done with UV power?”
Available in three iterations (the Survivalist and Day Tripper options hold one liter, while the Backpacker carries two liters), the bags are entirely BPA-, DHP- and Phthalate-free.
[quote_box_center]”The most difficult challenge we encountered when designing the SOL Water Bag was finding a plastic material that could perform well with all of the stresses it had to endure,” McCormick says.[/quote_box_center]
The SOL is remarkably simple to use: just fill it with water and lay it out in the sun. Depending on the rays that day, the water can take anywhere from three to 24 hours to purify. When you need a drink, simply grab the bag from its top handle and sip from the pop-up drink spout. There is also a slide-top closure which makes the bags entirely watertight, so they will keep the water in, or out—if you want to use it as a waterproof bag for your phone or other electronic items.
While McCormick and his wife focus on hardcore survival, clean water is essential to anyone spending time in the outdoors—whether out camping, hiking, biking, canoeing or any other kind of adventure. McCormick says, “Our goal is not to replace all other water treatment methods. Rather, we want outdoor enthusiasts to have another weapon in their arsenal against waterborne pathogens. They already carry a water container so why not make that container a water treatment device as well?”
Tortoise Gear’s SOL Water Bag is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter with an entry-level pledge of $3 resulting in a one liter bag.