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Tested: CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher

Now I can fill my CamelBak from a CamelBak! Thanks to something completely unexpected – the CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher.

camelbak relay in box

Instead of a mundane Brita or PUR filter/pitcher, my kitchen is now outfitted with a fancy new CamelBak pitcher. It actually blends in well, thanks to the numerous CamelBak bottles scattered about.

Though surprising initially, I guess it makes sense. They already do hydration packs, sports water bottles, everyday water bottles, and even filtering bottles, so they might as well expand into home goods.

For me, the timing couldn’t have been better. When I lived in Pittsburgh, the tap water was surprisingly good. But I just moved outside the city, and despite feeling like I’m surrounded by green grass and trees, the water is BAD!

I must be too close to Ohio now. I can’t speak for all of Ohio, but my aunt and uncle’s house in Ohio had the worst tap water I’ve ever tasted. I still remember visiting them as a kid and the water was so terrible I couldn’t even brush my teeth with it!

Anyway, here’s a short video CamelBak did to show off the Relay. It’s sort of cheesy, but it will give you a good idea of how it works:

(Yes, you can buy it in gray, blue, or purple!)

This was just released on March 6th (2014), and mine showed up on my doorstep March 17th, so I have had exactly one month to play around with it.

camelbak relay unboxed

On the first day, I unboxed it, read the instructions, and got it ready to use. You really only have to do two things.

First, wash the pitcher, gasket, and lid with warm soapy water.

Second, run cold water over the filter.

Then you can press on the gasket, slide in the filter, and clip on the lid. That’s it. You’re ready to filter and drink!

(I ran a test batch of cold water through it and emptied that out, but that was just a precaution of mine.)

 

Here it is, disassembled:

camelbak relay pieces

You can see all four pieces: the pitcher, the gasket (attached to pitcher,) the filter, and the lid. Once it’s assembled, you don’t need to disassemble anything until it’s time to replace the filter or give it a good washing.

Everything just slides together, then the lid clips onto both sides. That’s it.

Here’s a closer look at the filter:

camelbak relay filter

You can see how the water will filter through the large filter in the back, then when you pour, it comes up through a filter and out that hole.

When you fill it up, you just flip this lid up, fill, and flip the lid back down.

camelbak relay opening

That plastic pyramid in there is sort of a diffuser. That allows you to run the tap at full blast, and it disperses the water around the entire filter for optimal filtering.

And when I say full blast, I mean it! CamelBak claims the Relay will filter at the speed of your faucet. In my case, yes it does! I put the water on basically full blast and the filter takes it.

I counted it out a few times, and it takes 30 seconds (+/- 3 seconds) to fill the whole thing.

That’s probably less time than it takes to fill your current pitcher, even though your current pitcher holds half as much water!

The biggest thing I noticed is that although the Relay is the same size as a regular Brita pitcher, it holds twice as much water. That’s because it’s not split in two compartments. Thanks to how fast it filters, the top compartment is tiny, and actually sits above the pitcher.

Bonus points – since the water doesn’t hang out up there, it doesn’t spill on the floor if you tilt the pitcher sideways!

If your hand has ever hurt from holding a Brita pitcher, you might be worried that the extra water in this pitcher will be too heavy and thus hurt your hand or wrist. Well, my wrists are bad from years of BMX riding, and I don’t notice any strain from this pitcher. I credit the ergonomic handle shape for that!

Slide it in the fridge and you’re good to go. It should fit easily on the top shelf or the door.

When you pour yourself a glass, pour as aggressively as you want – the lid is locked in place. It’s not going to move and it’s not going to leak anywhere. Don’t be afraid to turn the pitcher 90 degrees!

The water is going to filter again, so there may be a fraction of a second delay, but there’s no noticeable increase in time to fill your glass.

I’ve been repeating that process over and over again this past month, and the CamelBak Relay has been working flawlessly. And the filtered water is delicious!

The tap water here is so bad that not only do I use the filtered water for brewing tea and coffee, but also for cooking! (Anything that absorbs water – oats, rice, beans, potatoes, etc. – gets cooked in the filtered water.)

The filter lasts longer than they claim.

I was assuming the filter would last for around three months. Then three months went by, and the filtered water was still excellent. Six months went by, and still, the filtered water was incredible!

I used that first filter for one year! Sure, it was really only me drinking the water, but I go through a lot of water! I was astounded at how long the filter lasted.

And it never got to the point that the filtered water wasn’t noticeably better than the tap water. I just figured that after a whole freaking year, I should probably replace the filter!

But even if the filter had lost effectiveness early, I was still going to stick with the Relay! Even if this thing broke tomorrow, I’d buy another. That’s how good it is. Fortunately, it seems like a very sturdy product, and it comes with a lifetime “Got Your Bak” guarantee!

CamelBak vs Brita vs PUR

The CamelBak Relay comes in at an MSRP of $36.99, making it the most expensive pitcher I’ve seen. Similar size pitchers from Brita and PUR seem to be somewhere in the $25-30 range, so you could save about $10 if you stick with them.

The replacement filters for the Relay are $12 each (or $28.50 for three) and they last 4 months. Brita’s filters can be found as cheap as $15 for a 3-pack on Amazon.com, but they need replaced every 2 months. So the CamelBak filters are actually the better value (even if you replace them that often, which wasn’t the case for me).

Purely from a monetary perspective, you spend a little more on the Relay initially, but save on the filters. Over the course of a year, you save money by choosing the Relay.

What else do you save? Pain and suffering!!

All the hassles and annoyances of using an old Brita pitcher are gone!

camelbak relay filled with water

Why The CamelBak Relay Is My Absolute Favorite!

Ya know how you hate to be the person who empties the pitcher and has to refill it? (Or the person who doesn’t refill it, so the next person hates you?)

Well, the Relay filters so fast, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. It fills up so fast and is so easy to hold that you don’t think twice about refilling it. (I’m spoiled now. When I go to visit friends and family, I’m reminded of how bad it used to be with a regular Brita pitcher!)

And you know how frequently those pitchers needed refilled! They barely held any filtered water since the pitcher had to have two separate compartments – one for filtered water and one to hold the water waiting to get filtered.

Filling up a few water bottles – or worse, a 100oz reservoir – would inevitably empty the pitcher and require you to refill it at least once, wasting precious time that could be better spent riding! It was miserable. Now with the Relay, not only do I have plenty of water to fill my bottles, but I can quickly filter more if I need to!

Then there was the related problem of how easily water would spill out of the top chamber as you tried to gingerly carry the pitcher from sink to fridge. With the Relay, there’s no water in the top to spill out!

I never thought I’d say something like this, but life is so much better now that I have the CamelBak Relay!

My final verdict is…

I’ve been using the CamelBak Relay for three years now, and I’m sooooo happy!! The overall ease of use you get thanks to this thing makes it well worth the premium price tag. If you’re an endurance athlete who drinks water constantly like I do, this will truly improve your life!

Unless you have super great water, or some fancy water filter system built-in beneath your sink, get rid of your current pitcher and replace it with this. You won’t regret it!

Official website: www.CamelBak.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: CamelBak
Product: CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2017-05-27
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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5 Comments
  1. That’s all well and good. But what exactly does it filter out?

  2. @Captain

    Good question! I didn’t research that fully because I was only concerned with the taste of the water.

    Looking on Camelbak’s site, they cite fancy lab results showing how it removes 97% or more of chlorine taste and odor. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing that means it only filters out chlorine. Looking at Brita’s FAQ page, their pitchers reduce chlorine, as well as lead, copper, and mercury.

    Personally, it doesn’t bother me, because I bet there isn’t a whole lot of those contaminants in my tap water. I just know that the Relay filters my awful tap water and it then tastes awesome! 🙂

  3. Furthermore, just to be absolutely clear, this is meant to filter tap water in your home. Don’t go taking it on a camping or hiking trip and filtering stream water with it!!

  4. how does it filter so fast?

  5. @David

    I see two reasons.

    First, since it filters twice (spreading the work load over a greater amount of time,) it doesn’t need to work as hard either time.

    Second, most importantly, the filter is BIG. And not only is it a big filter in general, it’s pleated, so it offers tons of surface area. In other words, lots of water goes through at once. Naturally, that helps the filter speed quite a bit.

    It’s simple math. Why did no one figure that out earlier?

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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