Getting eight glasses of water a day is challenging at the best of times — but it’s made even more of a challenge when traveling abroad or heading out into the wilderness. Of course, It can be tempting to load up on single-use water bottles to ensure you’re staying hydrated while flying or hiking through the woods, but a compact and portable water purifying system is a much more sustainable and convenient alternative.

And that’s exactly where the LARQ purifying water bottle comes in. This 17-ounce bottle is fitted with UV-C LED technology that can filter out up to 99 percent of bio-contaminants such as E. coli directly from the bottle, allowing you to fill up and safely filter your drinking water from non-traditional sources, like public fountains or fresh water springs. The water just needs to be clear, as the LARQ bottle does not filter out sediment.

I’ve always been a huge fan of reusable water bottles when traveling, but I was curious to see just how much of a game changer the LARQ’s built-in purifying technology could be. As such, I’ve spent the last six weeks living and working in a cabin in the woods, relying on my LARQ water bottle to clean and purify the usually undrinkable lake water that runs from the kitchen tap. Here’s how my experience has gone:

Say goodbye to plastic water bottles

There’s no clean drinking water at my cabin, which means I usually have to regularly purchase 5-gallon jugs of drinking water to cook with or drink. Admittedly, the LARQ bottle is not large enough to replace the volume of water I use for cooking and baking, but it has completely replaced the need to always have drinking water available. This will be especially practical the next time I travel to destinations that have older plumbing systems or questionable tap water — or a boil advisory. 

The self-cleaning design will banish any must or mold

The LARQ water bottle is great for adventure travel, but it’s also incredible for those who like to keep a water bottle next to the bed for midnight hydration. The self-cleaning design, which runs every two hours, means that you don’t have to wash your bottle nearly as often as a traditional reusable water bottle — and it’ll never develop that musty water bottle smell that can sometimes happen to those semi-neglected nightstand water bottles (ahem, just us?).

The variety of colors and accessories are stylish and fun

Most reusable water bottles range in colors and designs, and the LARQ is no different. The minimal design is timeless and cool while the spectrum of colors — ranging from pinks and blues to jet black and all white — allows you to match your bottle to your particular style. We also love that the LARQ brand offers a variety of fashion-forward sleeves and carrying cases to protect your bottle while you’re on the go.

The normal and adventure modes offer serious peace of mind

person filling up water bottle from stream

Adventure mode makes fresh water from streams and lakes drinkable.
Credit: LARQ

The LARQ bottle offers two different levels of purification depending on the water source that you’re using. The normal mode, which is recommended for water sources you trust, runs for 60 seconds. The adventure mode, which is what I use for purifying lake water, takes closer to three minutes. The UV-C light eradicates biological contaminants by destroying their DNA — which, when used in adventure mode, is about the equivalent of boiling water for 20 minutes. Be sure to double check which contaminants are present in the water where you are because you might have to take some extra precautions aside from UV-C purification to make the water truly safe to drink.

Charging the LARQ water bottle is totally hassle-free

You might assume that the LARQ water bottle would require regular charging in order to offer continuous water purification and cleaning every couple of hours, but the energy-saving design actually works for one to two months with ‘normal’ mode or up to two weeks on ‘adventure’ mode. I’ve been using my bottle for six weeks and I’ve only had to charge it twice so far — which is no issue.

The LARQ water bottle comes with its own USB charging cables and a low battery indicator light will alert you when the bottle needs to be charged. The lid will flash green while charging and display a solid green light when it’s fully charged.

Downsides: the LARQ bottle is unable to filter sediment on its own

The LARQ water bottle might be able to filter out up to 99 percent of bacteria but it doesn’t come with a sediment filter for large particles or dirt. This might not be an issue for public drinking fountains or fresh spring water, but if you plan to use your bottle with lake water or other sources that might have sediment, you’ll want to invest in the Nano Zero filter available on the LARQ website, which can remove chlorine and heavy metals.

The stainless steel design makes it hard to see the fill line

The LARQ water bottle design includes a designated fill line that you’ll want to respect if you want the UV technology to get the job done properly, however, it can be hard to gauge exactly where the fill line is because the bottle is crafted from stainless steel rather than a transparent glass.

The self-cleaning cycle involves a rather bright and flashing light

Light sleepers or those with sensitive eyes might take issue with the pulsing light show that alerts users that the bottle is in self-cleaning mode. LARQ bottles self clean every two hours, and while it only takes about a minute, the flashing light is bright enough to illuminate a dark room and could be annoying to those who wake regularly in the night or who are sensitive to light. That said, the self cleaning and purifying functions are completely silent so you won’t have to worry about any noises waking you up.

Should you drop $95 on the LARQ purifying water bottle?

The LARQ purifying water bottle might be an expensive initial investment, but it’s well worth it for anyone who travels regularly or who might be looking for a more hygienic solution to reusable water bottles. The self-cleaning and purifying bottle will not only cut down on single-use plastic but will also ensure you won’t have to deal with the musty old water bottle smell nor worry about non-traditional water sources while traveling or spending time in nature.