Hands On

Re­view of the IN-CASE Wa­ter Fil­tra­tion Sys­tem

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Jim Cobb

Re­view of the IN-CASE Wa­ter

Fil­tra­tion Sys­tem

Make no mis­take, this isn’t your grand­dad’s wa­ter fil­ter. It is, how­ever, one of the fastest and high­est-ca­pac­ity por­ta­ble wa­ter fil­ters this writer has ever seen.

The IN-CASE Wa­ter Fil­tra­tion Sys­tem was de­signed by Rich Gil­breath, one of the own­ers of a mom-and-pop prep­per store called SHTF and Go, lo­cated in Burling­ton, Wis­con­sin. Ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer, when the IN-CASE is used prop­erly, it’ll re­move 99.999 per­cent of all bac­te­ria, cysts, par­a­sites, and heavy met­als. And it does so with a flow rate of al­most 1 gal­lon per minute. Weight and trans­porta­tion is­sues aside, you could take a 55-gal­lon drum to your lo­cal pond or creek and fill it with fil­tered wa­ter in about an hour.

What it Does

The IN-CASE uses an elec­tric pump to pull wa­ter through a pre­filter, then forc­ing it through a sil­ver im­preg­nated ce­ramic fil­ter with sil­ver-ac­ti­vated char­coal. From there, the wa­ter is pushed through an ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) ster­il­izer and then ion­iz­ing resin, which takes care of any heavy met­als that might be present in the wa­ter.

The 12-volt DC pump is pow­ered by three 10-watt so­lar pan­els that at­tach to the out­side of the fil­ter case. One panel is per­ma­nently at­tached, and the other two are af­fixed with strong mag­nets. The sys­tem is fool­proof in that the pan­els can only be in­stalled one way. The pan­els are light, flex­i­ble, and add al­most no weight to the sys­tem. The 30 to­tal watts gen­er­ate about 1.5 amps. You can let the pan­els soak up the sun all day long and op­er­ate the pump at night us­ing the in­ter­nal bat­tery. The pump is main­te­nance-free, with an ex­pected life span of about 10,000 hours.

The bat­tery will op­er­ate the fil­tra­tion sys­tem un­der nor­mal con­di­tions for about six hours. As a bonus, there are two USB ports so the bat­tery can be used to charge a cell phone or other de­vices. The bat­tery is rated for about 1,000 charges. If needed, it can also be charged us­ing the in­cluded in­ter­na­tional wall charger.

Sur­vival is all about re­dun­dancy, and the IN-CASE has that in spades. If the sun isn’t shin­ing, there’s a dy­namo crank that’ll gen­er­ate the juice needed. If that fails, there’s also a stain­less steel man­ual pump op­tion.

Un­der nor­mal op­er­at­ing con­di­tions, the IN-CASE will pump and fil­ter about 50 gal­lons of wa­ter per hour. The out­put rate is slightly less­ened when the UV sys­tem is em­ployed. The UV light also uses more elec­tric­ity, which means the bat­tery will last three or four hours as op­posed to six. There are two power but­tons on the out­side of the case. The top but­ton is for the UV light, and the bot­tom is for the pump.

If a leak de­vel­ops in­side the unit, an alarm will sound.


The IN-CASE re­quires a lit­tle as­sem­bly be­fore the first use. How­ever, there’s noth­ing that re­quires tools. When the unit ar­rives, it’s ready to take out into the field. Ev­ery­thing can be as­sem­bled while sit­ting on a river­bank or the shore of a pond.

The bat­tery must be plugged into the charge con­troller. If you take the IN-CASE when trav­el­ing by air, you’ll need to dis­con­nect the bat­tery in or­der to be TSA com­pli­ant.

The ce­ramic fil­ter is packed in­side its stain­less steel hous­ing, but needs to be un­wrapped be­fore us­ing. Re­move the hous­ing and pull the fil­ter from in­side, peel off the plas­tic pro­tec­tive coat­ing, and at­tach the fil­ter to the hous­ing base. The ce­ramic fil­ter will need to be cleaned on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, though the fre­quency will de­pend upon how dirty the source of wa­ter may be. A dis­tinct re­duc­tion in the sys­tem’s out­put and speed will in­di­cate when the fil­ter needs at­ten­tion. Sim­ply re­move the fil­ter and clean it with the scrub pad in­cluded with the sys­tem.

The in­take and out­put tubes are sim­ple press-fit at­tach­ments. The in­take tube runs ap­prox­i­mately 20 feet, and the out­put is about half that length. The pre­filter slides over the stain­less steel wa­ter pickup. Tie the lan­yard tight, but make sure you can loosen the knot to re­move it for clean­ing and stor­age. The pre­filter can be rinsed out when it be­comes dirty. If it be­comes mis­placed or torn, vir­tu­ally any fab­ric can be used, as the pur­pose is merely to limit the amount of dirt and de­bris that could en­ter the fil­ter. The IN-CASE comes with one pre­filter.

At­tach the so­lar pan­els to the out­side of the case, drop the in­take into wa­ter, and you’re ready to go.


The 20 feet of in­take tube means you can stand on shore and toss the in­take out into the pond or body of wa­ter with­out hav­ing to im­merse your­self in it.

The elec­tric pump can­not pull wa­ter more than 10 feet ver­ti­cally, so in those sit­u­a­tions the man­ual pump must be used. The man­ual pump may also be used to prime the elec­tric pump, but this isn’t ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

The power switches for the pump are lo­cated on the side of the unit. Push both but­tons in, and the pump will start up. Once wa­ter has filled the ion­iz­ing cham­ber, turn on the juice. Of course, the pump will re­quire elec­tric­ity, so ei­ther the sun must be shin­ing or the bat­tery needs to be charged.

The pump does make noise, but isn’t very loud at all, espe­cially with the case closed. It sounds sim­i­lar to a toy windup boat. If noise is a con­cern, you can use the man­ual pump to pro­vide clean wa­ter with very lit­tle sound.

Once the unit is run­ning in earnest, wa­ter flows from the out­put al­most as fast as a kitchen faucet. It’s clean, clear, and ready to drink.

We took the IN-CASE to a lo­cal pond for some real-world test­ing. The as­sem­bly took about 20 min­utes, but most of that was spent on one-time op­er­a­tions, such as un­pack­ing and as­sem­bling the ce­ramic fil­ter. Once the unit is fully as­sem­bled, it may be stored and trans­ported that way.

Af­ter as­sem­bly, putting it into op­er­a­tion con­sists of toss­ing the in­take hose into the source wa­ter, putting a con­tainer at the end of the out­put hose, and turn­ing the unit on. We primed the pump man­u­ally to test that func­tion and found it took a fair amount of ef­fort to draw the wa­ter through about 12 feet of hose and the fil­ter. Not im­pos­si­ble, but it was a bit of a car­dio work­out.

The wa­ter in the pond was pre­dictably dirty, and the wa­ter flow­ing from the out­put hose ap­peared to be as clear as nor­mal bot­tled wa­ter. It tasted, well, like wa­ter is sup­posed to taste. The IN-CASE doesn’t lend any sort of af­ter­taste to the wa­ter, un­like chem­i­cal pu­ri­fiers such as chlo­rine tablets or io­dine drops. We suf­fered ab­so­lutely no ill ef­fects from con­sum­ing the fil­tered wa­ter, ei­ther.

The largest draw­back to the sys­tem is the weight. While the unit packs nicely into the case, at 30 pounds it isn’t some­thing that’ll be easy to lug around dur­ing a bug-out. The IN­CASE is, how­ever, per­fect for a fam­ily or group who needs a re­li­able method of pro­duc­ing clean wa­ter in large quan­ti­ties.

An­other rea­son the IN-CASE Wa­ter Fil­tra­tion Sys­tem might be best suited for a group is the price. It cur­rently re­tails for $1,799, not much more than a large man­u­ally op­er­ated pu­ri­fier.

All in all, it’s a very im­pres­sive sys­tem filled with re­dun­dan­cies. Each unit is as­sem­bled by hand, and Rich in­sists cus­tomers call him upon re­ceipt of their units so he can walk them through the as­sem­bly process. That level of cus­tomer ser­vice isn’t seen very much nowa­days.

Ev­ery­thing is un­packed and as­sem­bled. The man­ual push­pull pump is lo­cated at the back of the unit with the knob on the left side.

Toss the wa­ter in­take out into the pond. Af­ter prim­ing, clean wa­ter be­gins to run from the out­put hose.

Left side is the fil­tered wa­ter, and right side is the source wa­ter.

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