General Ecology First Need XL 2011

The General Ecology First Need XL has been a popular piece of kit for many years. It has many advantages over its rivals: first you get an impressive 1.7 litre per minute flow rate, so you can filter water much faster than other devices. It’s easy to use too, as you get an inlet pipe to dangle in the water, with a pre-filter and float helping to keep the worst of the dirt out. The filter can be screwed directly to a Sigg- or Nalgene-style water bottle for clean water storage. There are no chemicals required – the filter has been independently certified to be effective at removing viruses. So the water tastes great – and the price seems very reasonable too. But the running costs do work out a little higher than other options. Also this is a bigger and heavier unit than some of the alternatives. It would be useful to have a length of pipe that could be connected to the outlet. Though not supplied this could be rigged easily enough.

Filter type 0.001mm nominal/0.0004 absolute filter, carbon
Replacement cartridge £38
Effectiveness bacteria, parasites, viruses
Flow rate 1.7 litre per minute
Service life 600 litres
Packed size 15x13x7cm
Running costs 1 litre = 16.6p up to 600 litres; 1 litre = 6.3p over 600 litres
Weight 425g
Made in USA
Number of stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details – tel. (01293) 400644;


The General Ecology First Need XL is a fast and efficient water purification system, but other systems are lighter and lower in price to use.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2011