Best Lightweight Group Filter: Katadyn Befree 3l
Price: $65Buy Now
We loved the original Katadyn BeFree, a soft flask that could pull double-duty as a water bottle and a squeeze filter, so much that we gave it an Editors Choice award. The 3L is a super-size version of that same design thats even easier to use. It goes like this: Fill the reservoir from whatever source is available, then squeeze it or hang it from the built-in handle with a carabiner and let gravity do its thing. The .1 micron, hollow-fiber filter can process 2 liters of water a minute, fast enough to provide for even a sizable group, and has a lifespan of 1,000 liters before you have to replace it. Ding: The soft reservoir can spring a leak with rough handling, but its easy enough to fix with a dab of seam grip. Adam Roy
Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
Our top pick is this small, hardy system from Sawyer. It uses hollow fiber technology and orients the tubules in a U-shape to achieve stellar filtration.
Its also one of the more versatile products on this list, and almost never has to be replaced.
Its easy to use, ultralight, and wont break the bank. We think this is a solid filtration system for outdoor activities and other portable uses.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed: This filter removes 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa while removing 100% of microplastics and filtering particles down to 0.1 microns.
Weight: At only 2oz, you can bring this filter just about anywhere. It fits in the palm of your hand and can easily be stored anywhere from a pack to an emergency kit.
Ease of use: Using this filter is as easy as drinking through the straw it comes with. It also comes with its own storage bladder, and you can connect it to the tubing of a hydration pack or screw it onto a water bottle as well.
Filtration speed: Youll have clean water almost instantaneously, and backwashing the filter will keep the water flowing at up to 98.5% of its maximum rate as the filter ages.
Filtration capacity: This filter has a 100,000 gallon capacity which should last its lifetime. That means no replacements and no maintenance beyond regular backwashing.
Certifications: While not certified, this filter has been independently tested to EPA standards for microbial contaminants.
Who Its Best For
Advantages Of Ultraviolet Water Filtration
UV filter doesnt leave any bi-product results. The color and taste of the water also stay the same. Also, this makes the product eco-friendly because of the lack of bioproduct. Ultraviolet water is water that has been purified.
The filter requires a simple mechanism. One of these is just turning on the electricity.
It directly inactivates the harmful pathogens on the water, so there is no water waste. Lets look at the advantages of Ultraviolet Water Filtration like Dupont WFPF13003b:
- Not use any chemicals
- Removes the chlorine in the water
- Easy to install
- It does not damage
The filter doesnt need much energy to operate. It just needs a 60-watt bulb.
The UV filter doesnt leave any damage to the pipe and the septic tank due to its chemical-free attribute.
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What Kind Of Contaminants Occur In Backcountry Water
Backcountry water can contain two different types of contaminants that can make your ill: biological organisms and mineral or chemical contaminants, including agricultural or industrial runoff. Not all sources or regions suffer from both, so its best to do some research about water quality and the need to treat your water before hiking or backpacking in a new area. Contacting the National Park Service, US Forest Service, or state authority that administers the land is usually a good place to start. Local guiding services and hiking clubs are also useful sources of information.
Water Purification Systems To Choose From
PRESS WATER PURIFIERS
These work the same way as press water filters but they purify water, which means they filter out water-borne viruses too.
ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT PURIFIERS
LARQ UV Light water purifier | Tap button to activate
UV Light purifiers are a very clever and effortless way to purify your water. There are two methods for using UVC lights, the first one being a UV pen/stick, like the SteriPEN UV water purifier, which you activate with a button and then stir your water with. This process can take up to a minute to complete.
Another option is a UV water filter bottle which has a UV purification module built into its lid. The LARQ UV Water purification bottle is a great example of this , and an alternative option is the CrazyCap 2.0 UV Water Purifier reviewed on our YouTube channel here.
- ADVANTAGES INCLUDE:
- Batteries are required for them to operate.
- Silty or cloudy water can reduce effectiveness, requiring a pre-filter of some sort.
- Multiple treatments will be required to produce large quantities as UV light will only pass through so much water.
GRAVITY WATER PURIFIERS
These work the same way as gravity water filters but they purify water too, which means they filter out water-borne viruses via a purifying element.
PUMP WATER PURIFIERS
These work the same way as pump water filters but they purify water too, which means they filter out water-borne viruses via a purifying element.
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Best Backpacking Water Filter For Larger Groups: Platypus Gravityworks 4l
For capacity and convenience, nothing beats the Platypus GravityWorks 4L.
Although the GravityWorks was one of the slower filters, nearly all of that time is passive. No pumping or stirring just relax, enjoy the scenery, and let gravity do all the work for you.
It was the slowest in our test at filtering just one liter, but its made to be a higher capacity filter. Once you get to 4 liters, its about on par with the pump filters.
Although we didnt test the time to filter 8 liters, wed bet that this would be by far the fastest to get you that quantity of clean water.
The GravityWorks also has an amazing amount of storage. Each bag has a 4-liter capacity. This means with the clean water bag full and the dirty water bag ready to go, you can have 8 liters of water on tap at camp. We never realized how much of a luxury that was until we used the GravityWorks.
Its not perfect, though. Finding a place to hang the bags can be tricky, and we worried that the plastic would tear while we were trying to maneuver it through tree branches to find the perfect spot. It seems fairly durable, though. We never had any issues.
Trying to fill the dirty water bag in a pond or small stream is tricky. If your water source isnt a decent-sized stream, filling the bag can be tedious and frustrating. Its difficult to get it to zip closed securely.
- Filter/Purification Mechanism: Hollow fiber filter
When Do You Need A Water Filter
You should always use a water filter when backpacking or hiking. Even if the water source looks to be perfectly clear, there is no way of knowing whats going on upstream, far beyond your sight. Perhaps livestock defecated in the middle of the stream, an animal carcass has been washed into the water, or a recent rainstorm has unearthed a hikers poorly dug cathole.
While the overall likelihood of you getting sick might be low, the consequences if you do get sick can be quite severe.
Our take: I have personally suffered from rapid dehydration on a few occasions, once from contaminated water in Mexico City. I went from perfectly normal to writhing on the ground in less than 8 hours. If I had been in the backcountry, unable to walk, burning through my limited food supplies, and without access to a bathroom, I would have been smashing the SOS button on my inReach satellite messenger. It is not worth the risk.
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How Do You Install A Uv Water System
Again, things are brought down to simplicity and the installation can be made very easily. There are a water inlet and a water outlet in the chamber. You have to interrupt the water supply line that is coming into the house and put the water UV system in. Insert the lamp into the quartz glass sleeve, then insert the latter into the chamber and link it to the supply system. Disconnecting when necessary is easy as well. Just back it out, unscrew and do whatever is necessary for maintenance or exchange and then connect it again.
Do Uv Water Purification Systems Reduce Water Pressure
RV UV water purification systems dont reduce water pressure. One of the design requirements engineers are always mindful of is keeping the pressure as unrestricted as possible.
Carbon water filters use charcoal and other materials to absorb chemicals. They also use filtering barriers that have openings down to the tiniest micron that lets the water pass through unencumbered, gating most everything else. But as they age these types of water filters can reduce water pressure.
Acuvas UVC-LED water purifier channels the water through a clear tube. As it passes through the device, UVC light exposes the water through a collimated IntenseBeam. The company does offer a 1-year replacement warranty if the device doesnt work correctly.
If you do notice a decrease in water pressure, it could be a decrease of pressure from your pre-filter, or the water source, or something in the water line that created a blockage. Locating that blockage requires checking all of your internal and external plumbing. Seek professional assistance or learn how to check PEX piping to prevent damaging your RVs plumbing.
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What Are Filter Media For Water Filters
The filter media is the type of filter in the unit itself. This can determine water taste, filtration rate, cost, and a number of other factors. For most users the difference is not consequential, but here are the most common filter medias:
- Hollow Fiber
- Silica Depth
While you could choose a filter based on its media, I dont think its necessary to get too specific.
Uv Light Purification Bottle
- These work in a similar way to UV pens but the water is treated in the bottle as you drink it. CamelBak have developed a bottle that uses this technology, but their All Clear bottle has the benefit of a solar charger or mini USB adapter to recharge the batteries.
The whole system is a little on the heavy side and it takes around 5 hours to recharge the power. The lamp and battery need replacing once they reach their shelf life and as with the SteriPEN, the water will need to be strained prior to treatment.
Ultimately, the best way to purify water while hiking and backpacking comes down to personal preference and where you find yourself needing to purify water. Do your research in the area youll be exploring most frequently to see what lurks in the waters. This will help you understand what sort of treatment the water will need.
And for those who might find themselves up a very dry and dehydrated creek with no means to filter your water, there are a few more options to avoid death by dehydration:
In the ideal world, you wont need to use any of the above methods, but its good to know them just in case.
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Aquamira Notes And Tips:
- Chlorine dioxide is highly effective against Giardia and less effective against Cryptosporidium. If you suspect that your water source is contaminated with the latter, consider combining Aquamira with a filtration method or use a Steripen.
- Aquamira dosing can be halved if you double the treatment time to 30-60 minutes. Likewise, dosing can be doubled if you need water fast . This principle is known as Chicks Law and is a bedrock principle in water disinfection.
- The newest 1-oz Aquamira kits now ship with a closeable cap this is useful for backpacking! If I know Im going to walk over a creek soon, I can create my premix, stow the cup in my pocket, and then its activated and ready to pour in my bottle by the time I reach the creek.
- For shorter trips, repackage Aquamira parts A and B into smaller dropper bottles, but be aware that drop size in your new bottles may be different than drop size in the stock bottles, which could affect dosing.
How Long Does A Backpacking Water Filter Last
The lifespan of a filter largely depends on the type of filter. Most hollow fiber or activated charcoal cartridges will need to be replaced every couple hundred uses, or after a certain number of liters have been filtered. Some filters, like the LifeStraw, can last for years, but when its run its course youll need to buy a new one.
There are also some filters and purifiers that just need new batteries or to be charged.
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How Does A Uv Water System Work
Such a system works by exposing living organisms like bacteria, viruses, or cysts to a germicidal ultraviolet wavelength. The germicidal lamp produces ultraviolet C light that interrupts DNA base pairing. It scrambles the DNA of the living organism and they can no longer reproduce or cause sickness. The longer the exposure of the bacteria to UV the more lethal the effect it. UV kills bacteria very efficiently, but it is dangerous to the human skin as it can cause cancer.
It is important to have in mind here that when using this type of purification, the water flow must be moderate enough to ensure the necessary time for the UV light to do its magic. A simple test with the E.coli bacteria shows that two minutes of exposure to UV C light will kill it without a trace, one minute will leave a few colonies behind. This being said if the water flow is too fast while flowing through the chamber of the UV system it will not be as effective. This is why the size of your system is calculated based on your water flow.
Msr Miniworks Ex Water Filter
Best Pump Water Filter
Great for: people who prefer a hand pump filtering system, fast water filtration
Pros: can be disassembled in the field and cleaned without extra tools
Cons: not compatible with water bottles other than a wide-mouth Nalgene, pumping water can be tedious and require a lot of manual effort, slightly heavier than other options on this list
The MSR MiniWorks Ex Water Filter is one of the best hand pump water filters out there if you prefer a pump filter over a gravity filter. It has a ceramic/carbon filter to remove bacteria and protozoa and it can process up to water at 1 liter per minute. The bottom can also easily screw onto an MSR Dromedary Bag or Nalgene bottle for easy operation.
This filter comes with a cleaning kit for easy cleaning in the field.
Hand pump filters are our least favorite due to the ease of newer gravity and squeeze style filters, but for people who like the old-school techniques, this is the best pump style water filter.
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Hqua 6gmp Uv Light Water Purification Unit
The HQUA ultraviolet light water filter is perfect for your kitchen and its made of high-quality materials which will ensure that the product would last long. To ensure that the water purifier lasts longer, you need to replace the UV lamp every year and clean the quartz sleeve every six months or if you have lower-quality water, even more frequently.
If you dont use water regularly it could get very hot , especially if you havent used any water for more than four hours straight. To solve this problem, you would either need to install a 5-gallon tank after the purifier or open the faucet until the hot water runs out.
The UV system doesnt use any chemicals and the taste of the water isnt affected at all. The water filter is almost twenty-three inches long and it comes with a 1/2 inlet/outlet. The maximum water flow is six gallons per minute and the unit weighs only five pounds.
- The product installation is straightforward and explained in detail.
- There are light indicators for the condition of the lamp and power.
- Stainless steel and quartz glass materials are used.
- The odor or taste of the water isnt affected.
How To Filter Water For Camping
It is a no-brainer that drinking water keeps us alive. Humans can live longer without food, but this is not the case with water. Fluid loss can massively impact the blood volume that contributes to overall body system failure.
With this in mind, whether you are planning for a venturesome and hefty trip, visiting a favorite camping site, or exploring any untrodden trails, it should be your main priority to prepare not only your gears, meals, or footwear but also the indispensable H2O.
Therefore, no matter what unexpected situation might occur, at least you are hydrated enough to keep your body and soul together along the journey.
However, a scanty amount of water stored up wont keep you alive for a long time. Sure, trudging in a remote area where you have a limited source of water and not knowing either you are polluted with dangerous pathogens or not is something to consider.
On that matter, knowing how to purify water can save your life beyond any doubt. Before plunging into the ways to purify water, you need to understand how water purification and water filtration differ from one another.Water filtration removes filths and murkiness from water, wherein most of the bacteria often loiter in. However, this technique is not as ideal as water purification because clean-looking water is not always safe to drink. Theres a high risk that it can still be contaminated with harmful microorganisms and chemical contaminants.
Here are different ways to purify water when camping:
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