Water runs our lives. From the moment we wake up, to the time we go to bed our bodies need water to run. Carrying gallons of water while on the trail can be very tiring for even the most seasoned backpackers. You should prepare for a gallon a day, per person, being consumed.
A gallon weighs in at just over 8 pounds. So you can see how fast that can add up. To prevent you from having to carry all that extra weight, let’s take a look at a few great water purification methods you can use while backpacking or camping.
Method 1 – Filters & Pumps
This is by far my favorite method. There are several modern-day options for pumping or filtering water in the back country straight from most water sources. The difference between the two are that a pump literally does just that. You place a filtered tube, kinda like a long straw, into a water source and then pump a handle to suck up the water into a ceramic filter or something similar. I carry a MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter on every backpacking trip I go on. It has been used extensively and is a very vital part of my gear list.
If the $75.00 price tag scares you, just take a look at the Grandaddy of all pumps. The MSR Guardian Military-Grade Water Purifier is the best of the best. Priced at $349.00 the Guardian can filter and remove all viruses from almost any water source except the ocean. It makes the MiniWorks price seem very reasonable after all.
When you are using just a filter, like the BeFree Water Hydrapack by Katadyn, you will use a bladder or bottle to fill up in your water source. The filter is made into the cap or lid, When you squeeze the water bottle it filters it while you drink. You can buy the BeFree on Amazon for only $25.97. Click here to Buy on Amazon.
There is one other great filter we recommend for ultralight backpackers. The LifeStraw is ultraportable. It can be worn around the neck with the included lanyard or easily stored and takes up very little space in your pack. With the LifeStraw you can stick it directly into the water source and suck the water up just like a straw. The insides contain all the elements needed to produce clean fresh water in an instant.
Method 2 – Tablets & Drops
As a backup, or for those of you that really want to save space, tablets and drops do a damn fine job at purifying water for drinking. One major downfall to this method is that you must wait a set amount of time before you can drink.
“Desert, jungle, mountains, or coast; I don’t have a preference. If I’m out in the wilderness with everything I need in the world on my back, chances are my smile is wide and my thoughts are clear.”
Currently I carry Aquatabs as my backup of choice. It is a tablet that you drop right into your bottle. You give it a shake and let it dissolve for 30 minutes. There is a possibility that you will be able to taste the difference when using tablets over a filter or pump. This is why I use these only as a backup. Like a clogged or broken filter rendering me unable to get clean water.
Water drops are very similar to Aquatabs. I find that the tablets were more compact and that is why I chose to use them. However there are lots of people who prefer to use drops to give them fresh drinking water on the trail. Purinize is a company that makes water drops and can easily be purchased at any outdoor store or even on Amazon. I personally have never used them, but being that it is the only patented natural water purifying solution in existence they should be good to go.
Which ever method you decide to go with for your next adventure. Make sure that you thoroughly read and understand all the directions on how to use the product you purchased. There are some very nasty trip-ruining things floating about in many water sources around the globe. It’s a good idea to just go ahead and test it out at home. Become familiar with it, and if you are using a filter or pump make sure you know how to clean it properly. After so many gallons/liters you will have to replace the filter. Read in the instruction manual to determine what to look for so you know when to change it.
I hope this article sheds some light on how to have access to clean water nearly anywhere in the World. If you have any other cool methods for filter watering please share in the comments below. I would love to hear about them.
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