If you are planning on backpacking, one of the first things to consider is portable drinking water filter bottles. Clean, safe water is not just a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. Taking water from a fast flowing mountain stream looks inviting but you never know if just upstream some animal has died or if there is some other reason for disease or contaminants in that water.
Fortunately there are many different options for portable water filtration on the market, from super light weight emergency solutions for one person to bigger filtration systems that will keep a large group hydrated for weeks.
Portable UV filters can be used for hiking, traveling, or other outdoor activities. They are also useful foe travel to foreign countries with known water quality problems. The right system will ensure you can consistently obtain safe and healthy drinking water.
Refillable water filter bottles are light weight and can easily fit a back pack. No electricity is required and there are no plastic bottles to discard so they are environmentally friendly. Most work by passing the water through an activated charcoal filter.
These portable water filters look similar to traditional plastic water bottles with removable caps and drinking straws protruding through the bottle caps. The water filter, however, is different because the straw in the water bottle filter includes filtration media to purify contaminated water prior to drinking. Most designs include a mechanical filter at both ends of the straw with an activated carbon filter in the middle to remove contaminant odors and tastes.
For all kinds of portable drinking water filter bottles, contact time between the filter and the water is critical to the effectiveness of a filter. The longer the contact time the more effective a water filtration system will be at removing contaminants.
Examples of Portable Water Filtration for Camping
Sport Berkey Portable H20 Purifier is a water bottle that looks much like any water bottle designed for sports like biking or running. However, this bottle includes filtration. The bottle has a 50 year shelf life and can be reused over and over.
It normally retails for $29.99 but I spotted it on sale at Amazon for $15 a piece. This kind of bottle represents the lower end of portable filtration - cost effective and pretty good for what it does. If you are starting with a clean clear mountain stream, or a small domestic system that is not tested very often, than the Sport Berkey might be a great solution for you.
Aqua Vessel "Ultra Lite" Filtered Water Bottle with Flip Straw & 100 Gallon Filter - 25 oz Filtration Bottle
This little bottle gives 100 gallons of water before needing a new filter (effectively, buying a new bottle since the filter is the valuable part. It retails for $25 but can be found discounted most of the time on Amazon.
Rubbermaid 20-Ounce Filtration Personal Bottle
Running about $10, the Rubbermaid filtration bottle features a replaceable filter that lasts 100 bottles. It is durable with a dishwasher safe protective cap with chug spout. There is a finger loop for easy carrying and a rubber ring for better grip. The bottle comes in ever popular black, blue or green. The replacement filters come in a 2 pack for $10, so about half the cost is the filter and half the cost is the bottle.
Aqua Vessel Insulated Filtered Water Bottle / Filtration Bottle with 100 Gallon Filter - Double Wall Thermos
Available in 17 oz or 25 oz versions the Aqua Vessel bottle similarly offers filtration in the straw. It comes in a range of colors and is metal and double walled so it will keep hot water (maybe boiled) hot for an extended time. Good for those winter camping expeditions. Fancier then the Rubbermaid bottles, the Aqua Vessel runs around $33 a piece and the replacement filters run $16 each for a 100 gallon replacement.
Lifesaver Bottle from HTI
Running $150 normally, but spotted on sale for $112, the Lifesaver takes swamp water and converts it into "bottled water" quality water. The bottle is being promoted for military use by it's inventer, a former Seal Team member. It uses a membrane and nano-technology to filter rather than chemicals like iodine that leave an undesirable taste. Each bottle can purify 4000-6000 liters before the cartridge needs to be replaced. That would cover the drinking water needs of a family of 4 for 6 months. The technology is also available in a Jerry can size for larger groups.
The LIFESAVER represents the upper end of filtration - you can start with a mud puddle or water from otherwise known contaminated sources and get safe to drink and pleasant tasting water from the filtration bottle. By filtering on demand, rather at source, water is available as needed and excess collected dirty water can be dumped out anywhere so it does not need to be carried. The temptation is to carry along water that has been filtered already, but if you know that there is more water where you are going than there is no need to filter and carry - just filter as needed.
The LIFESAVER® bottle is supplied with a pre-filter disc which protects the membranes from gravel, sand, sticks and mud. The pre-filter prolongs the life of the LIFESAVER® cartridge and can also be used as a sponge to soak up water from hard to reach areas like cracks in rocks or shallow puddles if a larger source of water is not available.
When compared to the cost of bottled, Lifesaver is much cheaper on a liter to liter basis. It is worth viewing a very enlightening video over on Amazon about the Lifesaver Bottle.
Whatever technology you choose for your camping or other outdoor drinking needs, remember that no water filtration system will protect your health after it has been used beyond the recommended number of times. The filters clog and wear out. So keep track of how many times you use the filtration system approximately and replace the filters on schedule to ensure you continue to benefit from clean, clear, properly filter water every time.