Types of Water Purifiers and Filters
If you’re planning on spending more than a few hours out in the wild, bringing along a water filtration system can be a great way to ensure that you stay hydrated and healthy while you adventure. There are many water purifiers available for hiking and camping, each with their pros and cons.
Water Filters work just like they sound—they sieve out sediment, bacteria, spores, cysts, protozoa, and more gunk from your water. Filters only use physical processes to clean water, so they might miss the smallest of particles.
Mechanical water filters use a pump to draw water through a mechanism that physically strains out sediment and microorganisms. Pumps have become quite compact, which makes them popular for hiking and backpacking, but they take time to use. You can usually draw water directly from the source as you pump. Mechanical filters can occasionally become clogged, so field cleaning is often required.
Gravity filters work well to process water for large groups. All you have to do is fill the reservoir, find a place to hang the system, and let gravity does the rest. Just like other filters, some cleaning is required.
Bottle/ Straw Filter
Some types of filters, like bottles and straws, let you drink as you clean the water. These work well for immediate hydration, but they only provide water on an individual basis.
The chemical method of water purification often involves using iodine tablets. Iodine tablets are easy to carry and take up less space than a mechanical filter. However, iodized water can leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Iodine tablets are also not recommended for use by pregnant women or by anyone with a thyroid condition.
UV light purifiers are a cool way to clean your water. They sometimes come in a pen form that you simply stir into the water to purify it. Downsides include having to use batteries and having to prefilter the water to remove sediment before purifying it.
Mixed oxidants, or Miox purifiers, use a combination of salt and battery-generated electric current to create a solution that destroys microorganisms in your water. A Miox purifier is lightweight and easy to use, but you do need to be sure to carry replacement batteries.