Water that you encounter in the wilderness might look clean, but, to be safe, you should assume that it is not. Your options for water disinfection while hiking or camping include several different types of water filters and different filter media (the cartridges that trap the microorganisms). The type of toxins that inhabit the water sources near you or your favorite camping spots should determine the type of filtration media that you use to clean your water. The medium used for water disinfection also affects the price and effectiveness of the filter. Here’s the lowdown on a few common media.

Iodine Resin

Iodine resin does not actually remove viruses, but it deactivates them. It’s a great, lightweight choice for backpackers, but it may affect the taste of the water. Iodine kills bacteria and viruses, but it has been known not to kill some forms of protozoa.

Ceramic Filters

Ceramic filter cartridges use porous ceramic surfaces to strain microorganisms and sediment out of water. Because you can clean and reuse ceramic filters, they are long-lasting and economical, but the cartridges must be handled with care.

Fiberglass Filters

Fiberglass filters work about as well as ceramic to strain out microorganisms, but they do not last as long.

Labyrinth Filters

Labyrinth, also called "structured matrix," features a honeycomb shape that works to trap microorganisms within the filter. Structured matrix filters effectively remove all types of waterborne organisms, pathogens, and other contaminants from water without using chemicals.

Activated Carbon Filters

Activated Carbon is a porous material made from coal or more sustainable sources, like coconut. This medium works well at removing organic chemicals, metals, and other toxins while also improving taste.

Now you have a better idea of the multiple types of filtration media. If you have any questions regarding filtration needed on your next adventure, come see us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.