Water is life. Having clean, potable water is an essential part of survival.
In this post, I’m going to talk about a few of the best water purification methods.
First, a few notes:
Whenever you’re looking at water filters, be sure to look at the microns and understand what microns means. Here’s a video that explains it in more depth:
Essentially, the smaller the micron, the better.
For example, Lifestraw will only filter down to 0.2 microns.
The Sawyer water filter filters down to 0.1 micron. Bit better than Lifestraw, but…
Survivor Filter filters down to 0.05 microns.
In this case, Survivor Filter can filter down to a much smaller micron. Smaller the micron, the better.
We also have to look at the actual filter. Most water filter straws only have hollow fibers. Hollow fibers do filter some things out, but it’s not the best solution for many water sources. Activated carbon will filter down even more. Make sure you understand whether your filter is just hollow fibers, or if it has some activated carbon (also known as, activated charcoal).
Next, always be aware of your water source. Many water filters won’t filter out chemicals. If your water source could have potential chemicals in it (like run off from a farm or from a mine), you either need to find a different water source, or take extra precautions to make sure you’re filtering and purifying the water appropriately.
Lastly, just because something is widely available in stores, doesn’t make it the best option. Sawyer and Lifestraw and readily available at any outdoors store, but in my opinion from a ton of research and experience, they are not the best options.
Do your due diligence when it comes to finding the best water filter. Don’t mess around with water. You can get very sick if water is not properly sanitized.
Now let’s get to the top 8 water filters:
Filter and boil. With this method, you’d filter out large particulates with a cotton cloth, like a bandana. Then you’d boil that filtered water. Once it reaches a full rolling boil, you only need to let it boil for 1 minute, then it’s ready to consume. If you’re at an elevation of 6500 or above, boil for 3 minutes.
Berkey Water Filter systems are great for your home. They filter viruses, bacteria, chlorine, heavy metals, herbicides and much more. They have independent tests to prove their filtering process at their website. I’d highly recommend investing in one of these for home use. I’d also recommend getting replacement filters.
They offer a variety of sizes that will fit any type of space or need.
Water tablets are a great on the go or at home option. I will say, though, they’re mostly just effective for bacteria and giardia. I would most likely add this in conjunction with another water purification method. For instance, if you had a commercial water filter, I’d filter the water with a bandana then pour these tablets in, then use the filter on the filtered water.
The MUV water bottle is a great on the go method. The whole MUV line is very impressive. It filters chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria and viruses. I’ve used the water bottle many of times in my outdoor adventures. It’s convenient and easy to use.
The Jerry Can water filter is very cool. It’s a pressurized system, which means after a few pumps, you can turn it on and it’ll simply flow out. From their website:
…the dual filter system boasts an activated charcoal filter and a hollow fiber ultra-filtration membrane filter. Activated charcoal removes heavy metals, such as iron and lead, while absorbing the dirty taste of water. Additionally, it removes unseen chemicals and improves the clarity of water. The hollow fiber filter works through size exclusion. Dozens of tubes have microscopic holes (0.1 microns), which allow clean water to pass and creates a barrier to 99.999% of damaging bacteria, Giardia, E. coli, protozoan cysts, Cryptosporidium, and more.
Bleach is a good method for large quantities. It will neutralize pretty much anything. I might suggest that you boil the water after you’ve added bleach to it, just as an extra safety measure. However, we’ve used bleach to sanitize our RV onboard water tank and then proceeded to drink the water and it’s just fine. The amount of bleach used it quite insignificant.
Here’s the amount of bleach to use:
- 2 drops of Regular unscented Bleach per quart of water.
- 8 drops of Regular unscented Bleach per gallon of water.
- 1/2 teaspoon Regular unscented Bleach per five gallons of water.
- If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Bleach.
Using bleach to sanitize water containers before storing water in them is also highly recommended.
Survivor Filter is one of the best out there. It’s the brand that I use when on my outdoor adventures. As I pointed out in the beginning, it filters down to 0.05 microns and has activated carbon, even in the water straw filter. I depend on this brand of filters for our water safety when outdoors.
Katadyn has a variety of filters and they’re all top-notch. They all have activated carbon and you can replace the filters. They also carry a desalinator which has a high price tag, but if you live near the Ocean, certainly worth considering.
One last thing:
Whenever you’re done with a commercial water filter, always make sure to push all of the excess water out of it and leave it out to dry out fully. You may even flush it out with clean water, then dry it out. Never store it wet as it will mold and then it will be useless.
Also keep an eye on the longevity of the filter. They may last slightly longer than recommended by the manufacturer. For instance, if it says it has a 10,000 gallon life, it may last 11,000 gallons…but don’t push it too much. Filters DO have a shelf life in which they will no longer be as effective. Don’t risk it.
When it comes to our water, don’t just assume that it’s safe to drink because the water is flowing. In this day and age, we have the tools, knowledge and ability to make sure that whatever we’re consuming is safe to drink.
This isn’t just for the outdoors, either, it’s for your home, as well. There have been many cases in which boil effects have been issued due to contaminated water by the city. You may also need to go collect water in an emergency. You never know.
Have a variety of water filter and purification methods ready to go for the outdoors and at home.
Don’t take chances with your water.