Hello, I was wondering if anyone had some advice on the best water purifier for the price. I am going to be doing 2 to 3 day hikes for 20 to 30 miles total. I looked at the water bottle types but would rather have a pump type. I like the MSR Sweetwater and was wondering if there is anything similar for a little less money. I am going to be hiking in the Allegheny Mountains and will have running streams available so I won't be filtering puddle or stagnant water. In the past I have drank the water without filtering it with no problems. I am getting my girlfriend involved in our sport this year and she doesn't like the idea of drinking stream water, which is understandable. Thanks for helping a fellow hiker out!
“May the wind always be on your back and the sun upon your face..."
I could answer your question better with more information.
You may or may not be aware that there is a difference between a purifier and a filter. A purifier is a step up from a filter. Mechanical purifiers tend to be more expensive than filters because they kill viruses with additional chemical action. Filters do not remove or kill viruses. Which one do you need? The Sweetwater is a filter.
Is size/weight a concern? How about capacity? Some filters are cheaper because they don't process as much water before clogging up.
Are you dead set on a pump filter (or purifier?) or would you consider alternatives? Lots of folks here use chemicals and they're cheaper in the short term. I think UV is out for you because it's not cheap.
"Inexpensive" can mean different things to different people. How much do you want to spend?
The "best" unit is the one that fits your specific needs.
_________________________ If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*
* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
This is something I've struggled with too. I've used the tablets and a PUR water bottle with an activated charcoal filter but it wasn't really light weight and I can't buy the filters anymore (Wal-Mart quit selling them a year after selling me the bottle) and I ran out of those I'd pre-bought last year.
How do you know if you need to rid viruses in your water source without testing it first? I'd guess it's safest to assume you always want to do that.
We have some very clean water here in the Ozarks and many places I go you can see the boundaries of the watershed and know that there are no manmade contaminates entering the source, but I'd still want to purify and filter it.
The last time I bent down and drank from a spring fed stream here I looked up and saw coon scat sitting on a rock about 3 feet away. Water tasted good though <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
You can distill it out to steam and then condense, but this is not something I would want to backpack with at all. boiling or filtering alone will not do it. Pack water in from elsewhere <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
I know there are some inexpensive water bottle type filters that you just invert and sqeeeze the bottle and drink that way. I'm not sure how much water "throughput" you get with them, but they are probably a cheaper option.
One thing to factor in is not just initial price for a filter/purifier, but also the expected price of replacement filter elements over the lifetime of the device. The cheap filters (like the Sweetwater, I think) use a carbon-laberynth entrapment filter, or some such. Once they're clogged, you can't clean them - you have to buy a new element. If you're unlucky, they might clog up at the beginning of a long trip. More expensive filters (like the ol' Katadyn Mini Filter) use a ceramic element that you can scrub clean many, many times before it needs replacement, and you end up wearing down the element a little every time you scrub it. These ceramic elements need replacement once they've shrunk to a certain size.
I can't comment on purifiers vs. filters... personally, I dont carry a filter unless it's to be shared by a group of people. Otherwise, I just use chlorine tablets.
The cheap filters (like the Sweetwater, I think) use a carbon-laberynth entrapment filter, or some such. Once they're clogged, you can't clean them - you have to buy a new element.
Actually, the Sweetwater filter can be cleaned repeatedly and comes with a dedicated brush for just that purpose. There are grid lines that show on the inner surface of the filter element when the cleaning has removed too much of the ablative surface for reliable filtering. MSR recommends replacing the filter when the lines become prominent. Ceramic filters, on the other hand, can become more-or-less permanently plugged by material penetrating below the ceramic surface and away from the reach of a cleaning brush. I have not heard of it happening often but the possibility does exist.
I have used an MSR Sweetwater a lot for four years now with only two cleanings. The grid lines are still not apparent.
I recently replaced the Sweetwater with a Steripen Adventurer and really like the UV system. But, for really murky Arizona water, I will continue to use the Sweetwater.
I'm with phat. Distilling is probably the best way to get out heavy metals. If it is that much of a concern, then hopefully you have time, lots of time, to sit and watch your water distill. Oh, and it is heavy. But, if you can make your own distiller kit, you might be able to make it lighter than carrying a bunch of water from somewhere else.
If you are still interested and reading this, then let me share a small amount of what I know about distilling from experience (I had to make a human powered water distiller for my senior project). It takes a lot of energy. You have to vaporize the water, and then capture as much water vapor as possible. They sell inflatable self contained units that float on the water for people on the ocean who need potable water. It works off of solar radiation, and takes a lot of time. A flame as your heat source is the fastest. Also, if you lower the pressure of the atmosphere the water is in, then you can vaporize it at a lower temp. For backpacking, what you want is something that connects to the top of your cook pot that will capture all water vapor, condense it inside and then collect it into a separate container. If you are lucky, you might get the weight under the weight of a filter/purifier, or just a little more. But, like I said, it will take a LONG time to distill (think hours). <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
Filter the big stuff with a bandana then either boil or use purification tablets. You could use cholrine bleach but I'm not sure of the amount ratio. Also, Katadyn has a gravity flow that you can use in any container that will cost you around $50.00. Hope this helps.
Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:
Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!