Top 10 Latest Camping Gear Inventions | Best Camping Gadgets | Part-13
The best camping tools
The best camping tools
The best water filters and purification systems
Filters vs. Purifiers
The best water filter or purifier for you depends on how much you're willing to carry and how bacterial and virulent the water is that you plan on making drinkable.
Most filters will suffice for making already potable water taste better and perhaps removing chemicals, heavy metals, and particulate, while also taking care of bacteria like cholera and E. coli as well as protozoa like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Purifiers, on the other hand, will generally handle all of the above as well as viruses, which are smaller than bacteria and protozoa.
In an alpine stream with nary a human soul about, you're safe with a filter. In a slow-moving lowland river or completely stagnant lake, and generally where people, campers, and the likelihood of untreated sewage abound, you may as well be betting your life without a purifier.
The best personal filter: LifeStraw personal filter (.95)
LifeStraw was extremely, and perhaps riskily thorough in its testing. After reading its review, I'll take the company at its word for using it to drink from fetid, perhaps even fecal-ridden water, but I'm sure it will suffice in a scummy pond, too.
The best personal purification system: Sawyer S3 Purifier (.99)
Campers worried about viruses, which, frankly, should be just about all of us, might prefer a purification system. Sawyer makes a funky rubber bottle which you massage untreated water through three charcoal filters before you squeeze it through a purification filter, supposedly good for somewhere around 400 uses. Just be sure to follow the package instructions, or you'll encounter a very strange, bitter, metallic sort of taste (don't ask).
The Sawyer S3 Purifier is by no means easy, but I've not found one under 0 that is. Making water drinkable is a chore. In order to produce 20 ounces of potable water, you have to massage the bottle for at least 10 seconds so all the water passes through the charcoal filters before squeezing it through the purifier. But, we find it's a lot more portable and manageable than pumps and tubes.
The best gravity-fed purifier and filter: LifeStraw water purification system (7.64)
Gravity can be a beautiful thing. If you want to save yourself the exertion a manual pump requires, a gravity-fed system is a good way to go.
LifeStraw's water purification system comes with either 5- or 12-liter bags, which you just fill, hang, and wait. Keep in mind, however, that the production rate is only about 9-12 liters an hour. It might be a bit bulky for most, and painstakingly slow for others, but if you're treating water for more than yourself, it's probably worth the extra space in someone's backpack to bring this kit along.
The best lightweight, eco-friendly, and mineral-infusing water filter: Kishu Binchotan (.95 for a six-pack)
If you're doing some heavy trekking, weight and bulk are among chief adversaries. Chances are that if you're on a serious hike, you're probably far enough away from other human beings that viruses are of very little risk. Since most water filters are little more than just charcoal, there's no real need to do anything other than grab a simple treated piece of quality charcoal like the kiln-treated ones Kishu Binchotan makes.
All you have to do is toss a stick of charcoal into your water bottle (note: carafes take two sticks). The only issue with charcoal is that, while it imparts minerals and does all the hard work for you, it takes about 3-4 hours to do its job in order for water to be drinkable — but that's the cost of being clean and green.
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