Loyal readers know that I am forever running out of water on my hikes and drinking unfiltered water out of streams. I’ve been lucky to avoid any illnesses so far, but I really need to get my act together. Which is why when e-outdoor asked to contribute some information about water purification products I promptly said yes!
Although drinking water fresh from the stream can make you feel one with nature, unfortunately there are risks of bacteria such as e-coli or even viruses being present. There’s a general rule of thumb, that the higher elevation you travel at, the safer the water will be, this is because there’s a significantly less human traffic and less chance of grazing cattle nearby. The problem with this though, is that you can never be truly sure if the water’s safe. Here are a few of the best products available, which will help to ensure you never put yourself at risk.
The LifeSaver bottle made a huge splash when it was first revealed, with the initial stock selling out after just four hours. The product was inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, as a way to provide safe drinking water to those affected by the disasters. The LifeSaver bottle can filter out objects bigger than fifteen nanometers as well as purify the water through a pump-based system. It comes in two sizes, with the smaller of the two promising to treat up to 4,000 litres of water and the larger up to 6,000 litres. They both use replaceable filters and incorporate a failsafe technology that ensures you’ll never drink untreated water.
The SteriPEN purifier works by using a UV light to kill of anything nasty in the water. SteriPEN claim you can clean up to 100 litres with the four AA batteries needed to power the light. The bulb, which has a 2400 litre limit, will also need to be replaced via the manufacturer. The real benefit to the SteriPEN is that it takes about a minute to clear half a litre of water, which is much faster than other methods of purification such as chlorine or iodine tablets. Bear in mind that, unlike the LifeSaver bottle, this is a purifier only and won’t filter the water from any dirt or solids. The SteriPEN is ideal for hikers picking up clear water from a stream and it’s also useful for those visiting countries abroad where the tap water may be questionable. Take a look at e-outdoor for more SteriPEN products.
For hikers who want to cut down on any excess weight, then bringing along purification tablets might be the best option for you. This is a cheaper alternative to the handheld system, and this method will still eliminate any viruses present in the water. Chlorine dioxide-based tablets like these have proven to be safer to the human body than iodine-based tablets for extended use. Unfortunately, the prolonged treatment period of the tablets means you’ll have to wait a little longer before you can take a safe drink – and this can be an especially frustrating experience if you’re feeling thirsty on a long hike. Another downside to this is that by adding chemicals to your drinking water it will affect the taste – luckily there are also neutralising tablets available to help counteract this. If you’re certain that there will be a consistent water supply on your route, then this is a great way to reduce the weight of carrying lots of water for your journey.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the game, water purification products are a safe investment. Consider which one best suits your needs and stay safe on your next outdoor adventure.