Best Water Filters

Water is the most basic need for the body’s survival, more than half of the human body is made up of water, depending on the person’s age and gender. A normal person can live up to three weeks without food, but can only last three days without water. As such, it is important to keep hydrated on normal days, more so if you plan on doing activities which will make you sweat like jogging or working out at the gym.

In the urban environment, safe drinking water is not hard to come by. Depending on where you are, drinking fountains and bottled water can be found around every corner.  However, when you’re out in the wilderness, it’s not as if there would be pit stops with bottles of water for sale, and even if there was a stream nearby, you could never be certain as to how safe the water would be to drink. As helpful as a water container would be, it’s more of a hassle to bring along, quite heavy and bulky when it’s full and it’s takes up space when it’s empty. This is where portable water filters come in.

What is a Portable Water Filter?

Portable water filters are exactly what the name implies they are, water filters that you can use anywhere. They function in a way that removes bacteria, sand, and other particulates in the water to make it safe to drink.

Why filtered water is important

In the wild, water could contain thousands of different bacteria like E. coli and V. cholerae, both of which could cause diarrhea. While diarrhea in itself don’t seem like a big deal, it leads to dehydration which would prompt a person to drink more of the contaminated water, leading to a vicious cycle. Not only that, but dehydration could lead to electrolyte imbalance, which has several side effects like fainting and seizures.

These conditions are easily managed in hospitals, but getting to a hospital would be the problem if a person is far from civilization. If dehydration is kept unchecked, it could ultimately lead to death. This is why drinking clean water is important to keep safe in the wilderness.

Characteristics of a good water filter

Good water filters should be able to keep out big particulates like sand and silt, as well as microbes like G. lamblia and E. coli. They should also not have to rely on chemicals to purify the water as these could have some harmful side effects.

Aside from the technical aspect, a good filter for surviving in the wild would be something compact and light so it would be easy to carry. It should also be easy and hassle-free to use to prevent contamination.

Water filters should also have little to no waiting time for you to drink the water. You can never tell where or how long a water break may be, so having your companions wait for you while your water is still filtering might delay the whole group.

Best Water Filters

The following are the three best portable water filters available on the market. They are marketed as tools to be used for camping or hiking and thus are optimized for such activities. These filters cannot turn salt water into fresh water because the technology for that is an entirely different one altogether.

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw is an award-wining invention that uses no chemicals and needs no batteries in order to function. It weighs around 57 grams (2 oz) and is tube-shaped so it’s easy to bring around. It can filter up to 99.99% of bacteria and protozoans that can be found in bodies of water. However, the LifeStraw does not filter out chemicals. It’s very easy to use, just dip the bottom part of the straw into the water and suck through the top like you would a normal straw. The LifeStraw is also quite affordable, costing about $20-$25 per unit on Amazon. The only downside is that one unit can only filter around 1,000 liters (264 gallons) and it has no other indication that you have reached this limit until the water has stopped flowing.

2. Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a small device that can fit into the palm of your hand. It weighs roughly 57 grams (2 oz) and can remove 99.99% of bacteria and protozoans, but not chemicals in the water. It comes with a drinking pouch, a cleaning tube, and a straw. The filter can also be attached to standard water bottles. The price ranges from $17-$134 on Amazon, depending on whether the unit is brand new or not. The Saywer Mini Water Filtration System is easy to use, either by sucking through the straw or squeezing the water through via the drinking pouch. The manufacturers boast that the filter is reusable, only needing a simple backwash to clean and unclog the filter.

3. Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

The Katadyn Vario Water Filter can remove waterbourne bacteria and protozoans, as well as chemicals like pesticides in the water that gives it a bad taste. This is because of its three filter levels: the glass fiber filter, a ceramic pre-filter, and an active charcoal filter. The unit weighs almost 454 grams (1 lb) and costs around $90 on Amazon. It operates as a hand pump and can quickly filter through 2 liters in a minute. The filter itself is replaceable after it reaches its maximum capacity of 1875 liters (500 gallons).

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