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Water purifiers
I was looking to find a reasonable, low power (no power) purifier.

I think it would be a good idea to have one...just in case.

But, as I look around...there seems to be a lot of choices and so much detail technical data.  

Since I am not a scientist, most of the tech. Data is meaningless to me

What do people use?   If you have to purify your own water..what would you (do you ) use?

Some of the systems have notations that they are hard to set up.   That they are hard to clean.  That they require filters that need replacing often with use.   Etc.

So, in a boondocking situation, waiting for a filter order to arrive doesn't seem like a good plan.  Having a system that can't be cleaned renders the whole thing pointless.

What is a good choice to filer about 1quart of water at a time?
"I never saw a sight that didn't look better looking back"

Kat, Smidge the cat, and Honey

1988 Honeywell.  E350 chassis   21'
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(08-29-2017, 08:42 AM)RoamingKat Wrote: I was looking to find a reasonable, low power (no power) purifier.

I think it would be a good idea to have one...just in case.

But, as I look around...there seems to be a lot of choices and so much detail technical data.  
What is a good choice to filer about 1quart of water at a time?
I have been a member of the ESEE Knives forum for a number of years. That forum is owned and run by Jeff Randall whom also runs Randall Aventure Training. These guys are always testing survival gear in places like the Amazon in SA, and the subject of water filters came up. MR Randall personally recommended the Katadyn Vario, stating it was durable, and put out a descent amount of filtered water. I bought one based on his recommendation.
Here's a link to it.
Doing the Van thing since the early eighties.
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(08-29-2017, 08:42 AM)RoamingKat Wrote: I was looking to find a reasonable, low power (no power) purifier.
 . . . 
What is a good choice to filer about 1quart of water at a time?

Being a long time backpacker, I have tried the major purifiers.  Here is a rundown:
  • UV pen type purifier.  Works good if you follow directions.  Doesn't filter out anything, so you will still need to use a filter for sediment (I use a coffee filter in a funnel and that part is time consuming).  They don't work well in cloudy water.
  • Ceramic backpacking type water filter.  IMHO the best tasting water.  These will filter out any waterborne deseases found in North America.  I carry a pump type ('cuz I have it).  Pumping is tedious; the gravity fed ones are easy, but take a while.  Mine will filter 5,000 gallons before the filter needs replacing.  I have not replaced my filter in 25(?) years of backpacking use.  You know it needs replacing when it plugs up.
  • Chemicals.  I use iodine now when I backpack because it weighs almost nothing.  You can now get a followup treatment that precipitates out the iodine to improve the taste or use a drink mix to cover it (or get used to it).  Need to have water sit at least 1/2 hour for proper treatment.  Doesn't filter out sediment and cold or cloudy water slows disinfecting.
  • Boiling.  All you need to do is bring water to a rolling boil to kill pathogens (at lower elevations).  At higher elevations boil for longer time to correct for lower boiling temperature of the water.  Works just as well on dirty water, so filter out gunk before or after.  I think boiled water tastes 'flat'.
I carry a pump type Katadyn Hiker that connects to an REI Dromedary 4L water bag.  I use a coffee filter on the inlet hose to pre-filter out as much sediment as possible, as dirt is what clogs the filter element (and keep the inlet off the bottom).  I also carry iodine and aquapure tablets.  And of course I can boil water.

I would not recommend using chlorine bleach to purify, it is hard to get the proportions right to insure complete disinfecting (that is why I didn't include it above).

 -- Spiff
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In my backpacking days, my choice was always iodine tablets. They take up no room and weigh nothing, and they do the job.

Alas, they taste bloody awful. Like drinking medicine.

Living in "Ziggy the Snail Shell" since May 2015
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They're not reasonably priced, but just for those researching for vehicle-based boondocking as opposed to backpacker solutions, it is standard for liveaboard ocean cruisers to be fitted with marine "watermaker" appliances which produce drinking water using seawater as input.

They use a fair bit of power, so often part of the morning "genny run routine", and do use expensive filters.

I've come across forum threads where sailors discuss rebuilding discarded ones, and even DIY approaches, so thought might be useful to mention the category even if not useful for the OP.
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I've always liked the Sawyer Mini.
Ken in Anaheim
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I'm a fan of the Berkey water filter.  There's a smaller size.

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right now I have 2 of the small pump filters from Katadyn. but I am looking at a big Berkey gravity filter. much easier. highdesertranger
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I can boil water in a pan.
I have iodine tabs.
I have a ceramic filter and a replacement (10,000 gallons) with a pump.
I have know how to make multistage filters from buckets, sand, knit fabrics, etc. (Filter not purify).
I have recently devised a plan to make distilled water using my pressure cooker, some cooper.tubing, and clean bottles. (I can also use it as an autoclave for steralizing sutures, scalpals, and tweezers for emergency first aid)

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There are two general of contamination:  organic (bacteria, parasites, viruses) and chemical (farm, industrial, mining, etc).  There is a third contaminant, radiation, but that is  beyond the scope of most people.

And there are two kinds of water treatments:  filtering and purification.  Filtering sifts out the lumps (debris, parasite eggs and most bacteria) but most can't handle viruses (too small).  The exception to the viruses is the Sawyer PointZeroTWO.

If you want a filter that does it all and is cheap, there isn't one.

Boiling and iodine kills organic contaminants.  Distillation (condensation) works fine for some things, unless the water vapor can carry the chemical contaminant with it.

Heavy metals, lead, arsenic, copper, mercury, chromium 6 (did you see movie 'Erin Brockovich'?) are difficult to impossible to remove because they bind to the water or the molecules are too small.  Boiling has no effect on this stuff, it just concentrates the toxins.

ZeroWater brand filter will filter out lead and chromium.  

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters will to bind to harmful contaminants, especially Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), from water.  They can also be used to remove chemicals that give objectionable odors or tastes to water such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs odor) or chlorine.

If you have a filter that will remove chemical contaminants, it won't filter organic contaminants, so after filtering the chemicals, you will still need to boil the water afterward.

Brita filters only cleanse regular tap water of chlorine and odors, nothing more dangerous, and certainly NOT 'wild water'.

Collecting rainwater for drinking is another option.  Texas A&M University has collected a lot of info on rainwater harvesting.  "Harvesting, Storing, and Treating Rainwater for Domestic Indoor Use" at

Before the Acid Rain Fearmongers (ARF) jump all over me, YES, there is such a thing as acid rain.  Acid rain comes from industrial pollution, usually in the form of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.  Looking at this map, you'll see that the pH of the worst areas is about 4.3 in the NE part of the country:  You'll also notice that the acidity of the rain in the western half of this country ranges from 5.3 to 6.0.

Many people seem to think that acid rain is approximately as strong as battery acid, which simply isn't the case.  The lowest pH of 4.3 is LESS ACIDIC than orange and grapefruit juices, sodas and tomato juice.  ISN'T THAT AWFUL?  I'll bet none of you drink that dangerous stuff!  The western states range from strength of coffee to coffee with some milk in it.  HORRORS!  Why aren't we all DEAD?

pH of common liquids:

The next argument of the ARFs is organic contamination, like bacteria.  Stop and think for a few seconds, and ask yourself this:  Do You Think There Is More Bacteria In the Air Or In The Soil?  About 43 million people (15% of the U.S. population) rely on drinking water from home wells.  I would guess that most of those wells haven't been tested for any kind of contamination for at least ten years. 

HOW CAN WELL WATER BE CLEANER THAN RAINWATER?  Answer:  It can't, and it isn't.
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