Reasons to purchase a portable water filter
Are you still having second thoughts about purchasing a portable water filter? If that is the case, we have a list of reasons why everyone could benefit from owning this device!
Here is the list of portable water filter benefits:
- Secures clean water from lakes, streams, etc. – if you end up in a remote part of the woods, you will need clean water to continue your journey. Portable filters will secure it from streams, lakes, and other sources you find.
- Filters out a wide range of contaminants – depending on the product, water filtration systems can eliminate bacteria, protozoa, heavy metals, viruses, and other harmful compounds.
- No illnesses when traveling – your body might not like water from a new area. That is why filtration can secure that you don’t get stomach issues and other illnesses when on the road.
- Suitable for transporting – the compact and lightweight design of portable water filters makes them suitable to fit in a backpack, attach to the belt with a strap, or even hang around your neck.
How to find the best portable water filter?
The crucial thing to have is patience. You don’t want to rush a decision that might make a difference between being able to drink clean water or not. Whether you are getting ready for camping or a survival journey, we have a list of features to consider for filtration systems.
We will start with filter types, their reliability, and longevity. Your choice also might depend on the contaminants you are aiming to remove, as well as user convenience. Additionally, those features include ease of use, flow rate, and portability features. Here are the main factors to consider during the purchasing process!
Depending on the product, the filtration might have one or multiple stages. The general rule is the more phases, the better. For example, the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter has three filtration stages, but you will also find devices with two and four phases.
Let’s take a look at the most common filter types and stages.
- Pre-filter – this is the introductory phase in most filtration systems. It serves as the first line of defense and filters out big contaminants that are usually larger than 0.1 microns.
- Activated carbon filter – this filter aims to eliminate pollutants, chemicals, and heavy metals. Although it is effective, it has a shorter lifespan than other filters.
- Hollow fiber membrane – this filter is in charge or removing various waterborne bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, as well as protozoa like giardia.
- Ultra–filter – these go under different names, but they add an extreme protection layer and usually eliminate viruses and staph. In most cases, that requires 0.01 micron or harsher filtration.
The lifespan of a water filter depends on many factors. The primary is how frequently you use the device, but it also matters how well you maintain it. For example, the Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water if maintained properly.
That is rather an exception than a rule since most filters have capacities from 1,000 to 5,000 liters.
Activated carbon filters don’t last as long as hollow membranes and other filters. It is important to check out the product description for more information about the capacity of a particular filter.
The cleaning process shouldn’t be demanding. Most items come with a syringe used to backwash the system to ensure it works properly.
While you are there, don’t forget to check if filters are replaceable. That will increase the overall lifespan of the portable water filtration device. If you notice that the flow rate is not as high as before, that is the first sign of filter degradation.
What contaminants can it remove?
Portable water filters remove harmful compounds from the water and make it suitable for drinking. That is important when you are camping or hiking through the forest. If you get into remote areas, and there is no water nearby, you can filter the one from a lake or stream.
That water will have waterborne protozoa and bacteria, such as giardia or E. coli. Most filters will remove 99.9% of these contaminants. Depending on the system’s quality, the product might also be capable of dealing with other toxins. For example, the SurviMate Water Filter Bottle is a great choice if you want to eliminate heavy metals from the water.
It is important to get rid of bacteria, protozoa, toxins, heavy metals, and any other contaminants before you drink the water. If you drink water containing harmful compounds, you risk stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and other serious illnesses.
Portable water filters might have an instant flow rate, but most of them require a bit of patience to have a sufficient amount of drinking water available. The manufacturers usually use millimeters per minute as a measurement.
The average flow rate is anywhere from 300 to 600mL/min, which is the rate of the miniWell Portable Water Filter. In rare cases, the rate can go to one or two liters per minute. Those products are suitable portable water filters for camping because they secure clean water for multiple people quickly.
The reason why filters can only produce a limited quantity of water every minute is that it takes time to pass the water through all phases of filtration. That is why you want to look for the best balance between filtration and quality. A bit of patience might be worth it if your water is of better quality and taste.
Ease of use
Are the best portable water filters user-friendly? That seems to depend on the product since some require more effort to process the water and make it drinkable.
The most common way of consuming water from a backpacking water filter is by using a straw. The product might come with a bottle, collapsible bag, or another container for storing water. Straws might require various suction power. While some need you to suck on the straw hard, others apply squeezable technology, such as the Seychelle Water Filter Bottle.
Water filtration devices can also use the gravity-fed extraction method. These units utilize gravity to process water. You get a strap to tie them for a tree or another place, and that’s where your role finishes. Have some patience, and you will get filtered water without making an effort. Alternatively, some devices use pumps that you have to activate manually. Each time you press the pump, you push the water through the filters.
Portable water filters are compact-sized, which makes them suitable for carrying around. However, their size can still significantly vary. For example, some products might come with a bottle that takes a significant amount of space. Alternatively, some devices include a collapsible water bag that takes minimum room when not in use. You should also consider the space required for additional equipment, such as the backwash syringe, hose, etc.
As for the dimensions of the water filters itself, they rarely exceed ten inches in height. Also, they don’t have to be wider than a couple of inches.
Depending on the compactness of the unit you choose, you can wear it hanging on your neck, carry it in your pocket, or use a strap to place it on the belt.
Apart from the size and look of your device, you should also consider its weight. The good news is that portable water filters are usually light. Their weight might vary from two to over ten ounces. The devices themselves are light, but another consideration is their weight when loaded with water.
The bottle capacity might vary from as little as 8 to over 30 ounces. While it is nice to have a generous quantity of water available, that also increases the overall weight of the unit. If you plan to carry it around in your backpack, consider every ounce. The other items are already heavy, which is why you should avoid adding extra load with your water filter.
Portable water filters are compact devices, and their sheer size means they cannot be incredibly expensive. However, the price will still vary significantly between affordable and premium models. The Etekcity Water Filter Straw is a genuine bargain deal, and these items frequently remain under $20.
If you are ready to pay more than $50 for quality products, you can go for an option that includes multiple straws, such as the Membrane Solutions Water Straw Filter. Alternatively, you can go for a premium unit like the MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter. That type of units won’t only eliminate bacteria and protozoa, but also viruses and other contaminants.
The important thing is that you ensure the product delivers good value for the money invested. Start by considering the features, quality of materials, and filtration stages. Compare that with the price, and see whether it is a worthwhile investment. That is a great way to ensure you invest your cash smartly.