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    • I'm old school and have been using an MSR Miniworks pump for almost two decades to filter my drinking water when backpacking, hiking and just generally doing anything in the outdoors. It works. I've never got giardia. There are so many water purification options on the market now. What are people using these days to filter their water?

      PC: Outdoor Gear Lab

    • I have that exact one on my Amazon wishlist. I mostly car camp and day hike so I rarely need to filter water. But, I am hoping to get more into multi-day kayak camping and I know this will be necessary. I hear ya though...I went to REI and there are tons of options that would easily confuse the unknowing. MSR seems to always get the best ratings for universal water filters IMHO.

    • For short trips, I use the Steripen. Sometimes a cheap pump for filtration and the steripen for purification. I used to doubt the tech. But when I started researching how to process rainwater catchment systems for drinking, alot of the systems were based on the same UV treatment, so I started gaining trust in it. So long as I can keep the batteries fresh, I have purified water on a personal scale.

      I also have a MiOx purifier, which I was hopeful would be my go-to purifier. But I swear that thing is so damn finicky, I can rarely get it to work right. And reliability is just about the utmost of importance.

    • It appears that the original maker of MSR's MiOx purifier has iterated its design, and appears to have attempted to solve one of it's most annoying characteristics--the constant "low salt" warning you'd get using it.

      So, now, MSR makes a large-scale version now, and the latest personal-sized iteration is made by Potable Aqua and available at REI, and reviews of it doesn't seem to have the same complaints.

      I just might try this one to see if it does better than the last. Being able to purify 20L at a time at base camp (or if using the MSR SE200...200L) is highly appealing to me. Also appealing to me is the ability to *test* the results of the approach in the field, unlike other methods, where your results are more or less assumed.'re just kind of rolling the dice and crossing your fingers.

      The solar panel is hokey. I suppose in worst case situations, it could be useful.

    • I've been using a Katadyn Hiker Pro for years, through the boundry waters, Isle Royale, and all over. It's quick and has always worked great. I do keep a vial of iodine tablets in my first aid kid, just as a backup.

    • I keep trying out different systems but always return to treatment tablets (aquatab, pristine, etc.) They are lightweight and easy to use. The only downside is the 30 min wait while it treats.

    • I've recently visited a local Sporting Goods shop (Sports Basement) and saw the Hiker Pro on display there. After hovering around it for a while a store associate came over and explained to me how it works and highly recommending it for longer backpacking trips.

      I mostly do day trips and need something small for emergency so Katadyn Hiker Pro seemed a bit too much. But this whole discussion turned up something I think I've been looking for all along - Steripen. There is a cool looking Steripen Defender which is probably an overkill "military grade" costing twice the price of an Adventurer Opti.

    • The Defender is the model I have. The main difference between Defender and Opti is the choice of power.

      They could arguably get with the program and put out a Li-Ion standard option. But clearly they're milking their existing lineup for what they're worth before putting in the dollars for a new product version. Li-Ion would be a very good proposition for the kind of energy draw their UV light requires.

      But in the meantime, whether the Defender is more appealing to you, or the Opti is depends largely on which power bandwagon you've jumped onto in the last 8 years. If you're the kind to have an arsenal of CR123-powered gear you might find the Opti to better fit your gear. Folks who've invested in Surefire flashlights, and a slick Nitecore charger, the Opti is a no-brainer. Alternatively, if you find the universatility of falling back on AA lithium disposables appealing, the Defender might suit you better, even if its array of rechargeable options are a bit dated. Speaking of rechargeable options...if someone can explain the bazillion CR123, 18650 format chemistries to me...

    • Thank you for such an in-depth reply @driveshaft!

      Given how much you know about this topic, which version would you recommend? I don't have any other gear (yet) that is lithium powered and the price point isn't a deal breaker. All I want is a reliable water purifier that I can stick in my gear bag and never think about it until needed.

    • The best choice may depend on what kind of water sources you expect to encounter. I used an MSR ceramic filter for years. They're kind of bulky, slow and tiring to use. But, they're also reliable and are supposed to be able to handle chemicals, pesticides, etc. After a pack rafting trip in Utah a few years ago, though, I got sold on the Platypus gravity filter. We didn't want to use them on the creek we floated (and dragged) our rafts down since the water had mine tailings, pesticides, and other nasty bits. But, when we were about out of water and this beautiful little oasis was the only source to be found, the gravity filters did an impressive job. In half an hour, with two filters we filled all of our carrying capacity for 10 people. And, as far as I know, there were no bad after effects.

    • Oh...I haven't been keeping up with them, but Steripen actually does have a bunch of other versions, including natively rechargeable Li-ion options. Cool. Since I'm all invested in the 5v standard, & solar stuff...that's a good option for me.

      Vin has a good point. And in addition, any recommendation comes with a slew of other assumptions too. A general recommendation has a long trail of caveats.

      But...if pressed...purely for the purposes of purification, in light-duty foreign travel and outdoorsy scenarios, with minimum fuss about batteries, charging, etc, the "SteriPen Classic 3", a pre-filter, and a wide-mouth Nalgene type bottle, with a set of primary (disposable) Lithium batteries in the unit and another set of batteries in the backpack makes for a pretty convenient, always-ready-to-go arrangement.

      That covers alot of ground, and offers the convenience of a protocol that can be executed well in less than 3 minutes with little effort. Small footprint in your backpack. You have the option to switch to AA Lithium or NiMH rechargeables which are likely also the same ones you pack for camera flashes. It also scales reasonably well. (try filling your 10L dromedary or 5gal water cube with a traditional pump filter, and you'll very quickly be reaching for your backup chlorine dioxide tabs).

      The only real vulnerabilities you have are fine turbidity, and heavy metals, and sloppy execution of the protocol.

      There are ways to minimize risks from those vulnerabilities, and anyone aiming to use one of these ought to get familiar with those caveats. But it's a decent way to go when you're like me and pound through water at an extremely high rate while hiking. I can easily make 3 liters disappear in less than an hour, humping through steep climbs w/ a pack on my back. And most of the time, I'm not even packing the purifier for backcountry use. Most of the time, I'm packing the thing for use in less developed countries, where I don't trust the tapwater to agree with me.

      It still won't help if you choose to eat the raw ceviche though...which I Mexico..regrettably. It was delicious. But boy did I regret it.

    • lol...btw, I hear you're supposed to approach that scenario digging into the sand a few feet away from the pool, creating a new pool of sand-filtered water. Saves you from possibly clogging up your pre-filter.

    • Since posting about Potable Aqua's Electrolytic Purifier, and MSR's SE200, I've been futzing with my old MSR MiOx kit, casually at my desk. I'm finding surprisingly consistent results simply by using the updated protocol.-- pre-mixing the saline solution in a little container instead of relying on the salt chamber. I'm glad I didn't chuck the thing into the trash bin out of frustration years ago! If it continues to be reliable with my LiFePO cells, this just might become my go-to arrangement. My little chlorine dioxide factory...small, light, testable, nearly effortless, and scalable. I just need to plan for the disinfection time, which usually means that the whole group I'm hiking with drinks out of one or two bottles/bladders, while the other bottles/bladders are disinfecting the next batch of hydration.

      And yes, I did promptly dump my freshly made batch of disinfectant on my keyboard right after posting this shot.

    • For the last two years, I've been using the Aquamira Drops for ultralight backpacking. Drops and iodine tablets are extremely light, cheap, and take minimal effort to use. I love my ceramic MSR pump, but it's heavy, requires constantly cleaning on the trail and takes forever to pump gallons of water. I tried iodine tablets as a replacement, but I couldn't get over the chemical taste. Then I moved on to the Aquamira drops. For 2 ounces, they can filter hundreds of gallons of water. There is no noticeable taste. The drops, mixed together, form an active ingredient that treats water similar to how domestic tap water is treated.