Outside magazine, April 1996
Sometimes you just need a water filter; sometimes you need a full-blown purification system. Now, SweetWater's Guardian Plus lets you decide on the fly.
The Guardian Plus comes in two parts: the Guardian filter, which removes serious bowel-loosening bacteria and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium, and the virus-killing ViralGuard cartridge, which plugs into the bottom end of the Guardian filter. In the American backcountry you'll be sufficiently armed with the 11-ounce Guardian alone, but if your travels take you into virus country--downstream from human habitation or anywhere in the Third World--you can attach the ViralGuard, which employs a carbon bed to absorb all but the faintest taste of the iodine that it uses to kill viruses.
Pumping is made easy with a lever-action handle. Output is seven-tenths of a liter per minute--one of the speediest on the market for a purifier of this weight (just under a pound) and price ($79.95). Like all filters, the Guardian Plus eventually clogs, but cleaning it is no harder than brushing your teeth. Finally, if you already own a standard Guardian, SweetWater sells the ViralGuard on its own ($24.95) for a more than worthwhile upgrade.
From SweetWater Inc., 2505 Trade Centre Ave.,