Water Purifers Go Light and Compact

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Finally, field water disinfection has become lighter. Never did I notice the bulk and serious weight of water filter more than when I had to pack for a week in rural Haiti. In my Patagonia MLC pack I had just enough room for a Sawyer water filter bottle, a Cocoon travel sheet, and a stash of medical gear. Nothing else.

Here are two new purifiers that would have given me some spare room in my pack.

Traditional filters with 4 micron pores remove protozoa and bacteria, but tiny viruses are small enough to escape capture. Check out Katadyn's MyBottle, with 3-stage ViruStat purification technology including 0.3 micron microfilter, iodinated virus-toxic resin, and a carbon filter to remove bad taste. The best part? You get all this in a bike-cage-compatible water bottle. 

In October, Sawyer’s already proven squeeze filter system will get upgrade to a 0.02 micron viral filter. And it will clock in at about 6 ounces—a boon for us weight weenies.


Of course, when all else fails, you can use what is typical for municipal water supplies worldwide: chlorine. Katadyn's MicroPur tablets are ultralight, ultracompact, inexpensive and provide total disinfection. These should be a staple in your backcountry/travel kit. You just need to plan for the extended time required for tablets to nuke microbes and deal with the icky taste. But, that’s better than the alternative.

–Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

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