Filters and Purifiers


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The outdoors can be deadly if you're unprepared. But these gear items will help you make it home alive—even if everything else goes wrong.

Kor’s slick Nava filter can process about 40 gallons, or 220 refills before requiring replacement

Of the dozens of poles, stoves, multitools, and other essentials we tested this year, we kept reaching for these six, from the Brunton Get-Back GPS, which stores up to three waypoints and steers you to the trailhead, to MSR SureLock TR-3s, which, at 20 ounces a pair, aren't ultralight, but they are quite sturdy and strong.

These six gadgets, from the AT&T Pantech Element, a waterproof, Android-based 8.3-inch tablet, to the Mophie Juice Pack Outdoor Edition, which doubles the battery life of your iPhone 4 or 4S, to the Steripen Freedom, a tiny water purifier, won't revolutionize your life on the road. But we promise they'll make it a lot easier.

What is the best method, gear, and brand for water purification in the backcountry. Would you recommend a water filter, a pump, or something like Steripen, or just water purification tablets or even a mixture of both? Nick Bangor, ME

I have been looking for a good minimalist water purifier. I have been looking at Katadyn Pocket water filter with Output Hose, but $ 320.00 seems dear. I just can't pull that trigger since usually I just boil water. But now I'm looking for more instant gratification nowadays—for under $120? FredSanta Monica, CA

Portable Purification We’ve been big fans of Steripen’s UV-light wands for years. You just swish it around in your one-liter bottle for 90 seconds and it zaps everything from viruses like hepatitis to protozoa like giardia. This newest version is smaller, has a new optical water sensor that can sense…

Squeeze-bottle filters are handy for travelers and day hikers who don’t need to treat large volumes of water. Take one as a backup for a pump filter, or skip the pump if all you want is a bit of refreshment on the run. Be warned, though: Since bottle-style units rely…

The slow but steady First Need uses a three-stage matrix to draw out and starve viruses. Forcing water through the unit takes time and elbow grease on the pump handle, but the end product is virus-free and ready to quaff, with no need for additional chemical treatment. And because the…

The Miox is the first significant advance in backcountry water purification in years. Dip the unit into a pond to fill its thimble-size reservoir. A built-in table-salt compartment creates a brine solution, which the device—it’s slightly larger than a fat highlighting pen—then zaps with a small electrical charge. Dump the…

This 11-ounce filter’s reliability has made it a hugely popular option for nearly a decade. When it does eventually slow down, you just replace the pleated filter component ($30). You also get great volume per stroke; we filled a liter with just 43 pumps. A nifty zippered case includes a…

Aigle Shems – Midweight Jackets: Reviews   With a soft fleece interior and warm, durable merino wool/nylon exterior, this jacket combines our favorite fabrics in one versatile top. 1.9 lbs; aigleusa.com         Patagonia Pau – Footwear: Reviews (Terry Heffernan) The coolest mocs we’ve ever laid eyes…

Not only is this the fastest filter we’ve ever tested; it’s also the smallest. This hot-dog-size baby easily gushes out two Nalgenes per minute. Plus, the HyperFlow attaches to almost every water bottle, and you can clean it without tools. 7.4 oz; msrgear.com…

Base camp essentials that take the rough out of roughing it

In the last few years I have really taken to trail running long distances. My long runs can last over eight hours and are often big loops or out-and-backs in the mountains. Stream water is abundant on the trails in Cascades where I run but unsafe to drink untreated. When I hike or backpack I can take my water purifier. While trail running I try and travel light. It looks like some of the treatment tablets take up to four hours and are not effective against all the nasties in the water. What do recommend for water treatment?—TomSeattle, WA

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