water filter

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Samantha Nichols 4 days, 11 hours ago.

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  • #6273


    What kind of water filter you are using?

    I am thinking here more about water filter that you can carry with you, in BOB for example or similar.

    I noticed long time ago that many preppers who even have good water filters are not so sure in it, actually they having it more to “cover” that topic, then to really use it if needed.

    Did you test it?

  • #6279


    I like the Sawyer Mini https://sawyer.com/water-filtration/

    I am very impressed with their Extractor Pump Kit  https://sawyer.com/products/extractor-pump-kit/




  • #6293

    • I just got a go berkey it works well, but it’s stupid expensive because it uses full sized black filter that goes for a long time.  I do own Sawyers but mostly a trade item.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  namelus.
    • #6295


      I run all my water for cooking or drinking through a royal berkey, the go berkey I have used stowed and used with months in between getting out about 5 gallon total.so far. The royal  I have been using for 6 years same fliters and it still passes red dye test.

  • #6309


    Still running an old Katadyne filter from years ago.

  • #6316

    OldMt Woman

    I chose Katadyne Pocket filter because it was portable, has had good reputation with decades of users, and it filters a LOT of water before needing a new filter.  I have a spare filter.  As long as I don’t drop it /lose it/ leave it behind…we’re good for a long time.

    I also have 2 water filtering bottles…forget which type.  Long before a lot of these other companies produced their own filtering bottles.  They are in the vehicle…to get home.

    Have not needed to use either.  Have done the recommended flushing of the filter – and dried it.  Bottles are simply fill and drink…don’t contaminate the mouth piece.  Katadyne is simple too.  I reread the directions now  and then to refresh memory.

    If we lost power long enough to run out of my stored water, we’d use the Katadyne with creek water.  Well pump wouldn’t work and dont’ have a genny.   Pre-filter first, for the larger impurities.   I found an OLD dead dog carcass in the creek years ago.  VERY aware of the nasties possible in that creek.  I located a seepage but flow is truly only seepage.  Might be able to dig it out to increase it…??  It’s not a “spring”.



  • #6324

    Mouse Wizard

    It depends on the situation. For a survival / two-day pack, the Sawyer Mini can’t be beat. Hands down the winner IMHO.

    For longer term situations where base camping is the rule, then a gravity feed filter of some type is the way to go.

    For your BOL, a Berkey or home-made similar filter is the one.

    And I still have my old Katadyne ceramic filter from decades ago. Still works fine; just keep the gaskets lubricated so they don’t dry out. It’s a brick, so it’s a backup thing, but I’ll never get rid of it.

  • #6325


    I have a Sawyer Mini and a Lifestraw for when I’m on the go.

  • #6330



    I would dig out seepage widen and run into pre prepared pool lined with hardened clay and a bit of washed gravel, have a flow out  area, so it’s not random.


    If you plan to use year round make sure it is dèep enough not to freeze up solid. If not enough for drinking can make into a fish pond with trout and duck weed. Some cat tails in run off area…. you still win.



  • #6350

    OldMt Woman

    Mouse Wizard….Thank You for tip on lubricating gaskets in Katadyne.  In arid climate…I should have thot of that.  I even keep ordinary rubber bands, etc in the fridge to keep them from dehydrating!  Will be checking that soooon!  {what do you use to lubricate the gasket, please?}

    Namelus…we already have a big pond so the seepage is a back up.  Both are in livestock pastures but if I needed better water in a summer’s bad drought, the seepage might be worth the effort to enlarge for use.  Currently trickles year ’round into the creek.

    I know a particular place in the middle of a road that one would find water not too far down…..it’s a bad spot every springtime.  It’s good to take note of water places…especially in our arid region.

    Course for purifying water, there is always unscented bleach – I write the drops-per-gallon on every new bottle I buy. Rather not use it but….

    And boiling if you have the fuel.  That’s harder up in very high altitude to actually achieve HOT.  Boiling [water movement] up here isn’t actually HOT enough.  My dairy thermometer tells me the real temperature.

    Solar Pasteurization ….but that’s too iffy up in these altitudes most of the year.


  • #6351



    If storing bleach it decays as a liquid  over time about 1 percent a year so 5 percent bleach  after a year is 4 percent. Get a bag of sodium hypochlorate powder if store cool dry out of sun last a very long time 2 tsp flat in a gallon of water makes 5 percent bleach 50 lb bag is $40. 21 percent bleach can be used to clean up from vx nerve agent.  https://www.nap.edu/read/5274/chapter/10


    At high  altitude you can use distillation to get clean water, if in sunny time you can put one empty bottle buried in cold wet earth above the bottle filled with watery liquid, you can use urine as source.  The liquid bottle is in sunlight ( blacken for better results) .connect with a hose of some kind.


    To do faster you can heat a pressure cooker with no safety valve (attach the hose to safety valve hole) and another pot in water source or again in cooler environment  and let the liquid flow from convection it’s not super fast but the water is pure after. To speed the process up cool the hose or heat the starter pot more, also a longer hose made of metal works better.  This is a basic still set up you can distill alcohol from mash if you use a thermometer to make sure you are getting the ethyl not methyl alcohol. One is happy one is blind. The methyl alcohol (blind)has non drinking uses, lock de ice windshield wash fluid in winter, cleaning agent, alcohol stoves and lanterns gas line de icer wear gloves it can go through skin. Waste not want not.


    Over long periods of time your body will need mineral salts to make up the stuff lost in sweat, pee and evaporation, that water has no mineral content like reverse osmosis water.

    Honestly that is why I spent money on berkey water systems gravity fed and cleans almost any type of water and last a long time plus cleanable. You can sometimes find the black filters on sale online for $90 a pair of black filters, you can use two 5 gallon buckets as the water containers to not spend on the stainless steel berkey, don’t waste money on the plastic berkey it breaks (personal experience).

    If you filter the water through a shirt to remove large particle dirt and get a primer hand pump you can back flush and keep filters going for up to 6000 gallons per filter. When you look at it that way it is cheap. Easy to tesst failure you put red food dye in water filter will take it out of not change filter.

    I personally have tested the berkey filters by putting contaminated water in and drinking the water on bottom. U have used beaver infested  swamp water, rain water collected off roof with turkey poop and rotten leaves. You will find filter plugs up but once you back flush it it is good as new. You can tell how clean your water is by how fast it glows through and how long between cleanings the bird poop rain water was once every 4 gallons the filters where slime coated with brown dirt. With our well water we clean once every 6 months just because we decide to fliter is barely dirty.


    The bird water 4 gallons takes a day 24 hours, well water 4 gallons in 3 hours. Beaver pond was 6 hours.








    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  namelus.
  • #6353

    Crow Bar

    I use a Platypus Gravity Works water filter for the BOB.

    I liked the idea of a straw type system, until we had a drought one year.  Then, a number of water sources dried up.  So, if I had to hump it home, those sources would not be available.  Whereas with the gravity filter, I could fill up 3L (the clean bag is also my water bladder) of water and have that range (I figured 1L an hour, 3 hours range time before needing to find water again).

    If I was using a straw system, I would either have to drink as much water as possible, my stomach being the storage.  Or suck and spit 3L of water into a bladder.  I was not into that idea.

    This scenario was under the assumption of prolong drought conditions, the heat and humidity experienced during that year, carrying a pack, and hiking it home,5hrs.  Lot of hills.

  • #6357

    Mouse Wizard

    @oldmountainwoman: Vaseline is the recommended lubricant.

    @namelus: I’ve done steam distillation and built several systems over time. Had several sub-par solutions before I got it right. The recurring problem is dumping enough energy out of the steam to get condensation to occur. Everything works fine for a little while but then the condensation container heats up above boiling and all you get out is steam. So you have to cool the condensation container somehow. Air-cooling a bare copper coil like you see in Hollywood moonshine sets doesn’t work well. I guess if you had a huge enough copper coil, but I’m too lazy to do the math on that.

    There are two approaches. One is to have a condenser that uses a pan of water as a lid and let the pan of water absorb the energy. You need to change out the water periodically when it starts steaming on its own. Bigger pans of water require fewer changes over time. The other is to use a coiled tube style condenser and encase it in a water jacket. Then you can circulate cool water through the jacket. I built one that is packable out of 4″ PVC pipe but it depends on long hoses and a flowing stream to maintain the circulation. That’s really a base camp / BOL solution because you’re going to be building a support framework for everything on site.

    Bottom line, I wouldn’t go to the trouble unless I had a situation where I needed to remove VOC’s and other contaminants that would ruin a typical gravity filter or sand filter.

  • #6386

    OldMt Woman

    Thanks Mouse Wizard!!!

    OldMtWoman will have to reread this thread….to tired for comprehension tonite!

  • #6458


    To dump  the heat Use a thick towel and wet wrap the line keep it moist the hill billy way. They affix a 5 gallon bucket over it with ice water in it wit a drip on to towel.


    Or mimic a lab glass coil the copper tight enough so it fits in pvc pipe not touching edges  the copper leads out top and bottom  epoxy in place the drill and insert two  ribbed plastic tubeing  nipple into the pvc pipe at 180 degrees from each other at opposite ens so one is facing sky ward  and one is facing down earth ward put the pipe at a 45 degree angle to help the water inside the  copper flow out.  Attach a super low volume fish tank pump to the bottom nipple and slowly pump water into jacketing pvc once full have another line run off top so you can direct the over flow. Do not pup back into feed line for bottom as it will be warm and the bottom feed water should be cooler. The fish pumps come in 12 volt DC.  That is how to cool the lines efficiently. Having a set water amount limits effectiveness as water heats ip. Even water in a stream on hot day will be cool enough to make the condensate happen very fast.


  • #8658


    I use the Big berkey, and have several of the sawyer mini and lifestraws as well as the katadyne water filters. I also have the 6 of the single water bottles. I have 14 packs of filters for the berkey as well.

  • #11265

    Willie C. Riley

    I’m planning on getting the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter. It’s like an upgraded version of the Sawyer Mini. Accidentally found it on this healthykitchen101 website. Later on I also found out that it’s recommended on backpackers.com as well. Definitely on my list.

  • #13203


    I have Sawyer filters, mini and squeeze, that I have set up as gravity systems utilizing heavy wall silicone tubing and quick disconnects so that it is modular.

    To make water potable, three things must be addressed,

    (1) Prefiltering, to filter out as much of the large particulates as is practical before the water enters the next stage of filtration. Doing this protects the next filter from premature clogging.

    (2) Pathogen filtration, to remove pathogens, bacteria, cysts, etc, everything except viruses and toxins.

    (3) Toxin mitigation, to reduce the possible toxins present after the water is filtered of pathogens. Toxins include pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and god knows what else people dump into the water upstream. This is a matter of degree, not 100% by any means. I utilize granular activated carbon and bone char in two separate filter modules.

    The Sawyer filters are simply pathogen filters. They are very effective if one understands how to use them in real world conditions. When they clog to whatever degree, the only way to clean them is by back flushing with clean water. If one has no clean water, the filter cannot be cleaned without contaminating it, negating its purpose. The filters must be back flushed forcefully in order to clear as many of the openings in the microfiber tubes as possible all at once. Back flushing slowly, low pressure, can result in some openings clearing, but others remaining clogged …… channels forming for water flow. When this happens the clogged openings build up evermore crud, making cleaning more difficult. Eventually the filter will not be able to be back flushed to the point that reasonable, usable flow cannot be reestablished by cleaning efforts.

    Employing a prefilter protects the pathogen filter by removing everything, depending upon the micron level of its filtration, leaving only the tiniest particulates, pathogens etc, for the pathogen filter, sawyer filter, to filter out.

    Many, if not most people feel that addressing toxins is unnecessary, mainly because toxins usually make one sick or dead slowly, and people find it hard to believe the amounts and kinds of toxins found in water. Personally I do address toxins in my filter systems, as best I can.

    There is more, but this is enough, perhaps too much, for now.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  ephemeral.
  • #19442

    Alex Karin

    Sawyer Mini good choice as for me

  • #19447

    Crow Bar

    I have a Platypus Gravity Works.

    I also have a NDUR water filter that looks like a canteen.
    They used to make a filter that could filter out bio-hazard, toxic materials too.
    But they went total government contracting on those. No more public sales.

  • #19510

    OldMt Woman

    Ephemeral….thanks.  I’ve researched this topic for years and that was a clear/concise explanation.  Potable water is complicated.  Getting some of the bad stuff out is good.  Getting MOST out is much, MUCH better.

    In some circumstances, you do the best you can.  And your best should include something in your EDC.  Like the gal they finally located in the Maui forest, she took a chance but kept hydrated.  If she had any type of water device, she would not have risked as much with pig/bird poo, etc.  Dehydration would have killed her before her rescue.  Certain contaminates could have done that also.


  • #20026

    Shawn Thomson

    I use Aquasana the 5-year, 500,000 Gallon Well Water Whole House Filter. It has a Salt -free softener included and has a high capacity and long lifespan.<b> </b>

  • #28487



    In the 1990’s I was doing a lot of backpacking, living out of my pack in the woods, hopped some freight trains, wilderness living, living in a teepee, etc.  During that time I was also working at outdoor retail stores (to get the discounts on the gear for my adventures.)  I used a few different filters made at the time and here are some of my experiences.

    The PUR brand at the time, since purchased by Katadyn, had a filter called The Hiker.  It was a simple filter with a screw in fiber and activated charcoal cartrige that worked well with clear water, had a great flow rate, was inexpensive, but was not cleanable.  I used this filter for a while but the lack of cleanability was an issue.  The pump on the unit was easy to use, with a good flow rate. But once it clogged it was not field servicable without replacing the entire filter cartridge.  (the Hiker Pro is still made)

    I then used an MSR MiniWorks filter.  The ceramic filter was cleanable which was what I was looking for, but the flow rate was slower, the pump took more strength to use and was made up of a lot of little moving parts, plastic, o rings, etc.  I found that the ceramic filter clogged quickly and had to be cleaned often.  Also, when a ceramic filter is wet if it freezes it can crack, making it useless.  Not a common problem but one to watch out for. Also, throwing a backpack off a moving train before getting off the moving train causes a lot of shock to the gear in the pack.  Not the best place for a ceramic filter. (MSR Miniworks stil on the market)

    I also used a Katadyn Pocket filter.  Made to last with aluminum construction, it was the highest quality filter I used but heavier and slow flow rate.  Flip side is one filter can clean about 11,000 liters of water.  Well worth the long term investment.

    I used a Katadyn Combi filter, it was a piece of $%^ not worth the money or the weight to carry and was ultimately taken off the market cause it was junk.

    So I tried a Sweetwater Guardian filter.  It was light, inexpensive, few moving parts, cleanable, it could freeze without damage, had a good flow rate, drop it without cracking it, etc.  I used it extensively in 2011 when I did a bicycle tour from Washington State through Oregon, to Northern California. It was a great filter.  Only problem, MSR bought out Sweetwater and stopped producing this filter around 2017.  So it’s off the market, MSR killed the product off.  I lost mine when I needed to exfiltrate myself from a sketchy situation and had to leave my gear behind.

    Since 2011 I have primarily been car camping and bring my water from a municipal water source so do not have much experience with the newer filter technologies on the market.

    Looking at everything out there, and the experience I had, the filter I would buy now is the Katadyn Pocket Filter.  It has been on the market longer than any other filter.  It is made of high quality machined aluminum parts, it is tried and tested and will last.  But it is expensive and relatively heavy.

    I now keep an unused LifeStraw and Aquamira water purification tablets in my BOB just in case.  I find that the more moving parts something has the more likely it is to break.

  • #28489


    Also want to add, not exactly on topic but it pertains…

    Any water filter can fail, even when you think it is working it can fail and you can drink contaminated water.  It is also easy to accidentally cross contaminate into your drinking container bypassing the filter.  Or you are in a situation without a filter, or where using a filter is obvious and strange to those around you.  Like when visiting a city in a foreign country during urban travelling.

    So I always carry in my medical kit some Loperamide tablets (Immodium) just in case my bowels become agitated.  This helped big time when I spent 3 weeks in Russia in 2005, and 10 weeks in Brazil in 2010.  Not to mention here in the states whenever I have had issues.

  • #28723

    Samantha Nichols

    I am using Berkey Gravity Water Filter and I don’t have any doubts about its quality. The Berkey gravity water filter is an excellent choice with its powerful purification system. it can remove 99.9 percent of viruses and other bacteria from your tap water. It is also useful in reducing or eliminating protozoa, inorganic minerals, and other heavy metals to provide you with safe drinking water. This product works without fail as to how it is advertised. I think you need to get it for your home.

    • #28766

      Crow Bar

      We are thinking about replacing the copper plumbing in the house and considering one of those inline water filters.
      But we should probably consider a Berkey too.

    • #28893

      Samantha Nichols

      Honestly, it is a little bit pricey. If its price is not a big problem with you, I think Berkey is a great water filter for you.

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