Water Purification

I understand the new water filters that are used in backpacking are the best way to keep yourself supplied with clean water. Anyone have any knowledge or experience with this?

They work great, however they do not work on Salt water. I like the Sweetwater system, as it plugs right in to my camel bac. I only use the filters if i am doing overnighters and dont want to carry loads of excess water.

is my system of choice, as it screws onto Nalgene bottles and is field-cleanable.

THe oxygenating tablets (REI has Katydin brand) seem to be a great alternative, weigh next to nothing, and they work on viruses and cryptosporidium too. But there is a 4 hour wait, and I am told that v&c are highly unlikely except in the third world.


Wait a sec - WV IS the third world!

If you want to purify salt water
you need a portable reverse osmosis unit made by PUR. PUR got their start making these units for the navy. If I recall the cost is about 1000 to 1500 for the prime kayakable model and about 1000 for the small model (although this is a very relaible system, back up or good parts inventory, in remote sitations for this type of equipment is recommended)

Yeah MSR has some of the best features. While it doesn’t have quite the same filtration abilities as say sweet water. it’s easier to work with on nalgene bottles and the actually filter will last for around 2000 gallons, sweet water is about 400 gallons. also keep in mind anti viral guards, depending where you are going to use it.

We use a Katadyn filter.
It does a great job, and is also guaranteed to keep your biceps in shape from pumping.

Instead of pumping iron, I pump water!



I use Katadyn also.
It’s an excellent filter. I highly recommend it.


I’ve made my own
I should note fist I haven’t used it but anyway.

To completely kill everything (which probably isn’t even needed) you have to chemically treat the water but that makes it taste weird. My solution is to make a hanging gravity style bladder out of a dry bag with some clear PVC hose coming off going to an ABS pipe piece that is filled with fish tank filter media (ammo-carb) which will remove the chlorine thats made by Auqua Mira as well as any other flavors in the water. Add a fabric screen of some sort over the intake to keep trash out and some plastic fuel line filters meant for lawn mowers as prefilters and you’re set. The whole works cost maybe $25 max and you get long term savings as well as you can change out the filter media before every trip for a dollar or so work of the Ammo-Carb vs $30 for a new filter.

Ditto, Katahdins worth the $

So fire those oxegenating tablets
up in the morning, two gallons of water per person per day and put the bags int the bottom of the hull while they perk! While I would never choose to backpack so much water, (though I have) I would definitely put in in the hull).

I’ll check those tabs out, thanks!

Katadyn Reverse Osmosis
The Katadyn Reverse Osmosis water purification systems can be found at:


They provide a chart of water needs. For 1 person the needs are approximately (liters/day):

Conservative: 6-10

Average: 8-12

Luxurious: 12-15

The water production of the Survivor-06 is 0.89 liters/hour. This means pumping, on average, 5-7 hours/day. This is not practical.

I use reverse osmosis in my home for drinking water and ice to remove bacteria and metals from city water. It is wonderful but it works all the time with the energy supplied by the water pressure.

There must be a better way for touring.

My Katadyn
Unfortunately, having visited the website you posted, it appears they no longer produce the model filter I use. Mine looks like the Katadyn pocket, but is a larger version used by expedition teams. From personal use, it only takes me about 5-6 minutes to pump a litre, and it cleans readily when the pumping becomes tough. My filter is worth its weight in gold and is not excessively heavy or bulky in size for kayak travel.

When I took a guide course several years ago, and the instructors accidentally forgot to bring their Katadyn filters on the trip, we used mine, all of us, with no problems regarding excessive time and pumping.


I second Wendy
We first saw and used the big one on a guided Ak trip many moons ago.

That is what inspired us to get our little one, and now we don’t go on a extended back copuntry trip without it.



Katadyn Survivor-35
They do make a Katadyn Survivor-35 which produces 4.5 liters/hour. Is this the one you have?

Katadyn Survivor-35 - Expensive
I just checked Google for prices. These are expensive! The list is $1550. Retail $1329.

while you must have water…
not all of the water needs to be purified before use. Water you are cooking with can be treated through the cooking process (just allow some extra boil time before you throw your noodles in). Water you are drinking , treat with chem-tabs; the aftertaste is nothing a little Crystal Lite will not cover. For the typical 2-3 day trips, it is much easier to carry an extra fuel cannister and some chem-tabs. For extended trips, you will need a high quality filter/purifier and they will cost serious $$. While the groundwater in the US is tainted, I have never had a problem drinking straight from a source (I mean a place where you can actually see the water emit; a source, not a flow or a stand). Any other water is filtered (2 bandanas and gravity will remove the majority of particulate) and treated (either by heat or chemical). Remember that a gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds; this adds up quickly if you try to turn your boat into a camel. Salt water is a completely different animal; for that you are much better off just buying a high-end unit designed for salt removal.

Neo probably .001% of

– Last Updated: Jun-22-04 3:40 PM EST –

those who call themselves sea kayakers get a reverse somosis (RO) unit. If you have to go that way go PUR. These guys make thousands of the for the navy; they have it down.

Nobody who has written to you is writing about using a RO unit from what I read.

edit below:

Lots of touring paddlers would just take ten gallons on board, be conservative, carry a filter for planned encounters with freshwater sources and get out paddling.

You really planning something so major?

water purification
Crypto is an increasing concern in the states, so I wouldn’t completely discount it if you’re getting your water from an area that has a large drainage, is in a heavily used area, or runs through a municipality.

I bought a MSR Miox purifier as a birthday present for myself over the winter (spent only $50 of my own money for it). It doesn’t filter sediment, but some coffee filters and/or bandanas can take care of that. I like that there’s no pumping involved (who wants to pump after a long day of hiking/biking/paddling, anyway?). I usually carry 4-5 liters of water on my person for a day, which is almost always enough to last until I set up camp.

Any water I cook with gets boiled, so it doesn’t need to be purified, and it’s good to make hot cocoa or coffee or something because that water gets boiled, too.

It has the same 4 hour wait time to kill crypto as the tablets, but it’s definitely cheaper in the long run. $15 to replace the batteries (two lithium camera batteries) and ~$1 will buy you more rock salt than you can use in the unit for a lifetime. I do keep some iodine tabs as an emergency backup, but those other tablets/solutions (aqua mira, katadyn) can cost up to $15 a package, which only purifies a small amount of water compared to a set of batteries on my Miox.

If I’m out on a longer trip, I’d probably also make sure someone in my group was packing a pump filter as yet another backup and when you only need a little bit of water in a short amount of time. But you can’t beat the Miox for its ability to purify large volumes of water (1 liter, 1 gallon, 10 gallons all take the same amount of time).

Just a thought, but I was able to snag a new one off of eBay for $300. Took about 6 months of bidding on the occasional one that came up, but as long as you’re patient you should be able to get a likewise deal.