There are two ways to make water safe to drink. One is to physically filter out all of the bad stuff in the water, so that you are left with clean water. Another is to purify the water, or kill off everything bad in the water so that you are left with clean water. As long as the water isn't too cloudy, purifying is a good option.
Water Purifier - CampingWhat to look for when you are looking for a water purifier for camping.
- Timeframe - Some water purifiers work faster than others. If you can plan ahead then waiting for your water to become purified isn't so much of a problem, but when you need your water right away, waiting is never much fun.
- Light - There are several different options for purifying your water, and some are lighter than others. If you have to carry your camping gear, if you're not just car camping, then the lighter option is likely going to be the more attractive option.
Best Water Purifier - CampingThe very best in camping water purifiers.
- SteriPEN Adventurer Opti - The Adventurer Opti is the perfect example of technology being integrated in to backpacking and camping equipment. It uses UV light to instantly kill all of the bad stuff in the water. A quick blast of UV light and your water is ready for drinking. It also only weighs 3.6 ounces, or 103 grams, so it's a lightweight solution to drinkable water as well. The only thing to remember is that you will need batteries, and they will need to be replaced every 50 liters or so.
- MSR SweetWater - The SweetWater is a combination filter and purifier, so you get the best of both worlds, and can be absolutely sure that your water is safe for drinking. A .2 micron filter gets rid of most organisms, and the chlorine purification process takes care of the rest. It weighs 11.3 ounces, or 320 grams, but if you need to be sure with questionable, the SweetWater is a great choice.
- Katadyn Micropur Tablets - The Micropur tablets are chlorine dioxide tablets ideal for killing a wide range of organisms found in water. The main advantage of using tablets is that, first, there is no hard work involved. You just pop the tablet in to your water bottle and you're done. Second, they weigh next to nothing. A 30 tablet pack, good for 30 quarts, or 28 liters, weighs just .9 ounces, or 25 grams. The downside to tablets, however, is that they take time to work their magic. More specifically, you have to wait 15 minutes for the tablets to kill viruses and bacteria, 30 minutes for Giardia and 4 hours for Cryptosporidium.
Crude Water FilterIf you have a purifier, you may sometimes notice that your drinking water is a little cloudy. This cloudy material is all the material that would normally be filtered out by a physical filter. If your purifier has worked you shouldn't have anything to worry about from this material, but just in case, there are cheap and light prefilters you can get to filter out that material.
And if you're in a pinch, or just don't want to bother with a prefilter, a reasonably clean bandana or T-Shirt does a good job of prefiltering too.
Find more water filter and water purifiers over at the compare water filters page.