We always need clean water when we’re out and about adventuring and traditionally we’ve used filters and purifiers that need pumping or squeezing to get the water through the filter.
This can be hard work, especially if your filter has seen some hard use and you’re forcing water through manually. But, even though it’s hard work we’ve always got on with it because it’s better to have water without virus, germs and bacteria which could well make our holiday or adventure a complete nightmare. And if you’ve got to pumping water for a group of people is exhausting.
Thankfully, there is a different method that would especially benefit groups of hikers – a gravity filter. There’s a number of them on the market now, and although they can store water in different ways, they work on the same principle of allowing the water to flow through the filter rather than you having to force it through.
You get your water into the reservoir and it feeds from there, some systems such as the Katadyn Base Camp Pro has a large 10lt water bag and a filter built into the bottom of the bag with a pipe coming out of it, everything in the bag is dirty water, everything coming out the pipe is clean.
There’s also filters like the filter is called the Platypus GravityWorks that has two water reservoirs and the filter sits between the two, so the water runs from the one at the top, through the filter into the one at the bottom.
Both of these filters need to be hung for easy use; my preference is the Katadyn as it’s more versatile on where you can hang it, the Platypus needs to be hung higher, and I like the fact that I can decant the water into anything I want directly, rather than having to manage two different reservoirs. It’s a personal preference though, and it’s worth you having a look for yourself to see what you prefer.
The video’s below are of the Katadyn Base Camp Pro and the Platypus GravityWorks.
They’re both great in as much as they filter themselves and you get clean water with a lot less effort. The Platypus GravityWorks comes in either the two-liter version or the four-liter version, so it’s a fair bit smaller in capacity.
Both systems can be broken down into parts making it easier to carry and because they’re bags, they can be rolled up and stored easily.
Like any filter, there are still some “cons” to the product. One of the downfalls to this filter is that it needs to be within the hiker’s reach but high enough for gravity to do the job efficiently. The pre-filtering stage can also cause some issues. The trick to that is to take water from a clear, moving section of water to get a better taste and to get the best use out of the filter.
Mechanical, pump-type filters are still the most popular, and they’re great, they’re light, easy to maintain, have a great filter lifespans (all filters need changing at some point) and they have an unlimited capacity.
As a solo hiker, I’d probably take a mechanical filter for my water needs, however, if I’ve got a group to provide with water it seems like a no-brainer to take the easier route and use a gravity filter.
It’s worth mentioning that we’ve just talked about two types of gravity filters, there’s plenty more than that and there’s a huge range of other filters to help with your water needs, it’s worth taking the time to research and try a few out before settling on one or two for your use.
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