One of our readers asked this question on the looserounds.com facebook page ,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Loose-Rounds/108959942566051 . I thought it was a detailed enough answer to be posted as a stand alone entry.
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Q&A question??? What’s the best portable water filter/purifier system out there. Which one is the best value? I noticed you guys started doing the shtf topics.
Cat. You can find me at www.facebook.com/kittycatkimchi. Anyhow, I’ll cover the 3 popular ones for backpacking.
1. The Sawyer Squeeze Filter is very portable, versatile, and affordable. Watch this video to understand how it works- http://youtu.be/lKWQjlq-uYA. The only downfall in my opinion is trying to collect water from shallow areas. I think the price is around $50. Great system though for the price.
2. The Steripen Adventurer Opti won backpacker awards. Just as the name suggests it looks like a thick pen. One end holds the battery and the other end has a optical UV light (and also a flashlight). You simply fill a Nalgene bottle with water, turn on the Steri-pen, dip into the water and stir until the light turns off. It removes the bacteria. Here’s their video- http://www.steripen.com/adventurer-opti. It takes 90 seconds to purify 1 liter of water. The downfall is it requires a battery. The cost is about $90.
3. The MSR Sweetwater is probably the most liked for true backpacking and back country hunting. Since it is a pump system it can filter water from puddles. The pumping action does take some time and the unit is slightly larger/heavier than the two mentioned above. However, a great product and one I will add to my hunting pack. Here is a video – http://www.backcountryedge.com/video-msr-sweetwater-microfilter.aspx. The cost is about $90.
I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me anytime.
You can also search REI’s website for this products and read others reviews.
I’d also like to add that the Katadyn Exstream works pretty well. It’s similar to the Sawyer filter in operation, but comes with it’s own bottle. You can probably get one for around $40. As Cat pointed out, neither works very well in shallow muddy water. Also, with both of these you do have to periodically replace the filters.