Camping Water Filters: 5 Fast Facts

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Fact #1. Almost every natural source of water can be harboring dangerous bacteria and parasites. Drinking untreated water can lead to health complications. These can range from mild stomach discomfort to severe nausea and diarrhea. Even water that appears pristine can lead to dangerous dehydration and lasting infection.

Fact #2. The most common culprit of gastrointestinal discomfort is the parasite known as Giardia lambia. This unwelcome little guest takes up residence in the upper stretches of the small intestine. It causes symptoms in as many as one third of those it infects. Most people will experience cramping, irregular bowel movements, fever, and fatigue. Giardia is a prolific problem, present in water sources all around the world.

Fact #3. Other potentially more serious water borne illnesses include cholera, typhoid, and malaria. If you are using melted snow as your source of hydration, be vigilant looking out for “watermelon snow.” Snow with a pinkish sheen is covered with a layer of Chlamydomonas nivalis. It is a type of algae that thrives in cold water and that has extreme laxative properties.

Fact #4. The standard option uses a hand pump to draw water up from the source. It then forces it through an incredibly fine filter media that removes all contaminants down. Then it goes through an output tube that can be placed in a water bottle, cooking pot, or even your mouth. Pump filters do require a bit of effort. But you can source water from the smallest trickling streams and giant lakes alike.

Fact #5. The other options are referred to as bag to bag and straw filters. The bag to bag style is easy to use once set up. You fill an elevated pouch and allow gravity to bring the water down. The straw style is placed directly into water that is drawn up by suction you generate with your mouth and lungs. These filters clean hundreds of gallons of water well before needing maintenance.