Most of us take water for granted.  Walk up to the faucet, turn it on, and you instantly have hot or cold water that you know is safe.  What if it’s not true?  What if one day you turn on the tap and nothing comes out, or worse, you find yourself in a place where there is no tap?  Being without a water source is not as far-fetched as you might think.

best tap water filter

Tap water filters have a permanent place in your equipment.  They are comfortable, easy to use and versatile.  At most of them you can drink directly from the water source if necessary.  Many can be customized to fit your hydration kit, so you don’t have to worry about filtering the water before you put it in your hydration bladder.

LifeStrawWater filter

LifeStraw has become a major player in the emergency water filtration market.  For years these handy devices have been sent all over the world to disaster areas or places where the water supply has been disrupted.

There are several reasons why the LifeStraw should be in your survival bag or other survival kit.

  • Profitable
  • Filters down to 0.2 micron
  • Weighs only two ounces dry and three ounces after hydration.
  • True recessed design with an inlet at one end and an outlet at the other.
  • Protective caps for each hole in the system.
  • Filters up to 1,000 gallons of contaminated water
  • No moving parts or batteries

Rescue straws are an excellent option for a cup bag or a backpack for three days.  They are inexpensive enough to supply all members of your family with LifeStraw. For more information, see our practical life map test.

Sales

LifeStraw personal water filter for hiking, camping,…

  • The award-winning LifeStraw water filter is an essential tool for hiking, camping,…
  • Filters up to 4,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or…

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Sawyer mini filter

In my backpack, you’ll find a mini Sawyer filter.  Look at the waterline on my hydration pack and you’ll find a mini Sawyer filter.  Look in my big bags, my big first aid kit, and even the first aid kit in my truck, and you’ll find a carefully packed Sawyer mini filter.  The Sawyer mini filter is my favorite water filter that I can take almost anywhere.

The Sawyer mini filter has many features that you have to love.

  • Can treat up to 100,000 gallons of water.
  • Filters down to 0,1 micron
  • It comes with hose adapters that allow for different water filter options.
    • Suitable for most water bladder systems
    • Easily converts to a gravity filter system to filter more water
    • Can be used to drink directly from the water source
    • It can be adapted to bottles and other containers to ensure the filtration of water on the go.
  • weighs only two ounces.
  • Only two inches long.
  • Includes bag, disposable water bottle, drinking tube and cleaning cloth.

For me it is the best option for an emergency water filtration system. For more information, check out our Mini Sawyer practice test.

Last updated on 26/01/20 at 2:43pm / Affiliate links / Amazon Advertising Products API Images.

Better design filter pump

Katadyn Hiker ProMicrofilter

If you want a higher level of filtration, the Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter is worth considering.  This reverse osmosis pumping system is the next level of technology, providing cleaner, tastier water from any source.   Designed for rough use, the Katadyn Hiker Pro performs well in survival or disturbance conditions.

Katadyn is a recognized and respected leader in water filtration systems, and the features of the Katadyn Hiker Pro reflect this reputation.

  • Pre-filter with field cleaning facility for easy maintenance
  • .2 micron filtration
  • Direct connection to drinking containers and water bottles
  • Filters all sediments, particles and microorganisms from freshwater sources.
  • Carrying case included
  • 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter
  • Every minute, a liter of clean water comes out
  • Weighs 8 ounces dry.
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The Katadyn Hiker Pro requires you to pump the system to pressurize the filter.  This eliminates the possibility of purifying water while on the go, but it can be useful if you are stationary and want to filter more water for storage.  For more information or to check prices, visit Amazon at this link.

Last updated on 27/01/20 at 2:02pm / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Advertising Product API.

Miniature MSR Ex microfilter

The MSR Miniworks microfilter uses a ceramic carbon filter element to remove 99.9999% of bacteria and protozoa from freshwater sources.  The MSR is known for its robust and reliable construction.  With its high flow rate and long life, the MSR Miniworks microfilter is an excellent choice for long treks through the backcountry or as part of your survival kit.

The characteristics of the MSR Miniworks EX microfilter are as follows

  • Weighs a dry pound.
  • 2.75 inches wide
  • 7.5 inches long
  • Provides protection against chemical, protozoal, bacterial and particulate contamination.
  • Flow rate of one liter per minute
  • Storage bag and connecting hose included
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in the United States

One suggestion we make for the MSR mini factory is to purchase a set of replacement O-rings and keep them with the filter in case you damage them while cleaning or using the filter. Follow this link for more information and current prices on Amazon.

MSR MiniWorks EX Water Microfilter

  • Micro-filter water pump for hiking, camping, travel,…
  • The replaceable carbon and ceramic filter removes bacteria, protozoa, organic compounds,…

Last updated on 27/01/20 at 2:02pm / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Advertising Product API.

Best Water Filtration Unit

LifeStraw Insert Cleaner

If you foresee a situation where you need to provide water to a large group for an extended period of time, your survival kit should include a LifeStraw Mission Purifier.  These systems have greater bandwidth and faster throughput than smaller LifeStraw systems and can be installed on a semi-permanent basis. When empty, they are packed by size and weight to facilitate transportation.

The combination of these features makes the LifeStraw Mission Purifier an exceptional choice for maintaining a group or family’s fresh water supply.

  • Transport by gravity, without pumping
  • Available with a 5 or 12 litre tank.
  • .02 micron filter element
  • Pre-filter to capture larger particles and suspended solids to extend the life of the filter element.
  • The filter system includes a backflush valve for easy cleaning.
  • Delivers up to 3 gallons of fresh water per hour.
  • Suspended for unattended use
  • The raw water tank is flexible and can be easily rolled up for walking when empty.
  • Only weighs a pound when dry.

The LifeStraw Mission Cleaner can be an important addition to your family or group’s survival plan and equipment.  The ability to continuously filter water without any more hassle than putting water in your bladder frees you up to do other things.  For more information on the LifeStraw Mission Cleaner, visit the Amazon site at this link.

Last updated on 27/01/20 at 2:02pm / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Advertising Product API.

The truth about water

We are almost as dependent on water as we are on air.   They can only live for about 3 minutes without air.   Without water, you will experience the effects of severe dehydration after about three days and probably die after a few more.

Water seems to be everywhere except in the most difficult conditions.  There are places where surface water is not available, but the chance of survival in one of those places is low.

Thinking about water

Stop and think about the water.  If we shut off the drinking water supply to our communities and shut down the ability to draw water from the well because the system is down, what are your options?

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I know there is water in several ponds in the parks of our city.  We don’t have a choice between big lakes or big rivers nearby.  How do you stay hydrated and healthy in a situation where you have to go from place to place for shelter?

Drinking directly from most ponds, rivers, lakes or harvested rainwater is an invitation to serious health risks.  This is not something you want to go through, given the lack of professional medical care in such cases.

Perhaps you are diving into the wilderness and need to replenish your drinking water supply.  The question remains: How can the need for a constant and daily supply of treated drinking water be met?  There are several options, but each seems to have a different set of advantages and disadvantages.

Read our article on myths about water treatment.

Water filtration vs. -purification

There is a big difference between filtration and purification.   This difference can affect your ability to survive or your health.   Don’t be fooled by the publicity.  Not all surviving aquatic systems are the same.  This is one of those situations where you want to equip your survival bag or survival kit with the best possible gear you can buy.

Filtration

By definition, a filter or filtration system is designed to remove particles from water.  Filters are not capable of rendering bacteria or viruses inactive.  Filters are mechanical devices designed to handle the larger particles that pass through the filter medium.

Filters are usually specified in microns.  One micron is equal to 1/1,000,000 meters). For comparison, a human hair measures about 181 microns for the coarsest hair.  E. coli bacteria have a diameter of about 1 micrometer and a length of about 2 micrometers.  E-coli is a rod-shaped bacterium. To be safe, your water filtration system must filter down to 1 micron to prevent contamination of your drinking water.

About viruses

Viruses in water are a completely different problem.  Viruses are generally much smaller than protozoa or bacteria.  Most of the most dangerous viruses are between 0.001 and 0.3 micrometers in size.  The smallest viruses pass through most commercially available water filters unhindered.

Additional precautions should be taken when filtering water from sources that may be contaminated with the virus.  Filters or cleaning systems that can independently remove viruses must back up these claims with laboratory tests, and you should request a copy of the laboratory test results.

Cleaning

Water systems that are touted as cleaning or purification systems should also have ways to make viruses and bacteria inactive.  This can be done in several ways.

  • Mechanical filtration – Some filters are designed by particle size, to catch the most dangerous viruses or bacteria.  Reverse osmosis systems are a type of mechanical filter that removes the vast majority of harmful organisms from water.
  • Chemical Influences – There are many ways to introduce living organisms into your water source.  Special water purification tablets are available in many stores and on outdoor and recreation websites.  One of the most common methods of chemical treatment is the addition of chlorine to the water source.
  • Physical Treatment – One of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of drinking water is to boil it.  Bringing the water to a boil and leaving it for a few minutes will kill any dangerous impurities in the water.

Which one do you want?

The answer to this question depends largely on your geographical location.  If you live in an area where natural springs are common, or if you have access to meltwater coming directly from a glacier, you’re probably safe with just about any filtration system on the market.  However, if you get your emergency water from another source, there is always a chance of contamination from multiple sources.

I’m a little redundant.  I don’t like to be dependent on a tool, a power source or a water purification system.  My motto has always been: One is not, two are one. Let’s look at some of the options for treating and filtering survival water and how they can fit into your survival or boating plan.

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Open questions…

What are the benefits of water filters on straw?

Straw water filters have features that make them very practical. Most are fairly affordable, so anyone can really take one and be prepared.

Their small size makes them incredibly easy to store in your pocket, your car, or even in your pants pocket. So you can take it almost anywhere.

Moreover, reed water filters are extremely easy to use. Thanks to their size and ease of use, anyone can work with them without having to learn a lot.

What are the disadvantages of straw filters?

Sewage filters can be very effective, but they are not the end goal for drinking water.

Some straws have a limited capacity for what they can filter from a contaminated water source.

As described above, straw filters do not filter all pollutants from the contaminated water source. Therefore, they should not be used without this consideration.

If straws are not maintained, they can become dirty and not as safe to drink.

Finally, some straw filters are made of questionable materials and assembled in questionable places. Both of these parameters should be thoroughly researched before purchase to ensure that you are getting a filter that does what it is supposed to do.

What is the proper way to use straw for water filtration?

Many water filter straws must be prepared in advance. This simply means that one end of the straw must remain in the water source until the filter is saturated. After sucking, simply suck water through the mouthpiece and drink.

Some straws also require you to backwash the filter with clean water after each use to keep it clean and extend its life.

Don’t let desire overwhelm you.

In a survival situation, the worst thing you can do is ignore your need for clean, pure water.  Without enough filtered water, your body will quickly suffer from the effects of dehydration, reducing your ability to function at your highest level in emergency situations.  This can quickly get you into even more trouble and put those who depend on you at risk.

I recommend everyone have water filtration products in their outgoing bag, in their three-day bag, in their homecoming bag, and somewhere in their home.  Ideally, each family member should have a personal filtration system, and a larger system should be kept at home in case of emergency.

I hope this article and the information it contains will help you think about your preparations for a water emergency.  If you have any comments or questions about this article, please use the comment box below.  We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

frequently asked questions

What is the best straw for survival?

Overview and ranking of the top 10 water filtration straws in 2021.

Does the respiratory protection device really work?

Although the LifeStraw filters down to 0.2 microns, eliminating virtually all bacteria and protozoa, it should be noted that it does not filter heavy metals or desalinate water. Viruses are also unfiltered, although waterborne viruses are rare in the North American hinterland.

What is the LifeStraw filter life?

The LifeStraw activated carbon ion exchange filter has a capacity of approximately 150 liters (40 gallons). We think it should be replaced every two months. This assumes that the household uses about 2.5 litres per day or that a 7-cup filter housing is filled about 5 times per day.

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