Best water filter (for bushcraft and Survival)

My Choice, for Best Water Filter

 … { IMHO – YMMV }

You Need “Clean” Water!!

What I Use

I have, over the years, most often relied on Boiling, to provide for “Clean” drinking water.
You might see different ideas on boiling water .. Often I see so called experts call for “A Rolling Boil” for a full 5 minutes (or even as high as 20 minutes)

Yet, The FDA states that “Baddies” are Killed at 160 degrees F.

The Truth – According to Joe – is that “By the time your water reaches that often quoted ‘rolling boil’, and cools to drinking temperature (anywhere on earth), It Is Safe” !!

You can add a minute or three, If you want that extra measure of safety .. But, it is really not necessary.

I have, on various occasions, also used a number of different commercial “Water Filters.

As I typically trek in relatively Remote locations, my choices of “clean” water sources is usually better than if I were ‘camping’ in a more heavily travelled area .. but I still want to ‘filter’ the water that I will be drinking.

I have, more and more, gone to “Cold Camping” (Camping with little or no fire) so having a filter readily available becomes pretty important.

In the “remoter” areas I typically prefer to do my Trekking, one would think that the water would be pretty pristine .. but it was not that long ago, that I was checking out a small stream – that I was getting my water from – and no more than a hundred yards “above” where I was camping, I came across a Large dead Marmot laying directly in a feeder stream, flowing directly into the stream I was drinking from .. YUK !! ..

That definitely fortified the idea in my head, that no mater how Clean and Safe “Looking” the fast-flowing water might appear, it should probably be filtered before use.

This is the Filter I use:

  • Sawyer mini
    There are several different types of filters offered by “Sawyer” (the 3 most common are the “Squeeze”, The “Mini”, and the newer “Micro”)
    My favorite is currently the Sawyer Mini .. and I have used one for a number of years now, with No complaints at all.

I Always have one with me (in my Trekking Bag, and/or Bug-Out Bags )
It is quite small (measuring 3”X1”, and weighing a mere 2oz), and for under $25, with proper care, It will last you a lifetime, and provide All the water you will ever need.

… (Hey – If you are going to need to drink more than 100,000 Gallons of water filtered, you are probably going to die from Hyponatremia)

The Sawyer mini is rated to: 

Remove 99.99999% of all bacteria (salmonella, cholera, and E. coli);
Remove 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium)

Using The Sawyer Mini Filter

Being that I live in the USA, at least traditionally, we have not really had to be “too concerned” with ‘baddies’ other than Giardia and Cryptosporidium, so the Sawyer Filters are ideal for just about any situation one might find them self in, “Backside Of Beyond”

If you are concerned about worse pollutions, then you might want to add something like Chlorine DiOxide to your filtered water (to kill off any viruses) .. And, as an additional step, you might want to run the filtered water through an “Activated Charcoal” filter stage, to deal with Heavy-Metal pollution etc.
Also, if the water is murky, you might want to pre-filter it, to remove any Big Chunks of ‘baddness’, which can also clog up your filter quicker.

My first occasion to use my new Sawyer Mini Filter came about on a hike away from my stealth campsite.

I was heading Down a gully – planning on arriving at the ocean, where I hoped to find some Limpets or other edible ‘critters’ attached to the exposed rocks.
The way down was Very Brushy and difficult to traverse – but doable – ‘tho sometimes on hands-and-knees.
It was quit warm, and the exertion of going over and under and around and through the thick brush was definitely taking a ‘hydration-toll’ on my body .. (so I was definitely on the lookout for any available water source)

Just about the time I was getting desperate for a drink, I “heard” the glorious sound of water trickling over rocks .. and eventually came up to the place where water was trickling down a side gully into the one I was making my way through .. Yaaay!!
There was not a lot of water running down this course, but definitely enough to make good use of – in slacking g my thirst, and replenishing the water I had lost through my efforts.

My first thought was to just drink directly from the running stream .. But, I knew better .. So, going into my Trekking Bag I retrieved my brand new Sawyer Mini Water Filter. As I had previously familiarized myself with how to use it, I The first obstacle was getting the water Into the “squeeze Bag” (which is part of the ‘kit’)
I cleared a space below a flat rock that the water was running over, and used my Sierra Cup to gather the running water, and then pouring it into the bag.
When the bag was full, I screwed the Sawyer Mini Filter onto the bag, and was able to drink freely from the other end of the filter.
Once I had drank my fill, of the Cold Mountain Water, I filled the bag once more, and capped it with the filter, and put it in my Trekking Bag (upright), and then was on my way – Greatly refreshed 🙂

Another way that I have effectively used the Sawyer Mini filter, is during another camping session, where AI had access to a good quantity of water (a flowing creek not more than a quarter mile from where I was camping)
Using a ~2 gallon capacity “Water-proof roll top bag”, I got it full of water, and carried it back to my campsite.

I then hung it up – about 6 feet high, off of an overhead branch, and then used a length of plastic tubing to start a syphon feeding the “In” port of the Sawyer Mini Filter, with the “Out” port flowing into .. in sequence .. my larger cooking pot, my Stainless Steel Pathfinder Canteen, and a couple plastic Storage bottles.
The Gravity-flow took a while to accomplish the task, but as it was “doing it’s thing” unattended, it worked just fine.

Another part of the “kit” is a syringe, used to “Back Flush” the filter, to dislodge any particulate matter that will eventually slow/stop the flow in the ‘filtering’ direction.
Altho it is not entirely necessary to do so, I typically Back-Flush the filter at least once every other day (or more often, if the water is murky.
Typically, I like to “Pre-Filter” the water (at the very least, run it through a bandana or even paper towels, to remove ‘stuff’ that will try to clog the filter)

The final item in the ‘kit’ is the “straw” (a short length of plastic tube, that you can use in one of two ways:
You can put it on the intake side of the filter, to facilitate ‘sucking up’ water from very shallow sources or hard to reach sources .. Or you can put it on the Out flow side of the filter, and putting the In-flow port directly into water you can suck it up, just like using a soda-straw.

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