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Water Filters and Purification for Hiking

Whether it’s a day hike, a weekend adventure in the hills or a much longer trek, one of life’s greatest pleasures is to get away from one’s everyday concerns, venture out into the wild and explore the wonders of nature on foot. Just you, your walking companions and the landscape. Not quite just you and your companions, of course, because to survive in the open for any length of time you need to carry a certain amount of equipment. Suitable clothing, navigation aids, shelter and food are all important. But it is water that is perhaps the most vital element for the walker; one cannot survive without access to clean, safe drinking water. And therein lies the problem; one needs several litres of drinking water each day, and water, as we all know, is very heavy when you have to carry it. Fortunately for those of us who love the outdoors, it is fairly easy to find natural sources of water in all but the hottest, driest regions of the world. So if you can access water from streams or lakes, you do not have to be burdened by carrying all of your drinking and cooking water. But there is a problem with using such sources of water: innocent looking streams or lakes can often be contaminated with a whole host of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Which is where the kinds of filtration and purification products that are readily available on the market today come in. There are several different systems available, but what they all share is the ability to turn potentially risky water into clean, surprisingly palatable drinking water. 1 (1) The three main categories of water purification comprise of chemical systems, filtration systems and equipment that makes use of UV light. There are also hybrid systems involving two or more of these elements. You will find a comprehensive range of all types at Simply Hike. All of these systems are highly effective and suitable for use by any outdoor enthusiast. Chemical systems are cheap, light to carry and are based on tablets containing silver ions and chlorine. Filter bottles come in several sizes and, whilst slightly heavier than tablets, are effective in filtering out particles and pathogens. Those with several grades of filter are particularly efficient. A more recent development is purification by UV light. Powered by rechargeable lithium batteries, these systems produce pure, taste and odour-free water in a matter of minutes. Again, these are a little heavier than chemical treatments. 1 (2) Naturally, your starting point for purifying water in the wild is to use common sense when sourcing it. Use running water whenever possible, avoid areas where animals drink and defecate, keep well clear of any dead animals and avoid using water from lakes with obvious blue-green algae contamination. That way you can enable your chosen purification system to do the job it was designed for, leaving you free to enjoy your day in the open air with plenty of safe, clean drinking water to hand. 1