Over the last 25 years, I have logged close to 1 million air miles and I have traveled to all four corners of the world. Much of my time has been spent in locations where water quality is questionable and improper handling can make you very very very very very sick.
My traditional solution has been to use a particulate filtering system (like the Sawyer Mini water filter) and then sterilizing the product using a Steripen UV Sterilizer. In locations were I wanted to be doubly sure or my Steripen ran out of batteries, I also used Aquamira water purification tablets.
Welcome The Grayl water purifier
July 2016, I discovered and tested my stainless steel The Grayl water purifier & filter. I wrote a review about it here. Since discovering it, it has been part of my Everyday Carry Kit (EDC kit) and is always with me (normally with the tap water filter).
It met every single one of my requirements. It is self contained, easy to use and doesn't require batteries. I asked a university researcher friend to test 2 water samples (one from a pond and pond water filtered through the Grayl Water Purifier with the travel filter) and his conclusion was that the purified water coming from The grayl was clean and drinkable without any concerns.
He then compared it to the pond water filtered through the Sawyer mini then sanitized with the Steripen and found them of equivalent quality and safety (giving a slight edge to The Grayl).
So for all intents and purposes, this one simple to carry item did everything I needed it to do. But it had one negative, it was heavy. It was smaller (in volume) to the Steripen+Sawyer mini but weighed more. Weight is critically important when travelling.
Discover The Grayl Ultralight lightweight water purifier & filter
The Grayl reached out to me after my last review and asked if I wanted to test their Ultralight. I already loved my stainless steel Legend and didn't know why they would move to plastic. Isn't plastic bad?
Plastic is more porous thus has more surface area that can eventually get mouldy. It has more surface area that can capture smells. The Grayl has a nice trick up its sleeve. Unlike other water containers, when you completely disassemble any The Grayl water filter, you have a center tube (the clean water container) open on both sides therefore cleaning it is super simple.
I tried The Grayl Ultralight and I became a believer. I went from 588 grams to 309 grams. It may not sound like a major difference but is important when you are carefully planning every gram (whether for travel, hiking or as part of a survival kit).
The Legend also has a sealable mouth hole that sometimes restricts water flow too much, whereas the Ultralight has a large twist off top.
Beyond the pond
Everyone I show this too ends up buying one. 2 friends recently went on a 1 month Asian business trip, touching countries such as India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and a couple more.
They used the travel filter and didn't get sick once. They didn't have to drink from disposable water bottles and they didn't have to pay for exorbitant hotel water (between $US5-12 a bottle).
There are certain unscrupulous vendors that will replace the clean water in a single-use water bottle with dirty tap water (keeping the clean water for themselves). They do this by making a small hole in the bottom of the bottle (the injection moulding point) and then once they refill it with tap water. They seal the bottom hole with glue the bottom. When you buy this tainted product, you crack open the cap and assume it is clean, fresh, safe water when it isn't. Filtering your own water means you aren't dependent on anyone else.
Whether you are a traveler, a camping enthusiast or a prepper (preparing for a disaster), this is something that you need in your kit. The Grayl Ultralight is now part of my Everyday Carry Kit. I don't leave home without it and I actually bought a couple as gifts.
This has become one of my most recommended items (travel and EDC).
In Canada, you can buy :
- Ultralight for $64.99 at Altitude Sport comes with the travel filter here
- hybrid (stainless steel cup and plastic outer shell) from MEC for $58 here, comes with the tap filter
In the USA, you should buy it directly from The Grayl $59 here.