When I first became aware of all the different types of water treatment products for outdoor use, I was somewhat overwhelmed. After many calls to the retailer, I finally gained a clear understanding. It was difficult to find a single source capable of providing me with the information I required. As a result, I decided to compile this information in hopes it will help people in their decision-making process.
These filters are typically portable, handheld units. Most of these models are designed for hiking, hunting, camping, and backpacking. Katadyn makes a filter (the Combi) that has an attachment available for connecting the filter to a sink faucet. Something like this would work in a home, RV, cabin, etc.
The type of filter media used in these filters is either ceramic or glass fiber. These materials have such small pores even microorganisms cannot pass through them. Almost all of these filters have the capability of incorporating carbon to the filtration process. The carbon is not necessary for providing potable water, but it will improve the taste and odor. The Katadyn Vario and MSR MiniWorks use a glass fiber/carbon filter media as well as a ceramic pre-filter disc for more cloudy water. This pre-filter can be bypassed when you’re filtering clear water.
There are two different types of gravity-fed camping water filters:
The first is a stationary type (such as Katadyn Gravidyn or Ceradyn). There’s no need to mount the filter, but it is much too cumbersome to pack up and take on an excursion. There are two main vessels: an upper and a lower ones. The upper vessel holds the three filter elements. The lower filter holds the filtered water and has a spigot to receive the water. The water simply drips through the filter elements to brita water in humidifier the lower vessel. This filter has an incredible capacity of 39,000 gallons. This filter requires 3 filter elements – all made of ceramic and carbon.
The second is a portable type (Katadyn Base Camp or Platypus CleanStream). This filter type has a nylon bag that can be filled and hung from a tree or whatever else will work, and the bottom of the bag houses the filter cartridge. The capacity is not nearly what the stationary type is, but it will still provide about 200 gallons of water and can also be broken down into a smaller form (so you can pack it up easily). The filter media used in the system is glass fiber and carbon.
The water purification tablets (such as Katadyn Micropur) are a great item to keep on hand as a backup in case your camping water filter breaks or gets destroyed. These tablets are made of chlorine dioxide. Once the chlorine reacts with dioxide, the chlorine becomes chloride, which produces a safe, non-toxic byproduct.