The Water Treatment gear category contains various solutions for treating water in the backcountry to make it safe for drinking.
There are several ways water can be treated; boil it, chemically treat it, filter it using a water filter, or purify it with a water purifier.
Boiling water is 100% effective but requires time, fuel and cookware.
Chemically treating water is effective against bacteria and viruses, but not all protozoan cysts. In addition, many people do not like the taste of water after it has been chemically treated. Others should not ingest iodine for health reasons.
Filtering and purifying water are both good options but they require purchasing a device, usually a handpump, that can be expensive and heavy to carry.
The water treatment options found in this category generally fall under the following subcategories.
Chlorine or an iodine solutions
A microbiological device that removes bacteria and protozoan cysts from water. It does not filter out viruses.
A microbiological device that removes bacteria, protozoan cysts and viruses from water. Viruses are typically either filtered with an electrostatic filter, or killed through interaction with an iodine resine.
External linksThe following websites contain some useful information on various Water Treatment options and/or types of pathogens commonly found in backcountry water supplies.
How to choose a water filter or purifier, by REI.
Water treatment clinic, by REI.
USACHPPM website Comparison of commercially available individual water purifiers by the US Army.
Description of Giardia lamblia, US FDA website.
Description of Cryptosporidium parvum, US FDA website.
Description of Campylobacter jejuni (bacteria), US CDC website.