Camping Water Purifier

Finding the right camping water purifier can be a difficult task. It is not helped with science and marketing seemingly not being able to agree on which are the best systems of camping water purification and filtering. The aim of this page is not be a scientific authority. We are happy to leave that to the scientists.

Our aim to present the main considerations and types of camping water purifier that will give you safe drinking water easily and cheaply. This page is purely designed to help you choose a system that is cheap, simple and works, so you can get on with your camping adventures.

What piqued our interest in this subject was all the press and attention it gets now days. This is in total contrast to my youth, where if the water looked OK to drink, you drank it! We did this all of my younger years throughout the Snowy Mountains, South Coast and Blue Mountains. So what has changed? Is it just better spin from commercial interests, or are we better informed these days, or have the risks actually increased?

My guess is that is a combination of all of the above. One of the major changes I see is that we are now very aware that if you are camping downstream from a mining or agricultural area, chances are the water in the river will be contaminated to some degree by the chemicals used in the farming and mining. Feral animals also appear to have spread nasties throughout Australia's waterways, as have poor toileting habits of campers.

Fresh, safe and reliable drinking water is an absolute essential part of life, and takes on added significance when in a camping situation. The two main options for providing safe drinking water are:

  • Camping Water Purifiers

  • Camping Water Filters

This page deals with Camping Water Purifiers. Read about Camping Water Filters.

Why you need a Camping Water Purifier

Using a water purifier when camping will greatly reduce your chances of picking up a stomach bug such as diarrhoea, and the associated inconvenience and health risks. To put it mildly, this condition will put a real dampener on your trip and can seriously affect your health. Diarrhoea is no fun even in the comfort of your own home, but when camping in remote locations, let's just say that it's not even on the low end of the fun spectrum! It is worth every penny to have safe drinking water!!

I am a person who just loves camping in Australia, not a scientist. But just the sound of the following possibilities - protozoa , bacteria and viruses that can cause botulism, bacillus subtilis, cholera, dysentery, Salmonella Typhimurium, typhoid, Poliovirus, Rotavirus, E. coli, Klebsiella terrigena, Streptococcus faecalis, Coliphage MS2, Giardia and Cryptosporidum is enough to convince me! - particularly when a lot of camping water purifiers and filters cost around $50 - $200.

Basic difference between Purifiers and Filters.

  • In a nutshell, a Camping Water Filter needs water to be passed through mesh type barriers that "trap" or filter out most of the impurities in the water.
  • Camping Water Purifiers work to treat the water to eliminate or lessen the potency of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts that may be present in the water.

The starting point to figure the Camping Water Purifier that is right for you is to determine what style of camping you will be doing and what water supplies you expect to be available.

If you are travelling Australia in a

Camper Trailer or a Caravan and collecting your water from various town supplies, you may only need an inline water filter as you fill your tanks, or a purifier from your tank to your tap. However if you are doing back country hiking and drawing water from rivers and streams, you may to look at a more portable, lightweight purifier.

Types of Camping Water Purifiers

In an attempt to simplify matters, 3 main types of Camping Water Purifiers available are:

  • Cartridge purifiers.
  • UV Stabilization purifiers.
  • Chemical purifiers.

The advantages and disadvantages of each vary depending on your needs. Two of the main variables will be the source water, and the quantity of water you require.

Top of the line cartridge camping water purifiers can cost more and have fairly expensive cartridges that need replacing periodically, depending on what unit you buy. An example of one type on the market, is a purifier that costs $400 to buy, will deliver 400 litres per cartridge at a cost of $120 per cartridge.

UV stabilization camping water purifiers will generally treat a smaller amount of water in a single go. They can be compact and light for hiking, but run on batteries or solar. They are by all accounts very effective.

If you need to deal with viruses, you will probably need to use chemicals. When doing this, it is important to start with the cleanest water possible, otherwise most of the chemical will be absorbed by the organic matter and not get to the bugs. When choosing between a camping water purifier and a camping water filter, the purifier will make sure you are drinking the safest water possible. It will probably be more expensive to purchase, and the ongoing cost of the cartridges will further add to the cost. At the end of the day, if it is fully purified water that you need, the expense is arguably justifiable when your health is involved.

That said, we have for many years used a simple camping water filter for our travelling adventures around Australia and have never had a problem. This has almost always been from town supplies and stored in our off-road caravan tanks and plastic bladders. It seems to be a general consensus that in Australia, you will not need a purifier even if backpacking and drawing water from local streams but will get away with a camping water filter. However,in many places around the world, a purifier is a must.

Read about camping water filters.

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