Water Filter 101

We cannot survive long without drinking water. Have you every heard the rule of 3’s: you can only survive without air for 3 minutes, water for 3 days, and food for 3 weeks. Besides having safe breathable air, having safe drinking water is extremely important. With that being said you need to be able to use a water filter to extract water from almost any water source and eliminate the risk of becoming a victim of dehydration, sickness, and death.

Beware Of Microorganisms In Clear Water

Don’t be “that guy.” Safe looking clear water flowing in a cool stream or lake may appear fresh, safe and look ready to drink, but advised that it usually contains dangerous germs including viruses, bacteria, or protozoans.

Giardia lamblia, a protozoan, is a nasty microscopic parasite that is very common in lakes and streams, and when ingested it will quickly multiply in your small intestines causing diarrhea and abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, malaise, and fatigue. Protozoans are fairly large, 1 – 15 microns, and are easily caught in most all typical consumer grade water filters.

E-coli or Salmonella, both a type of bacteria and can also be found in the water of lakes or streams. Bacteria is much smaller, about 0.2 – 5 microns, but most good quality water filters will catch them. Their presence in water all depends on what is going on upstream or perhaps runoff from a recent rain. Most good quality consumer water filters will be capable of filtering down to 0.2 or 0.3 microns.

Viruses are the most difficult to filter due to their extremely small size, 0.02 to 0.2 microns. Viruses such as Hepatitis A, Norwalk virus, or Rotavirus may be living in the water you believe is safe to drink. When choosing a water filter, check the specifications to see if it can remove viruses down to 0.02 microns. You will pay more for this particular category. Most marketed water filters seem to be in the 0.2 micron range, and are satisfactory for most circumstances.

Types Of Water Filters


There are several varieties of drinking water filters. Some are designed to install directly into the existing home plumbing, be it attached to the kitchen sink faucet, a cartridge mounted underneath the sink in-line with plumbing, or even larger systems that serve the entire home (many of these large systems are strictly water softener systems).

It is recommend that you keep a large free standing unit for daily consumption and at least one small portable unit to keep on your person. I keep the gravity fed water filters and portable water filters in my prepping inventory.
The large free standing unit is of course meant for longer term use, such as in the home or on the campsite. The Berkey system is an excellent filter to have on hand and can be used for the occasional week long visits to your favorite get-away or to keep as a part of your prepping inventory for when a disaster strikes. Let me say that is is a must have.

Commercial water filters can be expensive but there are DIY alternatives such as the DIY Gravity Fed Water Filter, DIY Berky Water Filter, Bio Sand Water Filter and others.

Smaller, portable filters are perfect for your BOB (Bug Out Bag) or vehicle’s 72 hour emergency kit. Don’t be caught without one. They are also perfect to carry in your backpack if hiking or going on a day trip excursion. There are many varieties, sizes, and shapes, but all are small and light weight. I have several, one for each of our vehicle kits, one for each of our BOB’s, and another in our camping supplies. You can’t have too many of these!

So, do not delay, be prepared, do a little online research and at least purchase a small portable unit to have on hand. Check the ratings and reviews before you pick one.

Prepare Your Family for Emergencies

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