Do You Need a Water Filter and a Water Purifier?

You simply can’t carry all of the water you need for a multiple day backpacking trip. Water takes up too much space and it’s too heavy. While some trails cut through maintained campgrounds with running water, many prefer the reliability of a portable water filter or portable water purifier for backpacking trips. But do you need a water filter and a water purifier, or can you get by with just one?

What’s the difference between a water filter and a water purifier?

Water filters remove sediment, particulates, and potentially harmful bacteria and protozoa. Filters do not remove viruses, however, as they are too small to filter out. Water filters may also fail to remove chemicals and heavy metals, but activated carbon filters do help remove metals.

Water purifiers kill bacteria, protozoa, and viruses – making water safe to drink – but most water purification methods do not physically remove anything from the water.

Do you need both a water filter and a water purifier for backpacking trips?

Sometimes a water filter is all you need to make water safe to drink. Most moving water sources in the U.S. – rivers, streams, and creeks – can provide safe drinking water with only a water filter.

When traveling abroad, dealing with stagnant water, or getting water from contaminated water sources, a filter won’t provide adequate protection. A water purifier is the only way to guarantee that your water is safe to drink.

A purifier is more reliable than a filter, but a filter makes water more drinkable. For example water that’s been purified can still be cloudy and have stuff in it. You want to filter these things out, even if it’s not technically necessary. Clear, filtered water isn’t always safe to drink, as it can still contain chemicals, viruses, or heavy metals.

The best option is a combination of the two. A water purifier provides peace of mind, and you know that each and every drop of water is safe. Water filters remove sediment and particulates, which makes water more enjoyable.

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Fayetteville, Arkansas for portable water filters and water purifiers for backpacking, hiking, and travel. If you still can’t decide which one is right for you, just ask our friendly, knowledgeable staff!

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