Update on Water Purification

man-and-woman-drinking-bottled-water-pixabay-imageWater purification methods for disasters and emergency situations are addressed in detail, in our previous article on this subject.  In that post, portable water purification gear for GO-Bags and evacuation kits was addressed, along with our recommendation of the Sawyer Mini water purification filter.  After receiving many questions and suggestions on this topic, we evaluated additional products and revisited our previous recommendation.  The result is that the ‘Sawyer Mini’ remains the winner for the best water purification system for inclusion in GO-Bags, small survival kits, and portable emergency kits.

At relatively the same cost and size, the Sawyer Mini provides far superior performance to filtration straws and other brands of compact water purification filters. (Remember, water ‘purification‘ for safe drinking is very different from water ‘filtration‘ for taste and appearance.)  The Sawyer Mini effectively filters to 0.1-micron absolute, a noteworthy accomplishment.  There is a lot of marketing hype with other products, but we have not found any small-size water purification filter that performs nearly as well as the Sawyer.


Water Purification in a Tiny Package

10009076_zmWith every-day-carry kits (Kop Kits), survival pouches, and fanny packs containing emergency essentials, we understand that there often isn’t space for even a small filter like the Sawyer Mini.  Nevertheless, for these applications, it is still important to have a water purification method.  Fortunately, there is an ultra-compact alternative to a purification filter; water purification tablets.

For compact and pocket kits that have limited space, purification tablets are a great alternative — but only if the right product is selected. Our research results indicate that, despite marketing claims, most brands do not provide adequate purification. In addition, we think that these tablets need to be individually packaged in foil; a feature that extends shelf-life and makes it possible to include them in even the smallest kits.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 was the only product that fully purified water, eliminated water-borne pathogens, and met our criteria for small size and ease of use. But even without the limitations of our criteria, we found it to be far superior to any of the other water purification tablets, as well as iodine and liquid treatment methods.  MP1 is also superior to the various chlorine bleach methods.  It is the only tablet or liquid that has proven to be effective against viruses, bacteria, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium (Crypto) in all water conditions.  The U.S. Government thinks so, too, as this is the only purification tablet or liquid that has been successfully registered with the EPA as a microbiological water purifier.

Katadyn Micropur MP1 is the hands-down winner in this race.  Our conclusion is that the MP1 product is the best choice for inclusion in small every-day-carry emergency kits, and it is the perfect back-up to the Sawyer Mini and other purification filters.

We consider it a necessity for inclusion in pocket-size, pouch-size, and fanny-pack style emergency kits, and also medical kits when pure water may be needed for electrolyte replenishment treatments (such as Zipfizz) and wound irrigation.

6aafafa6-01f4-462e-a6c3-250171d0e588Two-Level Purification:  For those situations when it is desirable to be extra careful, Katadyn Micropur MP1 can provide a convenient and important level of redundancy when used in addition to other non-chemical water purification methods.  Note: No chemical or small filter device is suitable for turning salt water into drinking water.

Product Link:  Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets.

Water Purification at Home, Work, or Safe-Haven Group Shelter

For emergency water purification at home, work, and anywhere else that space allows, consider the Sawyer SP191. This is a kit designed to be used with a food-grade 5-gallon bucket.  Though the manufacturer describes its use in a one-bucket setup, our recommendation is to use this same system but in a two-bucket setup.
With our recommended setup, one bucket is filled with the water you intend to filter, and the second bucket is used for storing your purified drinking water.  By adding a simple spigot to this second bucket which also has a lid, it is easy to safely maintain your supply of purified water, as well as make it easy to fill water bottles and other containers.
shoppingRegardless of whether you use it in a 1-bucket or 2-bucket system, or whether you use it for emergency use at home or for a group, the Sawyer SP191 is a relatively new product that provides peerless and yet economical water purification.  It is capable of filtering to the level of 0.02-micron absolute. That is a nearly unheard-of level of purification, especially in a portable package.
Importantly, the Sawyer SP191 doesn’t just purify water in the conventional sense, it will also remove 99.997% of viruses, 99.99999% of bacteria, 99.9999% of protozoa/cysts, and 100% of microplastics.
This powerful, lightweight purification system has an output of 1 liter per minute when used as a gravity system with a bucket. It does not require any hand pumping, chemicals, or electricity.  The SP191 kit even comes with a faucet adapter.

Most purification systems, including most of those that cost 10x more than this product, do not filter nearly as well as this advanced technology product.  Plus, the SP191 is field maintainable, can be cleaned so you don’t need to stockpile filter cartridges, and it can reliably produce up to 170-gallons/day of pure drinking water.  Of course, you’ll want some sort of pre-filter to get the water clean-looking before you run it through any purification filter, as this extends filter life. (The SP191 which has a useful life of 1-million+ gallons.). Pre-filtering does not require the purchase of an additional product as it can be accomplished using simple methods such as running the water through layers of fabric before it is poured into the first bucket.

Product Link:  Sawyer Products, model SP191, “Point Zero Two” water purification assembly kit.  


Pure water is essential.  Whether you are at home, or on the road when a disaster or emergency situation strikes, we need to be prepared to scavenge for water, and we need to have the ability to not just filter that water, but to purify it. During an emergency situation, even clean-looking tap water may be contaminated. If there is any doubt, purify it.  This is not the time to take chances.  We can live for weeks without food, but only a day or two without pure water. With this in mind, every emergency kit needs either a water purification filter that can purify water to the level of 0.1-micron absolute, or an equivalent chemical or other water treatment method that eliminates viruses and bacteria.