Selecting the best hiking water treatment is harder than selecting the best hiking footwear, which is generally more people are concerned about. When selecting water treatment, there are several factors to be considered including the different size, treatment time and weight, and also you should consider the difficult categories like longevity of the treatment system, filter medium, and what kind of organism is effective at removing.
Photo Credit: Steve Ryan on flickr
Making Water Safe – Why treat Water
In olden days, many hikers used to drink water directly from an old creek when they happened to pass by. During that period, the water was clear, crisp, cold, and fresh mountain water that is refreshing. But now it is totally different scenario, more pollution and contaminated water.
First you should know what you are trying to remove from the water using water treatment and how it can help you.
In recent research, it is proved that a hinterlands source at elevation, the water is possibly still cleaner than what the researchers actually thought before. May be it is not necessary to treat all types of water. The problem is, just by look at the water you cannot tell if is contaminated. The best way to find if the water is contaminated or not is, at high elevation point where you cannot find any pack of animals, or no cattle grazing, and very less population, then you can guess the water is not severely contaminated. But, it is always better to do water treatment before drinking it to avoid the risks.
When you are filtering the water, the water goes through a facet that catches little particles and permits the water to go through. The size of the pore in the element will decide what is removed from the water.
If you pour water on a piece of tent-screen, it catches only sand and sticks, and nothing else. If you pour water through a neckerchief it catches small bugs and more dirt. If you pour water through a coffee filter (paper) it can catch more dirt and other small particles.
The above mentioned process can help you remove only the visible impurity. But, the actual impurities like bacteria, cysts, and viruses are not visible to a naked eye. To remove this impurity, you need commercial water purifiers or filters.
There are 2 types of water purifiers are available for hiking purpose.
1. Pump Filter – In this pump filter purifier one end or the hosepipe is placed in the water container and another end in water supply and the water comes out passing the filter element. This process takes a lot of effort and time, but it is very famous filtering process.
2. Gravity Water Filters – in this process the water is poured in an impure container and pace it at a high elevation. The container contains an outlet pipe through which the water comes down through filter element and fall into a clean container. This process also takes effort as the earth’s gravity is doing the job and it also takes its own sweet time to purify the water.
UV Light water treatment:
It’s a comparatively new method to purify the water. Small equipment attacks the organisms that are in the water using UV light and it destroys their reproductive system. This process is fast and very affordable and it is easy to use because it is very light weight. But you should handle it with care and you need extra batteries for the device.
In this process, few drops of chemicals are added in collected water. These chemicals kill the bacteria and other impurities in the water. This is considerably easy method, but it takes time and also very expensive. Light weight as you are not going to carry any device. But, it leaves all the dead organisms in the water.