Thursday, March 17, 2011

Aquamira Water Bottle Filtration

Okay, get ready to be excited.  I've been thinking hard about how to carry three days worth of water in my 72 hour kit, and it just isn't feasible in a light and fast setup.  If you've read my blogs before, then you know I'm not a fan of a static kit in a box because it chains you down to wherever it is stored.  The backpack is preferable.  But you have to have the water.  Now, if you are not moving around much, and if it's cold outside, you can probably get by with just a gallon of water and be done with it.  But if you're like me, you probably won't be at home when a natural disaster hits.  In fact, when the time comes, I won't be so lucky.  No earthquake is going to get my approval before it strikes.  So I need to be ready to get on the move in the aftermath of a disaster. 

In all likelihood, I won't be able to drive home.  I drive under/over 4 bridges/overpasses just to get out of Tacoma every morning.  Then I have drive under and over 6 more bridges to get to work.  If a bridge is out, so is the vehicle.  Time to hoof it.  But if I have to haul 3 gallons of water with me, I'm probably going to die from exhaustion before I make it home.  Enter Aquamira.

Literally translated, it means "See Water" in Spanish.  What I see is a great value.  This works on the idea that you have a regular 22 ounce sport bottle, put a filter cartridge inside, and a protected water cap on top and you have a self contained filtration system that requires no pump or extra stuff - just a water bottle.  And if you can believe it, I picked this gem up from Sportco in Fife for $18.00 - not even 20 bucks!

The primo MSR Sweetwater still runs around $80 and that's fine if you want to spend a lot of money.  But for your 72 hour kit, why spend a lot of money when you can spend a quarter of the MSR's cost and get something that will filter 100 gallons of water on a single cartridge?

The Aquamira water bottle & filter uses a carbon filter that removes 99.9& Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which are the main bad dudes you want to remove from your water.  It suppresses the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold, and mildew within the filter media.  Now, it won't protect against some stuff.  Food borne or disease causing bacteria, viruses, germs or other disease causing organisms are not protected against.  But unless I'm getting my water from a puddle that an HIV victim bled into while eating a 10 day old ham sandwich, I'm probably okay. 

Aquamira claims 460 bottle refills with one cartridge, which is 100 gallons or so.  For those who care, the bottle is BPA free.  The bottle itself is designed to fit bicycle holders, backpack pockets, etc.  And it really is a nice size. 

To drink, you just add water, place the cap on, open the cap valve, tilt up, squeeze and there you go.  I tested mine against Tacoma's filthy excuse for what they call water, and am impressed.  I poured water straight from the tap into a clear glass and then squeezed filtered water into another glass.  The Tacoma water, held up to the light, was yellowish in color and had particles that settled in the bottom of the glass.  The filtered Tacoma water was clear with no particles to settle in the bottom of the glass.  Additionally, the filtered water tasted better than the Tacoma water, which had a very mineral taste and smell about it.  The filtered water was odorless and sweet tasting - almost tasteless.  Now, if it can handle Tacoma's water, then it can handle anything!

Getting back to seriousness here, I recommend you buy two of these bottles: one to play around with and test, and take camping with you, and another that you do not open.  Just place it in your 72 hour kit completely dry and sealed.  When you need to use it, you will have a fresh bottle and filter that will give you an extra edge.

So, what about carrying all that water around with you?  Well, plan on still carrying a gallon or so (just about 4 liters).  But you won't need to worry about conserving water so much because you have access to water from any source, just so long as it hasn't been mixed with a bunch of animal blood and old turkey sandwiches. 

As for getting to the water, the oldest method is to dig down until you get water soaking a hole and go from there.  But that's for another post at another time.  For me, I'm going to buy a few more of these bottle and filters and stuff them into my wife's and my 72 hour kits.  At $18, how can you go wrong?

-James

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