I love the outdoors and hiking up in the mountains. One of my favorite places is Yosemite National Park, which isn’t too far since I’m in California myself. On one trip, we planned to do the Panorama Trail hike from Glacier Point down to Yosemite Valley. The trail is about 8.5 miles long and has the best views of Yosemite Valley that I’ve ever experienced. We like to take our time hiking and enjoying the views as opposed to power walking, as I see many other hikers do and not even look around to see the beautiful landscape around them. We brought enough water, so we thought, and the day turned out hotter than expected. Well, we finished our water a third of the way through the hike. There were streams and rivers along the way that we could have filtered more water to drink, but we didn’t have one and we didn’t want to risk drinking unfiltered water.
After this trip, I finally bought a portable water filter for these types of hikes. However, I recently came upon a product that I think I should have purchased. The CamelBak All Clear UV Purifier features a UV (ultraviolet) light that safely neutralizes bacteria, cysts and viruses so that you can be assured safe drinking water from any water source.
Using UV light to purify water isn’t new. It’s been used in aquarium, pond and home filtration systems for many years now, even decades actually. Two decades ago when I had a few salt water aquariums at my place, this technology was already being used so it’s a tried and tested technology to purify the water. The great thing about CamelBak’s UV Purifier is that they’ve made it portable and long lasting per charge.
Using UV light to purify water is considered one of the best methods. If you look at the details of other water filtration systems, it will state that it will kill 99.99% of only certain types of bacteria. With UV light, it will kill 99.99% of ALL harmful microorganisms. Even though you see the 99.99% number, look what it states after that.
The product I purchased after that eventful hike at Yosemite was a standard portable water filter that you had to pump. This type of filter, depending on its design, requires you to either change the filter every so often or reverse pump clean water to clean the filtration material.
Other types of water purifiers uses tablets that release iodine into the water to clean it. Quite a few people use this but there is a certain taste to the water that many do not like. I have not tried this since the idea of chemically treating the water doesn’t appeal to me.
Pros and Cons
The major pro is that using UV light will kill 99.99% of all bacteria, cysts and viruses, much more than other types of filtration systems. You can drink water from any source without having to worry about catching anything. While I have not heard that anybody has caught anything dangerous from using the other filtration methods, it gives me more peace of mind with the UV purifier.
With the LCD screen, it’ll let you know when it’s done purifying the water. With iodine tablets, they say to wait 30 minutes but you don’t have any indicator that tells you when the time is up. You’ll either have to set a countdown timer on your phone or watch but with the built-in electronics in the CamelBak UV Purifier, it’s all taken care of for you and it only takes 60 seconds to purify the water.
One con is that it requires power. The unit has built-in rechargeable batteries that should last up to 80 cycles per charge and they state that the product overall should last 10,000 cycles. Even if I haven’t done 20 or 30 cycles and I’m planning a good long hike, I would probably top off the battery before heading out just to be sure that there’s power. The one thing you don’t want is not being able to purify water in the middle of nowhere. Trust me, I know.
The one thing this doesn’t filter is particulate matter such as sand and other solid materials from your water source such as a stream, for example. However, neither does using an iodine tablet. The only filtration system that does filter out solids is the portable pump type that will filter down to 0.001 microns and such. But, these don’t kill all bacteria. So, are you OK with a little sand at the bottom of your water knowing that it’s bacteria and virus free or the other way around?
The last thing I wanted to mention is that while the price is considerably higher than other portable water purifiers, the technology is definitely worth it in my opinion. In actuality, this product costs 5 times more than what I first bought. However, now that I’ve found this product, it’s going on my wishlist.