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Looking for good water purification systems for bacteria and viruses AND also rain water chemicals

Hi, I was looking on your website for water treatment products. I am traveling (living for a few months) in the jungles in SE Asia. I will have to collect drinking and washing water from the rain. I am concerned not just about bacteria or viruses but also toxic chemicals in the atmosphere that get absorbed into rain water. Do you have any products good for that purpose? Or suggestions? 

Thanks so much for your help!


Guy Gonyea 

3 Replies

When on a mountain bike ride in Colorado, we were out of water and the only source of water was a slow stream that consisted of mostly mud, with patches of some water that was deep enough to fill up our "dirty water bags". Surrounding this slow stream were several cow hoof-prints. (read between the lines goes without saying)

We even had biked past some of those cows a few minutes earlier. We had a big climb ahead of us and there was simply no other option. lol (I laugh now)

Someone said...ok, time to really field test the Sawyer squeeze filter....

The brown water went through the Sawyers and became clear water. We all stood around with our "freshly-filtered" water....and..."cheers".

It did taste "off", but we never got sick, and successfully made it up the next climb and to the next "cleaner" water source. So...the Sawyer works!!!

I'm confident that the dirty water was squarely on the toxic side, but it was in no industrial toxicity. I'm not sure how the Sawyer performs with that, but I can say that it does the job for biological toxicities. Hehehehe.


@Guyinvn19, even though you posted this question on the "Ask an REI Employee" board, you may also get suggestions from other members of the community. We wanted to provide a friendly reminder (from our User Guidelines) that "only posts from a user with the “REI Employee” rank should be regarded as employee-generated content." 


@Guyinvn19 Great question, sounds like you're in for quite an adventure! 

I did some digging into the filtration/purification units that we sell and we have many options that should work for you, however you will want to check into what chemicals you may be dealing with. Most heavy metals are only a concern if you are attempting to filter stagnant ground water (like from a mine pond, farm runoff, etc.) as they will be too heavy to evaporate into rain. 

The MSR Guardian Purifier uses hollow fiber technology to filter down to .02 microns and is the most robust filter/purifier we carry. From MSR's website: "MSR filters and purifiers provide microbiologically safe drinking water. The carbon in the filters and disinfectant of the purifiers will adsorb or react with some chemical contaminates such as herbicides, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, MSR filters or purifiers will not protect you from high chemical concentrations or heavy metal contamination. Do your best to avoid water sources such as mining tailing ponds or those near agricultural operations."

If you have concerns above and beyond the abilities of that purifier then you will have to look into a system that goes beyond the scope of what we carry. I hope this helps guide you a bit. I hope you have an amazing adventure!


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