Portable Water Filter: Hydrating off-grid

Whether you're on a long camping trip or a storm has knocked you off-grid, you are going to need a consistent supply of clean water to drink.  We've written a few posts on how to live-off grid from an energy standpoint, but we all know water is a little more vital to our survival. Fortunately, if you have a Frontier Pro portable water filter you won't have to worry about drinking water contaminated with Mother Nature's phlegm.  I was able to sample this product because it is the first product in my new OpenSky store!

The Frontier Pro water filter comes with a  Micraguard Antimicrobial activated coconut shell carbon filter with bite valve, Prefilter, and bottle/tube adapter.  You also get 4 replacement prefilters and a draw tube (use this if a bottle isn't handy and you want to sip water straight from the source).  To use, all you have to do is put a prefilter between the bottle/tube adapter and the main filter and then screw on to a water or cola bottle.  You are then ready to turn it up and chug!

Frontier Pro Filter contents

From left to right: Replacement filters/carrying pouch/insctructions, thread/tube adapter and prefilter, main filter, draw tube

The company that produces the Frontier Pro is Aquamira.  They advertise that the filter uses aquamira filtration technology with mira guard antimicrobial technology. The filter is tested and certified to remove over 99.9% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia.  I don't know what those last two words mean, but it sounds like they would result in a nasty tummy ache and they usually are the result of some human or animal's poo that has made its way into your water source.    What happens if .01% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia get through?  I'm not sure, but since the alternative would be to die of dehydration, I'll put some faith in the filter.  Or another option would be to keep searching for some water that has yet to be poo'd (is that the past tense of poo?) in by an animal, but come on, animals are everywhere.  Trust the Frontier Pro!

Now, surely I couldn't recommend a product before testing it.  My original plan was to go to the Chattahoochee river and take a few gulps.  I mean, why not go to an extremely polluted source to test out a water filter?  I "tubed" down the 'Hooch in college, and I know some water probably got in my mouth then, so how bad could it be (how much Cryptoporidium and Giardia does beer filter)?  I explained my plan to some friends and they advised me that this may be the worst idea I've ever had (and I have a bunch of bad ones).  After reading the following from the National Park Service's website I decided that my friends were probably right:

Fecal coliform, E. coli, and enterococci, indicators of bacterial pathogens in the water, are particular problems at Chattahoochee. They come from animal waste, leaking and overburdened sewers, wastewater treatment facilities, leachate from septic tanks, and fecal matter associated with storm-water runoff.

Let's be honest, if you read the word "fecal" two times in a paragraph in reference to a body of water, you probably shouldn't drink it either; I don't care what filter you have.  So after reviewing plan A (the Chattahoochee), I opted for plan B (my kitchen). It's not that I didn't trust the Frontier Pro.  It's just that I thought a controlled, poo-free environment may be safer for my first, non-diarrhea inducing, air-conditioned test.

To simulate a source of water found in nature I filled a 2-liter soda bottle with some water, salt, olive oil (in case you live near the BP oil spill), dirt (from some potted rosemary I just purchased), and ground red pepper (to taste).

This seemed to re-create what I would find in a Chattahoochee not filled with fecal matter.  I vigorously shook the mixture, screwed the Frontier Pro filter in place, and braced myself for my first test.

Dirty Water + Frontier Pro Filter = Mmmmm Mmmmm Good

And the results were surprisingly good!  Sure, some hint of olive oil got through and a tiny whiff of salt was in the air, but the filter worked well.  The filter will work for up to 50 gallons (which can satisfy a whole lot of thirsty backpackers).  As far as how the filter protects against Cryptosporidium and Giardia, you'll just have to take their word for it!  If you go hiking or camping and don't have a portable water filter, hop over to the new Mapawatt OpenSky store and buy the Frontier Pro portable water filter!

(PS: If you want a filter before Aug. 16th and use promo code guessed it)

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