There are Emergency Water Purification Issues and Drawbacks with each method we talked about. Some issues with the hand pump and UV purifier can take you out of the game and leave you without water purifying capabilities. While issues with boiling and Iodine drops, are simply minor inconveniences that can easily be overcome. That's why Solared Survivor includes 3 different Emergency Water Purification Methods.
Boiling the water will kill all of the microorganisms, but not using a filtration unit means you are consuming what ever dirt, moss, bugs or whatever else you fail to hand filter out of the water you put in the pot to boil. You just need to be more diligent and conscience when your filling the pot.
We choose to boil our water for an extra 10 minutes when cooking our meals, to conserve our purified water. But doing this blows through our cooking fuel in no time. My wood burning stove or having a fire solves that, but a lot of the time this isn't an option for us. We like to hike above the tree line where there isn't any fire wood. I t's more secluded and we like to avoid mosquitos. When fuel gets low, we do a lot more hand pumping and cook with already purified water. Or if it's an emergency, we drop below the tree line and make a fire.
These hand pumps need to be serviced before and after your trip or they will lock up on you and make pumping difficult, it not impossible. These water purifiers need to be disassembled and lubricated before you head to the mountains, to assure the piston slide smoothly and doesn't require too much effort. We had some trial and errors with this on the mountain. We figured out that cooking oil is not a good lubricant. When you run out of the provided oil, it's best to use vasoline on the pistons o-rings.
Also, when you are finished using it, don't just put it on the shelf and expect it to work perfect for you the next time you need it. The filter captures and removes the microorganisms and bacteria from the water. That bacteria is now sitting in the filter cartridge. Eventually it will turn into black mold and clog that filter, making pumping difficult. Or it will be so clogged, that forcibly pumping will just blow water passed the pistons seals and not purify it. When you are through using it, you need to pump a water-bleach solution through the filter to kill the bacteria before you store it.
Gravity Filters are known for being a slow means of purification. This is true. It's an automated, hands free process, but a slow one. Gravity filters can be designed, using water principles and pressure assist techniques, to maximize their production. The pressure from the weight of the water is what forces the water through the filter cartridges. The water pressure is based on the depth of the water, not the volume. If you have a wide tank that is shallow, it will purify very slow compared to a tank that has the same volume but is narrow and deep. Adding additional pressure to the unit, makes the Solared Survivor gravity filter, very efficient.
Iodine drops will discolor the water and change the taste. I'll use iodine drops mostly as a last resort. If my hand pump fails or were on the mountain and low on fuel to boil water or I'm at home and my gravity filter cartridges are clogged, I can put these in my water. Is it my first, 2nd or 3rd choice? No, but it works. It's really the taste. I'm not a fan of the iodine colored or flavored water to quench my thirst. It's different if I'm on the mountain and I'm sick or hurt and I'm intentionally drinking it for its antibiotic or antiviral health advantages.
This is my least favorite method, as you may have concluded, strictly based on the experience I had.
There are four of us who carry (2) 32oz Nalgene bottles each and we usually fill up a 96oz water bladder when we are done hiking for the day. The extra water bladder prevents us from having to purify water again in the morning. We break down camp and get on the trail sooner. It usually takes us about an hour to do all of that purifying. I saw these new UV Purifiers came out and I thought it would be great for speeding up our purification time and reducing our effort. This new UV purifier said 30 seconds for 32oz. That's being done with our purifying in less than 6 minutes with no pumping! Sign my ass up!
I purchased one of these UV purifiers and I was excited to take it on my upcoming hike. I took it out of the box, put in the batteries and submerged into my Nalgene bottle. Y ou are supposed to press a button, the bulb comes on in the water and then a digital readout displays a 30 second count down. The bulb on mine, turned on for a second, then turned off and the display flashed a letter. Huh? That's weird. That letter on the display was a "bulb error" message. Right out of the box! What if this happened on the mountain? What if this was my only water purification source I brought? I'm sure there are those out there that have bought one of these, take it on every trip and have never had an issue. That didn't happen to me. I thought about trying my luck again but then I concluded, I'm not a fan of anything that requires batteries or needs an input signal in order to purifier my water. It's too risky.
Then I thought deeper on it and realized, these went against my beliefs while I'm backpacking on the mountain. There are no shortcuts, you have to do the work. The view from the mountain pass is that beautiful because you did the work and hiked your butt up there. The view wouldn't be the same or as rewarding, if I took an escalader or gondola up. There's no magic button you press to deliver you water on the mountain. You work for everything while you're up there. Or you're missing the point of it all.