Water filter help

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Ajax, May 14, 2010.

  1. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    I am thinking about buying the Katadyn Combi with some replacement filters. I like that is has a ceramic and carbon filter but what I don't know is will something like this only work well for clear spring water that needs to be filtered or will it work on pretty much any type of water? For example could I use this to filter brown river water that may have chemicals and other pollutants in it?

    Amazon.com: Katadyn Combi Water Microfilter: Sports & Outdoors

    If this filter can filter out 50k gallons of clear water how many gallons of crappy river water can it filter?

    What do you guys use for a water filter? Are there better filters that do a better job of filtering dirty water for about the same price? I like the fact that it is portable so I could use it for emergencies and camping, although I am open to more stationary units if they work better. The main thing is clean drinkable water in the event of a long term emergency.

    What about water polluted with radiation like from a bomb, is that another beast or will filters like this work?

    My main reason for getting one is for emergencies and survival if, God forbid, the need ever arises.

    Thanks for any help and advice you can offer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I have the Pocket and like it a lot. Always find the clearest water you can but phishi and I have used it from some awful, stagnant ditch water in the past by covering the 'pre-filter' end with a bandana first and then cleaning off the ceramic every gallon or so. You fill know when it needs cleaning because it won't pump anymore.

    Not sure about what inorganics or organics it will pull but I figure we already get all of those.

    Go for it.

    I'd recommend something larger like Aqua Rain or Berkey for a non mobile solution. You can use more water than you make when you have to travel back and forth pumping each drop in hot weather.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    In the case of radioactive fallout, these will take out particulates that are no smaller than those they are rated for anyway. That could make for a "hot" filter, if the activity is high enough. But if it's that high, you are already in serious trouble and staying hydrated will be more critical. Saying it another way, the streams are apt to be no more murky than usual, and the murk is what you'll take out. Probably can't count on molecule sized particles getting trapped by the filter, but if the molecules are stuck on a mud particle, you are good to go.

    Please recognize the difference between radioactivity and direct radiation. If you like, think of it as activity = turds and radiation as the stink. The turds are an easy fix, the stink is less so.
  4. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    LOL, I guess the turds is what I would be worried about filtering out, the stink is a lot harder to escape.

    I read something a while ago about making a earthen type filter with certain materials, like pebbles, coal, earth, cloth etc. to filter water, one thing I though of is using something like that as a prefilter if the water was getting really, really, bad. Prefilter, boil, cool, good filter? Maybe something like that or possibly buy a less expensive filter with cheap filter replacements that I can stock up on and then cloth filter, then use the cheaper prefilter before using the main filter.

    I have an OK supply of food now but I only have about 100 gallons of ready water available which won't last very long if water is cut off but there are plenty of creeks, rivers, ponds around so as long as I can clean the water I can stay hydrated.
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    If you have nothing at all, get some clorox bleach. You can use that in a pinch: (6 drops per gallon?? Check that- it's top of my head). Get yourself some kind of portable filter but do also look for a larger scale solution. We need water more than we need food.
  6. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I've used the MSR Sweetwater for a while, back when it was originally made by Sweetwater. The filters have gotten quite a bit better in the last couple of years and I've upgraded the unit to a newer, smaller micron filter. I've come across a few of these for sale here and there, new and used, so I've been collecting parts. I don't have a definite opinion as to which filter is the best (or even better than the other) as they all seem to be popular. I just stuck with the MSR because I have spares.

    The main use my family has for this filter is in my son's diaper bag. I told my wife that when she is out and about, if she has to get water from a public tap to filter the heck out of it with the pump. It takes all tastes of any bad flavor away. It's the best I can do in the given situation. I would like to think that the charcoal filter takes out most of the crap that we can taste in tap water. I'm not going to make any claims other than that.

    Like was already said earlier, I use a prefilter (coffee filter) wrapped around the silt screen when pumping from a natural source.
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    It's 8 drops per gallon. Shake. Wait 20 minutes. If it doesn't smell like bleach ('cause the bleach was "eaten" up) re-treat.
    When you can still smell bleach, all the baddies are gone and you're ready to drink.

    I have 3 filters.
    First I bought about 20 years ago was the First Need. That was when it first came out. It works, but was from before they hooked all the components together, so you have to literally balance the filter element over your clean water vessel with your feet or something while you pump with 2 hands. The new ones are attached, so should be better.

    I bought one of the sweetwaters in 2001 for a trip to Mexico. I thought I'd be smart and filter instead of buying a bunch of bottled water. On day 4 I was taking Cipro - so needless to say I'm not impressed. I was filtering hotel water which was somewhat brackish so that might have had something to do with it. Don't know. The pump is somewhere mixed in with my camping stuff. Tossed the filter after that trip.

    I just recently bought the Berkey Light. Very impressed. We have swilly well water here. It kinda pisses me off since it's a community well run by a private company. No way are they in compliance. I have colonies of something growing in my rabbit water, and plant sprayer - somthin' ain't right. Needless to say we're not drinking the stuff.
    I got the Berkey for when TSHTF, but since the elements are good for 6000 gallons, I figured I'd put it to work. It's been great. No complaints and the water tastes great.
    When I first got it, I tested it to see if it would filter out food dye. No problem. I use the water in a humidifier that would turn anything funky and nothin'. No slime build up or anything. That tells me that the water is almost sterile going in.
    Not portable, but for your retreat or home a real winner.
  8. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    I thought about getting a Berkey, it's not as portable but in the long run may be better.

    Does anyone know the difference between the Berkey light and the big Berkey? It appears that they take the same filters so I am assuming the quality is just as good but speed and capacity is reduced with the smaller one. The big Berkley is SS so that is probably a lot better too.

    Isn't the Berkey used is relief areas like Africa where they have to filter really bad water?

    In the past hour I have been looking at Berkeys and I think that is the way I am going to go. I am going to get one for everyday use because we buy gal water now but we can just use this and put 2-4 filters in storage. If you filter 3 gal a day the filters(2) will last 5.5 years.

    Then get coffee filters and bleach for pretreatment to increase the life of the filter.
  9. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Same filter elements so essentially the same. Wish I had gotten the "big" rather than "light" since my doc educated me on the dangers of plastic food containers. If you don't buy into that then the "big" just offers more capacity.

    Yes. You can put murky water in, and clean comes out though you'd be advised to pre-filter as much as you can and use the best water available.
  10. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I use the PUR Hiker. It works well. Very light weight. In a SHTF scenario, it's good to have plenty of spare filters. Also, boil water whenever you get the chance and reserve the filter for times of travel.
  11. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    Something else I wondered. I know that the dirtier the water the more it will clog the filter and can reduce the life of a filter but with the Berkey filters being cleanable like they are does that just mean you have to clean the filter off more often with dirty water or will it actually shorten the 3000 gal per filter life span?

    I would think if the pores in the filter are small enough the dirt doesn't enter then it just means you have to clean the surface off more often.

    Once I get my filter I may do a test run with some water from the nasty Ohio river and see how it goes.
  12. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Yeah. I forgot what the instructions said. Something about lightly scrubbing the surface.

    We noticed that the water in the top container would get murky over time - and that's with supposedly clean well water. Good practice to rinse out the top section frequently.

    I'd have to say that the worse the water, the sooner the filters will become inoperable. They're are subject to the laws of physics just like everything else.

    The best indicator is the speed of filtration. When it slow down, clean - when cleaning doesn't help... Well, then its time to break open the checkbook!

    On the plus side, it's gravity operated, so you're not tempted to pump hard and break it or drive the nasties through the filter.
  13. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    I've use a hiker in the woods. We just went "all in" spent $340 shipped for a big berky and 4 blackfiters ( 2.25gal capacity)(7gal/hour rate with 4filters). We've got a lake and a river within .5mile.and an original well I mostly use on thelawn. Supposedly its not for potable use but I think that's political I wouldn't think twice of running it through the berky and drinking it if we still had ac power to the pump.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Whenever there is a public water supply, you'll find that wells are labeled that way. Means basically that the public health officials won't certify that the well is safe. Does NOT mean it is contaminated, just means they won't check it. With the Berkey, you'll be fine, and may not need it anyway. You can get it tested for a few dollars, just like us well owners do periodically.
  15. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I run all of my 4 holers with 2 filters and 2 rubber plugs to save the filters. If I needed the extra flow, I'd use all 4 but the differences in all of the gravity water filter sizes are capacity. You can run just fine with 2 filters.

    I have a problem with the black Berkey filters but that's another post. (They produce fine water, don't worry about that...)
  16. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I run all of my large water filters on 2 elements (like a Berkey Light) for a water guzzling family. I fill it to the top each night and they drink off of it the next day. If I had more than 3 in the family right now, I could add 1 or 2 more filters for a max of 4. I think the really big filters may have more than 4 holes? (not sure) but you are basically getting more capacity. I can wait for the flow in my situation.
  17. foust1012

    foust1012 Monkey+


    In my opinion, The Berkey is certainly the way to go. It is used all over the world during disasters and lasts a very long time. I have a Travel Berkey and a Berkey Light. They are both very portable. Check out Home for some great information and great deals on all berkey products. That is where I bought mine.

    The Difference between the Berkey Light and the Big Berkey is basically just that the Big Berkey is made from Stainless steel. They both use the same exact filtering elements.
  18. foust1012

    foust1012 Monkey+

    I was doing some research about the difference between the Ceramic filter elements and the Black Berkey elements. I found a lot of great information, way too much for me to post here, on the "Berky Education" page at Home. This should help you out.
  19. Ancesthntr

    Ancesthntr Monkey+

    Glad to hear about the Berkeys being the best. Did a bit of online research a few months back and came to the same conclusions, but practical experience beats a theoretical conclusion any time.

    I'm going to get the Big Berkey (prob. next month, $ are a bit short now) and some spare filters for when the SHTF - they may get me access to someone's pool for water, if there's no other water around (and I live in South Texas, so you never know when a drought will show up).
  20. Ancesthntr

    Ancesthntr Monkey+


    OK, so what's your issue with the black filters?
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