Gear Review: PurifiCup Water Filter
A couple weeks ago I was in Austin, Texas with my fiancé checking out the city for the first time and exploring some of the local hiking spots. We decided our last stop before heading home would be McKinney Falls State Park, about 13 miles southeast of downtown Austin. It was late in the season, and dry, so there wasn’t much water running over the falls but there was enough water there to test out my PurifiCup filter.
PurifiCup sent me one of their filter kits a couple months ago and I’ve been dying to try it out. When I got the filter, I took it apart to check out the assembly and pre-soak the filter. The filter is incredibly simple and easy to use, it’s a basic gravity system. You fill up one cup, set it atop the filter mechanism, and it flows through the filter to the other cup (or whatever vessel you choose to fill).
What makes the PurifiCup unique is the filter technology. The filter media is a combination of ion exchange resins, activated carbon and nanoscale silver coating membrane. The nanosilver membrane is the important part here. The filter itself doesn’t filter below the 1.0 micron level allowing some microparticles and bacteria through. But the nanosilver membrane allows the PurifiCup to disinfect as it filters killing over 600 different types of bacteria.
Recently, an article posted at The Omega Man Journal put the PurifiCup through some real world testing. The testing was done in a clinical setting and tested the PurifiCup’s “ability to remove turbidity, chlorine, color and its ability to kill bacteria.”
The tests resulted in a 97% reduction in chlorine, 75% reduction in turbidity and a 63% reduction in color (visit his article for details). For the bacterial testing the samples were sent off to a biological laboratory. The interesting part of the bacterial findings wasn’t the reduction of bacteria. With the 1.0 micron filter, the reduction was minimal (800 cfu down to 500 cfu), but the bacteria that made it through the filter were rendered inactive by passing through the nanosilver membrane. This means the bacteria that passed through the filter could no longer reproduce or cause disease rendering them harmless and making the water safe to drink.
So while hiking around the rocks of Lower McKinney Falls, I pulled out my filter and tested it for myself. The manufacturer recommends filling from a moving water source. So for my first real field test of the product, I decided to fill it at the falls itself. The filter is designed to fit a variety of bottles. I’ve had it on plastic water bottles, my nalgene bottle, and this time, on my HydroFlask wide-mouth bottle. The filter seated nicely on the wide-mouth and I placed the sample cup on top. The cup is designed to snap in to place on the filter. There is a valve on the bottom of the cup that stays closed and holds the water until it is attached to the filter. Then the valve opens and gravity does all the work (sometimes it take a couple of taps to get the filter going).
The filtered sample passed my personal taste test to my satisfaction. It had no discernible residual taste from the river or the filter. It tasted like clean, fresh water (and tasted better than the water supplied at the drinking fountains in the park). The system is light weight and compact and seems to travel well. I’ve taken it an several camping/backpacking trips now and have tossed it in my carry-on luggage for several flights. It’s held up well with only minor scratches. One of the features of the PurifiCup is that it does travel well and can be easily tossed in to luggage for travel in parts of the world that are notorious for horrible drinking water.
You can see from the pictures that the size makes it a very portable system. I was able to hike all afternoon with the PurifiCup in the side pocket of my cargo shorts without discomfort. It easily fits in most any backpack, bag, purse or large pocket. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the ease of use and effectiveness of this filter.
The Bottom Line
In my opinion, this is a great and simple product that has proven it's effectiveness in making water safe to drink. It's light-weight and portable and perfect for smaller hikes or international travel. It would not be my filter of choice if I was in a situation that required filtering large amounts of water (although, with a little rigging, it would be perfectly capable). However, for solo trips with water sources available I would use this over many other filter products. Obviously, you should consider your needs and if this type of product fits for you, but it is a product I would recommend.
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