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Water filtration is the process of removing or reducing the concentration of particulate matter, including suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, and fungi, as well as other undesirable chemical and biological contaminants from contaminated water to produce safe and clean water for a specific purpose. 

There are many different types of water filtration devices on the market. I would like to go through a few of them and their uses.

Not to forget water purification means as well.


Types of water filtration

First we need to look at the important considerations when choosing a water filter device or water purification means

The efficiency of the water filter.

The time it takes to filter the water.

Is the filter a single use or can the parts be replaced?

The amount of drinkable water the filter will make before it is unusable or parts needing replaced.

Big, small and weight, the portability factor.

Do you need any other items i.e. a container, bottle or pouch.

The simplicity of the filter. How easy or hard is it to use? 

How much does it cost and the price of replacement parts?

Also with tablets or drops for purification, which is best or efficient and chemicals used.

These are all factors to consider before purchasing a water filter and/or purification aids.

Please don't get a survival filter confused with a standard water filter you use at home. These are completely different.

I know this can sound confusing, You may be thinking, what do I choose?

Below you will find a guide to help you consider the vast choices out there.

Millbank bag hanging in a tree

Millbank bag

This is used for filtering water, prior to boiling or being treated , this bag successfully filters the particulate matter from the water supply. Simply soak the bag and fill up to the top. Once it drains to the line you can then collect the water. If you use a pump filter straight into muddy water, it simply clogs up pump filters and makes them far less effective and costly. The Millbank bag will only remove particulate matter from the water. It does not purify the water and only clears the water depending on the quality of it. So if your water is peaty it will not remove the colour. It is only to be used for removing bigger particles of detritus. It is crucial that the water is boiled and let it roil for about a minute, only treat with a purification tablet etc. if the water is clear, this is all prior to use. The use of untreated water is undertaken at your own risk, as you do not want to fall ill of even worse. 

Read more for further information on using a Millbank bag

This is done either using choline based tablets or Iodine based liquid. There are lots of advantages to the water purification tablets, one tablet will give you one litre of safe drinking water. You can purchase these in 50 tablet boxes. It won't take up much room in your pack either.

It's best to pre-filter any water first, using a Millbank bag or bandana before adding a purifying tablet. This gets rid if the particulate matter. Once you have added a purifying tablet you have to wait 30 minutes for the process to clean the water before its safe to drink. Always read the instructions. The same with the Iodine liquid, there are certain types to get, which can be used on water. 

Read more for further information.

Purification liquid and tablets

Water Purification 

Filtration straws

Filtration Straws

Using a filter straw is beneficial if you love the outdoors and activities, such as hiking, trekking, and camping, also having one in your bug out bag. It is what you need for clean drinking water free of contaminants, sediments, and waterborne protozoans and bacteria. But, it is confusing to find the right one because many of these filter straws are on the market. There are cheap ones and not so cheap. What price do you put on your health when you need a drink of water. Each of them has unique features and qualities that make them special. It is always best to review the qualities and the reason you are going to be using one first. Read more for a general guide.

Now, this is a game changer. Using a water filter straw is great, it gets you clean drinking water at the source. But what if you only had the straw, how would you take some water with you, you had a bottle, but it got damaged, you have a long hike to go, but didn't know where or when the next water source was. A lot of ifs or buts. This is where a bottle or pouch comes into play. The water filter straw can attach to either the bottle or a pouch, even better a water filter straw is built into the bottle itself. This way you can make your water portable. You may have a few 500ml bottles of store brought water with you, but it's heavy and takes up space. This is a fantastic idea, It's been around for a few years now and well known. Please read more on a few examples.

filtration bottles

Filtration Bottles & Pouches

filtration pump

Filtration Pumps

This is the Survivor Filter Pro. A portable Water Filter Pump that is another way to get clean, safe, drinkable water. Not only is it light and easy to carry, it has a filtration level to an unbelievable 0.01 microns, the highest level available on the market today for any kind of portable water filter. Proven 0.01 micron protection against tested virus, bacteria, parasites, while reducing most heavy metals and improving water taste. It produces great tasting water and easy to clean, you can get replaceable parts as well. Even a battery operated one available now. There are quite a few copies out there as well which I've not tried yet. They look the same as well. As I have said, it is down to you to make the right choice. 

Please read on for more information.

5 Water Contaminants

There are 5 contaminants that pollute water that you need to know about in order to make your water safe to drink.


These are microscopic organisms that live on or in another host organism. They can be either single cell organisms such as protozoa and cysts or multicellular organisms such as worms.

Protozoa are single celled organisms. They come in many different shapes and sizes ranging from an Amoeba which can change its shape to Paramecium with its fixed shape and complex structure. They live in a wide variety of moist habitats including fresh water, marine environments and the soil. They are parasitic or free-living organisms that are able to multiply in humans and other animals causing disease. Example being: Cryptosporidium and Giardia.


Smaller than parasites, bacteria are single celled organisms found almost everywhere on earth (in the soil, water, in the air or in the tissues of plants and animals). Some bacteria cause disease while others don’t. The ones that do, produce a wide range of infections, some of which are potentially lethal. Example being: Cholera and Typhoid Fever.


A virus is a sub-microscopic infectious agent (not a cell) that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Still smaller than bacteria, viruses infect all types of life forms including animals, plants and other microorganisms. Eg Hepatitis A, Polio and diarrhoea. Poor sanitation can have viruses in the water.

Chemical Pollutants – pesticides and heavy metals from man-made polluting sources such as mining and agriculture.


The measure of relative clarity of a liquid. Cloudy, hazy or muddy suspended particulate matter such as sand mud, dirt, silt or other decomposing organic material must be removed first through filtering for all water purification methods to be able to work. Even if there are no pathogenic (disease causing) organisms in the water, turbid water can still irritate your stomach.

Remember, you need water to survive, it needs to be safe and clean to drink. You don't want to end up being ill or even worse. 

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