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Friday, May 22, 2009

Water filter review

I bought a water filter called the Pure Easy Camper’s Micro-Ceramic Filter. The reason that I bought it was because of its diminutive size. The filter only weighs three ounces and measures about 5 1/2″ * 1″ * 2 1/2″. It will fit inside of a hardcase for sunglasses. That’s pretty small. I wanted something that I could p6use when I want to travel really light. I thought that a filter like this would be ideal for those one or two night solo camping trips. When you don’t have a buddy to split the load with, you really need to pay attention to the weight of what you carry.

The other nice thing about this filter is that it filters down to .1 microns. That’s about as an effective filter as I’ve seen. The MSRs and Katadyns go down to maybe .2 microns. I also thought it would be good in the Get Home or Bug Out Bag. I paid $65.00 for it, which isn’t too bad for a filter. It’s made from some sort of polymer.

So of course I had to try it out at home before depending upon it for a camping trip. It was easy to assemble. Not much to it really, just snap the tubes on. The tubes are smaller than all of the other water filters that I’ve used. The tubes are pretty much the same size as aquarium tubing, so you can’t pump a lot of water through them.p4

Here’s a shot of the filter with the tubes attached. I should have placed a ruler next to it for scale, but remember it’s about the size of a pair of sunglasses. The intake tube has a little screen pre-filter on it. It’s that little green triangular thing in the bottom left of the picture and it also has a float that you can slide up and down the tube to keep the pre-filter off of the bottom of the source of water that you are filtering. It’s that kind of charcoal colored thing in the right side of the picture.

My first crack at filtering didn’t work out so well. No matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to develop any suction. I disassembled it, applied some silicon sealant and tried to prime it. All to no avail.

I ended up sending it back to the manufacturer – Middleboro Water, LLC. These folks were very responsive. They said that they never had a manufacturing failure before. They replaced it free of charge and FedExed the new filter to me free of charge. Middleboro Water is a great company with great service. Like I said no hassles (other than having to pay for postage there), no questions and I had the replacement filter within days.

Lesson here though, like I always say – is to try everything out before you depend on it. Whether it’s ammo, a sleeping bag, stove, flashlight, firearm or a water filter. You can’t depend on something if you haven’t tried it.

I tried the replacement filter in some stream water. The stream really wasn’t that dirty and I would consider drinking it untreated if need be – either let it settle in a container or dig a hole next to the stream and let the water perc up. It did an adequate job, but I didn’t think the water tasted as “sweet” as an MSR filter. This may improve with usage and time. It also took an enormous amount of effort to get a glass of water, probably three minutes of pumping. The pre-filter also clogs up pretty easily. Next time I use it I think that I would tie a bandana around the pre-filter to act as a pre-pre-filter. Strange enough, the collar that screws down to hold the pump handle in place kept coming loose while I was pumping. Also, with just a little bit of use I could tell that the ceramic element was starting to get clogged i.e. it became increasingly more difficult to pump.

As you might expect due to this filter’s small bore and stroke, you have to pump a lot for the amount of water you get. Not good for a group of thirsty people. You have to pump maybe 200 times (although I wasn’t counting) to fill up a one liter bottle. You have to pump much more with this filter than with other larger filters. p7I’m thinking of replacing the aquarium type tubing with some wider surgical tubing with the hope of getting a better flow rate.

The filter also came with a nice little storage bag with pull ties on it, a little bit of sandpaper to clean the ceramic element with, some special silicone sealant and simple, easy to follow directions.


It does disassemble very easily. You just unscrew the collars and can pull up the pump handle and the ceramic element. You can see how dirty the element got with minimal usage. This is crap that you don’t want to drink.

All in all, the filter was a bit of a disappointment. It will get the job done, but it’s small size isn’t a big enough benefit to make up for its shortcomings. I think that you are better off sticking to a normal size filter. I like the concept and the company seems like a good company, but I would wait for the second generation to come out. There are still a few kinks that need ironing out. The company, Middleboro Water, LLC, did back up their product 100% so I would not hesitate to buy another of their products. Their service was also great. I just think this particular filter needs a few more design improvements.

However, if you need to travel fast, light and solo the Pur Easy Camper may be the ticket for you, but make sure that you have a back up means to clean water too.

In summary, it’s a good filter for specialized purposes, (light and fast solo on foot travel) otherwise carry a larger filter.

Get outside everyday!

P1010101This little tree is a survivor. Look at it growing through a crack in this rock.

And this was just a cool looking root that was all worn down. It reminded me of a topo map.



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