What are some good water filter bottles?
August 3, 2007 6:02 PM   Subscribe

What are some good water filter bottles for travel use?

My parents have started to travel around the world in their retirement, and having a constant source of clean water is one concern since they won't always be in a major city with nice hotels. Common destinations include much of Europe and parts of China. I've been looking for water bottles with built-in filters, but I haven't been able to find any good comparison reviews. My searches tend to just bring up a lot of online shops, and many individual reviews seem cursory in nature ("It works great because the water doesn't taste funny!").

And do these little filters actually work? Maybe a universal filter that fits any bottle would be more cost-effective?

Any advice is appreciated, especially personal experience with different brands. I've seen marketing blurbs for Clear Brook, that Corn-based Water Bottle, Aquamira, Outback Bota, and Katadyn.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Ky to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Good primers:

Water Treatment

Filters vs Purifiers

We have an overkill unit we use for camping, but you'll need to guage if you want to both filter and purify, or just kill the bad cooties in the water.
posted by iamabot at 6:17 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I like this Katadyn bottle.
Here are some alternatives.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:20 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

This one looks like a really nice one. Kinda pricey, though.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2007

My partner and I just took a trip with a Steripen. We really liked the ease of use. You can use any bottle/container into which it can be submersed. Doesn't filter particulates, though, so that may be a deal breaker. Also, a bit pricey. Here's a review:

(Sorry for the lack o' linkage--I am having some strange firefox issues.)
posted by thebrokedown at 6:41 PM on August 3, 2007

Wow, HotPatatta -- great list of alternatives, but About.com really really REALLY hates when you try to open links in another window/tab or outside their frames. I fucking hate that.
posted by delfuego at 7:09 PM on August 3, 2007

It's not a water bottle, but it's pretty compact and will filter out particulates as well as the nasties (giardia, etc). I've had very good experiences with the Pur Hiker.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:12 PM on August 3, 2007

I would suggest a $4 bottle of iodine tablets. Bottled water is available anywhere you can purchase goods. So unless they plan on doing enough hiking that they will require getting water from rivers, the filters will just be expensive bulk. You probably have a greater risk picking up a water bug in a restaurant in a major city than you do from bottled water bought in the backwoods. I would just recommend one with an antimicrobal coating that doesn't absorb smells so it won't stink if you don't let it dry completely or make everything taste like the strongest flavored drink you've kept in the bottle.
posted by arruns at 7:55 PM on August 3, 2007

I got this Katadyn bottle for use in Haiti. It's pricey, but it's worth it -- you really really really do not want to get something nasty and intestinal overseas.

And I'm going to be a bit of pedant here but -- try to purify your own water, if you can. (Or, er, your parents. You know what I mean.) Bottled water may be safer*, but it creates a lot of waste. Having one water bottle that you carry in and carry out will be so, so much kinder to wherever you travel.

*But only if its sealed. Make sure you hear a crack when you open it, otherwise it's likely just tap water in reused bottles.
posted by kalimac at 8:05 PM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just as a data point, even trekking in rural parts of the island of Java in Indonesia I encountered people who had plastic water-cooler setups in their houses (which I know because when I tried to purchase some bottles of water, I was invited in and offered some water to fill my Nalgene bottle from the cooler, as well as some spicy veggies and lots of smiling). Bottled water is ubiquitous wherever there is a market for it - which is everywhere!

(And when in doubt: wine.)
posted by mdonley at 8:08 PM on August 3, 2007

The Katadyn bottle mentioned has served me very well on various water born trips. Having a bottle of iodine tabs is good in case of emergency. A small backpacking water filter is also a good bet, as good at the Katadyn is, you get water in a thin stream and sometimes you just really want a thirst quenching big gulp which a filled filtered Nalgene will give you.
posted by edgeways at 10:15 PM on August 3, 2007

If you (er, your folks) are only interested in not getting sick, and particulate doesn't really bother them, something like this will ensure that.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 10:24 PM on August 3, 2007

In almost all parts of the world, bottled water is now available. In most of Western Europe, the water is perfectly fine to drink even if you're not at a nice hotel -- anyway, you can get most of your drinking of water done either in the restaurant or on the go with a water bottle.

China is the only place where you'd be likely to need filters, and the Katydyn is perfect for that. And unless they're traveling in the middle of nowhere in China, the water should be filtered enough that they don't need to worry about a full-on sterilization treatment. One of the standard filters with both an iodine and cyst filter should be more than sufficient. I can tell you that if they get any kind of filter, it should be one that kills and filters, because one that only kills will leave them with water that still tastes pretty bad.

In China, unless they hate tea I recommend they buy the bottled iced tea. Because it's tea that means the water was boiled at some point, whereas occasionally water bottles, as noted above, are reused and filled with tap water. A bottle of iced green tea should cost around 3-4 yuan (might be a bit more I suppose, it was 1.5-2 when I was there 3 years ago, hopefully inflation isn't that bad in China) and it's mighty tasty.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:33 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

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