I’ve been using water filtration systems for almost two decades and I’ve seen pretty much everything in the market. Products from MSR, Katadyn, Platypus, and SteriPen and everything else Orlando's Travel Country has had to offer for the last decade plus. But finally there is something new and revolutionary. And boy is it shiny.
The Grayl Ultralight Filter was made by a couple brilliant world travelers who wanted a quick, minimalist option for purifying water anywhere in the world that didn’t involve using bottled water. And that they did.
Their bottle is extremely good at purifying water to the zenith. Bacteria. Viruses. Protozoa. 99.9999% gone. That’s probably saying, “we guarantee it but we don’t want to get sued in case some new strand of virus comes through.” But besides these, it also cleans the water from gross chemicals, heavy metals, and bad flavors. And particles.
All told, the bottle is made from food-grade materials, weighs 10 ounces without water, and holds about 16 ounces of water. It’s BPA free, as well as made from antimicrobial and chemical-free materials. Amazingly, it only takes about 15 seconds to filter and purify 16 ounces of water.
For the layperson, it’s really good at filtering everything. For the scientist, it's kind of fun to include Grayl's description:
“Electroadsorption, ultra-powdered activated carbon and silver treated zeolites. Unlike standard mechanical filtration, the Ultralight Purifier Bottle is powered by a patented electroadsorptive media capable of removing submicron pathogens and inorganic contaminants. With [ONE PRESS], electroadhesion and ion exchange create a powerful submicron trap for pathogens (viruses, bacteria and protozoan cysts). Additionally, the purifier media contains many embedded layers of ultra-powdered activated carbon which create a large surface area for removing toxins like chemicals and heavy metals. Silver treated zeolites, a natural antimicrobial, inhibit growth and keeps the purifier fresh between uses.”
The cartridge, once used, lasts up to three years, or 300 uses, whichever comes first.
I’ve used this bottle camping, in city life in Orlando and San Francisco, floating down the American River (whereby I dipped the filter into the water), and it’s always been amazing. It is an extremely easy way to go anywhere and know you can purify water. No tablets, bulbs, batteries, chemicals, pumping, squeezing, or…waiting.
More to the point, you can tell the water is clean. It's tasty and uncomparably smooth.
The one caveat is, you need to make sure that you dry it out every couple days. That means, taking the interior sleeve out of the outer sleeve and leaving the cap off. This is important because the inner rubber ring on the cap is fairly porous and needs to breathe regularly or mold will start to grow. This happened to me. I caught the problem, removed the ring, and tried to wipe all the mold off—but it wouldn’t all come off. That’s because the material is porous enough that there are spaces for the mold to evade the abrasiveness of a cloth or sponge when you’re cleaning. I called Grayl about this and they instructed cleaning it with soap and washing it thoroughly, then letting it breathe in the future. If this doesn’t work, they can send a new one ring.
Other than this, it is completely genius invention and I’m thrilled to be able to use it in the future.
As a note, the filter is made in the USA, the bottle in China, and together the whole package has a 10-year warranty.