With the amount of water filter systems on the market, it can sometimes be overwhelming to find the right one. Between pumps and straws, bladders and bottles, finding a well-rounded system can be tough.
Being an avid outdoorsman and hiker, I have tried multiple filter systems on multiple continents. For years I relied on the tried and true pump filters. They were easy to use, but as time went on, I started to find major problems with the system.
I’ve never had a pump fail on me in the field, but certain situations can make using a pump filter very difficult. The biggest issue I’ve encountered is that pump filters rely heavily on Mother Nature’s perfect cooperation to make them work.
For example, you have to be able to get close to the water source in order to get the pickup tube in it. I have found water holes on trails that were five feet lower than normal because of a drought, and I had no way of getting my pickup tube far enough down to get any water. This could also be an issue with rivers or streams that are hard to reach safely because of cliff walls.
The other issue with pump style filters, is that they take a lot of time and energy to use. Pumping enough water for a day can for a small groups pretty much guarantees that someone is pumping water nonstop.
Two years ago, I set out to find a system that was easier and more convenient to use. The Platypus GravityWorks 4.0L Water Filter System caught my eye, and has been my go to filter system ever since.
Gone are the days of pumping…now I just scoop a bag full of water and let gravity do the rest of the work!
The GravityWorks filter system is comprised of two bags connected by a hose with a filter in the middle, but the system allows you to do so much more.
Let’s start with the bags. You have your dirty bag and your clean bag. Each bag can hold 4 liters of water, so if you found yourself in a situation where you might not come across water again for a while, you can easily carry 8 liters of water. This is a huge advantage in a Bug Out situation where you might have extra people with you that need water. Use your dirty bag to gather water in, and your clean bag to your distribute water from.
The GravityWorks Filter Cartridge is effective down to .2 microns and meets EPA Guide Standards for the removal of 99.9999% bacteria and 99.9% protozoa.
The approximate filter life is 1500 liters depending on the quality of water filtered. The filter system will filter up to 1.75 liters of water per minute, which is much faster than pumping.
The best part of the GravityWorks system is that you have a filter and water storage in one. If you find yourself on the run, and don’t have time to stop at a water source to pump, you can easily scoop water into the dirty bag and clip it to the outside of your pack for filtering later.
Once you have stopped for the day, the GravityWorks clean bag can be hung, and used as a faucet to fill bottles or wash your hands or pots. This is a very convenient feature that is hard to duplicate with a pump system.
The entire kit costs around $120, but you can find it on sale from time to time. Extra filters cost approximately $50. You can find extra attachments as well to connect it straight to a Nalgene bottle.
The entire filter system stores in a nice carry sack and weighs in at 11.5oz. If you ever forget how to use the filter, instructions are attached inside the bag.
The GravityWorks filter system is not much bigger than a conventional pump system.
The GravityWorks system is simple to use. Just fill the dirty bag with your water source and seal it up. Then attach it to the filter hose, and hang it above the clean bag.
You will soon see clean filtered water flowing from the filter into the clean bag. Once the dirty bag is empty, you have 4 liters of clean drinkable water.
Back flushing the filter is recommended and can be done by lifting the clean bag above the dirty and letting .5 liters flow back through the filter to clean it.
With the hassle of pumping water out of the way, the GravityWorks system helps you to multi-task. While water is being purified, you can work on your camp or a fire. Not having to waste time and energy with pumping can make a huge difference in survival.