How do I Test Camping Water Filters?

How do I Test Camping Water Filters?Camping water filters are critical tools for backcountry campers who rely upon local and untreated water sources. Adventure travelers venturing into developing countries also strongly rely upon camping water filters for safe drinking water. While a good filter comes with a stamp of approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that approval applies only to the model. Faulty individual filters are sometimes made and reach the market. The only way to be sure your filter works prior to taking it into the field is to test it.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Lab-provided water sample container
  • Ordinary bottle
  • Camping water filter
Step 1
Call local environmental laboratory, university or college and explain that you want to test a water sample for contamination. This is a normal process for homeowners reliant upon well water or checking the quality of their pipes, so the procedure is routine. If you are lucky, a college or university lab may do this for free, but otherwise expect to pay a modest fee. Choose a lab and set up appointments to pick up the sample bottle and then to return the water sample.
Step 2
Find or create a source of suspect water. A good candidate is a stream running through a cattle or sheep ranch, or alongside a dump, as either of these is sure to be contaminated with pollutants or parasites. An alternative is to make your contaminated water sample at home, combining a little home sewage with rust flakes. Bottle this suspect water using your own bottle, and not the sterilized container the lab gave you.
Step 3
Treat the suspect water with your camping water filter, following the manufacturers instructions exactly. Bottle the water that comes out of the filter with the sterilized container the lab gave you.
Step 4
Take the lab's container with the treated water sample to the lab and await the results. The camping filter's manual lists the specifications for what it can achieve. Compare those specifications to the EPA's results. If the lab test indicates that the treated water is as pure or purer than your filter's specifications, the filter is up to the manufacturer's standards.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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