Stuff for the Wanderer, Water Purification 101

Everyone knows that water is life!  It doesn’t matter how tough you are, no man can survive long without water!  All smart “Wanderers” should have a plan to ensure they have access to safe drinking water during their travels.  I do not recommend simply relying on bottled water at your destination, it’s always prudent to have the means to purify your own water for drinking.  
I relied on what I thought was “safe bottled water” while hiking the “Inca Trail” in Peru in 2003 and ended up getting quite ill!  I bought what was supposed to be “bottled water” while hiking.  It was “bottled water,” but what I didn’t know was that the vendor on the trail was the one who “bottled” the water straight from the local stream.  The water was complete with parasites at no extra charge!             I learned the hard way about the importance of safe drinking water!  Please learn from my mistake and  take your own water purification equipment when you travel.
The same methods that your local municipal water-works uses to make water safe to drink at home are available to the smart traveler at a reasonable cost.  I take 3 methods of water purification when I travel, a micro-filtration system, an ultra-violet pen and chemical treatment tablets.  I don’t use all three methods together, but certainly could if I felt the need in situations where the water source was extremely contaminated.  Normally I use the micro-filter system first and then the ultra-violet pen to ensure my water is safe.  The filter removes over 99.99% of viruses, bacteria and other nasty critters and the ultra-violet pen kills anything that may have gotten through the filter!  If you are really worried about your water supply, you could then chemically treat it in a third step!  
The picture below is what I use; 
On the right, a “LifeSaver 3000” micro-filtration system.  It operates very well in even the most extreme conditions because it is a positive pressure system.  Meaning you hand pump it to force the water through the filtration membrane, thus speeding the process.  No more waiting 30 mins for gravity to carry the water through the filtration process!  
In the middle, the ultra-violet system I use, a “Steri-Pen Adventurer.”  It is very handy because it came with a solar charging case, therefore I always have the means to keep the batteries charged and ready to purify water.  
Finally, on the left,  I have “Portable Aqua” tablets to chemically treat water if necessary.  
It’s always smart to have a back-up plan to your back-up plan when it comes to purifying your drinking water…..   

Above, the “Portable-Aqua” chemical water treatment tablets, the “Steri-Pen Adventurer” ultra-violet water purifier, and the “LifeSaver 3000” micro-filtration system.  I have used them with great success in Latin America and Africa!