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ProView – Grayl Ultralight Purifier

In recent years, I have been on several expeditions to the Alps, Rocky Mountains, Cordillera Blanca of South America, and Himalaya. Access to drinking water has been a concern on every trip, especially when in developing countries where clean drinking water is not readily available. In the past, I have used chlorine tablets, steripens, pump filters, gravity filters, and iodine as well as having boiled water in order to purify it. I have never really been convinced of the merits of any particular product or method and have spent several days and sometimes even weeks sick in basecamp or town due to water-related illness. This year I spent the entire month of May in Nepal on a geologic expedition exploring the mountains around Everest. I decided to look for a new water purification option and was told about the Grayl ultralight water purifier bottle, a bottle with a hard-plastic shell and inner bottle with electroadsorbtive carbon filter. By simply filling the outer shell with unpurified water and pressing the inner bottle down into the outer one, you are left with purified water ready to drink instantly. A very intriguing concept as it is so quick!

Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier

Product Description: 8 Seconds. Unrivaled Ease, Speed & Convenience. No other portable purifier rivals the speed, simplicity and effectiveness of GEOPRESS. In eight seconds, it makes 24 ounces (710 ml) of safe, clean drinking water – anywhere in the world. Effective on all seven continents, you can tap into the world’s water sources and safely drink from sketchy spigots, hotel sinks, murky rivers, wells or lakes. GEOPRESS protects from global waterborne pathogens (virus, bacteria, protozoan cysts), pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and even microplastics.

Price: MSRP $59.50

  • Quality
    (4)
  • Features
    (4)
  • Durability
    (4)

Summary

The Grayl water purifier is a great device that allows you to purify water extremely quickly and provides protection against virtually all pathogens and other pollutants you need to worry about. If it wasn’t for its lifespan, small size, and inability to resist freezing it would be the perfect water purification product. Despite its few minor drawbacks the Grayl is still my favorite way to filter water and deserves 4 out of 5 stars. 

Overall
4.3

Pros

  • Quickly filters water
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Small size
  • Cannot sustain more than two freeze-thaw cycles
  • Suggested cleaning after every use

grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Testing Conditions

The Himalaya, as pristine as they might appear, has been struggling to gain access to clean drinking water in populated areas. Even water trickling right out of glaciers can be contaminated with yak, donkey, and even human excrements. Winds in the area are very high and spread the contaminants to every corner. Most trekkers and mountaineers choose to purify their water in some form or another and many buy plastic bottled water which has produced enormous amounts of non-recyclable waste that has become an issue in itself. I spent a total of eighteen days trekking in the mountains covering a distance of over 100 miles and purified my water with the Grayl ultralight water purifier bottle every day and did not have to purchase a single plastic bottle. To be certain I tested the Grayl bottle by itself and did not use any other form of water purification. I experienced everything from 100˚ Fahrenheit in the foothills to days of pouring rain and fog higher up in the mountains and finally freezing snow storms at around 18,000 feet. I used glacial streams, rivers, silty ponds, and human taps as my water source and so I certainly got to see how this equipment performed in a wide range of conditions. Since May I have also brought the Grayl along with me on my whitewater kayaking trips.

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grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Performance

The Grayl ultralight water purifier bottle is a sleek and light-weight product about the size of a normal water bottle that purifies 16 oz at a time. At first, I thought it was going to be complicated to use, however, when you get used to it, it is the fastest and easiest way to purify water that I have ever encountered. You simply fill the outer shell with unpurified water press the inner bottle with the filter down and without waiting you are ready to drink the water. It takes me about 15 seconds to purify 16 oz of water with minimal effort. This is much faster than a steripen, chlorine tablets, gravity filters, and especially faster than boiling water. In addition, it provides protection against all forms of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, particulates, chemicals, and heavy metals and works with all water sources. However, silty water will reduce the life of your filter over time.

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grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

 

grayl-ultralight-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Room for Improvement

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to having instant access to drinking water anywhere with this Grayl product. The filters have an expiration date and need to be replaced after every 300 uses and though this is quite a long lifespan it is a downside nonetheless. In addition, Grayl suggests cleaning their product after every use by filtering air through the product and letting the filter dry. This is somewhat unrealistic, especially on long trips where you need to use it several times a day. I have cleaned my Grayl only a handful of times on my trip and seen no deterioration of the filter or performance. I think as long as you don’t leave the filter in a wet condition for days at a time, it should be fine. Also, the ultralight water purifier bottle is quite small for my liking and it takes me about two cycles to fill my Nalgene. Perhaps Grayl will come out with a larger version in the future. The largest limitation of this product, however, is that the filter cannot sustain more than two freeze-thaw cycles. This is quite a downfall when spending a month at high altitude where it gets far below freezing every night. I got around this issue by disassembling the filter and putting it in my sleeping bag or filling the Grayl with water and putting it close to me. It needs to be extremely cold to freeze the entire bottle overnight. This downside could, in some cases, exclude it from my winter camping missions and limit it to use in spring, summer, and fall.

The Final Word

The Grayl water purifier is a great device that allows you to purify water extremely quickly and provides protection against virtually all pathogens and other pollutants you need to worry about. If it wasn’t for its lifespan, small size, and inability to resist freezing it would be the perfect water purification product. Despite its few minor drawbacks the Grayl is still my favorite way to filter water and deserves 4 out of 5 stars. 

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Neil Seifert is an outdoor educator and master’s student in Geology. He has worked as a rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, and backcountry skiing instructor in the US and Canada. You will find him exploring the mountains and rivers around the world.

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