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ProView – Grayl Geopress Water Purifier

“You’re going to Mexico?! How exciting! Don’t drink the water!”

This April, with just a few weeks to go until my husband and I were set to fly to Sayulita, Mexico for ten days of surfing, my mental state was approximately 93% percent ecstatic and 7% gripped. The whole “don’t drink the water” thing has to be a cliche, right? Or at least an exaggeration?  I asked around to my friends and colleagues who had recently traveled to different parts of Mexico and all of their stories shared two common threads: 1) they had an absolutely amazing time and couldn’t wait to go back and 2) they or their partner spent at least 1-3 days with the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge. In fact, most of them spoke about it a blase fashion, as if getting the runs was as much a part of the Mexico travel experience as sunburn and a hangover.

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 $89.95

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)
  • Useability
    (4)

Summary

The GeoPress is a great choice for environmentally-conscious travelers looking to save money and the planet by forgoing bottled water during their adventures. While the bottle is a bit on the bulky side, it holds a refreshing 24 oz of water, quite a bit more than its predecessor. The purifying process is easy, if a bit tiring, but the slip-free ergonomic design of the bottle keeps pressing from becoming a pain. You do have to remember to take the bottle apart each night to let the cartridge dry out, but I do that with all of my water bottles anyway. 

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Quickly filters a higher volume of water
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Takes strength to filter
  • Doesn’t fit in a conventional bottle holder
  • A little heavy for backpacking

The consensus from all consulted was that we needed to stick to bottled, purified water, or bring a purifying system with us. Fun fact: “Montezuma’s Revenge” is most commonly caused by either the norovirus or E.coli. Water filters work to remove bacteria like E.coli from water, but in order to safely eliminate bacteria and viruses, you must have a purifier.

Now, I have all but completely evicted plastic bottles from my life, so the idea of vacationing and abandoning my staunch anti-plastic vows was out of the question. But how to pick a purifying system?

Pump purifiers are great for purifying large volumes of water but are expensive, bulky, and slow. For backpacking trips, straw-style is the way to go, but the idea of using a straw to purify enough water for our daily morning coffee… no. I have a Grayl Ultralight Purifier that checks all the boxes and has been useful for short camping and backpacking missions, but it only holds just over 10 oz of water – a bit small for daily use on a ten-day journey. Luckily for us, Grayl just came out with their larger, 24 oz. GeoPress purifier and were looking for some testers!

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

I have to say, unboxing our GeoPresses was a real treat. The packaging is beautiful and the purifiers themselves are a work of art, especially when compared to their competitors’ product design.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

“Sure, they are beautiful,” I told Clem as we packed the purifiers in our suitcases, “but will they keep me from spending a sleepless Sayulita night hugging the toilet and wishing for a quick death?”

¡Vamos a la playa!

Our destination was Sayulita, Mexico, a small surf town with hippy vibes about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. As soon as we walked off the plane in Puerto Vallarta, sweaty, thirsty and dragging our giant backpacks, we were swarmed by travel agents and taxi drivers. They all beckoned to us with fresh, dewey bottles of chilled water, attempting to coax the two obvious gringos into their air-conditioned (and overpriced) taxis.

“No gracias, estamos tomando el bus.” I told them, without breaking our pace.

“Oh okay, as you wish. Good luck Senorita!” One man replied, in perfect English. Apparently, my Spanish was rustier than I thought.

We gave the Geopresses their first go in the airport bathrooms, straight from the tap. Though filling the bottle all the way up in a motion-activated faucet was a struggle, the rest of the process was a breeze. I placed the purifier on the floor for leverage to press the water, and after about 10 seconds, we were on our way to the bus stop. I was very glad to have 24 oz of purified water with me during the hot, bumpy, hour-long bus ride to Sayulita. The water was tasteless, without any residue, and generally unremarkable – in a good way!

As we rolled into Sayulita and started the short walk to our casa, we excitedly soaked in the sites of the town. The colorful buildings were decorated with pom poms and artwork. Some Mexican tourists pointed to a tree full of giant, dinosaur-like iguanas sheltering themselves from the blasting sun. Incredibly good-looking people with surfboards walked barefoot through the middle of the streets. Brightly decorated golf carts whizzed by, with no golf clubs to be seen. Buskers played drums and guitars on every street corner. And smelly, open drainages full of trash snaked their way through narrow streets and towards the beach.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

As we walked into our casa we found our property managers had generously provided us with a water cooler and multiple five-gallon bottles to refill it with. Talk about borrowing worry! That said, we were determined to minimize our water use from the cooler, and agreed to only use the cooler water for cooking and washing dishes. That left all of our drinking and toothbrushing water to the GeoPresses.

Bottoms up!

Over the course of our ten-day trip, we tested the Grayl from multiple different water sources, from the acceptable-looking to some downright sketchy stuff. We purified water from the sink in our kitchen multiple times a day, generally before heading to the beach for our morning surf sesh, and multiple times throughout the evening once we returned to the casa.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

I made the mistake of trying to press on the counter, and I will tell you that is NOT easy. In fact, right after this photo I moved the press to the floor with much better success. Pressing definitely takes some muscle; I found that I usually had to push with most of my body weight. After the first couple of days, I was very glad that we had the water cooler for soaking fruits and vegetables, cooking, and washing dishes. Pressing your drinking water a few times a day is no big deal, but I would not want to do it 5-10 times for every meal!

The Geopress was a bit too large for the tiny external water bottle holder on my backpack, but luckily the hook on the lid was the perfect spot for a carabiner, which I clipped to the strap of my pack.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Once we made it to the beach, I took to refilling my bottle with water from the hose outside of the surf shop. In fact, we tested the water from multiple different random hoses we found in the streets throughout Sayulita. I guess you could call this whole process somewhat thrilling… each time I finished pressing and took a swig I thought, “bottoms up!”

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Ease of Use

Fill, press, drink… pray

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Purifying with the GeoPress is as simple as fill, press, drink. First, find a running water source, whether it’s a tap, hose, stream or creek. The GeoPress will purify pretty much anything, but it’s best to avoid stagnant or brackish water just to be safe, and to prolong the life of the cartridge.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Pressing is the meat of the purifying process, and as I said, it does take a little muscle. Grayl definitely had this in mind when they designed the lid with ergonomic spots for the heels of your hands. With the GeoPress on the ground, I was able to use my body weight to my advantage. It’s also important to make sure that the small arrow on the lid is set to green (not red), which means the lid is completely closed to allow for air to flow out of the GeoPress during the purifying process.

grayl-geopress-water-purifier-review-dirtbagdreams.com

When the GeoPress is full it’s definitely quite a bit heavier than your average water bottle. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a long backpacking trip for that reason, but it’s absolutely perfect for travel.

We filled, we pressed… how was the drink? I am very happy to report that after ten days of filling up from a variety of sources and pressing our little hearts out, neither I nor my husband got sick while in Mexico. Not even a tummy ache between us! Even more exciting is that we only used one five-gallon bottle of water during our stay in Sayulita – strictly for cooking and dishwashing – and did not use a single plastic water bottle during our entire trip. That’s a big win if you ask me.

Room for Improvement

I have only had the GeoPress for a few months, so I haven’t had to replace the cartridge yet.  I’m not sure how to know when to replace the cartridge exactly; Grayl says the cartridges last for 350 presses, so I guess you have to count? I will probably factor in an annual cartridge replacement to stay on the safe side, but at $25 per cartridge, it’s a small price to pay.

The Final Word

The GeoPress is a great choice for environmentally-conscious travelers looking to save money and the planet by forgoing bottled water during their adventures. While the bottle is a bit on the bulky side, it holds a refreshing 24 oz of water, quite a bit more than its predecessor. The purifying process is easy, if a bit tiring, but the slip-free ergonomic design of the bottle keeps pressing from becoming a pain. You do have to remember to take the bottle apart each night to let the cartridge dry out, but I do that with all of my water bottles anyway. 

Our trip to Sayulita was a dream. I could definitely spend the rest of my days surfing, eating tacos, drinking cervezas and exploring Mexico. We are already planning a trip back in 2020, and I can tell you for sure that our GeoPresses will be along for the ride.

Shop the Grayl Geopress on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

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Kenzie Rodriguez is the Head of Marketing at Outdoor Prolink. She lives in Whitefish, Montana where she loves to ski, hike, bike and hit the water with her husband and her dog, Bea.

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