Happy World Water Day everyone!
When packing for this trip back in August, we obviously had to put some thought into how we would carry and treat water. We knew we’d be traveling in many places where tap water should be purified (at least for our ‘delicate’ western stomachs), or in some cases, we might be drinking out of rivers or lakes. We definitely did not want to be dependent on buying bottled water! The options I was familiar with were: 1) boiling (takes time to cool down), 2) adding iodine tablets (leaves a bad taste and not good to use long-term), or 3) using a water filter. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we had lost our water filter on a canoe portage somewhere in the Kawartha Highlands Park, so we needed to buy a new system. What I purchased at Wildrock Outfitters in Peterborough has become our most prized possession on this trip and I wanted to highlight it today. March 22 has been chosen by the UN as World Water Day, a day to address the many challenges related to water. There are some great images and information at http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday . For example, can you believe it takes 15 000 litres of water to produce 2 steaks?
Anyway, back to my favourite item in my pack: a CamelBak All Clear ultraviolet water purifier. It is light, effective, and so convenient to use! Fill up the water bottle, screw on the UV cap, turn it on and agitate for 60 seconds… and presto, you have purified water! My understanding is that the UV light sterilizes the bacteria, meaning that it doesn’t actually kill them, but makes them unable to reproduce in your stomach. So far, none of us have gotten stomach illnesses (except for that macadamia nut incident), so we feel confident that it is working.
The cap is recharged with a USB connection, but does about 80 cycles per charge (the bottle holds 750ml, so that means about 60 litres of drinking water per charge). I just think this thing is awesome and would recommend it to anyone for traveling or camping. For extended camping trips, you’d probably need to take along an external battery pack or a solar charger.
My only complaint is that the LCD display on the cap doesn’t show up very well anymore. We can generally see when the battery is wearing down, though. Apparently, the unit’s UV light has a lifespan of 10 000 cycles, so it would be nice if the display showed how far we were through that. However, 10 000 cycles would be like using it three times a day for nine years, so I don’t think it will expire on this trip!
We bought ours at WildRock in Peterborough and noted that they are available at the Mountain Equipment Coop.
The only place we couldn’t drink purified tap water was on the Gili Islands, Indonesia, where it was just way too salty. We were appalled by how many empty plastic water bottles our family generated during the time we were there.
We are blessed with an abundance of fresh water in Canada. Let’s all do our part to conserve and protect this precious resource!