Sometimes, I'm just beating my head against the wall, when it comes to trying to explain to some folks, how important it is to have a source of clean, pure drinking water. I have an old friend back in Chicago - we've known each other since 1975, and it is just impossible to make her understand that, in due time, the water from her faucets will stop running, and what will she do when that happens? I've tried to get her to store a couple of the large blue water containers, that the big box stores carry, all to no avail. I have, at the least though, convinced her to get some freeze-dried/dehydrated foods for storage - so that's a step in the right direction. However, with a source of clean, safe water, he freeze-dried foods won't rehydrate...I'm still working on her!
There are a lot of different water purifiers/filters on the market, and not all are the same. The local Big Box stores and many sporting goods stores sell some really cheap water filters - and they are not the same as a water purifier - and they are okay, so long as the water source you are using isn't extremely dirty or contaminated - but how do you know? Over the years, I've tried a lot of different water filters/purifiers, and some work better than others. Just don't go thinking that the water pitcher, like Brita or Pur are actually water purifiers - all they do, for the most part is make you water taste a little better - water from the faucet. I wouldn't dare put water in my Pur from a small stream on my property, and then think that water is safe to drink - it isn't!
I've used the water purification tablets, the type the military issues, or used to issue - any more, they spend millions of dollars to fly-in bottled water to our troops in combat zones. For the life of me, I don't understand this, doesn't the military have the capabilities to treat and purify water any longer. Sad! The bad thing with water purification tablets is, the treated water often has a "funny" after-taste. You really need to pour that water back and forth from one canteen to another, to get some air into that water, and make it taste a little better. Still, it's better than drinking contaminated water.
I recently received, from Pantry Paratus an item called the SolarBag water purifier and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical as to how well this simply little water purifier would work, so I did some research on it, before using it. I learned that it is made right in my home state of Oregon - just outside of Portland. What we have with the SolarBag is a simple, clear plastic bag, that can hold up to three litters of water. There is a specially treated "mesh" membrane on the inside of the plastic bag, that helps purifier the untreated water. The bag also has an attached pre-filter, for use, if the water source you are using, is murky - you don't want to have sediment or dirt in your drinking water - even though the water has been effectively purified. So, you pour the water through the pre-filer, into the bag, first!
The SolarBag water purifier comes with a little bottle of blue liquid. When you fill your bag with water, you add but one drop of this liquid, and when the water is clear, you know your water has been purified. You simply hang the water bag in direct sunlight and in 2-3 hours, your water is purified - on slightly cloudy days, it may take 4-6 hours - still, your water will be purified and safe to drink. The maker says you can treat up to 9 litters of water per day - that is sufficient for a family of 3 or 4 to drink each day. Plan you day accordingly, and don't wait until the sun is ready to set, to start purifying your water - start early in the day.
Here's the simple breakdown on how to use this set-up. Rinse your SolarBag before using it the first time - that means, rinse it in a clean, safe water source - your home tap, for instance. Now, put your pre-filter over the mouth of the heavy-duty plastic water bag, before pouring the water in. This will remove any sediment, then add one drop of the blue liquid that the company calls Pur-Blue, put the cap on the bag, and hang it in the sun for the required amount of time - and you'll know when the water has changed from a blue color to clear - then drink the water - can't be much easier than that in my book.
Here's a list of the harmful contaminants that this set-up will treat: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, arsenic, lead and mercury. It will remove 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of giardia and crypto - not too shabby there if you ask me.
You can reuse the SolarBag up to 500 times. Now, if the timing process is taking too long, and your water isn't clear, it will be time to replace your SolarBag. I'd also suggest that, if you are using a really dirty source of water, that you collect it in another container, like a bucket, and let it sit, until the sediment settles to the bottom - then dip that water into the pre-filer - and into your Solar Bag - this way, you won't be clogging-up your pre-filter all the time.
I'm not privy to what the mesh pad has on it, that is inside the SolarBag, but it obviously is the "magic" to purifying the water - along with the sunlight. Also, if your pre-filter gets too dirty, gently wash it by hand. The SolarBag has a dry shelf-life of 7-years. Don't crush or fold it during storage, either. And, if you're not going to use the bag right away, after initially using it, drain the bag and allow it to dry then replace the cap - this may take several hours, depending on weather conditions and temperature.
The SolarBag is yet another device for helping your purify your water before drinking it. And, there is a rule of three, that many Preppers and Survivalists go by, and that is one is nothing, two is one and three is two. In other words, make sure you have more than one way to treat your water source - don't depend on just one. If that fails you, then you are "up the creek." So, the SolarBag is yet another method you can have on-hand, for treating your suspect water source, and it isn't much easier that to just fill the bag, let it sit, and then drink the purified water.
Retail on the SolarBag is $77.99 and when you consider you can reuse it up to 500-times, that's a cheap source of pure, clean drinking water. I've reviewed other products that Pantry Paratus sells, and they only carry top-of-the-line products. Check out the SolarBag, and I think you'll be impressed, like I was...the darn thing works as advertised. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio