How to Use a Water Filter

   03.23.18

How to Use a Water Filter

Ok guys and gals, let’s take a few minutes and talk about how to use a water filter. Since this is outdoors site we are going to cover handheld portable water filters used for camping, hiking and backpacking.

What exactly does a water filter do? It removes harmful pathogens from water.

What is the difference between a purifier and a filter? A purifier will kill or remove viruses. Filters do nothing to stop a virus.

I bought my first water filter sometime around 1997 or 1998. In the past 20 or 21 years the filter has been used extensively on hiking and camping trips. It has filtered everything from bayou water near the gulf coast, to river water while camping on the Angelina River for three days.

The typical water filter may have:

  • Prefilter – Removes heavy sediment such as sand, dirt, mosquito larvae.. etc.  The purpose of the prefilter is to extend the life of the primary filter.
  • Float – Slips over the intake hose and helps keep the prefilter off the bottom of the water source.
  • Intake hose – This is what goes into the dirty water.
  • Pump / plunger – This is what pulls the dirty water through the intake hose and forces it through the filter.
  • Housing – Houses the filter and the pump / plunger.
  • Filter – What removes the pathogens.  This is inside the housing.
  • Activated carbon – Some filters will have carbon inside the filter, or in a prefilter.  Activated carbon improves the taste of the water.
  • Outlet hose – Guides the water from the pump housing to the container.

Sounds simple enough, right?

How to Use a Water Filter

Step 1 – Attach the float and prefilter to the intake hose.

Step 2 – Attach intake and output hoses to the pump housing. Be sure to get the right hose on the right port.  If the hoses are reversed, the intake hose will blow bubbles.

Step 3 – Adjust the float so the prefilter is a couple of inches below the waters surface.

Step 4 – Drop the intake hose with prefilter and float into the water.

Step 5 – Pump about a quart of water through the filter before putting the output hose into a container.

Step 6 – Attach the output hose to a container. Some hoses have a clip so the output hose can be attached to the container, while some housings can be attached directly to the top of a wide mouth water bottle.

Step 7 – Pump until the container is full.

Step 8 – Take the intake hose out of the water source.

Step 9 – Pump filter until no more water comes out. The housing will be full of water, which adds weight to the pack and can leak water. So take a few seconds to get the excess water out of the filter before packing everything up.

Hopefully those instructions will help first time users get started with using a water filter.

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