The people who sent me this GRAYL UL water purifier probably don’t want me to start off this post with an ugly photo of garbage, so I’ll put that further down. When you look at that pile of plastic that will stick around for hundreds of years though, ask yourself a hard question: “Is this my fault?”
Well, it’s not all your fault of course, but if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. The vast majority of single-use plastic water bottles don’t get recycled. If you’re in a developed country they might at least have a chance of making it to a landfill. In most of the world, even that is a false assumption. These wildlife-killing, planet-spoiling scourges end up in rivers, oceans, and bays instead, where they break down and get into our food chain. Enjoy your grilled fish!
It’s not all that hard to travel with a water purifier instead and use it. I’ve brought up plenty of options in the past, but if this Grayl one is too difficult then you might just be incurably lazy. All you have to do is fill up the outside part with water, push down the inner filter part, and…nothing. You can just tip it up and drink like you would from a cup. Screw the top on and you can take it with you. It works faster than a SteriPen even (15 seconds will do it) yet it removes 99.999% of viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts. Plus it gets rid of things that can hurt you (like lead and arsenic) and things that just don’t taste very good, like chlorine. If you’ve read any of those articles about how not-so-pure much of that bottled water is, your own filtration system is probably a better bet than what you paid $3 for in that plastic you tossed last time around.
I’ve been trying out one of the media sample models of this UL (for ultralight) purifiers and I’m sold. It’s slightly larger than my morning Snow Peak insulated coffee mug and as nicely designed. It’s very light, but feels like it’ll take plenty of abuse on the road. It holds 16 ounces of purified water.
I don’t normally review things that are in the Kickstarter phase, but this isn’t a new company. I saw earlier versions in action over a couple of years and this is just the newest, lightest version. You can see the progression below: the one on the right is the oldest and heaviest. This new one is just 10.9 ounces, so even the ultralight hiker types can be happy with this hanging off their pack.
I was traveling and didn’t get this post up before their campaign ended, but they didn’t need my help anyway: they beat their goal and raised $222K to put this baby into full production. When it hits the market soon it’ll list for $59.50, which is a real bargain. Considering one filter lasts for the equivalent of 300 bottles of store-bought water (150 liters/40 gallons), it’s clear that even if you buy from Costco in bulk normally this thing will easily pay for itself. You can pre-order yours here.
Now imagine being able to always filter your water in any country you’re in and then brushing your teeth or drinking with no worries. Imagine being parched on an all-day hike, hearing the sound of a rushing stream, and knowing you can drink from that stream to your thirst’s content. You’re covered. When the filter finally wears out, a new one is around $22. Do your wallet and your planet a favor and start packing a water purifier. If you’re lazy and easily flummoxed by technology, get this one because it’s dead easy to use.