We should all take a moment to appreciate that here in the US, most of us have access to clean drinking water. Not everyone is so fortunate. When I was growing up, we didn’t have city water. Occasionally the well would go dry, and we’d have to gather up some quarters and haul water from the water tower. Even when the well was dry, we could still get water easily. The upside of that was whenever there was a boil advisory, or zebra mussels invaded the water tower, it didn’t affect us.
By J. Bridger, contributing author to SHTFblog and Survival Cache
My hometown has great drinking water, and frequently places in the top 5 for tap water worldwide. I bet you didn’t know there were world championships for tap water taste, did you? I am spoiled when it comes to drinking water. So, when Epic Water Filters sent me their new Nano Water Filter Pitcher ($59.95) and a 32 oz. Nalgene OG Filtration System ($34.95 with Nalgene bottle included!), I was really pumped. The tap water here in Las Vegas sucks. I don’t like buying plastic bottles, so I’m stuck drinking water that tastes like someone collected runoff from Bigfoot’s butt crack.
The Nano pitcher has a 3.5L capacity, and water trickles through its filter in 5-10 minutes. According to Epic Water Filters, it filters out all kinds of things – some I’d never even considered. Microorganisms don’t stand a chance. It removes 99.999% (Sometimes you get another 9 tacked onto the end of that, or “log 6” removal) of: Pseudomonas, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, and Klebsiella. (See the full report of all contaminants the Nano removes here) If you haven’t heard of the 1993 Milwaukee Cryptosporidium outbreak, you should read about it. Over 400,000 people developed gastroenteritis-like symptoms due to drinking water contamination. The point is, bad water can and will happen in modern times. The Epic Water Filters Nano Pitcher also removes heavy metals, fluoride (not sure if that’s good or bad, depends who you ask I suppose), nearly 50 pesticides, herbicides, nearly 100 organic compounds, and pharmaceuticals. One interesting thing to note is the filter removes testosterone and progesterone. There are a lot of studies out there about exogenous hormones, and how they affect infants and children. Infants have very sensitive androgen receptors, and excess hormones can cause them to grow excess breast tissue (males too!). Children in the US are experiencing puberty earlier, and they think hormones in the environment could be why. Sounds like hippy shit, I know, but there’s a lot of compelling data out there (Check out “The sensitivity of the child to sex steroids: possible impact of exogenous estrogens” (by the University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark). Bottom line is, this filter removes tons of things you don’t want in your water.
Despite my hometown’s top tier tap water, its infrastructure is aging, and water line breaks are common. When the summer months come around, you can bet there will be issues. Often, there are boil advisories. Most of the time this is nothing more than a nuisance, but you never know. If there is a boil advisory, sometimes you may not know before you’ve guzzled your morning liter. If you’re sipping clean water from the Epic Water Filters Nano pitcher, you don’t have to worry. Filling this is much more convenient and efficient than boiling water and waiting for it to cool. Obviously, this won’t provide good water if it isn’t flowing, like when a 20” raw water main broke in 2014, and brought the entire county to a halt: When this happened, restaurants closed, businesses lost money, gas stations jacked up the price of bottled water, and even the local hospital wasn’t able to provide water for their cooling system. Luckily there were no structure fires or grass fires, or the county could’ve had a huge problem. You should keep this in mind and have plans in place should you need to source water from somewhere other than your tap and purify it. This might be a swimming pool, rainwater collection system, or nearby reservoir. This was a stark reminder that the amenities we enjoy are artificial and fragile. No one was bringing bottled water to my door, but that was fine with me. We had a well.
Also read: Survival Gear Review: Epic Water Filters The Answer Nalgene Filter
How does the water taste through the Epic Nano pitcher? A hell of a lot better than it did before it went through. It makes off putting Las Vegas water taste fresh and clean. One of my favorite features is the filter indicator. It shows you how much life is left in the filter (based on a 90-day estimate. It filters 150 gallons). One filter lasts two people 3-4 months. The last pitcher filter I had didn’t have this. You knew the filter needed to be changed when the water developed an acidic taste, almost like someone had put lemon juice in it. There is a flip top on the lid you can open with your thumb, so you don’t have to remove the entire lid. It’s a small detail, but one I appreciate. Taking into account how often boil advisories occurred back home, the lackluster drinking water here (mostly due to my refined palate, I’ll admit), and my own paranoia, this pitcher is a home run. I’ll be purchasing a replacement filter when the time comes. You can even set it up to receive filters automatically. If that isn’t enough, it comes with a lifetime warranty and is made in the USA. Epic!
Portable Filtration, OG Style!
Epic Water Filters also makes a wide mouth Nalgene OG filtration bottle. These bottles hold 1 liter (about 32 ounces) and are nearly indestructible. The filter cartridges come in two flavors: the black-colored Urban (75-gallon life, comes standard with the Nalgene OG) and optional orange Outdoor (100-gallon life, also $27.95). Like the pitcher, the Epic Nalgene OG carries a lifetime warranty and is made in the USA.
I took the Epic Water Filters Nalgene OG with the orange Outdoor filter on a day hike in the Spring Mountains. Right away, its strengths were obvious. The flip-up mouthpiece in the OG’s lid doesn’t leak, but I’d still store it in your pack right side up. Because my hike was along a running stream, I didn’t have to carry any water. Water is the heaviest thing in my pack, so that was a huge plus. Whenever I got thirsty, I just scooped up some water, drank as much as I wanted, and dumped the rest. It was convenient and made the hike much more enjoyable. It takes some effort to get water out of the straw, but it’s not terrible. If a spring is shallow, it can be difficult to fill your bladder or bottle. You should consider this and pack a collapsible cup or something similar so you can scoop or suck water from the source to treat.
In my opinion, the best thing about the Epic Nalgene OG filter is how convenient it is. No boiling, no waiting, no chemical taste. Just scoop and go. It really shines when you are near a water source, like a stream or lake. If watering holes were a little more scarce, you would want to consider something with a higher capacity you could fill and transfer over to this bottle (though Epic Water Filters makes the Nalgene OG Grande with the larger 48 oz. bottle if you need more capacity) Don’t underestimate how much water you may need if you are working hard, or if it’s hot outside. I recently completed a 19-mile trail with about 6,000’ of elevation change. Elevation varied between 7,400’ and 10,400’. It wasn’t hot, but it was dry; I drank six liters of water between 7am and 7pm. There was only one spring and thank goodness it was flowing.
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If you have a bugout location, you should study the route for water sources. If you live in a rural area and work away from home, you should study your route home. If water sources are abundant, this would be a great option for your bag or vehicle. Too many people are guilty of throwing a LifeStraw in their bug out bag and considering it an adequate treatment strategy. You need a way to carry water, and at least one back up treatment method. Pairing this bottle with a bladder and some tablets or drops would set you up well in the water department. If you EDC a backpack or messenger style bag and regularly carry a water bottle, you could use this bottle and stow the filter away for “just in case” scenarios. You could have clean water wherever you are, at a very tiny weight expense.
The biggest drawback is lack of gravity flow. If you want to use filtered water to cook or wash, this won’t work. If you could squeeze water out of this bottle into a bladder or cooking pot, it would be perfect. Despite that, this filter and bottle combo has a place in my pack. The convenience and simplicity of the Epic Water Filters Nalgene OG filter make it a home run for any EDC, bug out bag, or hiking kit.