I like water pumps. Iodine tablets work, but they take an hour and give the water a funky taste. While they are lighter than pumps, pumps last longer and are reusable. Also, pumps remove materials out of the water such as leaf litter, gravel, benthics, ect. Waterborne illness is extremely common and cannot be taken lightly. I find my water pump extremely useful.
Many waterborne pathogens need to be boiled to kill from water. The only way to ensure that you are drinking clean and non-infected water is to boil.
To boil the water and capture it (instead of letting it evaporate as it boils), boil the water in a pot or whatever you have to boil it in, then have something like plastic wrap above the pot. The steam will rise up and hit the plastic wrap or whatever is above it. Angle it so that the steam will run down and fall off the plastic into a bowl.
The best water filtration system for hiking would be to actually purify the water by boiling it or using Iodine tablets. If you bring a pot with you to boil the water and have reasonable access to a heat source (such as a fire), that should be your first choice for purifying water. It is by far the safest, although it does take some time to bring the water to a boil. Iodine tablets are safe as well, assuming you’re not allergic to Iodine or pregnant. A water pump is not as safe, but offers nearly instant filtered water for drinking. A water pump will filter out protozoa, parasites, and bacteria, but the catch is that it will not remove viruses.
Although not the safest way to ensure you have clean drinking water, in an emergency (without otherwise useful tools like iodine tablets) you can fashion your own water filter as a straw, if you are able to find sand, grass, and active charcoal granules (which are naturally occurring). Bear Grylls demonstrated this once on his extreme wilderness survival show.
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