I recently tested a new water filter called the Frontier Pro Filter System, from Aquamira Technologies, Inc. (www.aquamira.com). It has a lot going for it. First off, it fits easily in the pocket of my cargo pants, and weighs only 2 ounces. That means I can carry it around with me, and if I manage to lose my way in the woods, I’ll be equipped with an important piece of survival gear.
But the best part is the variety of ways it works. Designed with versatility in mind, the Frontier Pro can be used three different ways. First is by attaching the base of the filter to a regular grocery store variety water bottle (the filter base has a screw cap arrangement that fits standard 28mm threaded bottle mouths).
The second method is to attach the unit to a hydration bladder (such as a Platypus). And the third is to drink directly from a pond or stream by attaching the included 12-inch plastic straw and sucking through the bite valve (be careful to keep the straw away from the bottom of the pond, to prevent sucking up silt). No hoses, no pumps, no work.
There is still one other mode of operation that I tested — a gravity-feed drip system. To set that up, I removed the bite-valve (hidden beneath a cap on top of the filter), attached the filter to a container of water and hung it upside-down with the filter at the lowest point and a vent at the top (to keep from creating a vacuum inside the container as the water drained out the bottom). Gravity pulls the water through the filter and clean water is collected below. Works like a charm.
The filter is rated to screen out 99.9% of giardia and cryptosporidium, and the guts include an activated carbon element to help reduce waterborne chemicals and to improve flavor. Miraguard antimicrobial technology is employed to suppress the growth of bacteria, algae, fungus, mold and mildew inside the filter media.
A pre-filter element fits inside the base, to catch big chunks before they can get to the “real” filter element. That prolongs the useful life of the filter, which, by the way, is rated at 50 gallons. A total of 5 pre-filters come in the package.
I tested the filter in all modes, including sucking up water from a source pool. Of course, sucking takes some effort. What I discovered was that the filter became easier to draw water through after all the air was purged from the filter media and it became thoroughly saturated with water.
For a suggested retail price of $24.95, this compact, versatile filter system seems like an excellent way to make drinkable water, no matter where you go. It is now part of our 72-hour kit, and I’m getting another one to keep in the survival kit we keep in our vehicle.