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How To Treat Backcountry Water On The Cheap

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SIERRA Backcountry Water cover WB
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The year I graduated from college, I was accepted into a program to teach English on a small Pacific atoll without running water or electricity. I hadn’t traveled much, so I had a long list of things to buy: luggage, footwear, clothing, snorkeling gear, a solar charger, a headlamp.

The most daunting item on the list was a water filter. I remember standing in an outdoor-gear store with my mom, overwhelmed as the salesperson explained the difference between disinfection and purification, which types of disease-causing microbes could get through which types of filters, and the benefits of gravity-fed systems versus pumps. I eventually walked away $150 poorer but satisfied that I was carrying a filter that would last for a lifetime of globe-trotting adventure.

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