Last year we had to cancel our trip to Roatán, Honduras because Gail came down with an unknown-at-the-time illness. After a week in the hospital, it turns out she had a parasite in her system that could have been there for years or weeks – no one knows – either way, it created additional issues and left her with a rare gastrointestinal autoimmune disease to boot. Through research, she discovered that virtually all of us have a parasite (sometimes more than one) at any given time!
Everybody reacts differently to each parasite and every parasite effects each of us differently, but either way, it was a huge life changer for both of us. Gail had to completely change her diet and do a ton of research to find out how to manage her condition (doctors were/are completely useless and told her to Google her diagnosis and heal herself – we kid you not!). And me… well I needed to be fed and I’m too lazy to cook for myself, so I just went along with it and ate whatever she had to eat. I reckoned it couldn’t be too bad and certainly wouldn’t kill me.
So what’s this got to do with a travel and a water bottle you ask? Well Gail’s mystery parasite makes us rather paranoid and since she was doing everything in her power to cleanse herself of the parasite, the last thing you want to do is add another one into the mix travelling to the islands (though you can pick them up pretty much anywhere since our food comes from all over the world).
Water is the single most important item we put in our mouths – it’s in almost everything we eat and drink. In Canada and the U.S. it’s full of chlorine, fluoride (research the history of fluoride – here’s a couple of links to start… Dr. Axe and Dr. Osmunson) among other toxic chemicals. There’s plenty of clean water coming through our taps, but it’s not GOOD water. We did a lot of research and settled on the Berkey Water Filtration system for our home water. The Berkey system effectively reduces/eliminates: Fluoride, Pre-oxidized Arsenic III and Arsenic V; MTBE and other heavy metal ions.
That’s great for at home – we can just transfer the water into travel containers and off we go when we’re out and about. But that can’t happen when we’re travelling! We needed and wanted a purifier, not just a filter.
We hadn’t given up on our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Roatán – if fact we booked another trip when Gail got to the point where she could actually travel again, BUT she was worried, concerned and anxious about food and drink and it was going to take a lot of effort to keep her safe and healthy while we were gone.
Time for more research – this time for a good travel water filtration system. The Berkey Sport Berkey bottle wasn’t really an option for us because water had to be squeezed through the filter and into your mouth. We wanted a system that would allow us to filter more water and store it separately. The Berkey Sport was out.
With a little bit of research we found a very good bottle by GRAYL (thegrayl.com). Their system was exactly what we needed and wanted: quick and easy to purify and filter from virtually any fresh water source (aka not salt water) in the world – in only 15 seconds, you can then transfer it to another container and re-filter more water if you wish, or simply use it as your drink bottle.
How does it work? Easy as one-two-three: Fill. Press. Drink.
Just like making French Press coffee you: 1) fill the outer cup with unfiltered water, twist-on the cap (just a ¼ turn to allow air to flow out) and place it on a stable surface (on the ground or a lower surface like a coffee table); 2) plunge the inner filter press down through the water (use your body weight for mechanical advantage); and 3) drink. Just re-fill at any stream, lake, sketchy tap, hostel sink, airport terminal or bathroom.
In-use it worked flawlessly. How does it taste? Great! And not surprising when you consider what GRAYL does. It’s a full-spectrum Purification + Filtration system. It’s very comforting to know that the filter keeps you healthy with every drop that you drink. The GRAYL® Ultralight Purifier [+Filter] Bottle removes 99.9999% of viruses (e.g. Rotavirus, Hepatitis A) and bacteria (e.g. E coli, Salmonella) and also removes 99.999% of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia, Cryptosporidium) It also filters particulates (e.g. sediment, dirt), many chemicals (e.g. chlorine, benzene) and heavy metals (e.g. lead, arsenic).
Reading some reviews of it online, there appears to be an issue with it being harder and harder to operate after a day or so. The problem is user error as far as we could see. We had no issues at all, but when I did it one day I had a great deal of difficulty. Gail took over and after releasing the top just a little to let air out as you push down on it, the problem was resolved. It clearly states in the instructions that you don’t seal the twist-on cap tightly (just a ¼ turn to allow air to flow out) – or it will result in a great deal of back pressure and won’t work (I’d forgotten that part).
Who Needs the GRAYL?
Everybody! Just about everyone today is consuming some sort of bottled or filtered water, so whether you’re travelling to India, work or the local park you need GRAYL.
• Travellers need a purifier, not just a filter. The difference between GRAYL and all the rest is their ability to remove bacteria, protozoa and viruses. GRAYL is also effective against chemicals, heavy metals and sediment. So not only does it make your water safe, it also tastes good!
• Airport Security – Avoid the high price of bottles water at the airport with GRAYL.
• Eco-Conscious Resorts – Holiday resorts are becoming more and more conscious of the impact of plastic waste on their island/country. At our resort in Roatán, they gave us a bottle of water and encouraged us to refill it at water stations during our stay. They also encouraged the use of your own reusable containers for all beverages. While there we also declined the plastic straws – as did a lot of others.
• Do your part to help reduce the use of plastics that have permeated our society – it’s destroying the very places we love to travel to.
• Camping and Hiking – You can only imagine what’s in that stream water or how old are those pipes at the campground. Not only that, who wants to haul in cases of water for a weekend camping! Lighten your load with GRAYL.
You’ll probably say it’s just easier and cheaper to use bottled water … consider this first and we’ll get to that.
• Work – Have you ever stopped to ponder at the water cooler … how does that wonderful water sitting in that big jug get from there to the spigot? Yup, it’s travelling through plastic tubing that NEVER gets cleaned. Any idea what grows in those things? Don’t take the chance, put that water into your GRAYL and let it take care of it.
• Exercise – People that hike or exercise need to travel light too. On a hot day it’s impossible to carry gallons/litres of water to keep hydrated. GRAYL gives you the freedom to drink safe water even if your only source is a dirty stream or a questionable gas station sink.
• Public Parks – never drink out of the spouts on public fountains (just the thought of that…)! Taking the kids and dog on a walk? They need to have safe clean drinking water too – GRAYL does that. Good luck trying to squeeze water through some of the other filters for them.
• Schools – lord knows how old some of those plumbing systems are – a GRAYL non-breakable plastic bottle is easy for kids to use, light enough to carry and small enough to store in a bag.
• Emergency – How about an emergency situation? It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’ll have a time when the power goes out, a water main bursts – ask the people of Flint Michigan how they feel about their everyday water supply. It can happen any time anywhere. If you have a GRAYL Purifier & Filter Bottle or two – you’re safe. You can keep one in your emergency preparedness kit. (An unopened Purifier Cartridge lasts at least 10 years. After first-use, 3 additional years if stored properly).
How about the QUALITY of bottled water?
• Research shows that anywhere from a 25% to 45% of all bottled water comes from the exact same place as your tap water!
• Not long ago the city of Cleveland conducted a test on the Fiji Water brand and discovered that their water actually contained traces of arsenic, while the city’s own water supply did not.
• German researchers discovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) in 18 popular name brand bottled water products. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system; they can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders and other developmental disorders that could adversely affect development and reproduction.
• Manufacturing the bottles – The amount of oil it takes to make plastic water bottles in the United States alone could fuel approximately one million cars and light trucks for a year – that’s not even counting the oil it takes to ship bottled water around the world.
• Empty bottles – up to 80% of the empty bottles end up in landfills or noxious-gas-producing incinerators. The rest is either recycled or shipped to countries like India to be recycled. What about the other 20%, I hasten to say it’s left lying in ditches, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans (it was staggering the garbage that we saw while snorkelling in Roatán).
What about the ever-popular Brita filter?
Before researching water, filters and purifiers we used a Brita filter/jug system for our needs. But how much does a Brita help? Not much apparently. Most Brita filters are not certified to deal with lead, pesticide and pharmaceutical residues, bacteria, viruses, or anything health-related – other than mercury, copper, and cadmium.
Hold on to your hat for this eye-popping moment – filters can actually ADD bacteria to your water!! One study of bactericide-impregnated Brita filters, conducted in Germany, found that the filtered water usually contained more bacteria than tap water – sometimes much more. Many of those bacteria were virulent. The researchers even recommended that people with compromised immune systems boil their Brita water! What? In the 1990’s, the Canadian government briefly considered banning such filters until further research on bacterial growth had taken place. WOW!
Reduce Waste, Save Money – Superior water, superior taste, SAFE water, less money.
Using a GRAYL bottle + filter daily, is actually cheaper than buying bottled water in bulk! Most people buy bottled water for convenience and a better taste than tap water. Purchasing cases of bottled water is bulky and is very heavy to lug around, for some people storing it is even an issue. The GRAYL however is a better option. It’s small, light and convenient.
At the cheapest water we could find: Walmart brand ($2.48/24 bottles) it would cost $31 for the equivalent of 1 replacement filter ($24.95). You can pretty-much guarantee that the bottled water isn’t the finest available…and don’t forget the accumulative aspect of fluoride!
We used both bottles at least 4 times per day for all seven days and had no issues other than the one described (user error). When we got home Gail simply rinsed the filters, let them air dry and stored them for our next trip. Regardless of where we travel – including in Canada, we’ll grab the GRAYL Purifier [+Filter] Bottle every time. Gail’s health scare started us down the path of making us more conscious of not only where our food comes from, but also our water – the peace of mind the GRAYL brings us is priceless.
Full disclosure: GRAYL kindly provided us with two bottles to test and review (Canadian customs dinged us $45 for import taxes however). Our opinion is our own and in no way did the free product influenced our review.
GRAYL® Ultralight Purifier [+Filter] Bottle – Features & Specs
- Fast and easy-to-use; makes safe, clean drinking water from virtually any freshwater source in the world – in only 15 seconds.
- Electro adsorption effectively removes:
- Removes 99.9999% of viruses (e.g. Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, SARS,)
- Removes 99.9999% of bacteria (e.g. E coli, Salmonella)
- Removes 99.999% of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia, Cryptosporidium)
- Ultra-powdered activated carbon effectively filters sediment, dirt, many chemicals (e.g. chlorine, benzene) and heavy metals (e.g. lead, arsenic)
- Size: 9.625″ (24.5 cm) H x 2.875″ (7.30 cm)
- Lightweight (10.9oz / 309 g) and compact so it fits in any pack pocket and most cup holders
- Integrated attachment loop – clip onto any pack or side pocket
- Capacity: 16oz (473 ml)
- Fast Flow Rate: 15 seconds per 16oz (2 litres/minute)
- Lifespan of Replaceable Purifier Cartridge: 300 uses (40 gallons / 150 Litres)
- Bottle can be used indefinitely.
- Engineered to stand up to the harsh demands of global travellers and outdoor adventurers
- Travelers can avoid buying bottled water altogether, and instead use a GRAYL for treating all their water – saves money and waste
- Lightweight (10.9oz / 309 g) and compact so it fits in any pack pocket and most cup holders
- BPA Free materials: Yes
- Meets NSF/ANSI Standards: 42+53
- Designed in USA
- Purifier media made in USA
- Colours: Black, Blue, Orange and Green
- Purchase direct from GRAYL or on Amazon – free shipping either way
- Cost: $59 U.S. or $79 in Canada
- Replacement Filters: $24.95 U.S. or $34.96 Cdn
- Interchangeable with GRAYL Purifier Cartridge
- The blue TAP filter was designed to be used on domestic (US), municipally treated water sources and will not remove pathogens (virus, bacteria, and protozoa) from your water
- The blue TAP filter will only remove chlorine, iodine, lead, and arsenic, all of the things which can affect the taste, odour, and health of your domestic tap water
- Filters many chemicals (e.g. chlorine, iodine) and heavy metals (e.g. lead, arsenic)
- Activated carbon fiber with an extremely small micro pore structure and a capacity for absorption far greater than conventional granular activated carbon.
- Fast & easy. Make clean filtered drinking water in only 7 seconds (4 litres/minute)
- 300 uses per filter
- Fresh tasting water. Not for use with unsafe water!
- Not available on Amazon.CA (as of July 2018)
Copyright © 2018 Iain & Gail Shankland / TravelBloggers.ca (at) Gmail.com. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland | Photography: GRAYL
Be sure to give us a like on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram … or sign up for our blog via email so you don’t miss future articles!
Iain & Gail started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
In the end you will only regret the things you didn’t do
Airbnb – use this link (www.airbnb.ca/c/gails2301) and get a $50 CDN travel credit off your first booking!