REVIEW: GRAYL UltraPress Water Filter and Purifier
Anyone who has ever gotten sick from drinking contaminated water while traveling in a foreign country can tell you that it is an experience that you want to avoid at all costs. Nothing will ruin an otherwise-great trip faster than coming down with a bad case of “Montezuma’s Revenge”—aka traveler’s diarrhea. Thankfully, there are a number of great products available today that can help us avoid that dreaded affliction, with a Grayl water purifying bottle ranking among the very best.
For those unfamiliar with Grayl, the company makes water bottles with a built-in filter system that can remove waterborne pathogens from any water, making it safe to drink. Travelers can simply fill the bottle from any source, use its built-in purification system, and take a drink without fear. The filtering process is quick, straightforward, and very effective.
Grayl has been around for a few years now, but recently the company released a new, smaller version of its bottle that is lighter and easier to carry. Naturally, we had to take a look to see how it performs and as expected, it did not disappoint.
Ease of Use (5) ★★★★★
A Grayl bottle comes in two parts—the bottle itself and a second independent piece that contains the carbon filtering system. Unlike some other purification systems, the Grayl is actually incredibly easy to use. Just add water to the bottle, then insert the filtering mechanism—which is integrated into the lid—slowly down into the water. In doing so, the purifier acts as a plunger, forcing the water upward and into the filter itself. The water is completely clean as it comes out the other side, and all harmful elements are removed.
The process takes about ten seconds to complete and requires only the bare minimum of effort. After filtering the water, travelers can drink directly from the bottle itself or pour its contents into the hydration bladder in their backpacks. The entire process couldn’t be easier, removing all of the worry over whether or not purification tablets, UV lighting, or other filters have been effective.
Effectiveness (5) ★★★★★
Speaking of effectiveness, a Grayl bottle will remove 99.99+% of all harmful material from water. The company says that its filter will eliminate 99.99% of viruses, 99.9999% of bacteria, and 99.9% of protozoan cysts. In other words, it is possible that something could make it through the purification process, but it is highly unlikely. The list of nasty stuff that these bottles can eliminate includes Rotavirus, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, Cholera, Salmonella, and Dysentery. The bottles can even remove particulates, turning dirty water clear and clean, not to mention save to drink.
Having used the Grayl bottle on previous trips to remote corners of the globe, we can attest to how well it performs. We’ve scooped water directly from rivers, ponds, and streams and filtered it using these bottles without ever getting sick. It made for a safer, more enjoyable travel experience knowing that we wouldn’t come down with a waterborne illness.
Design (5) ★★★★★
In the past, we’ve always used the larger 24-ounce Grayl GeoPress bottle and have been extremely happy with its performance. But, those bottles are on the larger size, which can make carrying them around a bit of a hassle. The new UltraPress models are smaller and lighter, without reducing their effectiveness. That should make them a very popular option for travelers who are looking to stay safe without adding undue bulk to their packs. Yes, the bottle does carry less water, but in our experience, the Grayl is used to produce a full day’s worth of drinking water in one sitting. That water is then stored in a larger container—such as a hydration bladder or Nalgene bottle—for drinking throughout the rest of the day.
From a design standpoint, the new UltraPress bottles look great and feel even better in your hand. They are available in a variety of colors and resemble other high-end water bottles, without any indication of their filtering capabilities. As a nice touch, the Grayl logo on the side is made from a grippy, rubbery material that makes it very easy to hold.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
Having used a Grayl bottle for several years, it has become a must-have item for any trips into the backcountry or to foreign destinations where access to clean drinking water could be in question. The smaller UltraPress version only makes it easier to recommend, as the bottle is now easier to transport. But the best part of having one of these water-purifying bottles with you is the peace of mind and confidence they provide. Knowing that you’ll stay safe and protected from waterborne viruses and bacteria is a big plus and well worth the $89.95 price tag.
For that price, the Grayl will offer 300 water purification cycles before the filter needs to be replaced. The bottle also comes with a ten-year warranty and is BPA-free, providing extra assurance that you’re investing in a high-quality product designed to keep you safe.
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