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GRAYL Water Filtration and Purification

Updated on December 20, 2015

GRAYL With Travel Purifier

Man made water hole on the outskirts of Dubai
Man made water hole on the outskirts of Dubai

Why You Should Purchase a GRAYL Filter

When I first moved to Dubai I understood quite quickly how impossible it is to find particular items, for example, water purification tablets. I've never actually used them but it was one of my previous jobs to order them in bulk incase of disaster relief etc.

Eventually I found some and after my wife's comment on their safe use, or unsafe use more to the point, I questioned myself on how reliable they really were. My wife's friend back in Italy has just graduated from university and she studied the breakdown of pharmaceutical products so this seemed like a good place to start. She quickly disregarded them and told me not to drink water from a lake with a chlorine tablet to make it "safe". Fair enough, when you put it like that, I guess that is what most people would say.

So I started to research as I didn't want a product that was there "just incase", I wanted a product that is safe and I would realistically use if I was out on the trail or stranded without a safe water supply.

To start I wanted to understand more in-depth what makes the water unsafe to drink and this is what I discovered;

What makes water unsafe

Basically water can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, chemicals or all three not to mention physical objects such as sand, bugs or small stones. Off course you should also do your own research as this is just a summary.

The idea is that you remove these and the water is safe to drink. From what I learnt about purification tablets they only seem to remove bacteria. You basically leave the tablet in the contaminated water as per the ratio specified on the instructions for the correct amount of time and the bacteria is killed. Ok so this is great but what if the water were contaminated with viruses and/ or chemicals?

Sand filtration

I studied some more and came across sand filtration (information found on the World Health Organisations website). Basically contaminated water is poured into a funnel style container full of sand (0.5-1.5 metre in depth) and slowly passes to the bottom allowing the filtration to take place. The water that comes out the other end is free from bacteria, viruses and chemicals making it safe to drink. Personally I would boil it after this process just to be sure but this method is still being used today in developing countries.

Boiling water

With regards to boiling water you can kill most bacteria by bringing to a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Again this isn't that useful if there are chemicals and viruses inside. Also at higher altitudes the effectiveness of this is reduced. This takes time and energy is required from a heat source.

The main point with safe water while trekking (as this is the main subject) is that by drinking contaminated water you can quickly become ill which is the last thing you need while miles away from anything apart from rock and sand. The amount of fluid you could lose by becoming ill would make it pointless drinking the water in the first place.


After researching various products on the market and taking into consideration weight and bulkiness concerns I came across the GRAYL filter and water bottle. (see link below)

The GRAYL comes in either stainless steel or BPA free plastic. You have a choice of three filters; Blue for tap water, green for trail and orange for traveling. The colours filter at different levels with the orange filter offering the highest protection. The higher the protection, the longer it takes to press (similar to a French press operation). Orange takes around 30 seconds, green takes around 15 seconds and blue takes around 7 seconds.

Use in the office or on the trail

You can change the filter as you prefer, use blue for daily use in the office or city taps and swap to a higher protection when you hit the trail/ travel.

The filters require to be changed after time (about 300 uses) but can simply be ordered on line. To change a filter you simply twist it off the bottle and replace with a new one, ensuring that the latch is lined up. It's that simple.

The good thing about this product (apart from the engineering behind it of course) is that it looks great. This means that not only can you use it on the trail but you can also use it in your daily life at the workplace, traveling in the car or whatever.

The reason I chose this product is because it is small enough to fit in my pack, it can hold some of my water supplies and in the event of an emergency I can use it to produce safe drinking water (providing I can find a source of water that isn't sea water of course)

What's Inside the GRAYL

GRAYL with travel filter (orange)
GRAYL with travel filter (orange)

How the GRAYL Works

As you can see from the picture above I chose to purchase with the travel filter. I will also be purchasing the blue filter for everyday tap use.

  1. To use the GRAYL, fill the outer cup (the one on the right) with contaminated water. Ideally you want to pick the clearest water you can find without too many particles. I carry a small piece of cloth with me that I would put over the top before putting the water inside, however this is just personal preference. Obviously you wouldn't need to do this with tap water as i'm thinking of worst case scenario from a source such as a lake or river.
  2. Ensure that the filter is attached and the latch is lined up correctly
  3. With the lid removed (to allow the escape of air) press the inner cup into the outer cup. Be careful not to cover the opening with your hands whilst pressing as the air requires to escape.
  4. Slowly press down until the filter hits the bottom. You will notice as you push down the clean water will become visible in the inner cup.
  5. Replace the lid. Either drink straight away as you would from a normal water bottle, pour some for your friends or secure the latch/ opening at the top and store in your bag for later use.

Inside the GRAYL


Do you have a GRAYL? Maybe you have another product that can do the same job?

Please leave your comments below




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