I'm conducting a summer-long study of water-related gear. I've seen y'all in the Twitter and right-wing gun nut spaces tout various products and I'm putting them to the test. They are:
The MSR Guardian is a virus-rated water purifier. If you need to know more about it or want the specs, go read them on Amazon. It's big, like the size of one of those large cans of baked beans or a giant can of beer. It's not particularly heavy. The shipping box is stout and I suppose it could be used as a protective case. I went with this instead of the smaller MiniWorks because I want protection against waterborne viruses and I liked the handle operation versus the bike pump of the Katadyn. I tried the LifeStraw water bottle in the past and it was like sucking a golf ball through a garden hose; hard pass.
I intend on testing this at desert lakes and in the Sierra, including swim beaches at popular lakes. About viruses:
Somebody, probably a Ranger, suggested the Hydrapack Stash as a collapsible canteen. I got some "collapsible" bottles for Christmas but they were soft-sided versus being able to crush down like a soda can. I really wanted this for empty-pack space saving, especially on the way out. This I can fill from the tap and carry full or fill in the field from the purifier while saving space when not in active use holding water. I don't think this will be all that complicated, but I suspect durability and taste could be factors. Conveniently, it screws into the bottom of the MSR.
Nalgene and Human Gear Cap Cap
One of the problems with Nalgene bottles and their clones is the extremely wide mouth, which is why I never used the brand name ones. Open the lid and if you're not careful taking a sip, you end up splashing water down your face. Okay if it's hot and you have lots of water, bad if it's cold or you have little water. I do hear that in the Antarctic everyone who goes out on the ice carries one of these to pee in so the urine doesn't contaminate the pristine environment. Of course, I'm told Nalgene is nearly indestructible and the gold standard of water bottles in the wild. Problem is, they don't collapse (see above).
To get around the splashing problem, enter the humangear CapCAP+ (if you want the proper name). Basically it's a lid for big opening with a smaller screw-top above that that will replace the OEM Nalgene lid. Advantage? It gives you a sipping/pouring sized drinking hole. Yes, you could get one of those suck-top bottles but I feel too much like a baby to use something like that and I hate having to clean off soft drink container lips like that. Give me hard plastic that's easy to sanitize and wipe down.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Author Don Shift
Don Shift is a veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and avid fan of post-apocalyptic literature and film who has pushed a black and white for a mile or two. He is a student of disasters, history, and current events.