The same intense solar rays that can lead to a nasty case of sunburn also can be used to kill organisms in your water… at least that is the premise of a new water-purification product.
The SOL Hydration water reservoir uses the power of the sun to cook away bacteria and other nasties from your water, leaving you with clean, potable drinking water.
The company touts its bags simply need to be filled up with river or stream water and left in the sun to purify.
Caveat: You must use clear and “clean” water, the brand states, meaning no murky or cloudy water that could block UV rays.
If the water is clear, SOL says its reflective bags harness the sun’s UV rays to penetrate the water to kill microorganisms.
The hydration reservoir uses UV-resistant plastic that won’t break down and allows light into the container.
A reflective interior of the reservoir acts like a parabolic mirror that bounces the UV light back through the water a second time to maximize effectiveness.
The company claims the UV purification is 99% effective at killing bacteria and viruses, including cryptosporidium and giardia.
Before you balk, the concept of making safe drinking water with sunshine isn’t new — in fact, it’s been promoted by the CDC for use in developing countries.
The SOL reservoirs come in three sizes: A “survivalist” 1 liter; the “Daypacker,” also 1 liter but equipped with a drinking spout; and a 2-liter “Backpacker” model. Each bag weighs under 3oz. when empty.
The idea has merit for backcountry users, but it takes time for the device to work. In perfect conditions, the SOL needs about three hours before water can be consumed, the company says. In overcast conditions, it can take up to 24 hours of light.
The product would obviously not work well in freezing weather or winter, when long hours of darkness render it ineffective.
But in sunny summer conditions, it could be a hassle-free alternative to leave at a base camp and get pure water over a few hours of the bags sitting in the sun.
Because the bags are resealable and waterproof they can also be used as a dry bag for small items — the plastic is touch sensitive so you can operate your smartphone through it.
The bags are pretty inexpensive, with the 2-liter reservoir costing $20. I doubt I’d rely on the SOL for my main water purification needs, but as a handy backup and at a price like that, these are a worthy backup for backpacking and beyond.
If you want to try one for yourself purchase the bags on the company’s Kickstarter page now.