When it comes to survival, it’s important to know the Rule of Threes—you can live three weeks without food, but you can only live three days without water. We keep an emergency supply of food, water, and fuel in my home and in our truck camper, but no emergency preparedness plan would be complete without a means to obtain additional water from outside sources. Why? Because the likelihood of losing all of your public utilities in an emergency situation is pretty high. That means you’ll be forced to obtain your hydration needs from places like rainwater barrels, swimming pools, hot tubs, reservoirs, lakes, and steams. This also means you’ll need some kind of way to filter that water at the micro-level before you drink it.
Our solution to this filtration problem is the Doulton SS2/British Berkefeld Gravity-Fed Drinking Water Unit. The Doulton SS is a counter top, micro-filtration system made from a rugged, high-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel (SS). It’s portable, lightweight (5.5 pounds), and telescopes down to 12.5 inches for easy transport. The units holds 2.25 gallons of water and can produce 10 gallons of pure drinking water a day. The portability of the Doulton SS makes it ideal for outdoor travelers, hikers, expeditions, missionaries, and RV owners who like to boondock off-grid. The portability of the system also means that we can use it at home or on the road and for us that was the final selling point. You can find the Doulton SS2 online for about $180, relatively inexpensive when compared to other micro filtration systems currently on the market.
The Doulton SS2 was designed for areas where safe drinking water is unavailable. According to Doulton, the portable unit has been used by the International Red Cross, UNICEF, British and U.S. Embassies, Save the Children, and thousands of missionaries around the world. In other words, the Doulton SS2 has a long and proven track record of use in less than ideal situations, and for me, that’s pretty important.
The micro-filtration system used by the Doulton SS2 is simple, yet extremely effective. The heart of the system consists of two Slimline 7-inch SuperSterasyl ceramic filters (aka candles). Unlike many water filters found in the market today, the SuperSterasyls remove contaminants by adsorption (not absorption) which means that the contaminants are attracted to and collect on the surface of the filter. SuperSterasyl filters are EPA certified and provide 100 percent rejection of cysts and greater than 99.99 percent of pathogens such as cholera, typhus, amoebic dysentery, e-coli, colibacillose or bilharzia, cryptosporidium, giardia lamblia, and anthrax spores. The filters also remove up to 95 percent of chlorine, herbicides, and pesticides and provides depth filtration of particulates greater than 0.2 µm (dirt, asbestos, iron etc). What we really like about the SuperSterasyl ceramic filters is that they remove harmful pathogens and chemicals, yet pass vital minerals that your body needs to survive. Another thing we like is that they are self-sterilizing and re-cleanable. All you need is a green scrub pad to clean the contaminants from the surface of the filter. Filter life is 12 months or 1,070 gallons (4,000 Liters), which ever occurs first.
So how well does the Doulton SS2/British Berkefeld system work? We’ve used the unit daily for the last six months and it has worked extremely well. The water tastes terrific. The company literature states that these filters last anywhere between six to 12 months, but if you use them everyday we wouldn’t recommend using them longer than six months. You’ll also want to make sure that you clean your unit every two weeks. I’ve gotten a stomach ache from not being diligent about this a few times so make sure you sanitize the unit regularly. As for its use. It’s pretty simple. Just fill up the top reservoir and wait for the water to drip down into the lower reservoir. The process is aided by gravity, hence the name.
When using this filtration unit you’ll need to remember two things. First, make sure the bottom reservoir is completely empty before filling the top or else you’ll end up causing a flood as the filtered water has nowhere to go but out of the unit. To our consternation, we’ve had this happen to us a few times. Second, remember to close the nozzle after you empty it, otherwise, you’ll end up with a mess as the water exits straight out of the water nozzle.
At this point you might be thinking, why spend $180 for a micro-filtration system when you can simply use chlorine tablets that are much cheaper? For us, it all comes down to health. Chlorine simply isn’t for you. Chlorine not only kills all of the good bacteria in your gut, but it has also been linked to an increase of certain kinds of cancer. These include cancers of the bladder, colon, and breasts. Some experts believe that the increase of these cancers is due to the widespread use of chlorine in municipal water treatment facilities (the Doulton SS2 removes 95 percent of all chlorine). Fortunately, some cities in the U.S. have gotten the message and are now using other ways to purify their water. We would use chlorine tablets as a last resort only when a micro-filtration system isn’t available.
So if you’re looking for an inexpensive, durable, gravity-fed micro filtration system that doesn’t require electricity to use, the Doulton SS2 is for you. The peace of mind it gives and the long-life of the SuperSterasyl filters make it an excellent choice for either daily use or in an emergency. A system like this also reduces any reliance on bottled water, which reduces landfill waste, and in the long run will save you money. Indeed, with the price of “filtered” bottled water, the Doulton SS will pay for itself in no time. What rating would we give the Doulton SS? On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest, we enthusiastically give the Doulton SS2 a rating of 5 stars. It’s a great product.