Platypus Gravityworks Water System review
Staying hydrated is paramount in the backcountry. Carrying extra water for drinking and cooking is a fool’s errand (except when there is no other choice). Boiling your water works, but I prefer mine cold, thank you. Purifying pills do the job, keep the water cold and require no effort, but man do they taste bad. Charcoal filters are fine, but who wants to deal with all that pumping? Forget about the old methods and get with the times: the Platypus Gravityworks Water System is the go-to gadget for clean water.
The idea is simple: the Gravityworks system will filter you and your campmates four liters of fresh, clean water in about two and a half minutes. No pumping, no boiling; essentially zero effort is exerted to reap the reward. At first I thought there must be some catch, some magical step that I was surely missing. Well, as the name implies, that magical step is gravity. It’s free and it’s everywhere, so why not put it to use? This filtration system is not only efficient, it’s also quite fun to see in action.
Here’s how it works: there are two large reservoir bags included with the system. Begin by filling up the “dirty” bag in the nearest water source. Attach the dirty bag to the hose and let a few ounces flow into the “clean” bag by lifting it up in the air. Once a few ounces have flowed in, switch the bag positions and let the system backflush to ensure a good water flow. From there it is just a matter of hanging the dirty bag on a branch or lifting it up and watching the contents flow through the filter cartridge into the clean bag. Voila! Four liters of water with almost zero effort. Pop the clean hose off of the filter and use the included shut-off clamp to dispense water as you need it. I know it sounds a bit complicated at first, but once you run through the steps you’ll find you have a harder time getting a campfire lit than filtering water.
Okay, it’s obvious that I’m a fan of the Platypus Gravityworks. Who wouldn’t be? The Gravityworks Water System weighs just 12.7 ounces (right on par with many pump-action filters) so it’s not a burden to carry. The reservoirs are labeled “dirty” and “clean” so there will be no chance of tainting the system with impurities. The first time I used this filter, my fellow backpacker and I were simply stunned at how efficient it was. The hardest thing we had to do was fill up the dirty reservoir, not a challenging task at all. And consider this: if you filter near your water source, you can actually return to camp with 8 liters of water. Filter the first four liters, then refill the dirty reservoir before you head to camp. Bam! 8 liters of water at the ready.
I searched long and hard for something negative to report about this gadget. The biggest knock I can come up with is bulk. When the system is packed in its included storage sack it is roughly the size of a small air mattress, not a big deal for me but perhaps for those looking to save space. The bottom line is this: if you want to filter as much water as possible with as little effort as possible, then the Platypus Gravityworks Water System is for you. Your fellow hikers will be stoked when you tell them to leave their filters at home, and it will be hard for anyone not to be impressed with the ingenuity behind this gizmo.