Water Purification & Filtration

Getting your water clean.

Drinking clean water becomes an obsession when bike touring in places where the water sources are dubious. Having to buy bottled water is out of the question when considering daily costs and the huge amount of plastic consumed.

We did tones of research into all the products available and decided on the combined system of the Platypus Gravity Works and a SteriPen.

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

There are so many choices of different water filtration systems. As a cycle tourer the things you consider are;

  • weight
  • speed & ease of the filtration
  • % of microbes filtered
  • taste

Taking all of that into consideration, the choice of filtration system is easy – the Platypus GravityWorks Filtration system wins hands down.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.32.54 am


On our TotallyTandem tour we often found that our only access to water was from rivers, lakes, waterfalls and sometimes even puddles. Not always very clean but always needing a filter to get rid of those nasty bits. Especially the ones you can see!

Here are our list of pro’s & cons


  • it’s light weight at 305grams
  • easy & fast to use – it’s pump free!
  • filters 4 litres in 2-3 minutes
  • you can visibly see how it clean the filtered water is
  • you can store & transport 4 litres of filtered water using the hydration bag
  • has a shut-off clamp making it easy to dispense water without losing a drop
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of Bacteria and Protozoa, including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Salmonella and Cholera.


  • it’s hard to dry. The ‘clean’ bag only has a small opening meaning it takes a while to dry completely.
  • the filter is less reliable than ceramic systems for filtering viruses, thus making it necessary to use an additional cleansing system (we use a small UV filter to over come this; the SteriPen)
  • while it is easy to transport water in the ‘clean’ bag, the bag is not heavy-duty enough for this and requires extra protection to avoid punctures and damage from UV.



We met lots of tourers using many systems but in every conversation we had, everyone agreed that the Platypus Gravity Works is the best choice. We just can’t understand why every bike tourer doesn’t have one.


SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier

Some tourers use only a SteriPEN for water purification. It depends where you are travelling and the kind of access you have to ‘clean’ water. Just because the locals tell you it is clean, doesn’t mean it wont make you sick. And being sick on tour is a major bummer.

Our basic rule was that if it came out of a tap running and tasting clean, we would just give it a quick SteriPEN to be 100% sure. We have the SteriPEN Ultra.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 11.37.34 am



  • light weight & small at 140grams
  • fast sterilization at 48 seconds per litre
  • easy to use
  • USB rechargeable battery (about 50 litres per charge)
  • LED display shows the battery status
  • eliminates over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness.
  • their customer service is awesome if you have any troubles



  • the glass lamp makes it a bit fragile so you have to protect it from travel bumps and never drop it.
  • with a completely flat battery it can take up to 3 hours to reach full charge
  • need a wide mouth water bottle to use it effectively


Most tourers we met used a SteriPEN proving itself a reliable bit of kit for the water purification. We love ours. But we wanted to let you know that we have since discovered another product comparable to the SteriPen made by CamelBak “All Clear Ultraviolet Water Purifier”. It uses exactly the same UV sterilization principal, but with the UV light contained inside a bottle lid. While we have not used it, we met others that have and believe it makes the purification process a bit easier, more thorough and it is more robust. See what you think.


And of course, if there is anything we haven’t covered here and you you have more questions, just shoot us an email to totallytandem@hotmail.com





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