Safe, clean drinking water is a pretty important consideration no matter where one is on the face of the earth. It’s even a concern in parts of the U.S. these days though we really didn’t give it much thought during our quick jaunt through the U.S.
Now that we’re in Mexico, however, ensuring that we have safe water to drink is a major concern and so far I haven’t gotten sick from our drinking water so I’m calling our strategy a success.
There are many approaches to managing one’s drinking water. Here in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, if potable agua is purchased in larger quantities, it’s relatively inexpensive. As an example, a 20 liter garrafon (plastic jug) costs about the equivalent of 1 U.S. dollar. So far as I am aware, many overlanders just use that as their solution to drinking water. Whether they fill their entire holding tank (if they have one) with water from a garrafon, or whether they just keep a full garrafon around for drinking and then just wash dishes, shower, etc with water from another source varies. Either way, one does learn very quickly how to minimize the amount of water one uses so it’s not terribly cost prohibitive to just always use purified water for everything in one’s camper.
There is, at least in my opinion, the economics of space to consider. We haven’t got much space. A garrafon takes up quite a bit of that space. Cate had been suggesting that we consider acquiring a Berkey filter for quite some time. This suggestion had come up well before we had made any commitment to overlanding. After I had purchased Moby, I started giving this some serious thought. Filling our holding tank with water from a garrafon certainly would have worked but it also seems like it could be a huge pain in the ass. If we also wanted to have a garrafon full of water, that would require special consideration in ensuring that we had one with a screw-on cap. This isn’t always possible so we would have had to become extremely vigilant when swapping our empty one for a full one.
I eventually settled on the Berkey solution. It’s less than half the size of a garrafon so freed up part of the space that was previously occupied by a garrafon (even with additional potable water storage). Aside from space considerations, we haven’t got to break camp to go in search of drinking water when we run out.
Basically, we just fill our holding tank with water from the hose whenever we’re at a campground/RV park and run some through the filter as needed (which is pretty much the entire time we’re parked). We also have a 6 liter dromedary that we purchased at REI before leaving the States.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant at first. Berkey makes some pretty bold claims and I hadn’t found any accounts of people using them on overlanding trips so I didn’t have 100% confidence in it. That said, 10 days into Mexico and the only water that I’ve drank has come from the Berkey and so far, so good.
What’s your potable water solution?