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Everything You Need to Know About Survivor Filter
Without a consistent and reliable source of potable water, you have little chance of surviving an extended stint in the wilderness. While it might be tempting to take a long drink from a seemingly clear stream, river, or lake, this sort of behavior puts you at risk of ingesting a slew of viruses, protozoa, bacteria, and other toxins.
It’s common knowledge that humans can only go three days without water. However, according to Scientific American, there are several variable factors that determine a person’s survival time without water. Extreme conditions and excess activity can cause a person to dehydrate and even die in a matter of hours. When you consider the fact that the average adult needs at least 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated, it’s easy to see how a lack of potable water can be catastrophic.
We were curious to see just how well the Survivor Pro Water Filter Pump held up in a survival situation. This handheld filter pump has made it onto Popular Mechanic’s, Forbes’, Outdoor Life’s, Military Times’, and many other reputable publications’ lists of the best portable water filters.
Whether you’re camping, hiking, traveling, or prepping for a worst-case scenario, you must always have access to clean, drinkable water. As the experts over at Survivor Filters put it, water has become even more valuable than oil. Now, let’s see how well this camo-green filter fared against the competition.
About the Survivor Filter Company
The Survival Filter company was founded by an ex-military consultant by the name of Mark Zakaib. The company’s founder and the current owner spent time working alongside the military in wartime hot zones across the globe. During his travels, he was confronted with the harsh realities of the global water crisis.
His products are considered excellent selections for outdoor packs, EDC kits, and even bug-out bags. The company says that its goal is to give people access to water in all environments.
Incidentally, and this is something that we especially love: The company offers a discount to those serving in the military (including spouses/dependents), first responders, and law enforcement. That's a BIG PLUS for us right there. Thank you, Survivor Filter!
What Is a Survivor Filter?
Survivor Filter produces a line of rugged, portable water filters that are designed with both survival and adventure in mind. Their most popular water filter has to be the Survivor Filter Pro, a manual portable water filter pump. However, the company also produces straw filters, electric pump filters, bottle filters, and home water filtration systems.
- 99.99% of virus, including rotavirus, norovirus, and hepatitis A
- 99.99% of bacteria, including e. Coli, salmonella, and dysentery
- 99.99% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, and amoebae
- Particulates, chemicals, and heavy metals
- Bad smells and taste
Let's Look at the Pros and Cons
How Does the Survivor Pro’s Triple Filtration System Work?
The Survivor Pro is a small, portable filter pump that retails for approximately $65 (see manufacturer’s page here and Amazon price here.
The water filtration takes place over three stages. During the process, water passes through a 0.01-micron pre-filter, a carbon filter, and an internal ultra-filter. The 0.01-micron pre-filter removes algae, giardia, e.coli, protozoa, and cryptosporidium. Meanwhile, the carbon filter reduces the number of heavy metals, chemicals, and pollutants. Finally, the internal ultra-filter removes trace levels of virus and staph.
The pre-filter attaches directly to the tip of the inlet hose. It is approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1 ½ inches in length. The military-grade BPA-free ABS housing contains a cotton filter. This filter prevents sediment and other particulates from making their way into the Survivor Pro’s inlet hose and main unit filters. According to the manufacturer, it is good for 26,417 gallons (100,000 liters) of water.
Replacement Filters Available on Amazon and SurvivorFilter.com
Replacements can be purchased directly from the manufacturer HERE or on Amazon. They currently retail for $14.95, including free delivery at the Survivor Filter site, and about $15 on Amazon (with free delivery if you are spending $25 or more).
After that, water travels up through the inlet hose and the Survivor Pro Carbon Filter. This element is made from food-grade coconut shells. The carbon filter connects directly to the Pro’s ultra-filter.
It can be used to filter up to 528 gallons (2,000 liters) of water. Again, replacements can be purchased directly from the manufacturer at https://www.survivorfilter.com/collections/survivor-filter-replacement-filters/products/ultra-filter-pre-filter-survivor-filter-pro or on Amazon Here.
Finally, the water passes through the ultra-filter, which is inside the filter’s main housing. This filter has an outer shell that is made from military-grade BPA-free ABS. It contains a medical-grade fiber membrane that serves as a barrier to impurities that are smaller than 0.01 microns.
The filtered water then passes through the outlet hose on the other end of the filtration unit. You can place the hose in the included ABS cup or container of your choosing.
Use Our Exclusive Survivor Filter Coupon Code!
For a limited time - through the end of 2021 - Survivor Filter is giving Truth Survival readers a 10% discount, site-wide! Just note that this coupon cannot be combined with any promotions.
What's in the Box?
Each Survivor Filter Pro comes with the following:
- External Pre-Filter
- Carbon Filter
- Internal Ultra-Filter
- 39-inch Inlet Hose
- 12-inch Outlet Hose
- Hose Clip
- Zippered Carrying Case
- Backwashing Syringe
- User Manual
The main unit is housed in rugged ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) that is camo-green in color. It measures 6.5-by-3.2-by-2 inches and weighs 12.8 ounces. It has a flow rate of approximately 17 ounces (500 milliliters) per minute.
The main unit houses the carbon and ultra-filters. A small manual pump is located on the left-hand side. The hoses (there are ones for water going in and out) and pre-filter are easily attached and detached from the main unit. A clear BPA-free plastic cup protects the upper portion of the filter when the unit is not in use and can be used as a drinking vessel.
All of the contents fit into a small microfiber zippered pouch. The pouch has a small fabric loop on one side. You can attach a carabiner to the loop to hang it from your gear pack.
Using the Survivor Pro
The Survivor Filter Pro comes ready to use. You just need to remove the ABS cup and attach the hoses and pre-filter. You may also want to grab a water bottle or hydration pack. The provided ABS container is suitable for quick sips, but it won’t allow you to take water on the go.
When you’re ready to get started, place your filter and water vessel alongside your target water source. We recommend that you target a fast-running or, at the very least, a deep source of freshwater. Submerge the hose-clad pre-filter into the water. Give the pump a few up and down thrusts.
After a bit, you should hear a sound and notice a bit of water coming out the end of the outlet hose. We recommend that you prime the system before collecting any water. A few preliminary pumps will enable you to clear the system of trapped contaminants before you collect the water you will be drinking.
Make sure that your pump is fully stabilized before you begin pumping. While the ABS housing is quite rugged, it does not feature protective footing. As such, it is easily scraped and may slip when placed on wet surfaces. You should also use caution when setting up your collection vessel. Remember, the outlet house is just 19 inches long. You will need to situate all of the elements close to one another and keep them within reach of your water source.
Pump slowly and steadily until your vessel is filled. The pump is capable of filtering 12 ounces of water per minute. It does not put up a lot of resistance. However, the pump handle does appear to wobble back and forth when it is fully extended. We recommend that you exercise caution so that you can avoid damaging the mechanism.
Check out this video to see the filter in action:
How Do You Clean the Survivor Pro?
The longevity of your filters is going to depend on the level of care and attention you give them. Be sure to check out Survivor Filter’s video below on how to clean a Survivor Filter Pro:
Disassemble your Survivor Filter Pro just like they do in the aforementioned video. Wash the outlet house, filter base, and inlet hose in warm soapy water. Then, place the parts on a paper towel to dry. Place the ultra-filter and the pre-filter in vinegar and warm water. At the same time, place the carbon filter in warm water. Keep in mind that the carbon filter cannot be placed in vinegar. Allow all three filters to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove them from their bathes. Rinse the ultra-filter and pre-filter in warm water to remove any remaining vinegar. Then, place all of the components on a paper towel to dry.
Once all of the filter components have been thoroughly rinsed and dried, you can reassemble them. After which, you can perform the backwashing process (see below). After this, you must once again disassemble and dry the pump components. Reassemble the mechanism, and set it into the storage container. Place it in your gear back or bug-out-bag for times when clean water isn’t otherwise accessible!
Backwashing the Survivor Filter Pro
You can find Survivor Filter’s “How to Backwash” video below. Backwashing removes particles that may be clogging or slowing your pump. These particles can reduce the flow rate of water and the longevity of individual filters. So, don’t skip this process.
To begin the process, you must have a fully assembled filter system and two water vessels. It’s a good idea to set up a workspace on a flat, level surface, such as a table. Remove the pre-filter from the end of the inlet hose. Clean the tip with vinegar or a clean paper towel.
Prime the filter by pumping it two or three times. Then, attach the pre-filter to the end of the outlet hose. Grip the housing firmly and pump. You should see and hear the water pass through the system before it comes out of the pre-filter. You may even see small pieces of trapped sediment and other materials come out of the filter.
Additional Filtration Units by Survivor Filters
The Survivor Filter line includes a cleanable water filter straw as well as a squeezable water filter straw with two collapsible plastic bladders. The straws filter water at a level of 0.05 microns.
That makes both products more effective than the Lifestraw, which is only capable of filtering water at a level of 0.2 microns. (Sorry Lifestraw! We still love you, but we think that Survivor Filter's version out-performs you at this time.)
The basic Survivor Filter straw allows you to drink right from the source. It utilizes a cotton filter pad, an ultra-filter, and a carbon filter mouthpiece to eliminate the vast majority of water contaminants. The unit retails for $30.
Meanwhile, Survivor Filter’s Ultimate Portable Water Filter Straw package allows you to drink straight from the source or bring along water for on-the-filtration. The upgraded set retails for $40. It comes with one Survivor Filter straw, two collapsible canteens, and two metal carabiners.
Electric Pump Filters
Survivor’s Pro X utilizes battery power to pump and filter water at a rate of 17 ounces per minute. It comes with two High Energy Alkaline Rayovac batteries. Other than that, it is a three-stage filtration system, just like the Pro.
Survivor also manufacturers an active filtration bottle. The bottle can be filled with tap water or untreated water of any sort. It filters at a rate of 60 ounces per minute. The active carbon filter eliminates a wide range of contaminants, including chlorine, VOCs, bacteria, and parasites.
Survivor sells a set of collapsible canteens. These containers are lightweight and easily folded or rolled. Each one holds 1 liter (33 ounces) of water. They have integrated carry handles and come with color-coded carabiners.
While we are focusing on water filtration for outdoor and emergency use, it's worth noting that the company does have in-line filtration units that can be installed under the sink. One of these units will filter chlorine, and the other is said to filter both chlorine and fluoride
What About the Survivor Filter Max Under-Sink System?
Glad you asked about the Survivor Filter Max! As it turns out, we actually decided on this very system for our own home. It removes the chlorine, but also most of the fluoride that is in many municipal water supplies. Rather than me going into everything about it - why not just watch the following YouTube videos showing this EXACT same unit!
Survivor Filter Max Review Part 1:
This FIRST video shows the Survivor Filter Max and it getting installed... Then scroll down for the next video, which shows the water actually being tested in real time:
Survivor Filter Max Review: Part 2
Ok, in this next video, you will see the filtration unit being used to test the tap water in real time. Hopefully this helps!
What Does Survivor Filter Pro Remove?
According to Survivor’s webpage, the Survivor Filter Pro is capable of filtering water at a level of 0.01 microns The company maintains that they have had their filters tested at several U.S. labs. At a rate of 0.01 microns, the Pro and Triple Absolute models are capable of removing 99.999% of E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Water-transmitted viral pathogens are some of the biggest barriers between survivalists and safe, potable water. These dangerous pathogens are excreted through urine and other bodily fluids before making their way into waterways. Consumption of virus-infected water can lead to everything from gastroenteritis to death.
According to test results provided by a third-party lab, Intertek, Survivor Filter Pro is capable of removing up to 0.01 microns. That includes water-transmitted viral pathogens. Check out the test report here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0741/5997/files/Water_Filtration_Abilities_Test_Report_for_Intertek_Labs_in_Columbus_Ohio_3f82ee6e-0c60-4c34-823c-fbc2fab7397d.pdf?6951118580129706705. As you can see, the lab concluded that the Pro was capable of removing 99.9% of Phi-X174 from water. Pollutants are trapped inside the pores of the carbon substrate.
Survivor Filter has equipped the Pro with an active carbon filter that is capable of removing trace levels of chlorine and heavy metals. Humans have been using carbon (charcoal) to filter water for thousands of years. The purifying process begins with absorption. Water passes through the filter. During this time, pollutants are trapped inside the pores of the carbon substrate. According to the EPA, most active carbon filters are capable of removing chlorine, VOCs, various heavy metals, and more.
How Long Does the Survivor Filter Pro Last?
The Survivor Pro is one of only a few water filters that are capable of surviving long-term storage. Survivor recommends that you periodically test any filters you keep in storage. If the Pro is stored unused in ideal conditions, it can be expected to last a lifetime.
Keep in mind that while the unit is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, each of the individual filters has its own lifespan. Both the pre-filter and the ultra-filter are good for 26,417 gallons (100,000 liters) of filtration. Meanwhile, the carbon filter is good for 528 gallons (2,000 liters) of use. The lifespan of the filters may be impacted by the quality of water you filter and the level of care and maintenance you commit to.
Unfortunately, there is no onboard indicator that lets you know when to replace the filter. You're going to have to do your best to keep track of your usage and the quality of water you are filtering. Keep in mind that Survivor Filter is a relatively young company. At times, they struggle to keep up with consumer demands. AS such, we recommend that you stock up on replacement filters as they become available. There have been times when the manufacturer's online stock has been completely depleted.
What Are Consumers Saying?
After over 2,000 reviews, the Survivor Filter Pro has managed to maintain a 4 ½-star rating on Amazon. Moreover, the Survivor Filters have been praised by numerous print and digital publications, including Forbes, Military Times, and much more. The Survivor Pro may not be capable of turning urine into a thirst-quenching beverage. However, several survival bloggers have used water quality instruments to test the level of TDS (total dissolved solids) and pH of water filtered by the Pro. For the most part, the results appeared to be consistent with the company’s claims.
What Sets Survivor Filters Apart from the Competition?
The Survivor Filter Pro has a similar design to that of both the FS-TFC’s Four-Stage Portable Water Filter and Katayn’s Vario Water Filter.
At approximately $54, the FS-TFC filter is slightly cheaper than the Survivor Pro. However, it is only capable of filtering to a level of 0.2 microns (the Pro offers 0.01-micron protection). The FS-TFC’s filters are good for approximately 2,100 gallons of water. Replacements retail for $21.99. As such, it is safe to assume that it would cost more to maintain the FS-TFC. Moreover, you wouldn’t get as much protection as you would with the Pro.
The Vario also has a similar design to the Pro. However, like the FS-TFC, this unit only filters to a level of 0.2 microns. At anywhere from $86 to $94, the Vario going to be much is much pricier than both the Survivor Filter Pro and the FS-TFC Four-Stage Portable Water Filter. The filters are good for approximately 500 gallons of water. The replacement cartridges retail for a whopping $44.
Considering all that, we think it’s safe to say that the Survivor Filter Pro is one of the most affordable and reliable pump filters in its class.
Wrapping it Up
We hope you found our rundown of Survivor Filters helpful! It goes without saying that no household should be without some sort of backup water filtration system. The Survivor Filter Pro is a long-lasting and inexpensive portable pump filter that is capable of turning untreated water into a perfectly safe and thirst-quenching beverage. Its ability to filter at a rate of 0.01 microns and eliminate viruses makes it a favorite of both preppers and adventurers.
Of course, if you're looking for something that doubles as a dripless water bottle, you might want to check out our review of the Grayl Geopress.