Straws that can filter water while you sip made drinking out of backcountry watering holes more convenient than ever, as it spared you from having to collect water and filter it separately before being able to quench your thirst. The PurTrek wants to make it even more convenient by integrating the straw right through the length of your trekking pole, so you don’t even have to bend down to reach the water.
We admit… the idea of putting a filtration straw right inside a trekking pole sounded absurd when we first heard about it. It just didn’t seem practical or necessary. After seeing it in action, though, we definitely see the value, as the pole form factor and the integrated pump makes drawing water and filtering it just a whole lot simpler.
The PurTrek is an erstwhile standard-looking trekking pole that can be extended up to 53 inches long while collapsing to a very manageable 26 inches for strapping down to your pack. It’s made from a combination of 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum and high-strength 3M Delrin plastic, achieving a lightweight build that’s still durable enough to handle the rigors of the backcountry. Do note, it still won’t be as light as traditional trek poles, as the filtration system does add a significant amount of weight. According to the outfit, the optimized design delivers all the stability and balance you’ll require when exploring rugged trails, while an ergonomic handle on top ensures comfortable handling through long hikes.
Of course, the big selling point here is the fact that this trek pole doubles as a filtration straw, allowing you to use it to turn water from sketchy sources into potable drinking water. No need to pull out your Lifestraw or some other purifying system out of the backpack – you can get clean water with the same tool you’ve been using to help maintain your balance during your hikes.
The PurTrek comes with two filtration systems, one near the bottom tip (around two inches above) and one near the handle, along with a built-in hand pump under the handle and a detachable straw. To use, simply twist the bottom filter to open it, attach the included straw to the top of the pole, and twist to unlock the hand pump. From there, you just put the pole on the water and start pumping. Water will be drawn through the first filter, travel up to the second filter, and then pass on through the straw, at which point you can either let the clean water trickle straight to your mouth or collect it to your water bottle.
It uses a hollow fiber filter that, the outfit claims, can remove 99.999 percent of bacteria, 99.99 percent of parasites, 99.999 percent of microplastics, sand, dirt, and other organic particles that make water cloudy. The filter, by the way, can last for up to 2,000 liters of water, after which you should swap it out for a replacement filter (they sell those, too), while the hand pump allows it to draw and filter up to two liters of water per minute.