As a teenager, each year a group of us would take a trip to the Sierra Nevada mountain range for a week-long hike through the 10,000 to 14,000 foot high peaks. For drinking water, all we used was a small amount of iodine added to a water bottle to kill anything that might have been living in the mountain streams.
With a little research, I’ve discovered that today’s hikers – as well as today’s travelers – have a complete selection of systems to deliver clean water without having to add a bad tasting chemical that has the potential to kill you in and of itself.
Water purification companies have developed several versions of their products to meet various needs. We are all familiar with the pitchers that contain a filter and are used as a traditional water pitcher. They have new designed filters that can be used in water bottles, perfect for someone on a hike or traveling overseas.
You can now travel to countries that have water concerns but not need to rely on the availability of over-the-counter bottles of water from local stores, not to mention the costs in purchasing several bottles a day. The CDC has excellent information in what to look for when purchasing a filtration system - http://www.cdc.gov/crypto/gen_info/filters.html. The site has a list of specific wording the filter should include in order to capture anything harmful in the local water.
The CDC also has a good point concerning the filter itself that makes a lot of sense. When bacteria, viruses, and the like are removed from the water, they still exist in the filter itself. Take care to keep the filter separate and following all instructions when handling the filter system.