Review: PurTrek Pole-Filter

Given the dizzying array of outdoor equipment we tend to haul around with us these days, it's easy to overlook an essential item. Even a minimalist, in a rush to get on the trail, might forget to grab an important piece of gear. And if that oversight is a water filter, you may wind up between a rock and a hard place, taking your chances with one of two equally unpleasant outcomes: giardia and dehydration.

Enter the PurTrek Trek Pole + Water Filtration Pump, which allows you to filter water right through your trekking pole, so you can leave the filter at home—one less item to worry about. Operation is quick and easy: simply attach the hose, unlock the filter cap near the end of the pole, rotate the handle, and start pumping. Drink from the hose or fill a container; either way, you'll have clean, giardia-free water in no time.

We tried these poles for hiking and backpacking along questionable streams, where cattle grazing increases the risk of waterborne parasites. But moose and elk can also transmit giardia, making these poles useful for the backcountry hunter, too. Once again, one less thing to worry about. Be advised: the poles are a bit heavy for trail running or speed-hiking, so for those activities, it's best to stick with the usual routine.