Make sure you’re prepared for your next outdoor adventure.

Portable and easy to use, Berkey® gravity fed water purification systems are an essential for hiking, camping and fishing trips. Powerful Black Berkey® Purification Elements have been independently tested to remove or dramatically reduce over 200 contaminants in raw, untreated freshwater sources like rivers, ponds and streams, including:

E. Coli

Escherichia coli (more commonly known as E. coli), is a large and diverse group of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of humans and warm-blooded animals. Most strains of E. coli are not harmful. The types of E. coli that can cause illness (or “food poisoning”) may be transmitted through contaminated water, food, or through contact with animals or people.

During precipitation, E. coli may be washed into ground and surface water, including creeks, lakes, rivers and streams. When these are used as sources of drinking water and the water is not treated or inadequately treated, E. coli may potentially end up in your drinking water and inadvertently ingested.

Berkey® systems equipped with Black Berkey® Purification Elements have been rigorously tested to reduce coliform bacteria (including E. coli 0157) to greater than 99.9%, giving you a reliable source of potable water when you go off-grid. For more information, read our article: E. Coli Bacteria Explained.

Cyanobacteria/Algae Blooms

Algae blooms are slimy, smelly mat-like growths that can affect almost any body of water, especially in the summer and fall. Many algal blooms are harmless to humans, but some blue-green algae (more formally known as cyanobacteria) can emit toxins in the water that, if left untreated, could make you very sick if ingested.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell if an algal bloom is harmful just by looking at it. Boiling water does not remove algal toxins, and can actually concentrate the amount of toxin in the water. But with a Berkey® gravity-fed water purification system, you can drink with confidence: third-party lab tests show that Black Berkey® Purification Elements remove microcystin-LR to greater than 99.7%, and remove 99.97% of microcystis algae.

Read more about algal blooms, and why you need a reliable, portable water purification system that’s been independently tested to remove or dramatically reduce algal toxins in your drinking water: Algal Blooms: Overgrowths of algae or cyanobacteria in water.


Leptospira is a bacteria that causes the disease leptospirosis, which may be contracted through direct contact with infected animals or their habitats, or by indirect contact via the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Leptospira thrives in tropical, rainy climates. Flooding due to natural disasters such as monsoons or hurricanes can contribute to the spread of the bacteria.

There are about 1 million cases and over 58,000 deaths worldwide each year. About 100-150 cases are reported annually in the U.S., with about half of those in Puerto Rico. Many cases are due to swimming, wading, kayaking, and rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. While most cases of leptospirosis are mild with influenza-like symptoms, some cases progress to a lethal form called Weill’s disease.

If you’re headed to an area where Leptospira exposure might be a concern, make sure you have an effective final barrier system in place such as a Berkey® gravity-fed water purification system. Independent testing shows that our powerful Black Berkey® Purification Elements remove 99.6% of Leptospira bacteria. Black Berkey® Purification Elements were tested to an extreme level—with a far greater amount of Leptospira bacteria than typically found occurring in nature.

For tips on minimizing your risk of exposure to Leptospira bacteria, and to view Black Berkey® Purification Element Leptospira reduction test results, read: Leptospirosis: Serious Illness Often Spread Through Raw, Contaminated Water.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia

Cryptosporidium parvum (also known simply as “Crypto”) and Giardia lamblia (“Giardia”) are common protozoan parasites that cause the diseases cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis. They can be found all over the world, and in almost any water source: lakes, streams, swimming pools, whirlpool spas and wells.

If ingested, infection symptoms can be similar to most common tummy bugs—diarrhea, stomach cramps, lack of appetite, nausea and fatigue. Cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis cases are generally more common during warm-weather months (early summer though early fall), when more people are exposed to parasites while enjoying water for outdoor recreational purposes.

Independent lab tests show that Black Berkey® Purification Elements are extremely effective at removing these parasitic contaminants from your drinking water—exceeding EPA standards by removing cryptosporidium to greater than 99.997%, and removing giardia cysts by greater than 99.994%. To learn more, read our article: Cryptosporidium and Giardia: Leading Causes of Waterborne Illnesses.

Authentic Black Berkey® Purification Elements are the Right Choice for Your Loved Ones

Available in 7 sizes, Berkey® water purification systems are made for the extreme, yet enjoyed every day. They can easily purify ordinary tap water and well water, yet are powerful enough to efficiently purify raw, untreated water from freshwater sources such as remote lakes, rivers and streams.