Holy Grayl? Or Major Fail? – Grayl Water Filter Review

What is the Holy Grail of water filters? I can only imagine from the name that Grayl wants to hold that title. But is it really the best? Or is it a huge failure? So you can choose wisely Here are the Grayl Geopress pros and cons. 

Oh be sure to check out this video where I see if Grayl can filter out coke

Okay I’m going to start with the cons and just a short disclaimer. Since this is a backpacking Blog for I’m going to be looking at Grayl primarily from a backpacking standpoint. 

Weight and bulk

And with that in mind the first and biggest con on my list is how heavy and bulky Grayl is. By itself without any water in it Grayl weighs blank which is really heavy. If it’s not the heaviest water filter on the market it’s got to be close. And this is from someone who prefers a heavier pump filter over light weight squeeze filters. 

But probably even worse than the weight is the bulk. There are not many things in my gear loadout that are as bulky as Grayl. Which wouldn’t be a problem if Grayl could carry all the water I need for a trip. But Grayls water capacity is limited to 21 oz. that’s not even a liter of water. Which means if you want to carry a typical days worth of water you are going to have to carry Grayl AND several other bottles to get a full days worth of water. 

Not only that but grayls limited capacity will require you to filter multiple times in order to get all the water you are likely going to need. 

Another thing I noticed is the rubber bottom on the bottle makes it very difficult to pull Grayl in and out of a backpack because the rubber clings to the nylon. I’m sure this is helpful when you are setting Grayl down in a table or something where you don’t want it to slide away. But In the backcountry it’s just a nuisance. 

Now to be fair Grayl does make a smaller “ultralight” filter that still weighs almost 11oz which is still heavier than most backpacking water filters and can only filter 16oz at a time. Not much better. 

Right off the bat from a weight and bulk aspect Grayl isn’t looking good. 

Difficult to Use.

So the idea behind Grayl is simple. Fill the water reservoir and press. But In reality it takes quite a bit of force to press. Most times I had to use my body weight to assist me in filtering water, which is fine if you are filtering on the ground, but if you are using Grayl more as a traveling filter I think it might be a little awkward to put your bottle on the ground every time you need to filter. 

Something else I noticed is if Grayl gets misaligned while pressing it has a tendency to shoot water up past the gasket. So be careful not to spray yourself in the face. 

Grayl shooting water up past the gasket

Speaking of gaskets Grayl is completely dependent on its gasket which is not replaceable. So if it ever wears out (as gaskets tend to do) Grayl is probably worthless. 

And last on this note, make sure you open Grayl before pressing to allow air to escape. 

Can’t Filter VERY Dirty Water. 

Grayl is a very powerful filter and I’ll talk more about that in a min, but this works for and against Grayl because if your water is too dirty with heavy particulates. Grayl simply can’t filter it. You won’t be able to press it down at all. 

All of my body weight on a cup of heavily turbid water

Hopefully if you strained the water first maybe you could still get water, and I know a lot of filters will get clogged with heavily turbid water, 

Which brings me to another con, if Grayl gets clogged there is no way to back flush the filter. So if you are backpacking or even traveling relying on Grayl and it gets clogged there is no way to service it in the field. 

Lifespan

Out of all the filters I’m familiar with Grayl had the shortest life span at 65 gallons before you have to change the filter cardige. 

Compare that to the Katadyn hiker that will filter 200 gallons. The platypus QuickDraw that will do 1000 gallons, Or the Sawyer squeeze that claims you will ever have to replace it. And 65 gallons seems like a drop in the bucket. 

Oh and a replacement cartridge will run you $30. 

And that brings me to 

Price 

Grayl is somewhat expensive. At almost $90 for the geopress and $70 for the ultralight version it’s not a cheap filter. 

Now to be fair other filters that can filter out all the things Grayl can will cost you quite a bit more so depending on how you look at it Grayl is expensive compared to most backpacking filters but cheap compared to filters that preform as well as Grayl. 

And that brings us to the pros. 

Pros

Ok, so I know that was a lot of cons and it might have you wondering why would anyone buy this thing.

Well the main benefit to Grayl is the fact that it filters just about everything. 

Grayl filters out bacteria, and protazola which is where most other filters stop, but Grayl keeps going filtering out chemicals, heavy metals, improves taste and even filters out viruses, which is almost unheard of in a water filter. 

Now in most cases this is unnecessary in the backcountry. Where your Biggest threats are paracites like gardia. But if you are traveling through developing parts of the world where viruses, chemicals and other water borne threats are more common. Grayl would be my filter of choice. 

I have become sick from drinking the water at my 5 star hotel in Honduras. If I had Grayl, I would have been ok. 

Which the more I think about the more I think Grayl is meant for traveling more than backpacking. And so if you are someone who spends a lot of time overseas in developing countries with the occasional backcountry experience, Grayl is a really smart purchase. 

Well there you have it. Grayl’s pros and cons. Don’t forget to watch the video were I see if it will filter out coke. Thanks for reading!

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