Having clean drinking water is a necessary component to just about everything we do. Without it, well… you know what happens.
So, as travelers, hikers, and adventurers, what is a solution to staying hydrated that doesn’t also contribute to the plastic problem? Meet the next generation Grayl water bottle…
I recently got my hands on the vastly new and improved Grayl GEOPRESS filter water bottle and it changed the way I am able to travel and hike literally overnight. Not to mention the fact that I have eliminated single use plastic bottles from all of my travels and daily life.
The famous Grayl water bottle model that received a lot of hushed murmurs of titillation in the outdoor and backpacker world a few years ago has gone through a serious revamp this year. The new GEOPRESS design is now more awesome and more functional than ever before! I just spent 6 weeks guiding trips in the Karakoram in Pakistan and my team and I had the opportunity to put the Grayl GEOPRESS through its paces every step of the way.
After years of using a variety of different personal water purification systems, I found myself disappointed (and sometimes thirsty) by the performance of just about everything I tested while backpacking.
This epic Grayl GEOPRESS review will bring you up to speed on everything I learned about what it’s actually like to trek and travel with this filter water bottle. If you also are looking for a badass purifier bottle to hydrate your next backpacking adventure, you NEED to read this review because this Grayl purifier bottle NEEDS to be on your radar.
Quick Answer: The Grayl GEOPRESS Nitty Gritty
- Capacity: 24 oz / 710 ml
- Weight: 15.9 oz. (450 g)
- Flow Rate: 8 seconds per 24 oz. (5 L/minute)
- Filter Cartridge Lifespan: 350 presses (65 gal/ 250 L)
- Best Uses: Backpacking, International Travel, Adventuring
Grayl GEOPRESS Review: Performance Breakdown
Finding a way to get clean water on the road or in the backcountry is always tricky. If, like myself, you travel a lot internationally and/or spend heaps of time in wilderness areas (where there are no drinking fountains, of course) you need a one-stop solution that is both functional and practical.
For many of the places in the world I travel to, drinking the water from the tap or a side-stream on a forest trail is an almost guaranteed ticket (one-way with no plans) to the toilet bowl. The only practical previous option I had whilst traveling was to buy plastic bottles. My soul hurt every single time I bought plastic, but hell, we all have to drink water, right? At least then I knew I would not be having some diabolical form of Montezuma’s revenge careening through my digestive track.
Once I had a GEOPRESS in my gear kit, it was pretty much game over for the plastic BS from there. No more plastic bottles and no more fear of parasite-ridden water. The best of both worlds.
On my last trip to Pakistan, I was able to easily filter water from my hotel sink in Lahore before I also sipped on filtered and icy cold glacier water from the Himalaya and Karakoram. That beats the hell out of table water any day.
But how does it all work? Is it actually a functional filter water bottle? Let’s dive in and find out…
How the GEOPRESS Works: The Grayl Water Bottle that Changed the Game
I love the GEOPRESS for its simplicity. To magically turn stank ass giardia-ridden water crawling with a million things that will ruin your intestines into a drinkable, healthy water source in 8-12 seconds is nothing short of a miracle.
This Grayl water bottle basically has three main parts: the main outer cylinder where dirty water goes in, the filter cartridge, and the inner sleeve where you soon-to-be clean water lives. Once you fill the outer cylinder with dirty water, the only thing to do is insert the inner sleeve into the top of the cylinder and push down until all of the dirty water has been pressed through the filter and into the clean drinking reservoir.
It’s that simple amigos. Fill, press, drink: the Aeropress of water filtration!
Why the Grayl Water Filter is the Best
What’s the real benefit of using the GEOPRESS? The bottle protects from global waterborne pathogens (virus, bacteria, protozoan cysts), pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and even microplastics. Basically… everything. Except maybe the zombie virus. Na… probably that too.
We all know that with the current state the world’s in, having a purifier system that works like a Spartan warrior against all of the toxic shit waiting to enter your cells is one of the keys to the GEOPRESS’s success. IT WORKS. From Nepal to Ecuador to Pakistan, there are some serious virusus and bacteria in the water that could send you straight to the hospital if not filtered properly.
After filtering some green-tinged soup vaguely resembling water in Pakistan to a tasty status, the bottle earned my full confidence and respect. Likewise, when I used it on the river in Bali (jungle parasites, hurray!) the GEOPRESS kept me healthy, hydrated, and oh so happy. Everyone is happy when they don’t have crippling diarrhea.
After many uses, the GEOPRESS does become a little harder to press. What once took you 8 seconds will eventually take 12-20+ seconds and soon after it will be time to purchase a new filter (yes, they’re replaceable).
A major improvement from the Grayl Ultralight bottle is the ease of doing the press action. For myself and many others who loved the concept of the 2nd generation Ultralight bottle, the new GEOPRESS functions much better in my opinion. Maybe it’s the bigger surface area to work with or maybe Grayl got the bottle geometry dialed in just right in their tinkering? Which brings me to my next point…
The New GEOPRESS Water Bottle Has a Larger Capacity
One of the major improvement’s Grayl made with the design of the new GEOPRESS was making it bigger. The capacity went from 16 oz. with the Gryal Ultralight Purifier bottle to 24 oz. with the GEOPRESS. This change catapulted the bottle from being a cool concept to a practical hydration vessel good enough for both thirsty hikers and sweaty travelers waiting in Indian train stations.
I found on my hiking trip to Pakistan that I always needed every bit of the 24 oz. capacity. Sometimes water sources would be several hours apart. Truth be told, I’d like to see a full liter bottle, but I also realize that the physical bottle might then become bulkier than I’d want to carry.
Size isn’t always a good thing. The only negative aspect for me as a guide (meaning someone who packs a ton of adventure gear) is the size of the bottle. It’s not so big as to not be impractical, but it’s getting close. It’s shaped almost like one of those JBL speaker cylinders, thus it can’t fit into my backpack’s side pockets.
That said, the bottle itself is as tough as nails and can even survive a 10 foot fall when full of water!
My solution (to both the size issue and my dropsies) was to attach a carabiner to the very handy hook on the lid and clip it to my backpack at a point where I could get to it easily enough. That worked just fine.
At the end of the day, the large bottle size is worth having for the full 24 oz. of clean water you get in return. When you are active, you can almost drink 16 0z. in one shot. The 24 oz. GEOPRESS means less pressing and more drinking.
The Power of the Grayl Purifier Cartridge
As I already said, the purifier found in the GEOPRESS is a next level filter for travelers and hikers. Like all filters though, the Grayl filter does have a lifespan. With one cartridge you can get roughly 350 cycles (65 gal./250L). As “press time” reaches more than 25 seconds (or three years have elapsed since first use), it’s time to replace your purifier cartridge.
I went through roughly 100 presses during my time in Pakistan and the bottle still gives me a roughly 10-second press, which I’m stoked about. I stil got a ways to go!
Let’s be clear though, the GEOPRESS is much more than just a water filter. Unlike most water filters which simply remove bacteria and parasites, the GEOPRESS purifier removes viruses and heavy metals. Therefore, it is effective anywhere in the world!
Filters generally only work in North America, Western Europe, and five countries in Asia. That means they aren’t effective in more than 100 countries worldwide. For people like me who operate in truly remote parts of the planet, most standard water filters leave a lot to be desired.
When you buy your GEOPRESS, I suggest you pick up at least one replacement filter cartridge as well so that when the old one has had it, you can quickly swap it out without missing a beat.
Here, you can pick up a replacement Grayl filter cartridge.
GEOPRESS Water Filter Cartridge Maintenance
The key to getting the longest life out of your filter depends on a variety of factors. Perhaps the most important factor is how you store your bottle and filter when not in use. When I remembered, I took the whole bottle apart and placed it in a breezy spot so that the filter could have a chance at drying.
Drying the filter isn’t a quick process, so if you are on a multi-month adventure around Southeast Asia, you need to develop some sort of drying routine, at least once a week. Otherwise, the grand-funk will set in and the GEOPRESS begins to smell a little like the kitchen sink sponge that should have been thrown away last week.
Another factor for the filter is the type of water you are filtering. When possible, it is best to filter water that is clear and free of any noticeable sediment. Gritty water with lots of silt or sand will certainly clog your filter fast than if you were using clear water. Common sense, right?
In Pakistan, there were many occasions when I had no choice. I had to filter gray water from the glacier. Glacier water is loaded with heavy minerals (and sometimes heavy metals), so I needed to filter it. And some of the glaciers in Pakistan are black so the water that comes off of them can also be pretty dark.
In the end, I still got my clean water and my GEOPRESS is still kicking ass. This thing is a beast!
Another very important detail is that once your Grayl water filter has lived its life, you can return it to Grayl to be recycled as part of their zero-waste initiative. This recycling program may not be off the ground yet, but I heard they will be launching it very soon!
Best Uses for the Grayl Geopress
Obviously, for travelers and certain hikers, the GEOPRESS is an unstoppable tool of the trade, and too good to beat. That said, the GEOPRESS isn’t for everyone, or should I say, every activity. As a former Appalachian thru-hiker who spent my nights dreaming of how to cut down on weight, the GEOPRESS is likely to be too heavy and bulky to be considered in an ultralight thru-hiking kit.
There are certainly other, lighter filter options out there. Take the Sawyer Mini, for example. In terms of weight, the Sawyer Mini is hard to beat.
I used a Sawyer when I hiked the AT. Truth be told I hated that damn thing. It would sometimes take me a minute to filter a liter. But when you’re cutting weight on a big hike, you got to do what you’ve got to do. The Sawyer Mini weighs all of two ounces! I have spent hours of my life squeezing out clean water from the tiny Sawyer Mini nozzle; I still have nightmares about that pitiful trickle sound.
For a weekend backpacking trip to your local mountains and day hikes, the GEOPRESS is perfect and gurantees a drinkable source of water (if water is around). It also means you don’t have to use yukky chlorine tabs or annoyingly slow, nightmare-inducing ultralight filters.
For travelers, the GEOPRESS is something you can have on hand for any and every adventure. If you’re curious about other altererntives for water purifying bottles, you can check out our roundup of the best filter water bottles for travel here.
The Ultralight Water Purifier for Thru-Hikers
If you still want the Grayl magic but don’t feel like packing the bulk and weight of the GEOPRESS, you can always go with the Grayl Ultralight purifier bottle (10.9 oz). Even thru-hikers need water bottles, so having the filter + bottle combination is a pretty sexy looking option if you can justify the couple extra ounces within your thru-hiker soul.
For traveling backpackers and adventurers the Grayl GEOPRESS is all you’ll ever need because it is an all-in-one water bottle vessel as well as a filter system with enough capacity to be fully practical.
Which brings me to my next point…
The Grayl GEOPRESS Water Bottle is Fighting the Evil Plastic Monster
Everywhere I roam in this world, I witness the plastic problem first hand. I mean, it’s not a secret at this point right? The culture of plastic pollution is literally killing our planet.
Whilst leading Epic Backpacker Tours trips in Pakistan this last spring, I got another reminder of just how prolific plastic bottle use is. Many parts of Pakistan have serious plastic overuse and pollution issues.
I did not buy a single individual plastic bottle for myself thanks to my GEOPRESS, which is the first time on any trip that I have ever done that. Forget the money you save (which is another plus). Every traveler has a responsibility to reduce their plastic footprint ESPECIALLY when we travel to countries with no recycling infrastructure. With the tools available (ahem… GEOPRESS), there really are no excuses anymore.
The fact that the GEOPRESS filters heavy metals and microplastics is another awesome feeling to be armed with. Grayl has truly hit the nail on the head by giving all trekkers and world travelers a realistic way to completely eliminate plastic water bottle waste from our adventure diet. That’s awesome and yet another reason why I put my full weight behind this product after using it myself.
Grayl GEOPRESS Price: How Much Does it Cost?
In terms of water bottles, the GEOPRESS is pretty steep. $89.95 to be exact. But before you write the GEOPRESS off as being out of your price range, consider this: whilst traveling without a water filter, you end spending between $3 and $8 a day on bottled water. That’s craziness!
You don’t need me to do the math for you. After a month on the road, the GEOPRESS basically pays for itself. Sure it takes a little more effort to filter your own water but the fact is that the planet needs us all to be making an effort. Taking a few seconds to filter your own water vs. buying plastic water bottles will help you reduce your plastic footprint in a big way over time.
I am a firm believer in investing in quality backpacking gear. The right tool for the job is a clichè that I hold dear to my heart. Whilst the GEOPRESS may be a high-end water bottle, it’s obviously much, much more than just a water bottle.
A Grayl water bottle is armed with a filter, so you don’t need to buy a water bottle and then a filter system. You dig?
Full disclosure: the awesome team at Grayl outfitted our trip to Pakistan with several GEOPRESS bottles in order for us to give them a proper test run in the field, so no, I did not personally have to buy a GEOPRESS. That said, after getting to know the bottle as well as I have, there is zero doubt in my mind that I would buy one myself – no questions asked.
For Happy Hydrated Adventures, Invest in the Right Gear… i.e. the Grayl GEOPRESS
I believe strongly in giving The Broke Backpacker readership and the outdoor/traveling community at large an honest insight into what a piece of quality adventure gear looks like. If you are looking for a solution to your water needs for your next trip, be it in the Andes, a trip to Morocco, or a day hike into your local hills, the GEOPRESS is worth every single penny you spend on it.
The GEOPRESS went well beyond my expectations during our Pakistan trip. There were so many times when I first started using it where I was like: “Wait, is this thing actually going to keep me safe and deliver clean water?”
Well, it did.
As a guide in the mountains, I certainly can’t afford to be sickened by a lousy gimmick filtration system. The GEOPRESS did its job and I was able to do mine.
Final Thoughts: Grayl GEOPRESS Review
Well guys, we have made it to the final act of this GEOPRESS review. By now you should be well on your way to knowing everything there is to know about the Grayl GEOPRESS water bottle.
Certainly, there is no shortage of water bottle filter combination systems out there. But in my experience, if you want the best-of-the-best, go with the new 24 0z. Grayl GEOPRESS. For true hydration freedom whilst traveling or hiking, no water bottle will do more to protect your body and keep you hydrated no matter what crazy corner of the world you find yourself in.
The 6 weeks I spent in Pakistan made it clear that it doesn’t matter if you are in the city, the mountains, or somewhere in between, the GEOPRESS will empower your ability to make clean water anywhere. More importantly, you’ll never need to buy a single-use plastic water bottle again. That’s rad and we at The Broke Backpacker are 100%, undoubtedly about that.
Sustainable travel and trekking are more important than ever before. So is staying hydrated. When you decide to make the switch to a Grayl hydration/filtration system, you’ll never look back, I guarantee it.
Happy travels, guys, and keep on pressin’ (I couldn’t resist).
Do you have experience with the Grayl GEOPRESS yourself that you’d like to share with us? Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a set of trekking poles, or sort your insurance, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.”
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Chris Lininger is a writer, photographer, and guide from California. He is an advocate for off-beat responsible travel and the preservation of the world’s wild places and spaces. Chris is also a founding member of Epic Backpacker Tours and leads expeditions to Pakistan throughout the year. He is currently riding out the pandemic in Bali. Follow his adventures on Instagram.