Our RV has really big tanks – we can run with 110 gallons of fresh water on board. And while that works great for us when we are back in Montana camping, and we can fill up with the well water we love, relying on other water sources doesn’t always work so great for long camping trips, or the 8 months of the year that we are on the road.
We never know what we are going to get for water when we get to a new location, and even if we have come in with full tanks, that water eventually runs out. None of us care for treated water, especially the stuff that smells and tastes like pool water! eww. So, over the years we have bought quite a bit of bottled water; between the cost, the inconvenience,and the landfill fodder, throw away water containers are just not the best choice for our family!
We chose instead to invest in a Berkey water purifying system (this is how our Berkey was set up in our previous rv)
From Berkey’s site:
Many water filters on the market may claim to be a purifier but do not meet the performance specifications required for this classification. In order to be classified as a water purifier, a water treatment device must remove at least 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria (known as a log 6 reduction in the water treatment industry) and reduce viruses by 99.99% (log 4 reduction). Our Berkey water filter systems can be classified as a water purifier because the elements actually remove 99.9999999% of pathogenic bacteria (log 9 reduction) and 99.999% of viruses which greatly exceeds the standards.
So what that means is that I can go to the local creek and scoop up a 5 gallon bucket of water to run through our Berkey to drink if we need to. Or just pull that treated water out of the tap and run it through our Berkey filter to take out the nasties that are making it taste and smell like pool water. We have loved having water that we know for sure is not going to make us sick, and that tastes consistently the same.
We use our Berkey for all our drinking water, and sometimes cooking water. The place where we have been volunteering for the this past week (and will be this coming week) has water that is high in nitrates (super bad stuff that leaches down into our water from all the chemicals we spray on our growing food :/ )… The water here is fine for showering and even washing hard skinned veggies, but everyone here drinks filtered water, and the campus has a water purifying system in the kitchen where you can pull filtered water for use in washing thin skinned veggies (where you either eat the skin, or peel it off) and for cooking and drinking water. This is the first time where we have HAD to use other water for cooking (nitrates are not removed/killed when boiled – they are condensed when water is heated, some evaporates, and the nitrates are left behind). I have been extra thankful for our Berkey here. Even tho the campus provides clean water for the volunteers, I would have felt bad taking as much as our large family uses, not to mention hauling that much back to the rv. lol.
Our lives really haven’t changed any despite the water limitations here, other than absolutely having to remember to use the Berkey water for cooking (I started making rice last night with tap water – thankfully I remembered before it got hot and started absorbing the water – I ended up pouring off the water and rinsing it with Berkey water then refilling the pot and cooking the rice in our purified water.
Berkey water filters are so easy to use – they use gravity to filter the water for you; just fill up the top reservoir and gravity pushes the water down through the filters. The filtered water then drips into the bottom reservoir and sits there until you pull it from the spigot. The top and the bottom reservoirs both hold the same amount of water, so if the bottom one is one-third full, you know you can put raw water in the top to fill it 2/3s – when all the water is filtered, the bottom will be full without overflowing. We fill our Berkey a couple of times a day, and top it off at night to make sure we wake up to a full reservoir of filtered drinking water.
(our Berkey set up in our current toy hauler)
Based on our family size, we chose the Royal Berkey purifier, and upgraded it from 2 filters to 4 filters to run the water through twice as fast. Berkey filters have several parts and need to be assembled when you receive yours. Working down: the Berkey has a lid (must put handle on), top reservoir with 2+ holes in bottom, all systems (except go) come with 2 filters (and nearly all systems can be upgraded by simply adding more filters) which you will need to bleed through with water then install with the filter on top, and a washer and nut on the bottom, the bottom reservoir, the spigot which needs to be installed with nut and washer, and the bottom rubber gasket (so it doesn’t slide around on your counter). Everything you need, like the special washers and gaskets, are included. It takes a few minutes to bleed the filters, but the whole assembly process is really very painless. After running 2 or 3 reservoirs of water through the filters to remove any small manufacturing particles from the filters, you are ready to go (clear instructions are included) with clean, purified drinking water!
After buying a Berkey, and having it for quite some time, here are my recommendations on purchasing one –
~If you are in an RV, figure out where you are going to put your Berkey, and make sure it’s going to fit! lol. We did not have ours under counter cupboards in our previous toy hauler because it would be tedious to fill. In our new rv, we moved our cupboard to accommodate our Berkey, but that is not always ideal or even an option. Consider how often you will be refilling it, and how tight of a fit it will be when deciding which filter system to purchase.
~Each Berkey water system has different specs. Look at them carefully as to size, filtered water capacity, and how many people it will service. If you are anywhere close to top numbers of people, move to the next size up (or add additional filters if possible). We have a 4 filter Royal, and while the website says it will service 26 people, that would be either in an office setting, or removing the filtered water to another storage device for continual filtering. For us (10 of us right now), it is more than adequate, but if there were 26 of US (active, outside, 24/7 usage), ummm, no. Also take into consideration whether you will be needing the purified water for cooking water on a consistent basis.
~If you have a growing family, choose a filter system that will grow with you, either one that you can add more filters to, or one that is slightly bigger than your current needs.
~Purchase extra filters when they are on sale (and we have included a coupon code at the end of the post to save you even more money!) – the filters do not have a shelf life; they do not expire. If you are mobile like us, it is not always convenient to get mail. Also, you will want to ensure that in the event of something happening out of your control, you still have clean drinking water for your family.
~Buy the Sight Glass Spigot. In order to know how full you can fill the top reservoir, you need to know how full the bottom is. If you like to keep your Berkey topped off, it can be inconvenient to lift a half-full top reservoir to keep checking on water levels. If you only fill your Berkey once a day then it’s not such a big deal. The Sight Glass Spigot shows you at a glance how full your filtered water is, so you know how much raw water you can add to the top. If you are mobile, it does take a little more care to pack your filter in a safe place while moving, but the convenience is worth it.
~Check out the fluoride filters. Regular Berkey filters do not remove fluoride, but they do offer fluoride filter add-ons for your system – they remove 95% of fluoride from the water, so if that is important to you, check those out under replacement filters.
We love our Berkey Water Filter, and are very happy with its quality construction, and its performance. We couldn’t imagine traveling without it now. Knowing that no matter where we are, we can take raw water, even from a stream or lake, and purify it for our family, is peace of mind for us.
If you think that a Berkey would be right for your family, please consider going through the links in this post if you order. You can also use the coupon code: ticknor5
to save 5% off of your order; you pay the same retail amount as through any link, but we give you back part of our commission to save you money!
*The links in this post are our affiliate links. Being affiliates for companies who’s products we use ourselves, and whom we believe in, help keep us on the road, doing things like we are this week and next, volunteering (we’ll share more on this volunteering opportunity in a later post!). If you choose to go through our affiliate link, you pay the same amount for your product, but we receive a small percentage for sharing our opinion and helping to get the word out for great companies/products like this. Being an affiliate has had no influence on our opinion of the product; in fact, it is a reflection of our being impressed with the item/company! 😉