How the Outback Emergency Water Filter Works

Outback water filter works with moving water source like stream or river

How does the Outback emergency filter work?


The Outback portable survival water filter operates using a gravity-powered filtration process to generate clean drinking water during times of emergency. With a capacity to produce up to 24 gallons per day, this system proves highly efficient in eliminating bacteria, cysts, and viruses from water.

In basic terms, the filtration process of the Outback involves pouring untreated water into the upper chamber or bucket. From there, gravity propels the water through four distinct stages of filtration and purification, ultimately directing it into the lower chamber or bucket. Below is a detailed description of each of the four filtration stages employed by the Outback.

What are the Filtration Stages of the Outback Emergency Water Filter System?

The filtration stages of the Outback Survival Water Filter System are as follows

Stage 1 - First, the Net Filter removes large particles and debris from the water. It fits over the upper bucket of the Outback.

Stage 2 - Second, the Sleeve Filter removes microparticles. This Sleeve Filter fits over the filter in the upper bucket. This soft sleeve removes finer particles such as sand and sediment.

Stage 3 - Third, the Purifying Filter eliminates bacteria, cysts, and viruses. This Purifying Filter installed in the upper bucket achieves greater than 4 log (99.99%) virus reduction rate. The Outback Emergency Water System is one of the few gravity bucket systems that can eliminate harmful waterborne microbes, including E.coli, Cholera, Hepatitis and Polio.

Stage 4 - Finally, the Refining Filter removes chemicals and contaminants. This Refining Filter is installed in the lower bucket and helps to improve the taste of your drinking water. This filter removes a multitude of chemicals, pesticides, organic contaminants, as well as odors and 'off tastes'.

Outback Water Filter Syste Specs

Prefilter Capacity (Stage 3)

Replace every 6 months or when flow slows below operational level

Mixed Media Cartridge Capacity (Stage 4)

1800 gallons or 12 months (whichever is first)

Assembled Dimensions

12" x 12" x 24"

Assembled Weight
5.94 lbs
Boxed Dimensions
12" x 12" x 16"
Shipping Weight
7.04 lbs

Production capacity

1800 gallons before filter change

The Outback Survival Water Filter System effectively removes bacteria at > 99.9999%, cysts at > 99.99%, virus at > 99.99%, organic contaminates, pesticides, herbicides, and more. Produces 24 gallons per day.

The Outback's design has been proven effective by rescue, relief and religious organizations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia and is widely used by missionary and government organizations throughout the world.

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How to Have Safe Drinking Water in Times of Emergency

During times of disaster or emergencies, municipal water supplies and well water often cannot be relied upon for clean drinking water.

  • drinking water during times of flooding City Water: If the power goes out, municipal suppliers are unable to treat and monitor water at the treatment plant. To protect against illness-causing bacteria and viruses, households must boil or sufficiently treat their water before consuming.
  • Well Water: Well pumps are usually powered by electricity, which means no water will flow if the power goes out. Also, rainwater runoff during flooding often carries contamination into well water, making it extra important to have an emergency water treatment solution such as the Outback.

Learn more about filtering water during times of emergency and survival.

Outback Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of water source can I use to filter water with the Outback?

It is always best to use water from a fresh water source. Typical water supplies that are used with the Outback are streams, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes. Additional water sources may be rainwater collection, water heaters, swimming pools, spas, fresh water from the toilet and untreated stored water.

Does the Outback provide enough filtered water for a family of four?

Yes, the Outback Survival Water Filter can produce 24 gallons per day, which is an adequate amount of drinking water for a single user, a family, or small group.

What type of material are the Outback buckets made from?

The Outback buckets are made from food grade High Density Polyethylene plastic (HDPE), which has several applications including food packaging such as milk and snack packs.

How long has the Outback been used?

Since 2003, the Outback's design has been proven effective by rescue, relief and religious organizations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia and is widely used by missionary and government organizations throughout the world.

How much water does the Outback produce in a 24-hour period?

The Outback has a daily production rate of up to 24 gallons per day.  

How can I get extra filters for the Outback System?

You can purchase a replacement kit for the Outback system. This kit includes everything needed for continual water filtering up to 1,800 Gallons (24 GPD). NOTE: filter capacity may be reduced when water source is heavy in sediment or debris, and filter replacements will be needed more often.

Does the Outback system come with an instruction manual?

Yes, the Outback System comes with step-by-step assembly instructions, as well as product care and use information. It takes less than five minutes from start to finish to complete the Outback assembly process. And below is a video about assemblying the system.

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