Grayl Geopress Review – Clean water, no matter where you end up!

Grayl Geopress Close Up

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No matter if you’re deep in the Bolivian Amazon or scrambling up to Everest Base Camp, Grayl say that their Geopress will keep your body hydrated and your pants diarrhoea free! We decided to put these claims to the test in this dedicated Grayl Geopress review.

The Grayl Geopress: Quick Look

  • Capacity: 710 ml
  • Purifying time: 8 – 25 seconds depending on the age of the filter
  • Filter Lifespan: 250 litres
  • Dimensions (cm): 26 x 14 x 14
  • Dry Weight: 450 grams

The Grayl Geopress can purify water from any source, removing bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, plastics and protozoa. The carbon filter even removes bad tastes and odours!

As with all good tales, Grayl purifiers started life as a scribble on a napkin. Four years of hard work later, the Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier was released to critical acclaim. Not only did this bottle raise close to quarter of a million dollars in funding on kickstarter but it continues to sell well to this day. 

Now it is time for the next generation of Grayl purifiers.

Instead of resting on their laurels, Grayl stepped up. They listened to comments and used the feedback from their customers to create the Grayl Geopress. This bottle has a larger capacity, can purify water faster, reduces the risk of cross-contamination and is plenty durable enough to survive the rigours of long term travel. 

Why should use a water purifier when travelling?

There are three main reasons to purify your water whilst travelling: 

1. Tap water can be dangerous.

Running tap
Tap water may look clean but it can be home to all sorts of stomach turning bugs and viruses!

Across much of the world tap water is riddled with viruses and bacteria. Even if it is treated at the source, ageing pipework and storage systems let all sorts of nasties into the water. By purifying your water, you are removing more than 99% of these viruses and bacteria, therefore reducing your chances of getting ill massively! No one wants to be holed up in bed for a week when they are supposed to be out exploring!

2. Save the planet

Plastic bottles litter
Single use water vessels litter beaches the world over!

Until recent years, bottled water was the easiest way around the bad tap water problem. However, thanks to the Attenborough Effect, our eyes are being opened to the damaging effects of single-use plastic. Purifying your own water means you won’t be contributing to the problem. Sure there is likely to be occasions when you get stuck and have to buy the odd bottle but for every bottle you don’t buy, there is one less lump of plastic that is likely to find its way into the ocean!

Check out this article if you’re interested in more ways to reduce your plastic footprint.

3. Save money

Coins spilling from a jar
The cost of water adds up over a long trip!

A single bottle of water doesn’t cost a lot, in most countries you can expect to pay between 25 cents and $1.50 US for 1.5 litres. Even if we average it out and say we are spending about $1 a day, over the course of a 3 month trip, that’s close to $100USD. Or, another 10 nights in a cheap hostel! That quick maths also assumes that it’s not too hot and we are not doing a lot of exercise. The reality is, that in Southeast Asia we’ll probably be consuming upwards of 2 litres a day!

Grayl Geopress: In-Depth Review

We were sent some samples from Grayl to test on the understanding that we’d write a completely honest review of the experience.

Over the last few months I have been putting my Geopress through its paces whilst hiking, commuting and exploring my local area. I’ve drunk from black stagnant ponds, rain water collection barrels and all manner of brooks and streams, all whilst out getting my daily exercise in the sun! Don’t let it be said I don’t take my work seriously!

Not only did the Geopress make the water clear and palatable but it has also stopped me getting ill which, I think you’d agree, is a mini miracle when you see the water sources I’ve been using! You don’t half get some funny looks when the locals see you leaning over a stinky, slime filled pond filling your water bottle though!

Filling Geopress from a gross pond
Even water from this pond came out crystal clear and tasting perfect!

Without any further ado, let’s dive into our full review of the Grayl Geopress water purifier. 

How To Use The Grayl Geopress

Grayl’s Geopress water purifier has a different filtration method to many other filter water bottles available today. Instead of sucking or gravity feeding the water through a filter, you fill the main part of the bottle with water, before inserting the inner section in place and pressing it down. This forces the dirty water up through the filter and clean water is then stored inside the inner container. 

Filling Grayl Geopress from a river
Fill the outer section of the Geopress from any fresh water source!

Top Tip 1: Don’t forget to open the cap half a twist before pushing, otherwise the air cannot escape and the filter will be almost impossible to press down. 

Top Tip 2: Make sure you place the Geopress on a low, stable surface before pressing the filter into the water. It takes quite a lot of force to get it going so you want to have your body weight over the bottle. 

Top Tip 3: Do not add water over the fill line. This can seriously affect the ease of use as well as the lifespan of the product. 

Grayl Geopress – The Good Bits

The Water Purifier

Grayl specialise in purifiers but what exactly does that mean? A water purifier will remove even the smallest pathogens, viruses or particles from your water and allow you to drink from almost anywhere. It may surprise you to know that not all filter water bottles actually purify your water, some will just filter out bacteria or plastics, whilst others just change the taste or smell of the water.

Non purifying filters work fine in some countries or from certain water sources and are definitely better than no filter at all. However, purifiers allow you to drink from gross stagnant pools (if you need to) and consume tap water wherever you are in the world. A non purifying filter will not remove anything smaller than bacteria, so viruses and other tiny pollutants can easily get through.

With viruses being responsible for a large percentage of health problems related to bad water sources, having a purifier when you travel is a no brainer. Unless of course, you want to spend more money and destroy the planet by buying single-use plastic bottles all the time!

Purifying water using the Grayl Geopress
By forcing water through the filter you are removing 99% of contaminants!

Durability

Grayl specifically designed the Geopress to not just survive your many adventures but also to keep working perfectly for as long as you need it. The thick, BPA free plastic is tough, really tough. You could fill it with water, throw it onto concrete from 10 feet and put your feet up, wondering how the hell it survived the fall. 

Just by picking it up, you can feel how rugged the Geopress is. Whilst I haven’t been brave enough to throw mine out of an upstairs window just yet, I have dropped it multiple times and it’s survived with just the odd scratch.

Easy to grip

The Geopress has nice rubberised grips on the main body of the bottle and a soft rubber area on the top, which is used to press the filter down into the water. The side grips allow you to hold the bottle more securely and the top rubberised patch stops your hands hurting whilst pressing the filter down. These might only be little touches but they make the bottles better to use and show a nice attention to detail.

Passing your Geopress
Even with wet hands, the rubber grips help you to keep hold of the Geopress!

Replaceable filters

The filter in your Geopress will last around 250-litres, which for one person would be well over 100 days worth of water, even in a super hot climate. If you are using water from more questionable sources like stagnant or particularly dirty water, then the filter lifespan will be shorter. Likewise, if you are using just using water from a tap or fast flowing stream, the filter will last a little longer. 

Once your filter has reached the end of its life, it can be removed and a new one screwed into place. The process is really quick and can be done in less than a minute! 

Good Capacity 

The Grayl Geopress has a 710 ml capacity which is significantly larger than the Grayl Ultralight. Although 710 ml is still less than your average person’s daily intake of water, it is still more than a basic water bottle and will keep you going through most daily activities. 

If you are walking, cycling or exercising a lot, you’ll need more water but in these situations, I simply decant filtered water out of my Geopress and into another bottle, then refill the Geopress before purifying it again. This is only necessary if you don’t think you’ll come across another water source again for a while. The best thing about the Grayl Geopress is no matter where you are, providing you can find any fresh water in your environment, you can safely drink from it!

Drinking from Grayl Geopress
The Geopress holds plenty of water for short walks or cold days!

Prevents Cross Contamination

There are many filter bottles available today that do a great job of purifying your water. However, many of them don’t fully protect you from getting ill because they allow dirty water to get onto the spout or in worst case scenarios, contaminated water can leak into the clean water! 

The Grayl Geopress has a screw cap over the spout to protect it from dirty water so there is no way contaminated water can enter your freshly purified supply.

Charitable Causes

As a member of 1% For The Planet and The Conservation Alliance, Grayl are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to protecting the plant and building a better world for future generations.

1% For The Planet members donate 1% of their sales to a combined pot that then goes on to fund non-profit organisations who protect, conserve and help to rebuild our most precious resource: the natural world. 

Like 1% For The Planet, The Conservation Alliance are committed to funding non-profits as well as small, grassroots operations in their goal of protecting wild places. The Conservation Alliance currently only operate in North America and are the smaller of the two outfits. 

Both these amazing causes are bringing companies together with the shared goal of making sure the world can live on far into the future.  

Grayl Geopress – The Bad Bits

Whilst Grayl have produced one of the best filtered water bottles available on the market today, in the course of testing the bottle out, I found a few small issues. None of these would be enough to put me off buying one but here at South East Asia Backpacker, we know how important it is to read genuine reviews from real backpackers, so here are the negatives.

Geopress on a kayak
The Grayl Geopress is used by adventurers, explorers and backpackers alike!

Heavy

Whilst not heavy in the grand scheme of your gear, the Grayl Geopress is just a smidge over 450 grams. It may not seem like a lot but compared to your average plastic water bottle, which is around 20 grams, the Geopress is a heavy item. 

Still, I would rather carry an extra half kilo than waste money and the planet’s limited resources by buying single-use plastic bottles every day. For those of you planning long hikes, or who are extra picky about your pack weight there are lighter filtration and purification options out there but I cannot attest to how they stack up against the Geopress.

Big

More of an issue for your average backpacker than the weight of the Geopress, is its size. It is a good deal larger than a normal 710 ml water container. At 26 cm tall and 14 cm wide, it will take up a significant portion of your backpack

Even more of a bummer is that, unless you have pack specifically designed to carry large bottles, the Grayl Geopress won’t fit into the water bottle pockets on most backpackers. I tend to attach mine to my pack using carabiners, otherwise I would have to store it inside the pack, making it a bit of pain to get at when you want a quick glug of water. 

Girl drinks from Grayl Geopress
As you can see, the Geopress isn’t the smallest bottle in the world!

Price

If you are travelling for more than a couple of months or planning on using your Grayl regularly, you will save money by getting yourself a Geopress. Even so, when saving up for a trip it’s painful to drop $90 US on anything, let alone a water bottle. 

The costs don’t end with the initial purchase either. Every time you need to replace the filter, it will set you back around $30 USD.

As I’ve said, even with these outlays you will still save money in the end. If each filter can do 250 litres of water, then the cost per litre is very low when compared to buying bottled water. Plus, you won’t be throwing mountains of plastic into landfill sites, which is sure to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside!

Grayl Geopress FAQ’s

  • How long does a Grayl filter last?

Grayl’s Geopress filters will purify up to 250 litres of water before they need to be replaced. This will be less if you are filtering particularly dirty or stagnant water.

  • How do I know when the filter needs replacing?

When using your Geopress, you will notice over time that the filter gets harder and harder to press down. When new, you can filter 710 ml in around 8 seconds but over the filter’s lifetime this will get longer and longer. When the overall filtration time reaches 25 seconds, it is time to replace the filter. 

  • How do I change the filter on the Grayl Geopress?

At the bottom of the inner section of your Geopress, you will see the filter cartridge. This just needs to be unscrewed and removed. It can be quite stiff the first time but will come away if you put your back into it! Once you have it removed, screw the new filter into place until you feel it click. 

Geopress in parts
The Grayl Geopress comes in three main parts: The outer container, the inner container and the filter!

  • Can I purify salt water using the Grayl Geopress?

No. Saltwater can only be made drinkable using a desalination device. The Geopress is not designed to filter or purify saltwater. 

  • How do I clean the Grayl Geopress?

Aside from the filters, the whole Geopress is dishwasher safe. If you don’t have a dishwasher or have a weird aversion to anything except crockery going in yours, you can wash these parts with warm soapy water. 

If you want to rinse the filter out, make sure you do so with clean water and do not use soap, or it will prevent the filter from working. 

  • How do I store my Grayl Geopress?

If you’ve finished using your Geopress for a while and want to pop it away, make sure you have cleaned the bulk of it with warm, soapy water and rinse out the filter (do not use soap on the filter). After that you will need to leave the filter to dry out completely. Depending on where you are in the world, this can take anything from a few hours to a few days. If you put it away wet, you will get bad odours and there is a risk mould or bacteria could breed in there! 

Grayl Geopress parts
After you’ve fully dried out your Geopress, put it back together and leave it in a cool dry cupboard ready for next time!

  • Where can I buy a Grayl Geopress?

The best place to buy your Geopress is from Grayl’s official website but they are also available on amazon!

 

Final Thoughts On The Grayl Geopress

If you’re planning a long distance hike where size and weight are more important than having a full blown purifier, I suggest heading over to our best filter water bottles article to check out some other options.

However, if saving a few hundred grams in your pack isn’t a big deal then the Grayl Geopress is the finest example of an accessible water purification system I have come across!

Sure, it’s a bit bulkier than I’d like in an ideal world and the initial outlay can be painful but if those are the worst bits, you won’t regret picking up a Geopress for your next trip. 

Not only will the Grayl Geopress help keep you free from the dreaded travellers diarrhoea but it will also save you money and most importantly, reduce the impact our travels have on the environment. 

Let’s be frank, travel in the way we do it today pumps enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and causes tons of litter which ends up polluting our oceans, jungles, deserts and waterways. By using a water purifier, we are at least starting to offset some of the damage we are causing to this wonderful world we call home. 

Do you have anything about the Grayl Geopress to add to this review? If so, head on over to our Facebook community where you can join thousands of like minded travellers where you can share your experiences!

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