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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Best water purification method for solo hiking?

    Total jong when it comes to overnight hiking. Starting to get into trips that are a little longer then I care to carry water for, and at least want a backup in case I run out.

    In the interest of avoiding some nasty GI issues, what is the best (cost vs. easiest) way to treat h20 for a single person?

    Tablets? Do these get all the cysts? Any that can be drank directly after treating? Do they all taste horrible?

    Filter? From what I read, I need to go below .2 micron (IIRC) to get viruses out. Naturally, these cost more $$.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork View Post
    We can tell you think you're awesome- it's pretty obvious. I love it when you try to convince us all too, It's like a tripped out Willy Wonka boat trip across the galaxy of fail you call an existence and it is indeed awesome to watch. I mean, your fail is so dense it has become a "black hole of fail" that has a gravitational pull strong enough to attract the fail of others, hence the "dating sucks" thread scenario.

  2. #2
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    my new personal favorite is platypus gravity filter. doesnt weigh a lot and MUCH easier than pumping with a hand pump type filter. Scoop bag in water..hang to tree, hook up filter and "clean" bladder and start setting up camp. Easy peasy.
    http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    I wish i could be like SkiFishBum

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Are you backpacking or base camping?

    I really like my Steripen and recommend it. Fast and easy.

    Tablets are my backup. Upside, small light and cheap. Downside, they taste like shit and take 30 min, which can suck.
    Pumps, well they clog, break, etc. But work well. They are kinda heavy too.

    Sent from my ADR6425LVW using TGR Forums

  4. #4
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    I just boil it... and carry tabs as a back up...

    The platypus grav is pretty sick tho

    Sent from my DROIDX using TGR Forums
    You took too much man, too much, too much

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    Are you backpacking or base camping?
    Backpacking.

    The specific trip that comes to mid is based on a family trip when I was much younger and less wise. Tried to hike Katahdin with my parents, about 1/2 way up we ran out of water and ended up drinking the snowmelt. Super lucky no one got sick.

    Will be attempting the hike again later this month, would like to have a backup h20 source in addition to my bladder and maybe a spare bottle. Don;t plan to bring a stove (and don't have one at the moment) so boiling is a no go.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork View Post
    We can tell you think you're awesome- it's pretty obvious. I love it when you try to convince us all too, It's like a tripped out Willy Wonka boat trip across the galaxy of fail you call an existence and it is indeed awesome to watch. I mean, your fail is so dense it has become a "black hole of fail" that has a gravitational pull strong enough to attract the fail of others, hence the "dating sucks" thread scenario.

  6. #6
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    +1 for Steripen. As long as the water isn't muddy, it'll save you so much time, space, and effort that it isn't funny. It requires a certain amount of mindfulness - batteries - but no more than a filter does. Bonus: it woes out viruses w/o chems - filters don't.
    Jesus rides beside me, he never buys any smokes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    8,244
    Get the steripen.

    OR spend the money to get a jetboil or reactor and boil the water. Going backpacking without a stove? WTF? I'd rather bring a stove than a filter, just my personal preference. Get an old Whisperlite or dragon fly and a cheap pot to boil in. Fire is fun.

  8. #8
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    ^^^day trips (albeit longer) only at the moment.

    Besides, wouldn't planning to boil all my water be a waste of fuel? I'm not opposed to the stove idea, just didn't make sense for it to be my 1st purchase when I am only planning day trips. BTW, a generous friend will be picking this up for me as a gift, as funds are tight right now.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork View Post
    We can tell you think you're awesome- it's pretty obvious. I love it when you try to convince us all too, It's like a tripped out Willy Wonka boat trip across the galaxy of fail you call an existence and it is indeed awesome to watch. I mean, your fail is so dense it has become a "black hole of fail" that has a gravitational pull strong enough to attract the fail of others, hence the "dating sucks" thread scenario.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2004
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    I have read a lot of comments online that the steripens r unreliable, but that might be older models. I have a msr sweet water filter and like it. I just bought a msr gravity works (same technology as platypus) but haven't used it. I like the taste of iodine tablets but the 30 mins is a pain. With the iodine u can't drink a lot during a stop at a water source in the middle of a hike unless u take a long break. I carry iodine tablets in all my first aid kits for emergencies. Iodine goes bad in a year? After u open the bottle.

  10. #10
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    Also, if the platypus and msr gravity filters freeze, the filter element can be damaged.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by harpo-the-skier View Post
    Also, if the platypus and msr gravity filters freeze, the filter element can be damaged.
    They sure can just like any other filter on the market. I dont do much hiking that would freeze my filter. When doing anything that might be considered winter camping i'd likely be boiling my water anyway.

    The gravity filters are just tooo damned easy.,
    http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    I wish i could be like SkiFishBum

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post
    ^^^day trips (albeit longer) only at the moment.

    Besides, wouldn't planning to boil all my water be a waste of fuel? I'm not opposed to the stove idea, just didn't make sense for it to be my 1st purchase when I am only planning day trips. BTW, a generous friend will be picking this up for me as a gift, as funds are tight right now.

    Well why would you need to conserve fuel on a daytrip? I've used my jetboil to melt snow on longer tours in the winter. Works great, and it's fast. The reactor works great too and has a little more capacity.

    But for daytrips, yeah, I can see that not being the best option. A steripen is probably your best option, but I still sometimes use my old ass MSR filter. Works ok.

    On another note, in emergencies or when I've been too tired or lazy to treat the water, I've just drank it straight. If it is snowmelt, close to the snow, I don't know that it's traveled through enough nastiness to have too much bad for you. I usually do this on my way out, knowing that if it does affect me, I'll be back in civilization with a big roll of charmin ultra and a big fancy toilet at home. Luckily, I've never had giardia or anything else (knock on wood) that I know of from hiking trips. Now drinking shitty beer is another story...

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    I don't filter or treat water off trail up high. For more populated places, the Sawyer Squeeze Filter is the fastest lightest we've found. Inexpensive and easy to backflush. Only negative is that the stock mylar bags suck. Replace them with an Evernew bladder or old Platypus bags.

    ETA: Just heard that Sawyer improved the Squeeze bladders. If so, the Squeeze would be hard to beat.

    IME, Sawyer Squeeze is faster and lighter than Sawyer et. al. gravity systems

  14. #14
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    Mar 2012
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    Another on the steripen bandwagon. Used mine for a little over a year now and it is awesome and I have never been sick. Has become a regular item that goes in the pack. You can get a travelers version that is very small (like the size of a leatherman). Doesn't affect taste, super small and lightweight and no pumping!

  15. #15
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    My Steripen occupies a space in our gear cupboard. It pooped out midway on a trip a few years ago. It doesn't work in silty water, common in the Cascades and Olympics, which is why we don't see many of them in the field around here. I might use a Steripen for third world country travel but no way will I ever rely on a battery operated device to treat water in the backcountry.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    I don't filter or treat water off trail up high.
    ^^ this

    Hiked the PCT & LT without filtering a drop...

    ...but have found Aquamira to be extremely reliable & lightweight. Hope this helps.
    "In a perfect world I'd have all 10 fingers on my left hand, so I could just use my right hand for punching."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowerWhore7 View Post
    ^^ this

    Hiked the PCT & LT without filtering a drop...

    ...but have found Aquamira to be extremely reliable & lightweight. Hope this helps.
    There was an interesting paper written recently about how they tried to find enough Guardia spores in Appalachian streams to make you sick. They took a bunch of samples and couldn't find enough to do it. Conclusion was that most cases of Guardia come from people shitting on their hands and eating it.

    Krp, I just did Baxter yesterday and drank out of Thoroeau Spring and another lower down with no ill effects. If you are in Boston and would like to borrow a filtration device or purification item let me know. I have a collection.

    Sent from my ADR6425LVW using TGR Forums

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    Conclusion was that most cases of Guardia come from people shitting on their hands and eating it.
    ^^ this

    I am a firm believer in that theory. I never, shake hands or share food, just a fist bump and single serve food in a wrapper. Letting someone reach their hands in your trail mix after 3-4 days/weeks in the BC is like letting them shit in your mouth IMO, but hey, some people like that shit


    On the LT we dipped our water bottles in the beaver ponds and just used drink mix to turn it from brown to red or whatever color we had. If it was especially silty or muddy we used pantyhose to filter the water before it went in the bottle and then got to wear the pantyhose outta there for a smooth sliky feeling in-between our legs.
    "In a perfect world I'd have all 10 fingers on my left hand, so I could just use my right hand for punching."

  19. #19
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    FWIW, I've been infected with amoeba and giardia. I contracted the former in 1976 from a contaminated artesian well in Kentucky on the Bikecentennial route. Several other bicyclists also got infected. In 1983 I contracted giardia on a solo hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness area. The U of Oregon doc who treated me pinpointed the source, a stream running from a pond that saw frequent human use, which had infected numerous other people. He was an expert on IT bugs, said that giardia in the backcountry was unheard of until Viet Nam vets spread some particularly nasty bugs into some high lakes.

    So, yeah, while most IT bugs are transmitted directly from person to person in the U.S., they can be transmitted via water sources. Don't forget that until quite recently IT bugs (e.g., amoeba, giardia) were the leading cause of death in the world.

    Nonetheless, I treat water <5% of the time because most of my mountain travel is off-trail in the high country. But if I'm drinking from a lake or an outlet from a lake that gets visited by typical weekend backpacker goombas who don't know shit about shitting in the backcountry, I filter or treat.

    ETA: Way more people get cryptosporidium gut infections from swallowing water while swimming than contract giardia in the high country.

  20. #20
    Hugh Conway Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    I might use a Steripen for third world country travel but no way will I ever rely on a battery operated device to treat water in the backcountry.
    It's quite popular among a certain set for that, but IMO kinda misses the point because the major vector is contamination from other humans and unless you travel in some State Department hermetic bubble, it's ridiculously hard to minimize that exposure. By bubble, I mean only touching treated water, using rubber gloves in the shitter, and only eating prepackaged food from the west.

    I have a filter. I use a filter, mostly, because I don't like tablet taste and I'm not going to buy anything new. There is no best.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowerWhore7 View Post
    ...but have found Aquamira to be extremely reliable & lightweight. Hope this helps.
    Aquamira is my go-to water treatment. Takes a half hour to work, but it isn't an issue if you pay attention to your water supply.

    While you could probably get away with not treating water in some areas in the lower 48, I prefer not to chance it. Especially seeing as how you won't know if you picked something up for a few weeks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    FWIW, I've been infected with amoeba and giardia....
    Oookaaay...but:
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    Nonetheless, I treat water <5% of the time...
    And:
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Steve View Post
    ...but no way will I ever rely on a battery operated device to treat water in the backcountry.
    C'mon, that shit's funny. Right?
    Jesus rides beside me, he never buys any smokes.

  23. #23
    Hugh Conway Guest
    It's Tech Talk.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    For 20 bucks get a white box stove or cat stove ( see zen stoves) super light and easy to boil. Plus you just have it along. Can be set up for less than that if diy

    Sent from my XT907 using TGR Forums

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by grubbers View Post
    Aquamira is my go-to water treatment. Takes a half hour to work, but it isn't an issue if you pay attention to your water supply.

    While you could probably get away with not treating water in some areas in the lower 48, I prefer not to chance it. Especially seeing as how you won't know if you picked something up for a few weeks.
    Aquamira is AKA Pristine. Highly effective, simple to use (unless you can't count to five), four year shelf life, no taste, what could go wrong. Newer on the market (in Canada, at least) are Aquatabs, similar formula in convenient tablet form, about double the cost per dose.

    I have been selling water purification to institutional canoe tripping programs for a long time. They all started out with filters, notably the Pur Hiker. Moved on to the the MSR Miniworks after the Hikers all self-destructed. All have migrated to Pristine since it is cheap, compact, idiot-proof and effective.
    "... Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." – Edward Abbey

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