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newbie, needs some advice
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rob wil
(AUradar) - F

Locale: FL Panhandle (aka LA)
newbie, needs some advice on 02/17/2009 09:49:50 MST Print View

okay, posted a newbie thread about the Smokey mountains.

this one is about supplies.

For an overnighter, what do I need to take? Can I haul enough water for the duration?

How long of a trip before you start needing water purification and getting water from streams?

Should I do on our first overnighter just for experience? 7 yr old boy with me, he might think thats cool. Or be disgusted at it!

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: newbie, needs some advice on 02/17/2009 11:22:56 MST Print View

For an overnighter, oddly, you would still bring all the same things that you would on a longer trip...the only variables would be the amount of water, fuel, and food that you would bring.

I would try to avoid bringing all the water that you would need for the trip with you, unless the area is without a reliable water source.

Water is heavy!

For water treatment, you can go with iodine tablets, cholorine Dioxide tablets, UV treatment (Steri-pen), or some sort of filter.

My personal preference is to carry no more than 2 L with me at any given time.

I would recommend that at the trail head chug down a Liter of water to get yourself as hydrated as possible before.

It is always easier to carry the water in you vs. on your back.

When you come across a water source on the trail, tank up again and drink to your hearts content and then refill your empty water bottles/hydration system and keep trekking on.

As a part of your planning, it will be critical to know where your water sources are, which can then dictate how much water you might want to carry from section to section of each leg of your trip.

Hope that this helps.


John Sixbey
(Wolfeye) - F
water on 02/17/2009 11:54:03 MST Print View

I find I can carry all of my needed water only if it's a day hike. Over the course of an overnight trip, I "guesstimate" I might refill my two 1-liter canteens 2 to 5 times. It varies widely on temperature and how much you're exerting yourself.

It's best to fill up & drink when you can. In the NW I find that a 2-liter capacity is about right to get me between fills; don't know what your area is like.

Water usage & places to refill are things I tend to write down in my hiking journal. That way when I visit the same route again, I'll have a rough idea of how to prepare. Maps, guidebooks, and other hikers can help if you haven't been there before.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: newbie, needs some advice on 02/17/2009 12:32:09 MST Print View

Hi Rob, I don't think I would be packing all my water on a Smokies overnighter. There is water everywhere, in fact on some trails you'll be wishing you were in the Sahara after crossing the same stream ten times in a mile or two! Seriously though, you will need some type of collection strategy and treatment method, although on overnighters I have used a few methods that I wouldn't use on a longer trip. Typically I carry a Steripen, but for a short trip like this boiling combined with tanking up works fine. Here's a strategy:

-on the way to the traihead, start hydrating. I usually drink a cup of coffee when I get up, and I have a couple liters of water in the truck with me just for drinking on the drive. Tony's right, storing water in your body is better than storing it in your pack.

-I usually carry 1-2 liters of water on the trail depending on available water sources. If there are springs and seeps (and there are hundreds in the Smokies) I carry less. It requires a little experience and a good understanding of your surroundings to use springs and seeps without treating; I use them alot, usually don't treat, and I've never gotten sick. I'm very cautious about knowing what's around the water source, especially uphill. I also grew up on well water, so I'm not conditioned to all the municipal treatments most have in their water.

-Use only collected water to cook with; you're boiling it anyway so no need to treat it. I try to camp close to a good water source, and often I'll just boil my next day's water supply while cooking. Doesn't take long to boil a liter or two, and if you are only doing this one night, doesn't use much fuel either. I wouldn't do this on a long trip, nor if I were cooking with alcohol or esbit, but since I'm a canister stove user, I typically have more than enough fuel along if I'm only out one night.

-take along a couple MicroPur tablets or some aqaumira, just in case. I hate the stuff and it often gives me terrible stomach cramps, but if I had kids with me, I would rather they get stomach cramps than giardia/crypto.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Disgusted? on 02/17/2009 18:10:32 MST Print View

I sense that there is some hesitation about drinking from natural water sources, whether from you or your 7 year old.

You should use the natural water sources rather than carry all the water you think you will need. It is not disgusting and it is not as heavy.

It will be a great lesson for your son about how the Earth is the source of our nourishment. Putting water into a plastic bottle and selling it in a store does not make it pure. It actually makes it more toxic and pollutes the overall environment.

I'd choose the water purification method based on the kind of water you think you'll find. If it will have sediment or floaties, I might rather use a filter. If it's clear, chemical treatment is weighs less than a filter and a steri-pen adds no chemicals.

Good luck on your trip and have a wonderful time!

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: newbie, needs some advice on 02/17/2009 19:25:26 MST Print View

All these replies are right on, so can I focus on the 7-year old.

I have 9-year old twins that just started backpacking last summer. They had already loved camping and know that I spend just a lot of time hiking. I wanted them to come to love hiking as much as I do so that, 1; they will want to do it as much as I do, and 2; that they will want to pass that along to my grand kids.

Make sure that the trip you choose is something that he can do. Make it short at first.

Stop a lot at creek crossings and such. Mine are always on the look-out for frogs or lizards. While they will be “tired” after a half mile, they can chase a lizard for 15 minutes with no problem. Bring a packtowel and extra clothes for him. If he is like mine he will be in the water at some point. I bring a card game with us to play in the tent. Our favorite is Wig Out.

Most of all both of you have fun! That is what it is all about.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Newbie on 02/17/2009 19:31:51 MST Print View

For a 7 year old, anything you think is cool, he'll think is cool.

rob wil
(AUradar) - F

Locale: FL Panhandle (aka LA)
thanks on 02/18/2009 05:45:02 MST Print View

thanks for the replies. Especially about the water. I didn't know if this was a long enough trip to need to get water from the creek. Sounds like it is and thats fine.

We started praciticing this week. Walking a mile each night and will build up. I put a pack on last night with a sleeping bag in it. I'll get my boy a pack in a week or so.

I called the ranger office at the smokey mountains. I think we decided on the Kephart Prong Trail and staying at hte Kephart shelter. If anyone is familiar with the smokey mountains. Thats a two mile hike up and two mile backtrack, ranger said it was pretty easy. I wouldn't mind starting on the AT, going to Sweat Heifer Creek trail to the Kephart shelter. But thats 5.4 miles in one day. I imagine it would be to much for my little one.

But, we are going to start trying. I live right down the road from a Florida Trail trail head. From there, its a 3.3 mile hike to a campsite. I hope to try that in a month or two with him. Be good practice.

He loves camping. Both RV and tent. We've done several primative campsites at parks in the tent. So its the hiking that will be new.

As far as being hestiant about the water. I don't think I would be so much in the mountains. But down here in Florida we don't have nice, cystal clear creeks. Our creeks are very muddy, many are coffee black. Never has looked to appealing.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Water on 02/18/2009 10:09:23 MST Print View

Rob, a statement you made in your last post caught me: "drinking from the creek ...". When collecting water, don't take it straight from a major creek. Find a spot where water is flowing in from a feeder creek and follow this feeder away from the creek a short ways. Around Mt. Leconte (the high point on the AT around Kephart Prong) you'll find springs right on the creeks. Find a nice place where the water seems to come right out of the rocks and forms a nice little trickle. This a spring or seep, and the action of flowing downhill through all those rocks, vegetation and dirt helps purify the water. Standing/flowing water has much greater odds of being infested and needs to be treated/boiled.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
HELP: HOW TO DEAL WITH MUDDY DRINKING WATER????? on 02/18/2009 12:11:06 MST Print View


Being on the West Coast, I guess I am spoiled by clear water streams and rivers.

Given your situation, it sounds like you would want to pre-filter your water before you treat it with a mechanical filter or chemicals.

This could be a bandana or something else.

I wonder if putting the water in a Platypus 4 L water tank and then giving it a few minutes to settle down where the sediments fall to the bottom and then pouring off to another smaller Platypus to capture the clear water would work for you.

I am sure that there are others who have deal with this and would have good suggestions based on experience.



Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: Muddy Water on 02/18/2009 12:37:13 MST Print View

Hi Tony, I've used a similar method to deal with muddy, silty streams in southern Utah. I used to always carry one of those soft collapsible buckets, which I used to draw water from the source. I'd let it sit for awhile, say while I was preparing/eating lunch or maybe taking a midday siesta. The silt tends to settle out, allowing you to carefully skim water from the top. I was using a Pur Hiker/Voyager at that time, and I just pushed the float right down against the prefilter. Wrapped a coffee filter over the end and fastened it with a ponytail holder to catch the really fine sediment that just never settles out. I haven't used my steripen in this severe of conditions, but I suppose skimming with a Nalgene bladder covered with a coffee filter, then zapping it with the Steripen would work fine.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
re:HELP: HOW TO DEAL WITH MUDDY DRINKING WATER????? on 02/18/2009 12:54:26 MST Print View

Not sure if a platy would hold up to the abuse, but for most anything else you can make a centrifuge to get the dirt to the bottom of a bottle quickly.

Tie a guy line/shoe lace/etc around the neck of the bottle, and swing the bottle around in circles. Decant the clear water.

Edited by redmonk on 02/18/2009 12:57:09 MST.

Chris Chastain
(Thangfish) - F

Locale: S. Central NC, USA
Re: re:HELP: HOW TO DEAL WITH MUDDY DRINKING WATER????? on 02/18/2009 15:04:26 MST Print View

> Tie a guy line/shoe lace/etc around the neck of the bottle, and swing the bottle around in circles. Decant the clear water.

Killer idea.
I never think of the simplest things.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re; HELP: HOW TO DEAL WITH MUDDY DRINKING WATER????? on 02/18/2009 18:33:46 MST Print View

For swamp water in Florida I use Sawyer's anti-viral filter in an ULA Amigo gravity filter. I save my Steripen for clear mountain streams.