Lightest water treatment/filtration
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Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
Lightest water treatment/filtration on 07/03/2009 14:50:20 MDT Print View

What are some of the lightest highest quality water treatment and filtration units around these days? I know about the electronic wands that you stick in the water, but i dont trust them and i fear failure of the device. What are the majority of you using?

Donald Browning
(docdb) - M

Locale: SE USA
Steri-Pen on 07/03/2009 15:01:23 MDT Print View

I've tried the Steri-Pens on and off since they came out, and I'll have to say that my conclusion (FWIW) is that I, too, don't trust them. I've been using the hyperflow for a few non-freezing trips.
Don

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightest water treatment/filtration on 07/03/2009 15:21:17 MDT Print View

Those that have figured out the Steripen swear by them. There is a review at BPL already.

What are 'the majority' using? You won't get that answered by asking individuals!

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 07/03/2009 15:21:46 MDT.

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Lightest water treatment/filtration on 07/03/2009 15:26:54 MDT Print View

I have used a Steripen Adventurer for three years now and feel that it works as well as any of the water treatment systems available to backpackers. Of course nobody on this forum can tell you with any accuracy that it (or any other system) works: all they can say is that they didn't get sick when they were using it. That is all that I can say as well.

The Steripen has a few limitations. First, you don't want to use it with water that is turbid or otherwise cloudy; the murkiness limits the effectiveness of the UV source. Second, you will want a backup set of batteries and water treatment chemicals. Third, you want GOOD batteries in the thing. I use nothing but lithium ion cells and get good battery life and reliable low temperature operation. Rechargeable and alkaline cells are not reported to work either as well or as reliably. Fourth, you want to read the instructions thoroughly and carry them with you as well. I had a problem with mine on the JMT last summer, a problem that was quickly solved by reading the directions. Fifth, some of the Adventurers come, or came, with a stiff switch button which can be difficult for aging fingers, such as mine, to operate. I have adapted to the switch and also it has loosened up a bit over time; some folks have not been able to work it and I can understand why.

The lightest and most reliable system though is chlorine dioxide tablets such as Micropur. A 1-week supply weighs less than an ounce. The only drawback is the 4-hour kill time for Cryptosporidium if that is a potential issue. Also, there is a faint residual chlorine flavor to treated water; swimming pool flavor if you will. If you like the taste of cold mountain stream water then the ClO2 tablets ruin that. They are convenient though!

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Lightest water treatment/filtration on 07/03/2009 15:34:59 MDT Print View

Bah, I've been using UV filters since they first came out. Keeps the water tasting as you found it, which can be good or bad depending on your source and narry a bug after hundreds of liters. Something I cannot say from my time using pump filters.

Backup wise, either a spare battery or boiling your water is fine. They've gotten MUCH more reliable since the first generation devices. They aren't great for cold scenarios though, Colorado cold is too hard on batteries in general.

There might be lighter alternatives but frankly you go UV for convenience. No mess, no taste and as fast as the "average pump in real world scenarios, not in advertising rates" and it's instantly available to drink.

That said, I still like repackaged Klearwater for dayhikes, winter or absolute UL hikes.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Lightest water treatment/filtration on 07/03/2009 20:20:59 MDT Print View

If I was looking for the lightest weight system that covered almost all of the bases, I'd use chlorine dioxide in combination with a drinking straw like This one .

I actually do carry this combination as a backup system for my Steripen. Total weight of the drinking straw and 30 Micropur tabs is only 1.5 oz.

I still prefer my Steripen as my primary water treatment system because it's easy to use and it's fast.

Edited by skopeo on 07/03/2009 20:30:40 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
thanks on 07/04/2009 00:03:57 MDT Print View

Thanks everybody, appreciate the input.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: thanks on 07/04/2009 04:16:55 MDT Print View

Bleach works well. Add 2 drops to a quart or 8 drops to a gallon. roughly, 4 drops to a liter.

douglas girling
(dgirling) - F - M

Locale: Adirondacks
Steripen on 07/04/2009 14:34:37 MDT Print View

I too like the convenience of the Steripen - one caveat however: I had a hell of a time getting the thing to work on one trip that was particularly wet. The Steripen needs to be dry in order to activate (it won't switch on if the sensor is wet) I carry a little cloth to dry the pen, but after a few uses it was wet and the heavy rain ensured all my clothes were wet too, consequently I didn't have anything dry to wipe down the steripen and I couldn't get it to switch on. Very frustrating - I didn't want to open my pack in the rain and risk getting my spare dry clothes soaked too.

If anyone has any bright ideas on how to solve this, I'm all ears

cheers

doug

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Re: Steripen in the rain... on 07/04/2009 14:36:49 MDT Print View

On the other hand Doug, couldn't you just leave your canteen open and let the rain water pour in :) Open your mouth and take a drink, no need to treat, unless of course acid rain is a problem in your area.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
SteriPEN on 07/04/2009 23:42:49 MDT Print View

My SteriPEN Journey will come on if I don't wipe the sensors between uses. I'm not sure if they changed something about the Journey over the other models, or not, but I've done this several times and not had an issue with it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: SteriPEN on 07/05/2009 01:13:30 MDT Print View

As Pam said - I don't have to dry the sensors on my two Adventurers either.

Cheers

Richard Perlman
(montclair) - MLife

Locale: Metro NY
SteriPEN Adventurer vs. Journey on 07/08/2009 18:18:36 MDT Print View

It looks like I'm sold on SteriPEN. I really like the idea of mega-quick ready to drink taste-free water.

Can anyone who's used both the Adventurer and Journey chime in with a comparison? Or point me somewhere?

I know the Adventurer is .9 oz lighter, but the Journey has the LCD display and works in conjunction with the pre-filter adapters for inverted treatment.
http://www.steripen.com/steripen_products.html#fitsall
http://www.steripen.com/steripen_products.html#prefilter

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Bleach? on 07/08/2009 20:30:40 MDT Print View

Bleach in amounts sufficient to kill crypto or giardia make water undrinkable.

Micropur, Aqua Mira and other chlorine dioxide methods are more effective than bleach or iodine, when used according to instructions. Bleach is not chlorine dioxide....

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Bleach? - CDC quote on 07/08/2009 20:59:13 MDT Print View

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/facts.asp

"If you use household chlorine bleach, add 1/8 teaspoon (~0.75 milliliter [mL]) of bleach per gallon of water if the water is clear. For cloudy water, add 1/4 teaspoon (~1.50 mL) of bleach per gallon. Mix the solution thoroughly and let it stand for about 30 minutes before using it. Treating water with chlorine tablets, iodine tablets, or liquid bleach will not kill many parasitic organisms. Boiling is the best way to kill these organisms."

I did calculations on how many drops the above advice means, here are my findings:

http://tinyurl.com/luoe26

One medical drop of water is “1/12 ml.” From this formula, use 9 medical drops of bleach for one gallon of water or 18 medical drops of bleach for one gallon of cloudy water. This means the advice to use 4-6 drops per quart is for cloudy water. A 1/5 fl oz container of bleach handles 10.8 gallons of clear water.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Water Treatment/Filtration on 07/08/2009 21:14:31 MDT Print View

I use an inline system with a Seychelle filter (using the sip and go method). It weighs about 4 ounces (including the tubing). It is faster than a pump and much faster than treatment, so I rarely carry water (which saves me a huge amount of weight). I consider it more reliable than the Steripen, but the latest version of the Steripen may be more reliable than the early version.

stefan hoffman
(puckem) - F

Locale: between trees
Bleach? on 07/08/2009 22:56:20 MDT Print View

OK seriously?...Bleach? Notice that the link about using bleach was government, in regaurds to energency water treatment during distasters where all clean water and water treatment supplies are likely unavailable. But for a weekend backpacker to voluntarily use bleach to save a little bit of weight is INSANE. There are clearly plenty of alternatives.

I would much rather get violently ill 1/50 times than drink a small amount of bleach all 50 times. And yes i have gotten violently ill by drinking groundwater, once, but i still drink it right from the stream, using my filthy hands as a cup. I dont care how much weight it saves, i will never drink any amount of a neorotoxic household cleaner unless i truely believe that my life depends on it. Sure, bleach kills bacteria and viruses, but there is a fragile ecosystem of bacteria in the digestive track that is also likely damaged by bleach treated water. Im not saying dont treat your water, but seriously? Bleach?

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Bleach? on 07/08/2009 23:15:22 MDT Print View

Stefan, I bring bleach along as a last resort, it only weighs 1/3rd oz for a 1/5th fluid ounce container (from US Plastic). I use a Steripen as my primary source. I had it fail once due to battery depletion due to there being no power-off lock switch and the way it was packed caused it to turn on while packed.

I also bring along enough Katadyn tablets to handle half my needs on the assumption the steripen will work 1/2 the time, but if I'm wrong, the bleach backs that up.

I too prefer the taste of High Sierra water in its pure form.

However, the taste of 3 drops of bleach in a quart of water is akin to tap water taste. The bleach taste is near that of the MSR Viruscide. In the days I used a filter, I had to use 3 drops of Viruscide in the water after filtering it.

I welcomed the intro of the Steripen for the water does taste better in its natural tasting form.

stefan hoffman
(puckem) - F

Locale: between trees
Bleach on 07/09/2009 00:02:27 MDT Print View

Bleach is a good last resort i suppose. Im just a spaz about how common and toxic it is, and a bit offended by the thought of outdoorsmen using it.

Steripen is an incredible device. Its refreshing to see a company follow through with an idea that sounds so crazy, and blow everything out of the water....so to speak.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
further... on 07/09/2009 07:04:03 MDT Print View

Also from CDC:

"If you are unable to avoid using or drinking water that might be contaminated, then you can treat the water for Crypto using one of the following methods:

1. Boiling it at a rolling boil for 1 minute (at altitudes greater than 6,562 feet (>2,000 m), boil water for 3 minutes).
2. Filtering it using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller, or one that has been NSF rated for “cyst removal”. For more information about filters, visit A Guide to Water Filters.
3. Distilling it using a home distiller. If you use one, you need to carefully store your water. After purification, put the water in a clean bottle or pitcher with a lid and store it in the refrigerator. Water bottles and ice trays should be cleaned with soap and water before use – do not touch the inside of them after cleaning.

Do not rely on chemicals to disinfect water and kill Cryptosporidium. Because it has a thick outer shell, this particular parasite is highly resistant to disinfectants such as chlorine and iodine. "

http://www.cdc.gov/crypto/drinkingwater.html

I have heard legions of "I drink it straight from the stream and never been sick" stories, and about 20-30 anecdotes of coming back from a backpacking trip only to develop horrible chronic cases of crypto or giardia. I take a ULA gravity filter most of the time and a Katadyn Hiker Pro the rest of the time, and sanitize or wash my hands a couple times daily.