Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Do you filter?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you filter? on 10/19/2009 10:19:10 MDT Print View

Im looking into using a tablet system for water purification, but was wondering if you filter your water or not? Also, if you do, what do you bring to filter out all of the floaties? My other option is the ULA Amigo Pro.

Thanks guys!

-Jace

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
filter on 10/19/2009 10:32:22 MDT Print View

I have the ULA Amigo Pro, a Hiker Pro, and tablets... With the Amigo I generally choose water source carefully (which you should do anyway) and let the water settle in the filter bag. What will settle sits in the bottom of the bag and won't generally get in the prefilter, which wraps around the cartridge. You can take the prefilter off and clean it as necessary.

Most pump filters have a prefilter on the "dirty" hose. The Hiker pro is no exception. Coffee filters or a bandanna can also be prefilters for floaties.

I take tablets just in case the filter goes AWOL - in some areas where sources are few and far between and the only choice is the mossy, grungy cattle trough in front of you, I'd filter AND throw in enough tablets for my sanity's sake.

Edited by lori999 on 10/19/2009 10:33:32 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Do you filter? on 10/19/2009 10:45:25 MDT Print View

In most cases I don't. I use a clean bandanna for filtering out leaves, etc and then treat with Micro Pur.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Go REALLY Light on 10/19/2009 13:47:20 MDT Print View

There are plenty of places where no treatment of any kind whatsoever is required -- the lightest option of all.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
do you have a handy guidebook for that? on 10/19/2009 14:20:02 MDT Print View

Because every time someone says that, I find another someone who says something like "I contracted giardia from...." If I had a nickel for everyone who plays the odds and eventually loses....

You go ahead, I'll be over here filtering.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: do you have a handy guidebook for that? on 10/19/2009 15:01:49 MDT Print View

Been doing it since the 60's. Odds haven't caught up with me yet. :)

In all fairness though, if I'm somewhere with human or livestock activity in the area or upstream, I treat my water. It's in either remote or high altitude areas (10k' plus) that I don't bother to treat. I do this in California where I know the "lay of the land" fairly well.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: do you have a handy guidebook for that? on 10/19/2009 15:05:19 MDT Print View

Not using a filter/chemicals hasn't got me, maybe it never will.
Maybe. Whatever, we'll see what happens.
I don't always do this, but have done it enough to not worry much. In most cases it's while trail running in my local mountains- underestimating a run or getting somewhat lost and having to drink what's there.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: do you have a handy guidebook for that? on 10/19/2009 18:12:39 MDT Print View

> someone who says something like "I contracted giardia from...."

But on questioning you find out that most of them claim to have got the symptoms with a couple of days. Can't happen with Giardia - takes about 10 days.

Just dirty hands, E coli, didn't wash properly after going to the toilet, want to blame someone else.

Cheers

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
re: giardia on 10/19/2009 18:33:29 MDT Print View

I'm not talking about that. They were tested and diagnosed, and subsequently treated, sometimes after being misdiagnosed. Few and far between, but very definitely miles above the usual few days of mild symptoms you'd get in situations you describe.

This topic comes up at backpacker.com forums and there's a number of folks who fell seriously ill, most with giardia and fewer with rarer crypto or other illnesses. I don't care if there's only ten of them - the way my luck runs, I'll be the one in ten thousand who drink in the one stream in the Sierras with enough bacteria to make me sick. Until someone can come up with a definitive guide or test for the stuff, I'll filter, boil or otherwise treat water. Others can be test subjects as they please.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: giardia on 10/19/2009 19:47:38 MDT Print View

Lori,

I agree with you 100%! One good friend did get it on the Olympic Coast and was tested positive for it. He had an awful summer that year and lost some real weight.

It is a gamble I am not willing to take. The only time EVER I drink untreated water is if it is a spring and I am at the source, with it bubbling out (due to that being a clean source). Out here we also have to be wary of water tainted by old mining claims as well (undrinkable) and from cattle/sheep.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Do you filter? on 10/19/2009 20:43:23 MDT Print View

I wouldn't trust even a bubbling spring in a popular camping area. I had a friend get giardia (confirmed by laboratory tests) from the two nights he used a spring bubbling out of the ground. Those were the only times he didn't filter. It took him almost 6 months to get over it. The spring was in a popular camping and hunting area (Buck Creek Pass in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness). I can only assume that the ground water in the area was polluted from improper disposal of bodily wastes.

It takes about 10 days' incubation for giardiasis, so anything that hits sooner is either due to other stuff in the water (coliform bacteria, for instance) or, as Lori says, poor sanitation.

Since I started backpacking as a little kid in the early 1940's and never treated my water until the mid-1980's, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I'm immune to giardia and maybe other stuff. After seeing how miserable my friend was, though, I have no desire to test this theory!

EDIT--another ULA Amigo Pro fan here! I do take Micropur for backup and for treating really questionable water (especially if stagnant and frequented by livestock, deer or elk). I don't let my dog drink stagnant water in such circumstances either.

Edited by hikinggranny on 10/19/2009 20:52:55 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Do you filter? on 10/19/2009 20:50:34 MDT Print View

"It was in a popular camping and hunting area (Buck Creek Pass in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness). I can only assume that the ground water was polluted.

I think both the Cascades and Olympic NP are real crap shoots when it comes to water. I ALWAYS filter up here. The Sierra is another matter entirely. I don't filter down there most of the time. 35 years and counting, so far so good.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Do you filter?" on 10/19/2009 20:57:25 MDT Print View

>"but was wondering if you filter your water or not?"

coffee filters or a bandanna.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you filter? on 10/20/2009 21:04:06 MDT Print View

Sorry, i posed the question wrong (But still got lots of insight from how i asked it) I meant to ask what you use to/ do you "strain" before using micro pur or something of the like? I would take that as a yes so far. And on coffee filters, how many do you take for, say, a weeklong trip?

Thanks!

-Jace

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
filtering on 10/21/2009 06:08:43 MDT Print View

Lori.... I was one of those who didn't filter on the recommendation of a friend who had been drinking from the same sources for 20 years. Giardiasis was my punishment. Now I always filter with a top-end Katadyn system or treat with Pristine. I'm not going there again.

Julian Plamann
(julianp) - F

Locale: San Francisco
filter/treat on 10/21/2009 21:21:27 MDT Print View

I don't filter or treat at all... never had an issue. I met someone a few months back with 30,000+ trail miles who has never filtered/treated and never been sick.

Most GI issues on the trail seem to come from people forgetting to sanitize their hands after taking a crap... or possibly sharing a bag of GORP with someone who's forgotten.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Treating vs. filtering on 10/21/2009 21:35:40 MDT Print View

This thread reminds me of a line from Mark Twain's autobiography. He claims that folks along the Mississippi drank the muddy water with great enthusiasm, stirring it first so that the silt would not fall to the bottom and spoil the flavor.

Oh, heck. All that algae and mud clogs the filter anyway. I treat with two-part Aqua Mira because I hate to wait the painful three hours that most solid tabs take to work. I've drunk some pretty green water, but that means more vitamins!

I also use alcohol on my hands frequently. It only takes one case of the trots on a hike to persuade you to take all possible precautions even if they seem silly to your hiking partners.

On one trip to Egypt, I was the only member of my group not to get the runs.

That sparkling mountain water looks soooo pure. The beavers who crapped in it thought so, as well.

As the old Firesign Theater song goes,

Back from the Shadows again
Out where an Indians your friend
Where the vegetables are green
And you can pee right in the stream
(And that's important)
Back from the Shadows again

Treat your water!

Stargazer

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
never fails on 10/21/2009 21:48:20 MDT Print View

"There are plenty of places where no treatment of any kind whatsoever is required -- the lightest option of all."

This is absolutely correct, however, the only way you can tell is to have the water tested every time you go there. Many people test by drinking the water and waiting to see if they sicken. I don't have the patience.

This is a recurring theme in these forums. I've met people who still refuse to wear seatbelts too.

Chemical treatments take several hours to kill cysts, most filters won't take out viruses. I think the fastest way to treat water is filtering for bacteria and cysts, and treating with chlorine for viruses. I post filter with charcoal to remove the chlorine. The charcoal also gets rid other organic contaminants that filters can't remove. My sawyer gravity filter and charcoal post filter weigh 8 oz. I don't filer floaties. If the sawyer slows down, I backflush it.

Edited by herman666 on 10/21/2009 21:52:34 MDT.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
coffe filters on 10/21/2009 22:04:21 MDT Print View

use one for 2 filterings, so bring about 3-4 for a weekend trip depending on how much water you use.

cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: never fails on 10/21/2009 23:21:17 MDT Print View

> the fastest way to treat water is filtering for bacteria and cysts, and treating with chlorine for viruses.

Much faster: UV light (eg Steripen) for 90 seconds per litre. NEVER clogs, no taste, effective against all.

Cheers