What is everybody's favorite way to treat water?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dan Momii
(DanMomii) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz County, CA
What is everybody's favorite way to treat water? on 03/29/2011 20:56:10 MDT Print View

Hi everybody,

I am thinking about either making a gravity filter similar to the ULA amigo pro or buying the new an improved Steripen adventure opti. I kind of don't want to use chemicals to treat my water. Any advice. Thanks.

Logan Wallace
(rifleshooter5) - F
STERIPEN on 03/29/2011 21:14:42 MDT Print View

Just bought steripen and have used it a few times and all i can say is wow! Its great its effortless to use and very fast, not to mention light!

Turd Ferguson
(turdferguson27) - F
Lifestraw on 03/29/2011 21:18:40 MDT Print View

I have some friends that have done mission work and they all agree hands down that the Lifestraw was the way to go. Problem is they don't sell in the US anywhere.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Sawyer Filters on 03/29/2011 22:01:59 MDT Print View

Wow, finally got a free moment and internet that works...

I'll take an opportunity to pimp my favorite water filter. If you're thinking about an Amigo-like system consider Sawyer filters. I simply don't understand why these things aren't more popular. Tony Wong and I tend to be Sawyer evalgelists, and you can find reviews here:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/display_reviews?forum_thread_id=5536&cat=Hydration%20%2D%20Water%20Treatment&cid=55

Bear in mind that Tony's and my information on the thread is a bit dated- Sawyer now makes a commercial gravity setup. (We had to improvise our own.) The filters also now come with quick-release valves that make it easy to swap the filter from one setup to another. I've decided that I actually do like the gravity setup the best. The filters used to have a lifetime guarantee, but the company eventually decided to make it a million-gallon guarantee, which STILL can't be beat.

We all tend to use the 0.1 micron filter, which JUST BARELY fails to meet the criteria for being a water *purifier* (not merely a filter) because it "only" removes 4 log of viruses. (I forget where I read that, though, and I can't find it on Swayer's website, now.) Frankly, I'm okay with 4 log, and I use no antiviral chemicals when filtering. But if you're willing to sacrifice flow rate Sawyer does make an 0.2 micron filter with 5.5 log virus removal, too...

Edited by acrosome on 03/29/2011 22:36:29 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Sawyer Filters on 03/29/2011 22:04:11 MDT Print View

I just switched from a MYOG Katydin Hiker Filter gravity set-up to a Sawyer. I haven't tested it in the field, but it seems to be pretty sweet.

Only time will tell.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Steripen on 03/29/2011 22:58:15 MDT Print View

Steripen Adventurer Opti.

If going with a larger party than just me, maybe a gravity filter based on a Sawyer filter.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What is everybody's favorite way to treat water? on 03/30/2011 01:34:10 MDT Print View

Aqua Mira tablets or Katadyn. I can time it so I am not sitting around for 4 hours waiting for the tabs to work. Weight triumphs for me on this subject.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"What is everybody's favorite way to treat water?" on 03/30/2011 02:48:28 MDT Print View

It really depends.
1) Chemicals: Least weight (AquaMira prefered)
2) UV: Fast and fairly light
3) Filtering: Good for long term use...thru hikers for example
4) Boiling: Good backup for any of the above
5) None: A clean, good smelling/tasting, spring

I have used them all at one time or another. The last 3-4 years I have been leaning to UV more and more.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
UV on 03/30/2011 04:19:28 MDT Print View

My experience has shown UV(Steripen) to be by far the lightest way to go.
You don't have to carry as much water with the UV method.

I used to use chemicals until I realized that I often had to carry extra water. Chemicals need time to work and you often have to carry the water while process takes place.

Of course a pound or two of extra water is the heaviest of option.

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
frontier pro on 03/30/2011 04:26:27 MDT Print View

The aquamira frontier pro is great for the same reason mentioned above-you can get away with carrying a lot less water. I do most of my drinking right at the water source and rarely have to carry more than .5 liters of water. I like the simplicity of this filter. I keep it in my waistbelt pocket wrapped inside of an empty 1 liter platy, fill the platy at the water source, screw on the filter and drink. Thats it. Can be found online for about $15 a piece.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: What is everybody's favorite way to treat water? on 03/30/2011 04:42:17 MDT Print View

Water treatment is the one gear category where I own a lot of options. To date I've used Aqua Mira, a Steripen, MSR pump filters, the ULA Amigo, and nothing. I also own a Frontier Pro. What I use/carry depends on the expected conditions, availability of water sources, and size of my party.

If I'm by myself, and being self-sufficient, I will carry drops or the Steripen and sometimes both. If I'm going out with at least +1, it makes since to carry the ULA Amigo and do a lot of treatment in camp. I subscribe to the camel method of hydration, so I rarely refill during the day. This has worked well for me in the SE, NE, and Northern Rockies.

Not treating is also an option I exercise, but I wouldn't recommend it to the average person who may not have sound knowledge about back country water sources. This is an "at your own risk" method.

Short answer: it depends. :-)

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: on 03/30/2011 04:57:00 MDT Print View

Just curious because I've only used Katadyn MicroPur, but it seems a lot of folks prefer Aquamira. Why?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: re: on 03/30/2011 05:50:37 MDT Print View

Leigh, Aquamira is a lower dose of chlorine dioxide so possibly a little less smell/taste of chemicals when drinking in about 30 mins. When they say Aquamira, they also usually mean the liquid form which costs less.

Edited by jshann on 03/30/2011 05:51:15 MDT.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: on 03/30/2011 06:44:57 MDT Print View

I know this isn't the response you're looking for but not treating is my favorite. Mm crisp clean goodness

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 03/30/2011 07:42:08 MDT Print View

It depends on the water where I hike. When I'm in the Adirondacks (where all the water looks like tea) I will bring a Katadyn filter, even if I'm solo. In the hills of Pennsylvania where the water is always crystal clear, I am fine with a Steripen. I'm very finicky about the water I drink though, in terms of taste and appearance. Call me a princess, but I just can't get over too many floaties in my drinking water.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: re: on 03/30/2011 07:50:19 MDT Print View

Yeah, I prefer the Aqua Mira drops. Basically, it provides a greater range of coverage than iodine. These are about 1/3 the concentration of the tablets. For most water in the ADK's you certainly do not need more, indeed, in many cases, you do not need any(nor will I elaborate, I do not recommend anyone going without some form of water treatment.) The potential damage associated with long term use (assumed from their statements) is also reduced. I, also, recommend alternating between types on a longer trip. The statement"The solution to pollution is dilution" remains true.

That said, do not scrimp on suspect water. Double dosing suspect water is probably a good idea, but, not on a "long" term basis. Filtering AND drops? Yes. This provides a MUCH higher chance of success.

Note that in the backwoods of the ADK's, it is rare to encounter fields or livestock. Bacteria, and viruses *may* be encountered because it is not unknown to have an animal dead in or near a stream. Guardia, in a warming environment, is perhaps, always assumed to be present. Crypto may or may not be. Mostly associated with mammal sheit. More common in the ADK's than many would like to admit due to beaver, otter, mink, weasel, 'coon, muskrat, etc.

Recently, I have been using a Steripen Adventurer. After three years of testing it off and on, last fall was the first I relied on it exclusively, only bringing three tablets for a weekend (along with boiling, minimum to sustain life.) It worked fine, again. I will continue along this vein this year for shorter trips.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
No Treatment on 03/30/2011 07:58:03 MDT Print View

I sort of agree with the concept of not treating the water, if your system has developed an immunity to the type of critters your going to encounter in the water.

I read somewhere that residents of Moscow are immune to giardia. Something about the prevalence of giardia in that region.

I have friends who experienced horrible intestinal bugs after drinking from high rocky mountain streams.
All their lives they had only drank water that was always treated from municipal water supplies and so their systems had not adapted to the kind of organisms that animals carry and leave in even the highest mountain streams.

If you can adapt to not needing treatment then that is great, but many would rather treat than go through the adjustment process:-)

rhonda rouyer
(rrouyer) - F

Locale: deep south
steri pen fan on 03/30/2011 08:08:00 MDT Print View

I love my steri pen. I also carry some Aquamir tablets as a back up just in case I have a mal function.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Boiling on 03/30/2011 08:15:38 MDT Print View

I used to always just boil my water. Of course I always used found wood fires as the fuel and I had more time on my hands and really enjoyed the breaks while stopping to boil the water.

Lately it's just the Steripen, but I can always boil if it came down to that.

I do bring Aquamira as a backup in areas where wood fires are an issue?

Why Aquamira as backup? It has a long shelf life and tastes better than other chemical treatments.
Chlorine has a short shelf life and Iodine tastes nasty.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Water Treatment on 03/30/2011 08:19:15 MDT Print View

My preference in order:

1. UV
2. Filter
3. Chemicals