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What's really in the water?
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Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
What's really in the water? on 08/31/2011 12:24:39 MDT Print View

I know simple filters will get the big stuff (and smaller depending on which one) and chemicals will kill the little stuff (and larger stuff if you are willing to wait or carry a lot of water). I want to get away from my steripen because of the problems many of you have had. I wish I knew what is really in the water that I need to kill. Can I get by with just a filter like a frontier pro (ie, is the small stuff really an issue?). Can I get by with just chlorine dioxide pills without the 4 hour wait(ie, is the big stuff really as issue. Does anybody know what we really have in our US backcountry waters that needs killing? Is there a source for this info?

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
"What's really in the water?" on 08/31/2011 12:54:58 MDT Print View

Here is some interesting commentary from Robert Derlet regarding water in the Sierra Nevada's with some comments about other areas.

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/water+researcher+QA.html

I don't filter my water when hiking in the Sierras. I've never had a problem. Other's claim they have. After seeing two guys filtering water from water flowing across the trail while holding down the intake hose with their mule crap encrusted boots I'm not surprised.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What's really in the water? on 08/31/2011 12:57:34 MDT Print View

"Does anybody know what we really have in our US backcountry waters that needs killing? Is there a source for this info?"

The EPA has a lot of information, but it may not be easily accessible.

The problem is that there is huge variation in water quality from one place to another. High elevation snowmelt in California might get you one thing, and low elevation canoe country in Minnesota might get you something totally different. In a mining state, you might be concerned about heavy metals in the water. Near a very busy backpacking trail, you might be concerned about e. coli.

The only rule is that there are no rules.

Personally, I tend to be operating in California at moderate to high elevation. Most of the time, I just filter with a gravity-fed Frontier Pro and that's all. If I am concerned, I also have some liquid bleach along. In some cases, I have been known to drink water untreated if I can see it melting directly off a snowfield.

--B.G.--

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Water treatment on 08/31/2011 13:04:55 MDT Print View

I backpack mostly Appalachia and Cumberland area in the south east but occasionally get out west too. In my East backpacking, I am usually crossing water very often and don't like to carry a lot of it.
The bleach/Frontier pro is an option I am considering too. How much bleach do you use and how long do you leave it before drinking?

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: What's really in the water? on 08/31/2011 13:08:19 MDT Print View

You might be interested in this piece.

http://erikschlimmer.com/pdf/GiardiaMyth-Buster.pdf

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Water treatment on 08/31/2011 13:41:28 MDT Print View

@Alex Very interesting article that makes me a little less paranoid about my water, even in the east.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
And the #1 reason you get Giardia is? on 08/31/2011 19:34:02 MDT Print View

We all have minute amounts of Giardia in us. Most of the time we give Giardia to your hiking buddy from you not sanitizing yourself properly as your buddy will not be able to fight off what your body is used to.


So anyone want to guess what the #1 cause of getting Giardia in the back country is?

Think about it. You only do it when no one is around.