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Thru Hike Water Purification
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Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Thru Hike Water Purification on 01/29/2012 20:19:08 MST Print View

I don't think this topic really belongs in gear, because I am not really looking for a gear review, but a discussion on differing techniques. I am working on planning a thru hike of the AT for this summer. A very quick thing, probably only 3 months.

During most of my trips, I only go out for maybe a few days at a time. A week at the most. I have always used chemical treatments (I've used by chlorine dioxide and iodine), but I am now wondering if this is the most efficient method for long distance hikes.

It seems to me that having the ability to get water more quickly and drink it when need be would be not so much a necessity, but something that would become very nice after spending a long time on the trail.

I would love to hear experiences and thoughts from anyone who has gone on longer hikes and thru hikes as to what technique they used and what they would use if they could do it again.

tyler marlow
(like.sisyphus)

Locale: UTAH
Chris on 01/29/2012 21:03:57 MST Print View

I thru hiked the AT sobo in 2009 and used a few different methods

FIRST- A sawyer inline filter with a camelback, often used as a gravity filter. Didnt work very well either way, plus hydration bladders are super obnoxious in my opinion, to hard to refill and pack away

SECOND- Aquamira. Used most the rest of the way back.

THIRD- Southern Springs! Once I got further south I started seeing how many springs were marked in the guidebook (AT Pages) and realized that i could easily go from spring to spring and pull pristine water straight from the rock. I did this all until NOC where my girlfriend joined me for the last 2 weeks, at which point we treated everything with AM.

Oddly enough, I was sick the last day of the trail and for a week afterwards (it wasnt pretty). I know part of it was anxiety of being off the trail but lets say the physical manifestations may speak otherwise. I dont know if I could have had a bug that didnt manifest for two whole weeks from not treating water or if I mistreated some water at another time. Who knows.

My suggestion is either AM tablets (seem easier to use vs drops and kill everything i care about killing in 15-20 minutes) or get one of those Sawyer squeeze things and take it all out with no wait time at all.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Thru Hike Water Purification on 01/29/2012 21:31:31 MST Print View

I haven't done a long thru hike but I do a lot of 40- and 50-mile day hikes which share the attributes of light weight, long days, and keeping moving. I use iodine. Yes, I carry a little more capacity - 2 liters instead of 1 liter because I can't drink my fill instantly at a stream but an empty Avian bottle weighs very litte - much less than any filter and I've never been keen about kneeling in the mud, both hands occupied with mosquitos all around. So I grab my liter or two, pop in a pill, hike 20 minutes and then start drinking.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Water Purification on 01/30/2012 00:14:45 MST Print View

>> I dont know if I could have had a bug that didnt manifest for two whole weeks from not treating water <<

The incubation period for Giardia is 7-14 days.