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Help with Water Purification (PCT Thru-Hike)
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Kevin Hall
(ClassicMagger) - F
Help with Water Purification (PCT Thru-Hike) on 03/27/2012 14:25:21 MDT Print View


I'm in need of some help. I already own a Steripen-Adventurer and it worked great on my AT Thru-Hike, however on the PCT I've read that it may not be ideal-low flow in streams, time to purify lots of water, doesn't fit in anything except a wide-mouth nalgene, batteries, etc. etc. etc.

So, what would anyone else go with a pump like a katadyn, a sawyer of some sort, drops, tablets, iodine?

I need some help. I've got like 3 weeks before I'm shipping my pack and gear over to a buddy.

Please help...



Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Help with Water Purification (PCT Thru-Hike) on 03/27/2012 14:46:40 MDT Print View

If the Steripen works well for you, but you are concerned about low water levels, then why not make your own water scooper and pre-filter? Weighs about an ounce, and takes up very little pack space.

I have used my Steripen on long trips (hosteling at various third and fourth world countries) with duration from 2 to 7 months. One set of batteries lasts about 2 months. You can easily bring a few extra sets of batteries and still save pack space and weight over any pump filter. And if you carry a few Chlorine Dioxide tablets (Aquamira, Micropur, etc.) for backup, then so much the better.

Edited by ben2world on 03/27/2012 14:52:07 MDT.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Batteries on 03/27/2012 15:01:38 MDT Print View

Sorry to derail the thread a bit, but which batteries are you using, Ben? I got the Adventurer Opti this past summer and burned through a set of batteries in about 10 days when treating water for 2 people and now I'm wondering if the batteries I purchased aren't so great.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Aqua Mira on 03/27/2012 15:12:59 MDT Print View

I used Aqua Mira for the entire PCT and would absolutely do so again. It's light, there's zero chance of failure (unlike with a filter or steripen), and you should be able to buy it on the trail now.

You don't need a dedicated pre-filter--just use your thru-hiker banadana if the floaties are bad. Most water sources on the PCT are good (I had to filter floaties exactly once on my entire thru).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Batteries on 03/27/2012 15:16:38 MDT Print View

The better the batteries you buy, the longer they will last. Yes, there are cheap batteries on the web, but they won't last any time at all in a Steripen, BECAUSE the current load is rather high. Brand name ones like Panasonic, Kodak etc can handle the high current.
You Get What You Pay For.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Batteries on 03/27/2012 15:19:21 MDT Print View


I used Energizer Lithium CR123 batteries for my Steripen Adventurer.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Re: Batteries on 03/27/2012 15:27:20 MDT Print View

Thank you both. I used the Panasonic Lithium CR123A 3V Photo Lithium Batteries, which were recommend on the Steripen website.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Help with Water Purification (PCT Thru-Hike) on 03/27/2012 15:46:35 MDT Print View

I dont think you can compare "weeks", just treatments.

10 days for two people in the back country seems pretty good.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Help with Water Purification (PCT Thru-Hike) on 03/28/2012 22:24:37 MDT Print View

There were times where I was filling my platy half an ounce at a time from a small seep. Luckily I brought a tiny cup from some sort of food packaging to scoop up water. Aquamira worked great. One of my water stops in Cuyamaca was a nasty horse trough. The drops worked fine.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
+1 to Scott S on 03/29/2012 10:55:45 MDT Print View

"I used Aqua Mira for the entire PCT and would absolutely do so again."

Me too.

I brought a gravity filter for the first 700 miles, thinking that water sources in dryer areas would be more sketchy. There were a couple that weren't great, but on the whole the filter was more of a PITA than a help. Indeed, what you do want infrequently is something to help gather water when it's a very flat stream, little depth. But even that's rare.

Mathew MacDonald
(kaymat) - F - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Aqua Mira on 04/01/2012 19:36:31 MDT Print View

A lot of people started with filters but then ditched the filters for Aqua Mira. There are plenty of times you probably won't even treat your water so the Aqua Mira will last a long time out there. Just keep in mind you usually can't find Aqua Mira in stores so you might pick up a couple packs of aqua mira and keep an extra set in your bounce box.