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Water treatment for groups
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Mark Shane
(drshane) - MLife

Locale: Northwest Wyoming
Water treatment for groups on 05/28/2012 22:35:15 MDT Print View

Tell me about your favorite water treatment methods for groups. I am taking a group of 12 scouts (2 patrols of 6 boys) on a backpacking trek. We will have easy access to stream water that should be free of sediment and debris. Just need to handle microbes.

Ben Egan

Locale: The Grid, Brooklyn
type of trip on 05/28/2012 23:28:22 MDT Print View

Since it's a backpacking trip, especially a BSA one, the type of backpacking you want to do affects your decision the most. Sure, you want to go light. But will the Scouts be cooking in one big group or splitting into buddies (buddies, most likely)? If the water purification will be done as a group, a 7 oz filter/pump is usually best. Only one person has to carry the weight, and it can do big amounts of water relatively quickly.

Drops are fine, but doing 10 liters of drops twice a day starts to cost money and you go through drops quickly that way. Tabs are even more expensive. A steripen per each buddy system would work well because it's a little monotonous to Steripen 10 separate liters with one steripen a couple times a day, not to mention you'll go through batteries much faster than you'll go through a filter.

So a filter, for the same cost and weight of the $60 Steripen, will last longer, serve big groups more efficiently, and weigh almost as little as a Steripen (arguably less when batteries are included, but filters have accessories, too). It will take a little while, but realistically just about as long as it would take to individually hit all those liters with UV light, or as long as it would take to wait for chemicals to take effect. And only one person has to carry it.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F

Locale: Armpit of California
Group filter on 05/28/2012 23:46:16 MDT Print View

I use a MYOG gravity filter with a platypus 6 liter tank, to catch the filtered water.
You can do a search on here or go to YOU TUBE. There is a lot of usefull info out there and ther're fairly easy to make. It would also be a good project for the scouts to make one. What I like about the gravity filter is when I get into camp, I take off my pack, get the filter, go to the water source, fill it up and bring it back to camp. Then I find some where to hang it, connect the hoses to the tank, then forget it while I go set up camp. When I come back I have 6 liters of fresh water with no pumping. The 6 liters is usally good for about 4 of us, for cooking and water to drink that night, and usally the next morning for breakfast. In the morning we go back to the water source and fill up to filter 6 more liters, this usally tops everyones water containers off until our next camp spot.

here's the one I used.

Edited by jumpbackjack on 05/28/2012 23:50:17 MDT.

Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
Platypus gravityworks on 05/29/2012 08:48:03 MDT Print View

My vote would be for hte Platypus gravityworks filter. all you do is go down to the creek and fill up one bag and gravity does the rest to give you 4 litres per trip. Especially if you have the kids, just make a rule that whoever uses the last of the water must make the trip down to refil the bag and no one has to sit there and pump water for an hour to keep the whole group hydrated. Pretty light too considering how easy the setup is and the amount of water you can store (8 litres total if you have both bags full).

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Platypus gravityworks on 05/29/2012 09:48:59 MDT Print View

That would get my vote, too. We used one on our last group trip and it was fast and efficient. The kids were able to handle it without screwing it up, which is a big plus.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Scouts and Water Treatment on 05/29/2012 10:40:14 MDT Print View

If you are hiking light miles and have a lot of camp time then I think the gravity filter can work. If you are hiking substantial miles (9+) with a group like that filtering will slow you down to a crawl. They use chlorine dioxide at Philmont. That's what I use. I can't tell you the amount of people we pass while they are hovered over a river crossing filtering water. We just fill, drop a pill, and head on our way.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Group water filtering on 05/29/2012 14:53:57 MDT Print View

I used one of these (the 2.5 gallon one) with a sawyer inline filter attached to it. I simply stuffed a hydration hose into the output nozzle and attached the sawyer to the hose. I also used some quick connects on the hose but that is not necessary at all.

Edited by Hitech on 05/29/2012 14:55:13 MDT.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Scott, on 05/29/2012 18:32:25 MDT Print View

We only filter when we set up camp and before we leave camp. Water sources aren't that plentiful. The gravity filter doesn't add any time because it is doing its 'thing' while we're busy doing other things. Enough is filtered to get everyone through the day to the next camp and they're not 'light' miles.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Scott, on 05/29/2012 18:54:42 MDT Print View

+ 1 for the Gravityworks. I doubt your objective with scouts is to hike from sunrise to sunset as fast as you can. Periodically stopping to filter, eat snacks and let boys be boys is a good thing. I can filter 4 liters in minutes and its ready to drink. Encourage them to drink a lot while on break, then you can carry less between water stops.

Most of my trips include 2-6 hikers, so we use it every time out. I personally I think the tablets are disgusting. My steripens have failed in the field and are not faster than Gravityworks. Pump filters...well I don't have the patience to deal with that.

Just my 2 cents