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xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
Which Water Filter (miniworks vs sawyer) + Steripen? on 08/24/2012 09:31:18 MDT Print View

Hi, I'm going to have a trip to china for a month in 2 weeks and I'm in the process of selecting a portable drinking water filtration system, as I don't even trust the bottled water there based on the incidents I've read. Hope any experienced user could give me some input. I'll be visiting couple of cities & outdoor tourist places(mountains & rivers). My primary goal is to have a filter system that provides reliable drinking water from Hotel's tap water as well as lakes & rivers from outdoor for 2 people, with minimal weight & size being secondary. The system will also be used as emergency water filter at home and occasional hiking/day trip activities when I return to the US.

So after checking out numerous products including Lifesaver bottle, Katadyn Pocket/bottle, MSR Miniworks/Hyperflow/Sweetwater, Sawyer Squeeze, and online videos & user reviews, I've narrowed down to my choices to a 2-step combo system for questionable water source, which I think will provide the best result, basically a microfilter + Steripen Classic.

For microfilter, I have narrowed down to either the Sawyer Squeeze or MSR Miniworks EX, and at the moment I'm leaning toward Miniworks EX, because although it's heavier & less convenient to use than the Sawyer Squeeze, it filters pesticides & reduce chemicals which concerns me with its carbon core but Sawyer squeeze does not. Of course I could get the Katadyn carbon extension for the Sawyer, but somehow that feels more clumsy and there is one more piece of equipment I need to think about.

Are there any thoughts to my setup or ways to improve it? Any preferences with either MSR Miniworks EX or Sawyer Squeeze given my requirement above? Should i not concern much with the chemical & pesticides in lakes & river in China(because I really love the size, weight, flow rate & claimed 1mil gallon guarantee)?

Edited by xtraveler on 08/24/2012 09:34:57 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Water filter on 08/24/2012 10:16:00 MDT Print View

I think your reasoning and plan is sound. For the hotels the SteriPEN is all you need.

I would suggest the Katadyn Vario over the MiniWorks. It is lighter, pumps much faster for group use and clogs less.

http://tinyurl.com/7yy8zkv

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Which Water Filter (miniworks vs sawyer) + Steripen? on 08/24/2012 10:38:37 MDT Print View

Hello,

Well IF you have the ability to keep fresh batteries with you the Steripen is unquestionably the best option as it can kill anything that might make you sick with the exception of water tainted with chemical compounds.

If you are unable to keep fresh batteries, or your steripen faults (as has happened to hundreds of hikers over the last few years) than the only viable option at this point in the Sawyer Squeeze.

See this post I made a day or two for why.

-Abela

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Which Water Filter (miniworks vs sawyer) + Steripen? on 08/24/2012 10:57:20 MDT Print View

Xun:

Back in 2009, I did a seven-month 'round the world' trip -- including 3.5 months visiting most parts of China. While I actually trust bottled water, I didn't want to add that much plastic waste to landfills along the way. So instead, I carried a 20oz Nalgene wide-mouth, hard plastic bottle -- and my Steripen.

Over seven months of pretty regular use -- I didn't get sick even once. I have even treated tap water from filthy bus and train station bathrooms, without any problems. On other trips, I have used my Steripen for one month in Bangladesh, another month in Burma, and a week in Haiti.

In China, tap water and bottled water will be EVERYWHERE -- including all the famous and semi-famous mountains and outdoors. The only places where you will have to deal with rivers and streams will be in "true wilderness" where no humans go. But are those places really in your itinerary -- meaning you are bringing your own tent and bag and pad and kitchen and food and all that for more than just a few days? If so, then your Steripen should still be just fine -- except for very murky water -- like brown river water. Here, you can use a filter, or let the water settle, then pour the clear water into another container, then treat with Steripen.

I guess my take is that the Steripen will be just fine -- unless you know you have to deal with brown river water. But if you have to deal with brown river water a lot and need to bring a filter -- then I would highly recommend First Need Purifier -- sold at REI and other stores. First Need is fast and efficient -- and it will do everything that the Miniworks can -- PLUS it will also treat viruses -- which the Miniworks won't. Oh, and while it isn't light, it is actually slightly lighter than the Miniworks.

xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
Chemical & Pesticide filtering on 08/24/2012 12:37:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for the quick replies!

Raymond, my thinking is that is I were to bother brining a pump(much heavier than sawyer squeeze regardless what I choose), I would rather carry slightly more weight & make it serviceable in the field, as I understand it MSR Miniworks & Katadyn Pocket are the only 2, or are they?

John, I've read your post & watched your youtube video. Really the only thing that makes me leaning toward Miniworks EX than the Sawyer squeeze is the carbon filter that's supposed to filter pesticides and some chemicals. Or is it something I shouldn't be concerned about in general? Otherwise Sawyer Squeeze is a no brainer for me...

Ben, thanks for sharing your experience! I'm aware that the bottled water is everywhere there. But I've read more than few reports(in chinese) of contaminated bottled water in China, and some locals selling fake bottled water -especially- around tourist place to make a easy buck. So i choose to bring my Nalgene bottle and not take the chance both for the environment & my health. No I'm not planning on camping or going where nobody goes(which would be very difficult to find anyway :) ), just few famous mountains, lakes & rivers, etc...

I guess I'll be using the Steripen for most of the tap water, as long as it's clear, I shouldn't have much to worry about. I just need to decide for the filter(more of a back up now that I think about it) should I get Miniworks EX or Sawyer Squeeze(plus Katadyn carbon extension maybe?).

xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
choice on 08/24/2012 13:22:01 MDT Print View

Let's say I've decided on 2 combo to filter out bacteria, virus, and as much chemical/pesticides pollutant as possible. Which one of the choices would you pick for my trip?

1) MSR Miniworks EX + Steripen

2) Sawyer Squeeze + Katadyn/Platypus Carbon Element + Steripen

I think this might be the easiest way to answer. Thanks!

Michael Cockrell
(CAL-EE-FOR-NIA) - F

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Re: choice on 08/24/2012 13:35:00 MDT Print View

"as much?"

I'd take my Katadyn Pocket & Steripen Opti

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Chemical & Pesticide filtering on 08/24/2012 14:23:16 MDT Print View

Xun:

I've been using my Steripen for 5 years now -- on multiple-month trips -- without mishap. Of course, there is no guarantee with anything electronic or mechanical. But if you are interested in traveling light (and I think you are given you are a UL hiker) -- then consider carrying a small (half to one oz) drop stopper bottle of chlorine (i.e. household Clorox) as your backup. Takes up almost no space and weighs next to nothing. 5 drops per quart or liter - wait about 20 minutes. For me, I just wouldn't buy -- and carry -- a whole pound of filter all over China for "just in case". YMMV, of course.

You also don't need to bring a carbon element of any kind. The primary function of the carbon is to improve water taste. My 3.5 months all over China, the tap water was always clear and pretty good tasting. Never had a bad experience.

Finally, if you find yourself needing bottled water for whatever reason, just buy at any of the larger chain stores (versus street vendor) and you should be OK.

Edited by ben2world on 08/24/2012 14:27:40 MDT.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: choice on 08/24/2012 14:23:34 MDT Print View

John, I've read your post & watched your youtube video. Really the only thing that makes me leaning toward Miniworks EX than the Sawyer squeeze is the carbon filter that's supposed to filter pesticides and some chemicals. Or is it something I shouldn't be concerned about in general? Otherwise Sawyer Squeeze is a no brainer for me...


Uhh, a carbon filter has no effect at all on pesticides and/or chemicals. All a stupid carbon filter does is make your brain think that the water tastes better. Carbon filters *can* have an actual effect on the taste of water, but the amount of contact time it requires is typically way longer than what any handheld 'carbon filter' is going to provide...it is just a gimmick.

It takes a fairly heavy alumina-based filter to start getting rid of things such as Arsenic. Berkey makes one for home based water filters that I have used in the past, but they are not cheap, and very much not for on-the-road/trail use.

If you are really really really concerned about your water, just go with the Sawyer Point Two and a bottle of bleach. Start with putting your dirty water in a big bucket, load it up with bleach, let it sit the required time, than put it through the PointTwo. Problem(s) solved.

xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
decided on 08/24/2012 15:31:35 MDT Print View

great! I think I'll go with the Sawyer & Steripen combo for lighter weight and just make sure I get the water from a chemical free source.

FYI, Steripen Calssic with prefilter is on sale from today till Sept 3 at REI for $50 bucks: http://www.rei.com/product/761906/steripen-classic-water-purifier-with-prefilter

david mathis
(greenflowers)

Locale: West
my kit on 08/26/2012 11:29:49 MDT Print View

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Edited by greenflowers on 08/26/2012 11:31:55 MDT.

david mathis
(greenflowers)

Locale: West
cut the cap on 08/26/2012 11:35:09 MDT Print View

i cut a whole in the cap of the nalgene and use some noseeum to filter the water for the steripen. then pour that into my 4 liter platy, then through the sawyer three way and into my bottles. clean.

david mathis
(greenflowers)

Locale: West
flip um on 08/26/2012 11:37:58 MDT Print View

i flip the batteries in my steripen when im not using, if the they are in right there is a constant drain happening even when not in use.

xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
Re: flip um on 08/27/2012 11:27:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for sharing!

What makes you determine that there is a constant drain for the steripen even when it's not in use?

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: flip um on 08/27/2012 11:29:56 MDT Print View

What makes you determine that there is a constant drain for the steripen even when it's not in use?


Hydro-Photon, Inc. (aka: SteriPen) themselves say there is a power draw. The previous version use to be horrific but they have made it much better in the most recent version.

xun wang
(xtraveler) - F
Re: Re: Re: flip um on 08/27/2012 11:34:44 MDT Print View

thanks, that's very good to know! I would hate to put brand new Lithium batteries in there and have no juice left when I need it.