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Water container system breakdown
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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Water container system breakdown on 12/23/2012 04:44:43 MST Print View

Another of my (and I am guessing many of your) ever changing gear systems. Water, and how to carry it, drink it, pour it, etc. Tell us what you use, weight, and perhaps most importantly, explain why you settled on each choice.

For late fall-early spring (November-March) overnighters I currently take:

1 Brämhults 1 liter plastic bottle, 47g. Took me a while, but finally found a good #2 type plastic bottle to recycle as my water bottle. I have read several sources (you are welcome to google this) that #2 plastic is safer to re-use, plus I am okay with the weight penalty for having a sturdier/tougher bottle, and that is also easy to pour/drink from.

1 Titanium 200ml mug, 37g. For hot drinks, plus 101 other uses (scoop snow, melt snow, bowl to eat oatmeal, pour water into bottle, etc). I love this mug and it comes with me nearly always.

Total weight: 84g or about 3oz.

I have a big section hike coming up in late April, and plan on taking:

1 Platypus 1 liter bladder, 25g. This is my clean water cache. I don't drink from it or put my mouth on it, only for filtered or purified water go in it.

1 Brämhults 380ml plastic bottle, 25g. This is my drinking bottle, same tough and safer #2 plastic, and small enough to be easy access in my chest bag. Also where I can mix drinks, like powdered energy drinks, vitamin pills, etc. if I want and not gunk up or contaminate the rest of my clean drinking water.

1 Sawyer Squeeze 1 liter bladder, 20g (I think, someone correct me if I am wrong here). "Dirty" water cache. If there is a stretch of trail with limited/no water sources (rare here in Sweden, but does happen) I can use this to carry an extra reserve of water to filter later on.

1 Ti mug, 37g, see above. Also makes filling the Sawyer bladder much easier at water sources.

Total weight 107g or about 3.9oz

What about you?

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
20 oz (0.6 liter) soda bottles on 12/23/2012 05:10:02 MST Print View

I usually carry a few 20 oz (0.6 liter) soda bottles.

They work very well with my choice of treatment, the Steripen Classic.

These are currently popular with American consumers so can be found anywhere.
Raid the trash cans and you'll find plenty in the US.

They are durable and especially the caps are more durable and watertight than your typical wide mouth sport drink bottle. Sport drink bottle caps can break if dropped and become less watertight after several uses. I have the same issue with the caps on many of the lighter bottled water bottles.

The 20 oz size makes for more flexible pack loading, I can have two in my side pockets, fill and zap them very quickly on the trail if water sources are not an issue. I will usually carry another two in my pack and fill them when I think a section of trail may be dry.

I will also often carry a two liter platypus type container rolled up in my pack for times when I need to carry more water, but I don't fully trust the big soft water bottle as I've seen too many fail.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Water container system breakdown on 12/23/2012 06:01:42 MST Print View

I usually carry two containers...
1. Aquafina narrow mouth bottle, 1L (1)
2. Platypus hoser, 1L (1)

My treatment method is chlorine dioxide tablets. I almost never have to use my snow peak 600 mug to help fill the Aquafina bottle, but will use that if needed.

With the current Steripens, I didn't think you could treat the water while in a narrow mouth container.

Edited by jshann on 12/23/2012 06:02:56 MST.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Water container system on 12/23/2012 06:14:26 MST Print View

My typical system consists of one 1L re-used Gatorade bottle for drinking and one 2L evernew bladder to use for filtering (with a sawyer squeeze) and for additional water storage.

If hiking in hot conditions or longer distances between water sources or needing to haul water for a dry camp, I'll bring an extra 1L bottle and/or extra bladder(s).

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Narrow mouth bottles an Steripen on 12/23/2012 06:17:24 MST Print View

@John, The Steripen Classic is made to use with narrow mouth bottles.

I do not understand what their thinking is with the design they use with most of the newer models?
It is so convenient to treat with a soda bottle with the "Classic". Stick the Steripen element in the end and turn it upside down to treat.
The new models require you to pour water from container to container to treat. That gets old after a while.

The 20 oz soda bottle size is especially good with the "Classic" in that all water is within three inches of the element, so just one little shake makes sure that all water gets zapped.

I understand that most of the newer models are lighter than the Classic, but at what cost? The "Classic" has a much longer battery life, so you don't have to carry so many batteries and it saves time by not making you dig through your pack and do all that pouring from container to container every time you need to treat water.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 12/23/2012 06:19:09 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Narrow mouth bottles an Steripen on 12/23/2012 07:07:47 MST Print View (Steripen Classic pdf user guide)

"4 While green LED flashes the ready signal, dip the ultraviolet (UV) lamp into the water to be treated so that lamp and water sensors are completely immersed. When water is detected, lamp turns on automatically, emitting both UV and visible light. Note: If visible light is not evident, SteriPEN’s lamp is not on, and water should not be consumed.
5 Agitate the water by stirring with the SteriPEN™ until the lamp automatically turns off. Once lamp turns off, green indicator LED will turn on to show that the UV dose is complete. Note: If red LED turns on after lamp shuts off, the dose was not complete."

I guess this is the other way that Steven uses, which sounds good.
"Agitation of Water
Agitation of the water by stirring with SteriPEN™ or rocking the container is essential for proper operation as this insures uniform exposure of all water to germicidal UV light."

Edited by jshann on 12/23/2012 07:19:17 MST.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Instructions on 12/23/2012 07:16:03 MST Print View

@John, Yes, I follow the instructions. The Classic also has the ability to work upside down when used to cork the mouth of an appropriate bottle. In this position, you can agitate the bottle in a sort of circular motion to get the water spinning.

Using this method is actually simpler and more reliable than dipping and stirring.
I don't know why they don't show this in the document you linked to, unless they are trying to sell you their new devices?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Instructions on 12/23/2012 07:20:57 MST Print View

Thanks In the paragraph below on "agitation" they mention probably what you are doing. In the past everyone seemed to only use wide mouth containers.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
My system & a question on 12/23/2012 08:43:54 MST Print View

I generally carry 2, 20 oz Gatorade bottles, one on each shoulder strap. (I used to carry just one 32 oz Gatorade bottle, but as my pack weight got lighter, I noticed how uneven the weight was with just using one bottle on the shoulder strap.) I like having 2 available to drink from and to be able to use one for mixing flavored drinks in and the other for just plain water.

In addition to the 2 bottles, if I am using chemicals I will carry a 2L Platy bottle, which is my dirty bottle. Just fill it, plop in the chems, wait and refill my drinking bottles.

If I am carrying my Squeeze, I will carry a 1.5L Evernew bottle instead of the 2L Platy bottle. Here again, this is my dirty bottle.

I am fine with either system, but I am leaning towards just using chems in the winter so I don't have to worry about my filter freezing up, although I know that I can throw it in my bag at night, but I just don't want to worry about "what if?" I have had water freeze over while hiking so how do I know that the water in the filter is not freezing up too (even inside my pack)?

My only issue is the small mouths on the bottles. Thankfully, the areas I am in generally has good enough water sources to refill these bottles pretty easily, but there are still times I have to scoop water with a Ziploc bag from a puddle, or trickling stream and pour into the dirty bottle. I have thought about using one of my Gatorade bottles as a scoop, but then it is contaminated. At least when I am using chems I can easily remedy this by treating the water right in the Gatorade bottle, then opening the cap and letting water flow over the threads. But if I am using the squeeze, this is not a viable option.

Which leads me to question everyone that uses their cups to scoop water. Once you introduce your cup into the stream, it is technically "contaminated." So, how do you decontaminate it before using it again? Do you use the cup to boil water in at camp? How about pouring boiling water from a pot into the cup, is this sufficient to kill all the bugs? Or do you just bring some soap and wash the cup/mug before using to drink out of again?

Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
Re on 12/23/2012 10:44:51 MST Print View

I carry a Brita bottle with the integrated charcoal filter on my chest strap.
Ialso carry an eyedropper bottle of chlorine bleach, some coffee filters, and some extra activated charcoal.

I also carry 2 Platypus one-liter bladders, for added water storage if I need it, and I have a large ziplock freezer bag which is in reserve for emergency use.

The coffee filters provide a pre-filter and also can serve as a sack to hold extra charcoal if needed. They can also serve as a post-filter if needed.
The Brita Bottle is relatively heavy, but it is also heavy-duty and not likely to break. The integrated charcoal filter allows the chlorine treatment to be done right inside the bottle, with the residual chlorine stripped-out by the charcoal on the way out. It's easy to hang from my gear, and holds a good amount for when I'm on the go. The Platy bladders are for storage if I need to carry water. Also, the 1 gallon ziplock works for larger needs such as camp water supply or larger treatment container, and also emergency back-up. I put some clean dry clothing items inside the ziplock in my pack, so it doubles in that role, and isn't just dead weight.
The extra activated charcoal is of course used to replenish the charcoal if it starts to weaken in function and needs renewing.

For hot water, I have a thin-wall stainless bowl which serves all the purposes of bowl, cup, or pot, with one item. I could use that to boil water for purification too, if needed.

That's all I need. It's heavier than other kits that people use here, but I like it and I'm familiar with its use, and it has worked for me for a long time.

Edited by towaly on 12/23/2012 11:03:32 MST.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: My system & a question on 12/23/2012 12:01:55 MST Print View

Heya Stick!

"Which leads me to question everyone that uses their cups to scoop water. Once you introduce your cup into the stream, it is technically "contaminated." So, how do you decontaminate it before using it again? Do you use the cup to boil water in at camp? How about pouring boiling water from a pot into the cup, is this sufficient to kill all the bugs? Or do you just bring some soap and wash the cup/mug before using to drink out of again?"

All I do is rinse out the mug with a bit of clean water, dry it, and that's it. It dries off before I use it again, and no water means no germs... I think. I am no microbiologist, however, so I very well could be wrong about this. But so far I have yet to get sick due to wild water here in Sweden or Norway. Could be luck, could be that the water here is clean. There are times, especially if it is in places I am familiar with, that I will just drink the water straight up, too. And I don't wash my mug very often with soap either.

I rarely boil water in my mug, but will melt snow in it on occasion.

Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Water container system breakdown on 12/24/2012 23:19:45 MST Print View

I have been using the same system for almost 50 years.

Canteen(s) based on how much water I will need to carry.

Tablets for purification, sometimes a boil, bandanna to filter out big stuff.

Very rare that I would need to use a cup to scoop out water -- and when I do, the water is very suspicious -- so I boil water in it before using.

What has changed over the years is lighter canteen(s), which today is mostly Platys or 64 oz Gatorade bottles when I need a lot of water in the desert.

I used iodine tablets until a few years ago. Now I use Chlorine Dioxide or whatever it is called.

I have never owned a filter. Extra weight and more work. Never gotten sick either.