Forum Index » Food, Hydration, and Nutrition » My food and water weight conundrum...


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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Hmmm... on 09/25/2013 00:37:58 MDT Print View

"I still don't understand how somebody who is chemically treating their water could only carry 1/2 liter of water at a time and still stay well hydrated without a lot of fuss. The comment about passing by water source after water source still doesn't answer this, because you'd always have to wait at least 30 minutes between those water sources to actually drink the water. So if on a 30 minute stretch of hiking, you pass 20 small streams, you still only effectively pass 2 water sources, because you'd have to wait 30 minutes anyway to actually drink any of that water."

This is why chemical treatment isn't very ultralight. The most ultralight way is to treat a liter of water with an instant method (filter, steripen) and gulp down an entire liter on the spot. Then fill up with however much you think you will need until your next water source (if you need any after drinking an entire liter). Ideally you can drink from source to source without carrying any. Since you live in the pacific northwest you should consider a different treatment method, it will save you a bunch of weight.
For dryer climates the chemical treatment is fine because you need to carry a bunch of water anyways.

I rarely treat water when hiking in the mountains. I only treat if it's a major river or if there is stock use in the area. My father and his father backpacked and never ever treated their water. They never got sick and they never knew anyone who got sick. I don't see why backcountry water is any different now from when they hiked. Please don't take this as an actual recommendation. It's just what I choose to do.

Derek Musashe
(dmusashe) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
I think you're right, Justin on 09/25/2013 00:57:55 MDT Print View

Justin,
I think you are pretty much right on all accounts.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to give up my drops just yet, but I'm always considering it.

I do like the reliability of the drops (nothing to break, no worry about freeze fracturing a filtering element, etc.), but my mind is still open about this. I haven't had good luck with Sawyer filters though, and I most definitely do not want to depend on a UV water treatment system that relies on batteries.

So I'm back where I started. Grrrrrr. Drops do certainly have their shortcomings.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: I think you're right, Justin on 09/25/2013 01:45:57 MDT Print View

Have you considered a life straw? It seems more reliable than a gravity filter. You suck on it and pull water through the filter. I haven't use one myself.

Ben H.
(bzhayes) - F

Locale: So. California
Re: I think you're right, Justin on 09/25/2013 10:42:50 MDT Print View

"...I most definitely do not want to depend on a UV water treatment system that relies on batteries...."

Filters can clog and break. Chemicals can leak or get wet. Electronics can run out of batteries. No system is perfect but electronics are not inherently less fool proof.

I usually bring battery backups. Some people bring chemical backups. If you bring a pot for boiling water, that in itself is a water treatment backup.

After doing some research on the areas I visit (Eastern Sierra's) I realized I don't even need to treat the water most of the time. Treating water does provide additional safety margins so I still do it. If my Steripen fails I'll drink straight out of that clear mountain stream just like people have been doing for ages. I've probably a better chance getting sick by eating out at a restaurant.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Hmmm... on 09/25/2013 12:05:27 MDT Print View

>"This is why chemical treatment isn't very ultralight. The most ultralight way is to treat a liter of water with an instant method (filter, Steripen) and gulp down an entire liter on the spot."

Justin, I see your point and am now reconsidering my long-time use of chemical treatment. I much prefer iodine or Aqua Mira to squatting at a mosquito-infested water source and pumping. And I avoid the pump weight.

But since I end of carrying one liter (32 ounces) for 20-30 minutes, carrying a 3-5 ounce Steripen would be preferable if I'm drinking more than a liter every 3.5 hours. And then I could almost always forego the second water bottle because I could UV a liter, chug a liter, treat another liter and then hike a dry stretch.

Even in dry climates where you carry a few liters of water, you'd still save 20-30 minutes of waiting or 20-30 minutes of carrying an extra 1-2 liters if you lack instant treatment options.

I'm also treating less and less of the time and haven't encountered any problems. I judge each setting and always have iodine with me, but (1) I'm usually not hiking in the third world (and pull out all the stops when I do) and (2) if I get something, at least the medical care is close at hand and free.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: changes in backcountry water on 09/25/2013 14:30:01 MDT Print View

"I rarely treat water when hiking in the mountains. I only treat if it's a major river or if there is stock use in the area. My father and his father backpacked and never ever treated their water. They never got sick and they never knew anyone who got sick. I don't see why backcountry water is any different now from when they hiked."

Au contraire! It is a different planet than your father and grandfather hiked on. I do think that the incidence of giardia is overblown, but it is spread by wild mammals and you're playing roulette. An area that was safe a couple years prior may be infected now.

I didn't see tablets mentioned. I use Micropur tablets as a backup for my filter system and for day hike CYA if not carrying a filter. They cost a little more, but represent a tiny fraction of the total cost of a hike. They are convenient and guess-free: rip the pack open and drop in one per liter. No drop-counting, wondering if the chemicals are in working condition, etc, etc.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Water sawyer squeeze on 09/25/2013 14:40:30 MDT Print View

How long does it take to treat one litre with a steripen compared to a sawyer squeeze? Most of the time I dont treat my water but staying hydrated is very important to me so I will carry water to make sure I dont run out. I drink between 0.5 and 0.75 an hour and work out how long I have to hike between water sources, which are pretty reliable in new zealand. I tend to drink as I go along rather than camel up at water sources but I may try that a bit more now.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Water sawyer squeeze on 09/25/2013 15:50:02 MDT Print View

Steripen Opti - 48 seconds for 1/2 liter, 90 seconds for 1 liter

Squeeze - I just had a 1 liter soda bottle and squeezed 1/2 liter in 65 seconds. I could have gone faster or slower. With a collapsible bag I took longer because the bag is more fragile. If you do gravity mode it takes longer, but you can just set it up and do something else while its filtering.

With Steripen you push button to start and then you have to stir while it's doing it. You can select 1/2 liter or 1 liter. You can't pause it.

With Squeeze you can filter what you wish. If you get tired or want to re-adjust you can just do that.

Plus the time to get it out of your pack, scoop water, put it back in pack, etc. which is probably longer

I'de say no significant difference between the two, and they both take very little time.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sawyer on 09/25/2013 19:47:27 MDT Print View

Thanks Jerry.