Need water filter suggestions

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by chansta, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    my befree isn’t working after barely any use. I’ve had a sawyer mini which was ok...

    Looking to replace it soon and looking for suggestions
     
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  2. JAY

    JAY Guide

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    I have the sawyer squeeze, but replaced the stiff bag with with a more flexable one, forgot the name, It's in my pack in truck.
     
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  3. TheRambler

    TheRambler Scout

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    My all time favorite water filter is the msr guardian... it however is pricey, and on the heavier side

    2nd place is a steripen and bandana prefilter... it is light, somewhat pricey, and relies on batteries.

    A distant 3rd place is the sawyer squeeze. It is light, cheap, but can be finicky with certain water types. It however is about 1000x better than the mini.
     
  4. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Do you really need a "water filter"? or are you looking for other suggestions on how to make water drinkable?

    I use Polar Pure. The company went through some hell with the EPA, but is apparently back in business, or moved out of CA. Don't know which. I have one original bottle from before their troubles, and another bottle i just bought from them empty and filled with my own prills i bought on Amazon... either way, it's stupid simple, less complex than Aqua Mira, faster than boiling and cooling, less work than pumping, less weight than a filter... some complain that it tastes awful (and some people think broccoli, peas, and cauliflower taste good, so who's right?) I'll admit it has A taste, kinda salt-like, but I forget about it by the end of the 2nd quart... you can also add a vitamin C tablet or some citrus drink powder AFTER it's done working, and that supposedly fixes the taste thing... I've never done it... just not that fussy... I'm thirsty, not paying $75 for a dinner entree...

    I've used an MSR MiniWorks filter but sold it. Too heavy (1lb), too much work.

    I've used a Sawyer Mini, but watched @Forestree's clog up on us one day after just a quart of 'squeezing', due to some sort of ultra-fine white clay we had in that area of the woods.

    Aqua Mira is fiddly... mix this plus that, wait 5 minutes... then dump it into the water and wait 20-30 more minutes. no thank you.

    I've used a bunch of tablets, and they all work well/simple, but are expensive for what you get. So not unless i have to.

    I have also been forced to boil, and when you're thirsty, that's just not the way I want to go... WAY too much work. I'll make water like that in the evening in camp, just cuz, but not mid-day when I'm thirsty now.
     
  5. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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  6. Chriiis.Glover

    Chriiis.Glover Tracker

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    What happened to your befree? Did you try contacting the manufacturer? I have a befree and like it, but I haven’t used it a ton. You have me wondering if I should be looking for a new water filter too...
     
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  7. Togus

    Togus Echo of the Loon Supporter

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    Grayl. I bought on after seeing a video of Fowler using on. Fill the cup, slowly press, and drink. Fantastic customer service. Easy maintenance and customer service can email you some tricks and hacks not outlined in the packaging.
     
  8. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    98% of long distance hikers use the sawyer squeeze.
     
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  9. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    No water will come out. I tried flushing it but no dice.
     
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  10. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    Put it in some hot (not boiling), white vinegar and let it soak overnight. Then back flush it with clean water. If the flow doesn't improve, try it again. The pores in the filter are probably clogged with minerals or sediment.
     
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  11. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    thanks, I'll give it a try.
     
  12. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Squeeze, proven, effective, long lasting, flexible squeeze.
     
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  13. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    Your experience with the befree has pretty much been the same as almost everyone else. Mine slowed down so much so quick too.
     
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  14. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I’ve got 2 seemingly permanently clogged sawyer minis....even after backflushing when getting home each time. Not sure what’s up but I’m done with them. Went back to a katadyn hiker filter that has never let me down, though it’s much bigger than the mini
     
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  15. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I can’t imagine anything better for the ‘normal’ camper than a squeeze. Price, ease of use, size, life... I got rid of my pump MSR. I did get some accessories for versatility, but the kit is still small and light. I don’t have to deal with muddy or dirty water, but if I did, I would prefilter with a coffee filter or one of BG’s socks.
     
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  16. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    I contacted customer service. Does anyone know if the squeeze will mate with the smart water nozzles?
     
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  17. Ephemeral

    Ephemeral Tracker

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    I looked up the befree water filter on amazon, then looked at the replacement filter cartridge. I don't have one so that was the best I could do.

    The filter is a pleated depth filter from what I could see. In the language used to describe filters, this would not qualify as a depth filter as such. I refer to it as a depth filter because unless the material is a sheet of material that is impervious to water passing through it, save for tiny pores of a specific size, then it would have to be made of something fibrous, that would have depth to it, no matter how thin. This would matter as to how it works. If it is fibrous, as it seems to be in the picture I examined, it would act as a depth filter, albeit a very thin one. If it is a sheet full of pores, then it would be a surface filter. This filter would strictly be called a surface filter, but to explain how it works, or clogs, I call it a depth filter. I hope that makes sense.

    ****** My wife looked over my shoulder and insisted I edit, rewrite the preceding paragraph, as my terminology could be seen as contradictory to the standard terminology describing filter types. She was correct, like she usually is. ********

    They pleat the filter material to achieve a high surface area, but the depth, the thickness of the filter material is quite thin. A depth filter does its job by trapping particles to a given size within the matrix of the material it is made of, and when they pleat the material, a lot of larger particulates are trapped in the pleats themselves. When you flush the filter you only clean out the pleats, not the filter material itself. What gets trapped in the material the filter is constructed from stays there for the most part. Some of the larger particulates on the surface fibers may be dislodged by flushing, but the particles trapped deeper down in the material don't release easily at all, and it builds up in direct ratio to the amount of small particulates in the water you are filtering. Even if you flush from the inside of the filter, what gets trapped in the material itself is going to be very difficult to dislodge.

    An impervious surface filter simply gets the pores jammed with particles, and unless you can apply high pressure to that surface, like a sawyer in back flushing, it is difficult to dislodge the particles. Simple flushing may not be enough.

    I utilize pleated filters much like this as sediment prefilters on my home system. They can be washed a time or two, and that flushes enough of the fine sediment out of the pleats, and off the surface to restore a good bit of flow. After one or two flushings they must be discarded, as the filter material itself is clogged with the finest silt particles, and flushing achieves little to nothing. These filter caartridges are a lot bigger than the one in the befree filter, ten inches long and about two and one half inches in diameter, they also don't filter to the size the befree does, nowhere near .1 micron, so it isn't really surprising that your filter would clog quickly if you were filtering water with a high particulate load, or silt.

    Depth filters by their nature are to be replaced rather than cleaned, pleated or not, generally speaking, with the caveat that they can be sort of cleaned for a few times, depending on amount and type of particulates in them.

    This type of filter is not really very good for depending upon filtering water of unknown quality, unless you carry replacement filter cartridges.

    There are various filters for sale that employ different types filter mediums, and all of them benefit greatly from utilizing a prefilter to relieve the main pathogen filter of the need to filter everything from dead dogs on down to .1 micron particles. The inline prefilters commonly available aren't good for much other than relatively big stuff, although MSR has the sweetwater siltstopper inline pre filter that filters to a much smaller particle size than most ....... I cannot remember what the micron rating is. It is a silica depth filter, so one would need to carry replacement cartridges for it, especially in light of its efficient filtering capabilities. Siltstopper, right, and you will need a lot of replacement cartridges if you actually filter silt with it.

    Inline prefilters are great, but I had to build my own out because I couldn't find anybody selling what I wanted. Mine filter to thirty microns absolute, in three stages starting with eighty microns. They utilize stainless steel mesh screens that are removable and cleanable in the field. I can put as many stages as I feel necessary into the housing. these prefilters also can be mounted in my dirty water bag, attached to the inside of the bag cap to prefilter the water in a sawyer gravity system.

    Ok, prefilter your water somehow, with coffee filters being the easiest and cheapest method that I know of, or resign yourself to replacing or cleaning your pathogen filter regularly.

    I think the cause of failures in sawyer filters is mainly due to lack of prefiltering, and secondarily, but just as important, improper and/or infrequent back flushing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  18. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    The smart water bottle lid thing? Yes.
     
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  19. Ephemeral

    Ephemeral Tracker

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    I wanted to add that clay silt in water is the worst thing for any of the common water filters. Clay particles attach to each other, I think by their electrical charge, and form an impenetrable barrier to water. There is a good reason people use packed clay to line ponds. I was testing one of my thirty micron prefilters by sucking up water with an attached syringe. The water was a five gallon bucket in which I had mixed a fist sized chunk of fairly pure red clay. I let it settle for about five minutes, then attempted to draw water through the prefilter. I was shocked, I drew about half a syringe full, then nothing, even with really pulling on the syringe plunger. I examined the prefilter and the clay had bridged every stage, even the 80 micron first stage. Zero water could pass through. I believe the sawyer mini and squeeze are .1 micron, no way could they survive clay silt.

    I decided to include the means for flocculation for water so contaminated. I tried it on the same set up of five gallons of red clay silt water. It was like a miracle, after a short while, crystal clear water, chlorinated, with all the clay silt down on the bottom. Flocculation definitely should be considered for a water filtration set up for water of unknown quality, you know, that sludge you are going to have to depend on for life after the zombie apocalypse.
     
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  20. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    Another pre-filter idea for turbid water is to settle it a collapsible bucket - SeaToSummit makes excellent ones from 1 oz ultralight to 3oz heavy duty. Course settling water requires time but it works well for campsite water needs where you use the most anyway.
     
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  21. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    Good thread!

    Ive been using a mini with no issues. But the majority of my water is springs.

    This clay issue is completely foreign to me and will bite me in the ass outside of my AO.
    Kudos folks!


    Eta . Sawyer has a new filter .Micro? Seems to have the bests of both the squeeze and the mini .
     
  22. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    You're supposed to back flush with bleach water for long term storage. For clogged filters Sawyer suggests using some vinegar to clean it out. This is why many of us prefer the squeeze too the mini though. It has a higher flow rate to begin with and tends to have less issues with clogging up. It's also ready to use as a gravity filter pretty much out of the box with no silly hoses and so on.
     
  23. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    About using Iodine...


    The European Union has issued (in 2014) a “Biocides Directive” that prohibits the sale of iodine for water treatment or disinfectant in any of the countries in the EU.
    and

    There is a down side - Iodine is an effective, simple, and cost-efficient means of water disinfection for people who vacation, travel, or work in areas where municipal water treatment is not reliable. However, there is considerable controversy about the maximum safe iodine dose and duration of use when iodine is ingested in excess of the recommended daily dietary amount. The major health effect of concern with excess iodine ingestion is thyroid disorders, primarily hypothyroidism with or without iodine-induced goiter.

    And most important for this discussion -

    The Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, University of Arizona (Tucson, Az), tested iodine treatment for efficacy in water contaminated with Cryptosporidium oocysts. They found that just 10% were inactivated after a 20-minute exposure to iodine according to manufacturer's instructions; even after 240 minutes of exposure to iodine only 66-81% oocysts were inactivated. These data strongly suggest that iodine disinfection is not effective in inactivating Cryptosporidium oocysts in water. Because this organism is common in all surface waters, it is recommended that another method of treatment be used before ingestion.

    In cold water, an 8 hour (overnight) exposure is the minimum for my level of caution. That is why I use chlorine dioxide tabs and filter. Then again, I often wear a belt with my suspenders.....
     
  24. AdirondackBadger

    AdirondackBadger Supporter Supporter

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  25. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Supporter Bushclass I

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    Hydroblu Versa Flow

     
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  26. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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  27. Lars

    Lars Angry German

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    I went from regular Sawyer Squeeze to Mini to MSR Trailshot over the past years. I like the MSR the most.

    Filtering one liter at a time is fairly quick and easy. One time last year on a family trip I had to filter two gallons. Took 10 minutes total and my weak hands hurt quite a bit afterwards.
     
  28. Burncycle

    Burncycle Scout

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    I use a Sawyer Mini and Micropur MP-1, with boiling as a tertiary option. The threads on the Evernew 1 liter collapsable / folding water pouches interface with the Sawyer Mini better than the Platypus ones.

    I may add a platypus gravityworks carbon element in-line with the sawyer in the future.
     
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  29. chansta

    chansta keeper of the flame Supporter

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    update: I contacted customer service, They told me to submerge it in some water for a few hours and try again because it has to be saturated.
    For some reason, when I came home, it worked perfectly fine. So what I've learned about the befree is that if it sits on the shelf for too long, the hollow fibers won't work properly. Taking to the wilderness this weekend to make some coffee and food by the creek. We shall see!
     
  30. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    That's actually what I like about the MSR TrailShot. No need to deal with threads because it doesn't need to be attached to a bottle. I like that freedom. Before, I used to carry a Squeeze, Evernew pouch, and an adapter for other threads. Kind of a pain. Now I don't worry about it.

    Of course, it doesn't do gravity filtration, but I never did that anyway.
     
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  31. TheRambler

    TheRambler Scout

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    It will do gravity if you set it up that way. Msr has videos on how to do so
     
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  32. Oldguy59

    Oldguy59 Supporter Supporter

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    If going out alone I use the sawyer squeeze with more people I have a hiker pro pump filter. A buddy picked up a platypus gravity system. He likes it I have no experience with it yet.
     
  33. Big Flounder

    Big Flounder Supporter Supporter

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    I started out with the Sawyer Squeeze for my backpacking trips and it was alright. No complaints. However, a year ago I upgraded to a MSR gravity filter and that is now my go to for overnight trips. Scoop up 2 liters of water in the bag, hang it in a tree and let it filter into a Nalgene bottle. Last June I took it with me for a week long solo trip to the BWCA and now I'll never go back to the Squeeze unless I'm just on a short day hike. Of course if that's the case, I'll just take water from home in a bottle.

     
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  34. Ephemeral

    Ephemeral Tracker

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    Ahhhhh, enlightenment. In the picture I looked at on amazon the hollow fibers looked like pleats. Now that negates everything I said. Different filter type entirely. It pays to have the object in question in hand.
     
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  35. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Cool. Good to know. Thanks!
     
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  36. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock So long, and thanks for all the fish Supporter

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    Yes sir they will.
     
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  37. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    The Platypus gravity filter is what I have/use. Love it. I've spliced in CamelBak hydrolok qd connectors between the filter and each bag. Can filter straight into the bladder in any of my packs. Only downside is you can't really use it in freezing or below temps, the filter is ruined if it freezes.

     
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  38. Intertribal

    Intertribal Supporter Supporter

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    I just picked up one of these myself. I haven't gotten a chance to use it, but I have trip at the end of July that will give me a chance to test it.
     
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  39. wolffire99

    wolffire99 Scout

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  40. Odinborn

    Odinborn BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    I have all the different Sawyer's as well as an MSR pump. My favorite right now is the Sawyer Micro. Very compact and has the same flow rate as the regular squeeze, which can be improved by using a flipcap from a Smartwater or Life Water bottle
     
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  41. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    I want to reduce the water I carry as much of the country I travel is water rich; currently I carry a 20 oz bottle of water on a shoulder strap- water is ready to go and readily accessible, I also carry a 1 liter Platy in the pack to refill the bottle. When the 20 oz bottle is refilled I refill the Platy and put a tab (Aquatab) in it, by the time I need another refill (hour or so), the Platy is ready to go and repeat. It works, but would love dump the extra liter of water I carry.

    If I can quickly and reliably filter just the 20 oz bottle on the go it's save me 2-ish pounds (minus the filter); think I might give the Trailshot a go.
     
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  42. AdamD1776

    AdamD1776 Scout

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    So, looking at the specs of the squeeze (mini and micro) and the MSR trailpro on Amazon, it looks like the squeeze is rated for 100,000 gallons, and the MSR is only rated for 2,000 liters (about 528 gallons). Does anyone know the reason for the extreme difference between the two ratings?
     
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  43. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Sorry, sir, no idea! But you can change the filter on the MSR easy enough, and honestly, I doubt I'd ever need to filter 500 gallons in my entire lifetime, let alone, 100,000, since I'd normally boil water anyway in a long-term situation. For normal uses I don't think the capacity is really a concern.

    It's a good question though! Will be interesting to learn the answer. You could probably contact MSR and Sawyer and ask them if you don't get an answer here.
     
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  44. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    I was on a trail maintenance outing with five other folks last weekend... most packed in all their water (the fools!)... but I and one other guy relied on our filters. Except, turned out he had forgotten his, so I lended him mine.

    He was really impressed with the flow and ease of use, and asked if it was new. Nope, been using it a lot for over a year. A simple Sawyer Squeeze, backflushed every 2-3 outings.

    (I drank six quarts that day and didn’t pee once.)
     
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  45. to Ha

    to Ha Supporter Supporter

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    Unless much of your hiking comes with often murky water, I recommend the Steripen. The Classic is my model of choice - uses standard batteries and works w/many bottles.
     
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  46. ParadigmShift

    ParadigmShift Tracker

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    I use a Sawyer mini, and while I have no experience with the Squeeze, I've also had no issues with flow rate being a problem, if you think like a lazy monkey. 4 x adult males, 6 x 1L Nalgene bottles. I brought the mini, another bought himself a lifestraw. In the first day, he lamented the inability to "gulp" water down, since the straw made his cheeks hurt from the amount of force required. From that moment forward, we all relied on the Mini for a week in Quetico/BWCA. To ensure everyone was topped up, one person went swimming prior to each meal. We attached all of our empty collectors to a single carabiner loop, and tossed it in the lake. Collecting water near a shoreline SIGNIFICANTLY increases the amount of suspended sediment, so collecting from deeper water was the trick. Back on shore, I rigged the Mini bags between two sitpads, with a flat rock placed on top as the mechanical leverage. Aiming the potable end of the Mini into an open bottle and walking away was all it took. We'd take turn swapping out the source bag, resetting the sitpads and rock, and went to bed with full bottles of water each night. Sure it took about 10 minutes per L bag, but it was passive, easy to monitor, and worth it to have potable water on hand for the daily grind of paddling 12-15km.

    I may try the gravity rigging (tubing, hanger etc.) next time, but if it ain't broke... ;o)
     
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  47. Pinnah

    Pinnah Tracker

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    Looks like Polar Pure is off of the market. Can't find it searching the web. Their web site goes to a 404 error.

    Personally, I didn't see much advantage to it compare to regular iodine tablets. The big question is whether or not you let the iodine go into solution in the Polar Pure bottle on in your water bottle. Either way it takes 20 minutes or more depending on water temp. I found normal iodine tablets easier to pack.

    I carry a water filter and use iodine as a back up. I use a Sawyer Squeeze for solo or small parties and a Katadyn Hiker for later parties. Prefiltering protects filters.
     
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  48. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe Supporter Supporter

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    Agree wholeheartedly.
     
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  49. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Finally broke down and ordered the MSR Trailshot. Never liked the idea of always having to have a threaded bag like I do with the Sawyer. Just one more thing to carry, one more part, and one more thing that can go wrong.

    I think simplicity is the way to go.
     
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  50. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    received mine yesterday, will be a few days before I can give it a whirl
     
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