Author Topic: Water Filtration  (Read 4493 times)

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Offline jbennett

Water Filtration
« on: September 17, 2015, 06:57:19 pm »
I'm planning a longer trek through the panhandle of Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada next year.  The nature of the last two states means that drinking water is my biggest concern.  Rather than have to buy a trailer just to carry an ample amount of water with me between sites (some off-road trekking), I'm interested in water filtration along the way.

I haven't done much research on this topic just yet but wanted to get a bit of input from those who might have some experience about what to look for in a system.

Any info, links, articles, suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2015, 08:37:07 pm »
Over the years I have used an MSR Sweetwater, a Sawyer Squeeze, and a Sawyer Mini.  They have all served me well for backpacking, but their utility has been limited on bike tours that I have done.  The problem is that in places where water stops in towns are scarce, often so is surface water to filter.  I rode the Southern Tier and found that for a major portion of the route surface water was scarce enough to make a filter useless.

I have found a filter useful on one tour in the Sierras because it was nice to filter water from the many ice cold mountain streams.  On most tours I have not found a filter useful.

All that said, for places where I do take a filter I really like the Sawyer Mini pretty well.  The good news is that it weighs only about 2 ounces so it isn't much of a burden to carry.  Don't count on finding water to filter in much of the more arid parts of the West though.

Offline CoBikeJunkie

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2015, 04:36:07 pm »
Another vote for the Sawyer water filters!  I use them backpacking all the time.  Although, it can be a little frustrating waiting for the squeeze bag to fill up if the water is not moving.  Even then it's so small and light I put up with that.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2015, 05:09:37 pm »
Although, it can be a little frustrating waiting for the squeeze bag to fill up if the water is not moving.

When using them in places where that is an issue, I carry a extra squeeze bag with the top cut off and use it to scoop water and pour it into the bag.

Offline mathieu

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 12:23:09 pm »
I had a Katadyn Mini, but since I use the Platypus GravityWorks filter I find all pumping systems totally obsolete. Pumping filters typically require more active hands than one human has. The gravity filter is utter simplicity and a nice example of divide-and-rule. You fill a 'dirty' bag with the surface water and hang the bag at a high point, e.g. in a tree. Connect the filter and a collecting 'pure' bag at a lower point. Under gravity the water flows via the filter into the lower bag. Usually I have a liter of filtered water in about one minute. There are other brands than Platypus using the same principle, e.g. Miniwell.

Offline pmac

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 09:57:39 am »
+1 for the Platypus Gravity filter.  You can get 2 to 4 liters of good water very quickly with a minimum of effort.  I use a 2 liter Platypus water bag instead of the "clean" bag that came with the filter which adds to your ability to carry 2 additional liters when needed.  I also use the add-on charcoal filter.  While the system doesn't weigh much, it is a little bulkier than other systems. If you more than one person in your group the gravity filter will provide water for everyone very quickly.  Just bring some backup aquamira tabs as a backup.

Offline obinja

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Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2015, 01:10:59 pm »
I rode the Western Express this summer and surface water can be rare. However, I carried a bottle filter that someone gave me. I'm glad I had it. It doubled as an extra water container (I was carrying as much s 2 gallons at time) and when I did find water I was glad to have a filter.
I have since switched to the Sawyer Mini. And that's after years in the back country with an MSR Sweet Water.
It can't hurt to carry something like a Sawyer. I also have an extra 1 liter Platypus. It's useful to have a cup or pot in order to fill the plastic bag bottles, the opening is really small.
Never a bad day to ride...

Offline John Nelson

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2015, 10:44:31 am »
I agree with Pete, especially if you are touring on paved roads. Filters are great for the back-country, but not all that useful on roads. I carried three gallons through the Mojave Desert this summer. A filter would have been of no value. In general (with some exceptions), where there are surface water and roads, there are people and towns.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2015, 12:28:01 pm »
What I am about to describe to you that I do for water ‘purification’/'filtration' (subject to one’s technical definitions) that I have never heard of or seen anyone else doing (you have been herewith warned :- ) &, therefore, it just may be a really dumb method, however, it seems to have been working well for me for years - I use a PUR pitcher
Here is how come:
1.   Cheap (Less than $25, including first filter).
2.   Effective - filters, BOTH chemicals AND ‘bugs’ – Use the “2 Stage Filters.”
3.   Weighs in total the same as my pump purifiers.
4.   It fits in my panniers and I simply pack the interior of the pitcher with clothing to thereby not lose space.
5.   Fast – About 5 minutes to gravity feed full volume.
6.   Easy – gravity fed.
7.   No/zero mechanical breakdown possibility – gravity fed.
8.   Replacement filters (Replace after 40 gallons) available at everywhere.
Via Amazon the PUR Water Pitcher w/ 2 stage filter: http://www.amazon.com/PUR-CR-6000C-PITCHER-INDICATOR-FILTER/dp/B000QR95CQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1449161751&sr=8-5&keywords=PUR+PITCHER+2+stage
Never have gotten sick from bad water.  Water has always tasted 'okay' to normal.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 12:42:48 am »
I've used iodine tablets many times, but not for day after day.  I wouldn't want to use them long term.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Water Filtration
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2015, 08:32:30 am »
I agree with Pete, especially if you are touring on paved roads. Filters are great for the back-country, but not all that useful on roads. I carried three gallons through the Mojave Desert this summer. A filter would have been of no value. In general (with some exceptions), where there are surface water and roads, there are people and towns.

So far, for road touring, I have found at one exception where I found carrying a filter to be a great plus.  That was on the Sierra Cascades route where it was pretty remote and there were lots of ice cold snow melt streams.  The weather was hot and the ice cold water was great!  Also on that route I was able to carry less water a lot of places.

On most of my other tours the filter would have been useless.  The ST had pretty much no surface water for a very large portion of the trip and where there was there were also towns frequently enough.