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Cleaning Water. So confused.

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Offline gotpaper1981

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Cleaning Water. So confused.
« on: August 14, 2009, 01:33:57 PM »
Ok. So I did a search, and find conflicting oppinions on what the best way is to clean water for use. When we have gone camping, we have always carried all the water we needed or been somewhere with running water. I know we will need some kind of system or plan to purify water in the backcountry. Even if it's just for emergency use. Believe when I say I understand how unreliable water sources are in the desert. I just want some oppinions on what your methods are and if there are any pros or cons. Filtering, chemical treatment, combinations? I'd really appreciate the info and help. There are so many options, I'm about ready to say screw it and plan to boil water, but in an emergency situation, that could take to long.

This is an awesome place to get info and oppinions. I've recieved so much help from many on here already.

Thanks,
Sara

Oh, they need spell check, cause I really can't spell sometimes. Or I type too fast and make mistakes I don't see.

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2009, 01:47:54 PM »
John & Tess

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 01:55:52 PM »
I haven't heard of anyone boiling water in a long time. Most folks go with either a good water filter or use iodine or chlorine treatments. If you're going to be going out a lot, you might want to go with a good filter. For more sporadic use, try running the water through a coffee filter to remove the "floaties", then treat with either the classic iodine tablets or something like KlearWater or Aquamira. I'll let the usual suspects chime in with some more recommendations.

Some good info:
http://www.trailspace.com/articles/backcountry-water-treatment-part-4-methods-for-making-water-safe.html

REI's take:
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/water+treatment+backcountry.html

Here's what the CDC has to say:
http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html

Make that chlorine dioxide instead of just chlorine. Apparently there's a significant difference...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2009, 01:59:47 PM by RichardM »

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Offline Robert

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2009, 03:23:51 PM »
It looks to me like you are over-thinking this. I'm not sure what emergency you are thinking of but just about any water treatment option will take some time to prepare the water for drinking.

You should not put yourself in any situation that would require you to be out of water and if you were out of water you would have to be really bad off to not have time to filter or treat the water. In that case drinking untreated water would be the best choice, in my opinion.

Boiling water is probably the least popular method as it requires you to carry extra fuel to boil the water. To me treating water requires a leap of faith that the method you choose actually does make the water safe. But both filters and treatments have been around a long time and you really can't go wrong with either one.

I use a filter mainly because that's how I started and have had no overriding issue to change. It is a PITA to have to filter water so I imagine at some point I'll look at treatments.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2009, 03:48:31 PM »
There will be as many opinions on this topic as there are people to ask...

This is my current solution:

http://www.aquamira.com/emergency/aquamira-water-purifier-tablets-24-pack


I concur with trtlrock on both these points.  I have been a avowed Aquamira user in all seasons and locations for 8 or 9 years now.  Still have my Sweet Water filter which worked well but was much more hassle and weight, but haven't used it in all that time.
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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2009, 03:52:28 PM »
I've used a Katidyn Hiker Pro filter for all my water needs for the past 4 years.  I've filtered water out of some questionable water sources and never once got sick.  

The key is to try and find a spot that's deep enough so your filter hose doesn't drag bottom, preferably running water.  Pre-filtering with a coffee filter is mandatory when water is pulled directly from a sediment-rich river like the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.

The water I filtered out of Fresno Creek on the Outer Mountain Loop still smelled funky after filtering, but I didn't get sick from it.  I usually doctor the water a bit with some powdered Gatorade or Country Time lemonade mix if it really is distasteful after filtering.

I don't know if I'd trust something like a Steripen.  I find it hard to believe swishing something around in the water that has some unseen beam 'killing bacteria' will do the trick.  The problem with a Steripen is you have to make sure you have spare batteries for it.

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2009, 04:05:26 PM »
II don't know if I'd trust something like a Steripen.  I find it hard to believe swishing something around in the water that has some unseen beam 'killing bacteria' will do the trick.  The problem with a Steripen is you have to make sure you have spare batteries for it.

I seem to remember Jeff Blaylock having a negative SteriPen experience on a recent trip. Jeff?

This thread should be useful too:

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/general-outdoor-stuff-camping-equipment/water-filters-t4677.0.html

I haven't used the AqM tablets yet, but I'm switching over from the drops, as on our last BiBe trip we had two AqM small-portion containers develop tiny cracks & leaks at the plastic-molding line near the top of the mini-container. Maybe too cold? Maybe we accidentally sat on them? Maybe just a bad run, or we'd re-used the containers too many times.

Anyway, it was annoying, required micro duct-tape surgery, but was only mildly worrysome as we had cached more drops that we picked up later.

Since then the tablets have come out, so I figure that'll eliminate the situation ever arising again. Also eliminates the 2-3 minutes mixing up the doses and the 5 minutes waiting for them to turn yellow.

Have always used a bandana successfully for pre-filtering, and we're carrying them anyway for other purposes.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2009, 04:11:30 PM by trtlrock »
John & Tess

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Offline badknees

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2009, 05:07:41 PM »
I use Katydyn Hiker Pro and also carry a package of chlorine dioxide tablets as a backup. Never been sick.

Things to consider

1. Filtered water can be consumed immediately.
2. Chlorine dioxide tablets require about 4 hrs for a guaranteed kill on Cryptosporidium.
3. Filter is heavy compared to tablets
4. Boiling is effective if correctly done but uses a lot of fuel
5. UV is effective under certain conditions (see below)

Unfortunately for multi-day trips in Big Bend it is physically VERY difficult to carry enough water without supplementing from sources in the park. This makes it almost a necessity to have an effective method to obtain safe drinking water unless you limit yourself to dayhikes or overnight trips. You probably need to try multiple ways (ie chemical and filtration) and decide which one is best for you.

In my business we use UV-V and UV-C lights to kill bacteria in large volumes of water and at high rates (4,000,000 gals at 2,500 gals/minute). This requires a pretty good sized generator package with 12 high powered UV lights to accomplish. The effectiveness is HIGHLY dependent on water turbidity, and the water must be filtered down to about 25 micons first. UV is a poor sanitizer in tubid water unless you filter first.


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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2009, 06:29:37 PM »
According to his website, Jeff is currently on a backpacking trip in Idaho.  I don't think he'll be checking the site for a few more days.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2009, 12:11:42 AM »
Buy a water filter and the katydyn (something like that brand) chlorine tablets also.  Academy sells the tablets pretty cheap.  Go to Campmor.com and buy a 4 liter MSR bag for each adult.  Use the filter to put water into your MSR bag.  Put the tablets in and 4 hours later you will have government approved water.  The water can be put in your camelback for consumption while you have a reserve in the MSR bag "cooking".  Yes , you are carrying around 8 pounds extra of water, but what if something..........

Lights alone are not good because if the water is dirty enough, bacteria can hide behind a shadow of some particle and not get zapped by the UV light.  Is the outside of the light element clean enough?  Badknees already mentioned this.  I live on rainwater only at my house and the industry standard is no particle bigger than 3 microns or a shadow may stop the light.  Opinions differ on the 3 microns, but we are talking about pretty clean water. 

Most filters are the same as long as they contain in part a final carbon element.  Let that filter completely dry out when you get back from your trip and it will stay good for a long time.

Finally, Make sure to take diarreha (the squirts) medicine in you med supply, just in case.

This system works for my family when we backpack where I am 95% sure of water sources.  There are a few other ways to get clean water for drinking, but I trust this way for my family.  From the Redwoods of California to Big Bend, I have yet to get sick.  The extra weight does not bother me.  Enjoying a tough day backpacking with my family is one of the best rewards for going to work (and staying in shape).  If your unsure, carry ALL your water.
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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2009, 12:31:12 AM »
I have the katydyn hiker (non pro version) and it worked very well out on Fresno Creek, the water tasted very good and cold, the water was flowing pretty good, shallow, but still flowing.

the katydyn hiker pro filter, is a little more expensive than the standard katydyn , but you can change and clean the filter out in the field yourself with the pro version.

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Offline gotpaper1981

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2009, 01:59:32 AM »
K. Thanks for all the great info. I think some things have been clarified for me. I think a filter plus chorine dioxide. I like the idea of back up plans. We actually went to Acadamy today and priced a Katadyn filter. I told hubby to hold off and let me do a little more research before we buy it. On the other hand I might just watch for some sales on the pro version. We aren't planning our first trip until Thanksgiving, so I have a little time lay out a more concrete plan.

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Offline Al

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Re: Cleaning Water. So confused.
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2009, 02:21:18 AM »
That filter will serve you fine. Read the instructions before leaving.  Have the chlorine dioxide tablets as a backup and you are good to go when you find blessed water in the desert . . .

Al

 


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