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Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?

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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« on: March 27, 2017, 07:28:51 AM »
Is there anything in Rio Grande river water that a Grayl filter won't remove?

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 08:32:32 AM »
I don't know that filter, but I'm sure as long as you strain and prefilter several times to remove as much sediment as possible then boil it, it should filter just fine

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 09:43:25 AM »
I'd never heard of this unit, Viva. Thanks! It's a funky little thing, but impressive. It sure looks like it would handle all the contaminants you'd find in the Rio Grande except maybe radiation  :icon_biggrin:  Just avoid using it downstream of Los Alamos, NM and you should be fine.  :icon_wink:  All kidding aside, the only worry I would have would be silt clogging the unit. Rio Grande water in Big Bend can often be pretty silty, depending upon exact location and flow conditions, so settling and pre-filtering your water before putting it into the Grayl might significantly postpone having to pony up the $25 for a replacement cartridge.
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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 09:58:19 AM »
I'd never heard of this unit, Viva. Thanks! It's a funky little thing, but impressive. It sure looks like it would handle all the contaminants you'd find in the Rio Grande except maybe radiation  :icon_biggrin:  Just avoid using it downstream of Los Alamos, NM and you should be fine.  :icon_wink:  All kidding aside, the only worry I would have would be silt clogging the unit. Rio Grande water in Big Bend can often be pretty silty, depending upon exact location and flow conditions, so settling and pre-filtering your water before putting it into the Grayl might significantly postpone having to pony up the $25 for a replacement cartridge.
A couple of weeks ago I did the Cross Canyon hike to the mouth of Mariscal Canyon.  The river water was a pleasant green color rather than the muddy brown I'm used to seeing.  I don't know if that was due to the location or the flow conditions at the time.  It was a day hike and I carried all the water I needed (at least I thought I did, I did run out a couple hours before I finished), so I didn't filter any water.

I'm thinking of doing the hike again as an overnight hike and it sure would be a lot easier if I didn't have to carry 2 days worth of water with me, especially with a river full of water at my campsite.  I've just ordered the filter, so I've not tried it yet.  It has rave reviews everywhere I've looked on the internet, so I'm hoping it solves my problem.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 10:23:49 AM »
Looks like sediment might be a real problem.  If this guy was having troubles with clear water in the Sierra, Rio water might be tough.

We have had no trouble prefiltering if needed with filter material or bandana and using Chlorine dioxide tablets or drops (Aqua Mira).  It does have an after taste so some flavoring in drinking water or food in cooking to mask the taste.  That green color is a bit disturbing though   :icon_eek:

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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 12:01:09 PM »
That green color is a bit disturbing though   :icon_eek:



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Offline mule ears

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 12:41:56 PM »
That green color is a bit disturbing though   :icon_eek:


I should have used this one

temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 12:52:52 PM »
And bear in mind, the Grayl is NOT field clean-able, apparently it's not even home clean-able. Your only option once it's clogged is to replace the filter cartridge.  I use a combo of pre-filtering and pills as my main water purifier, but I love my backflush-able Sawyer MINI as a back-up.
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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 01:23:44 PM »
And bear in mind, the Grayl is NOT field clean-able, apparently it's not even home clean-able. Your only option once it's clogged is to replace the filter cartridge.  I use a combo of pre-filtering and pills as my main water purifier, but I love my backflush-able Sawyer MINI as a back-up.

The thing that attracts me about the Grayl is that it also removes metals, so hopefully that would protect from any industrial waste dumped upstream.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 02:30:43 PM »
And bear in mind, the Grayl is NOT field clean-able, apparently it's not even home clean-able. Your only option once it's clogged is to replace the filter cartridge.  I use a combo of pre-filtering and pills as my main water purifier, but I love my backflush-able Sawyer MINI as a back-up.

The thing that attracts me about the Grayl is that it also removes metals, so hopefully that would protect from any industrial waste dumped upstream.

Agreed! I noticed that, too. The activated charcoal component of their filter seems more advanced than most. The reason I joked about Los Alamos is that I used to do a lot of backpacking in Bandelier National Monument and other places downstream of there. The local federal and state rangers always say they wouldn't drink the water flowing past Los Alamos unless their lives depended upon it.  Lots of heavy metal contamination. That's one of the reasons I think the Grayl looks interesting, but if sediment is its achilles heel, as seems the case in the review Mule Ears linked- then the inability to field clean it could be a problem. Probably not on a 2-3 day trip, but perhaps on longer ones. In any case, good luck and if you do use it, please post a review for us. I'm anxious to see how it performs.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 04:17:00 PM by House Made of Dawn »
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Offline badknees

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2017, 03:41:52 PM »
Most cartridge glass fiber based filters have activated charcoal and remove chemicals and metals. The ceramic cartridges are infused with silver. While a bit harder to pump than glass fiber filters, the silver prevents bacteria from growing in the filter medium.  I have a Katadyn pump type filter with a non-field-cleanable glass fiber cartridge and it does well and lasts a long time if you do the following:

1. Pre-filter (bandana and a rubber band usually). There is a fine stainless wire mesh filter at the end of the inlet hose already, but I still use the bandana technique too.
2. At the end of your trip, remove the cartridge, rinse well and the pump a little bleach water through the filter. Flush with plain water, remove and rinse again and let thoroughly dry before storage.

I have been using the same filter for 10 years and only replaced the cartridge once. It's supposed to be good for about 300 gals as long as you don't silt it up. Never got sick and I've filtered some pretty funky water. I know for sure it won't remove tannins from water because I filtered a tea colored pool of water in Cattail Canyon one time that was full of oak leaves and the water had a brown tinge to it. It tasted fine..... If you want to get rid of the color, just drop in a ClO2 tablet and it usually clears it up......or just don't look at it when you drink it.

I don't think any cartridge will remove all metals and chemicals. You probably need RO for that.
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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 09:15:36 AM »
I did an overnight on the Cross Canyon trail this weekend and used the Grayl on Rio Grande water.

The good news is that I drank about a gallon of water filtered with the Grayl and had no problems.

The bad news is that the filter was shot after a gallon.  I really struggled to get the last couple of pints out of it.  If I had a partner or had been going for more than one night, it would have really been a problem.  Plus a new filter is $24.50, so I paid $24.50 for one gallon of water.  I did not pre filter with a bandanna or anything else.   I just figured the bandanna would have let a lot of big stuff through still, but I guess I will try that next time.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2017, 10:02:45 AM »
I did an overnight on the Cross Canyon trail this weekend and used the Grayl on Rio Grande water.

The good news is that I drank about a gallon of water filtered with the Grayl and had no problems.

The bad news is that the filter was shot after a gallon.  I really struggled to get the last couple of pints out of it.  If I had a partner or had been going for more than one night, it would have really been a problem.  Plus a new filter is $24.50, so I paid $24.50 for one gallon of water.  I did not pre filter with a bandanna or anything else.   I just figured the bandanna would have let a lot of big stuff through still, but I guess I will try that next time.

Sorry to hear, Viva. That's a bummer. $24.50 per gallon is some pretty expensive water. But thanks for taking the bullet for the rest of us; your field report is really helpful. I worried about the Grayl clogging. Even worse, it's not field-cleanable, which leaves the user high and dry, so to speak.
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Offline badknees

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Re: Rio Grande river water and a Grayl Filter?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 07:26:55 AM »
Pretty $$

I don't know how much you paid for the filter, but it may be worthwhile rethinking and going with a different system. Katadyn has served me well. MSR filters also seem to be pretty good, although I have no personal experience with them.
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