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Water purifier suggestions

Old 09-29-20, 08:18 PM
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Mark Hoaglund
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Water purifier suggestions

I'm interested in your chosen drinking water purifier suggestions.
Theirs many rural spring feed creeks around the crop farming limestone hills here.
Crops upon the hilltops & valleys with treed slopes in between.

Here's three examples I've noticed:

Aquatabs water purification tablets
https://www.rei.com/product/109906
Note: Aquatabs are not effective against Cryptosporidium

Sawyer Treatments
https://www.rei.com/b/sawyer/c/water...-and-treatment

GoSun Flow: Solar Powered Water Purifier & Pump
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/g...urifier-pump#/
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Old 09-29-20, 08:49 PM
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Aquamira drops if water is clearish. Sawyer if it is murky.
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Old 09-29-20, 08:57 PM
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Katadyn, Katadyn, Katadyn. If you want clean tasty water without viruses and bad stuff that will make you sick they are going to be the best. Always well reviewed by serious people who use them and used by a lot of hikers, backpackers and serious specialists who need clean water in remote places. Plus they at least back in 2013-14 they did hold about 50% of the market because of their quality and reliability.


UV stuff is cool but only works on clear water. Tablets are fine but again best on clear water and the water tastes like crap and some don't protect against crypto (though Katadyn's Micropur is)


Indiegogo is a fun name for a Go-Go Mumpford and Sons cover band beyond that not really that great. Those sort of crowd funding places might be cool for that new board game or supporting an actual charitable cause but water purification not so much. It may have been a cool idea at the bar on a napkin but it is a health and safety item not the next Settlers of Catan or sweet movie idea.


Sure maybe they will get the product to market some actually do, good for them they got lucky. Luck is not a good business plan and not something I want when it comes down to protecting me from nasty water. Luck is nothing to rely on when the chips are down. Luck is just something that is nice to have but may not sustain you into a successful business that can actually support their product. Sometimes going to a crowd is great but in this situation I want to go with trusted experts and well Katadyn has been around since the late 20s.
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Old 09-29-20, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Katadyn, Katadyn, Katadyn.
'nuff said.

I use their 10L bag filter with a carbon filter in the hose. It might appear to be "overkill", but the size is absolutely wonderful. I've been on backpacking trips where, as a group, we had a water filter pump of some kind. We would take turns at a stream filling up a nalgene bottle or two. That was a real PITA. I forget when, but I came across the gravity filter systems. There are a lot of options and Sawyer (also mentioned earlier in the thread) is popular for using their filters in home-made gravity filter systems. The Katadyn set up seemed easier out of the box. I think back when I got mine it was noticeably more expensive, but given it was a system ready to go that's why I got it.

I can honestly say it is one of the best things I've bought for camping.

The only critique I have is that when you fill it up it is heavy. However, that weight is a good thing when you are in camp and not moving for a few days. If you don't need much water - just fill up a liter or two.

Personally, I like having a surplus of water. If I don't have a stream right in camp knowing I have the capacity in the bag is great. That means I can wash dishes, my hands, brush my teeth, etc and I don't have to "conserve". It just makes camp so much easier.

One item of consideration, and I don't really consider this a critique because it is how these function, is that the water out of the hose is a small trickle. It takes a few minutes to fill up a nalgene bottle. It sure beats the pants off of pumping though. Set it up and let it drip, then go do something else in camp for a few minutes. When you come back you have a fresh bottle of water. I like it!
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Old 09-29-20, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Hoaglund View Post
I'm interested in your chosen drinking water purifier suggestions.
Theirs many rural spring feed creeks around the crop farming limestone hills here.
Crops upon the hilltops & valleys with treed slopes in between.

Here's three examples I've noticed:

Aquatabs water purification tablets
https://www.rei.com/product/109906
Note: Aquatabs are not effective against Cryptosporidium
Chemical treatment works and is cheap but they take time and can have an off taste. They are also limited. 10 tablets may treat 60 L but are you going to treat 6 L (1.5 gallons, about 200 oz) at a time? More likely you are going to treat 1 to 2 liters at a time so, realistically, you are going to be able to treat about 10to 20 L. And since the concentration is going to be rather high, the chemical taste may be harder to get rid of.

Iím not a fan. I had the Squeeze. I used it once and had an immediate problem with filling the bags for the Squeeze. You canít submerge them to fill them. They just collapse when pushed down into a pool. I found a small fall and was able to fill them to about half full. Thatís about 500 mL. Thatís a lot of work to fill a 3L Camelbak (100 oz).

The next time I used it (about a year later), I decided to carry a water bottle that I would fill with untreated water and pour that into the bag. It worked well and I could fill the bag with almost a full liter of untreated water. Work really well. The problem...and it was a very large problem indeed...was that the filter itself didnít work. It took two hours of squeezing to get about 500 mL of water. I finally decided to get a big rock and put it on the bag. Overnight I got about a liter total of water. I had two more days of travel to get back to my truck and very little water to get there. On the second day, I managed to get water at the only store within 100 miles. I threw the filter in the trash and never carried it over the next pass.

Now, people have told me that I should have tested the filter before I took it out. They are wrong. I only used the filter once, a year before, and had only filter about 1.5L of water from a stream that was above 11,500 feet in granite mountains so it had zero dissolved solids. Iíve been told I should have back flushed the filter with vinegar. That works at home but if there is only one store within 100 miles doesnít have vinegar as well as not knowing that that might help, itís not really an option.

I have had some professional experience with hollow filters before and they donít like to be dried out. If you are using the filter every day or more frequently than once a year, the filter wouldnít dry out and wouldnít have the problem. But I donít use filters every day nor all that often. The filter has to be able to sit and dry over time yet be able to work when I need it. Storing it wet isnít that much of an option either since that can promote mold growth.

GoSun Flow: Solar Powered Water Purifier & Pump
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/g...urifier-pump#/
Car camping maybe (Iíd carry a 5 gallon water jug instead). But not for bicycle touring. It might fit in a backpack or pannier but not much else will fit in there.

My preference is a ceramic filter like the MSR Microfilter. It works after extended storage. It pumps water so that I donít have endure hand cramps or put a rock on the bag. It will filter around a liter per minute which is much faster than the Sawyer. It weighs more but if the filter doesnít work, it doesnít matter how light the filter is.
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Old 09-30-20, 05:33 AM
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I have had good luck with the filters like the Sawyer Squeeze and it's ilk. I have used them a lot, most often while backpacking, with no problems.

More often that not I have not found a filter all that useful on a bike tour though. There are exceptions, but most of the places I have gone where water resupply was scarce surface water to filter was also pretty much nonexistent. For example on the Southern Tier I didn't find it worth carrying one, ditto for most of my other road tours. On the other hand there were trips in the Sierras where filtering ice cold mountain stream water was worth the trouble just to get ice cold drinking water. That was a real treat in the heat on my tour of the southern portion of the ACA Sierra Cascades Route. Also if going off road a filter might become a must.

The good news is that this class of filters weighs a couple ounces so taking one isn't heinous if it isn't used, but even so I have not found one worth carrying on most tours. That said if I carry a filter it is one of these little squeeze ones (I often rig it up as a gravity filter though).

There is one possible drawback. They may be compromised if frozen when wet so protect against that.

I have never had the problem that Cyccocommute reports, but maybe testing out the filter before a trip if it hasn't been used for a long time might be a good idea as well. That or just carry an unused spare (3 ounces).
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Old 09-30-20, 06:16 AM
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I like the Grayl filter. https://grayl.com/collections/grayl-...r-alpine-white
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Old 09-30-20, 07:06 AM
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I carry Aquamira drops (two-part chlorine dioxide) on backcountry trips, but seldom use them. On a bike, it's usually possible to get to and carry clean water.

I don't treat high mountain springs and snowmelt. On a trip through the North Cascades, I could catch rain water cascading down rock walls without even getting off the bike. I like day-cycling Mt Evans near home, where there's over 60 miles and 8,000' of climbing without a faucet (a lodge is closed this year), but there's good snowmelt running off the rocks above treeline, in a wilderness area. That lightens the load a bit, and in my opinion it beats municipal water.

The drops are a carry-over from my long-distance hikes, where mechanical or electronic devices generally aren't reliable enough for months of use. The drops are light, compact and effective.
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Old 09-30-20, 07:15 AM
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For months on the Appalachian Trail I used the Squeeze without the bags but instead with a cheep water bottle from the grocery store I think it has a blizzard logo. Great for dunking in the puddle, pond, stream, whatever. Bottle does not have the bag's seam issues when squeezed hard multi time a day month after month... Kept tabs in my emergency kit just in case.
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Old 09-30-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Hoaglund View Post
I'm interested in your chosen drinking water purifier suggestions.
Theirs many rural spring feed creeks around the crop farming limestone hills here.
Crops upon the hilltops & valleys with treed slopes in between.
...
I would not use that water at all. Runoff and shallow springs in agricultural areas in WI likely have a lot of nitrates and other ag chemicals. I would get all of my water from wells. Wells can be suspect too, but getting a one day supply of water is likely safe enough from just about any well you see.

Your bio does not say where in WI you are, so I can't guess what types of crops you are talking about. Your description of limestone and slopes suggest the driftless area where shallow karst springs are more prevalent. I would not drink out of those springs if the source water area had any crops or pasture. A lot of CAFOs spread manure on fields too if there are any CAFOs nearby.

Since you might plan to use that water anyway, I will make a few generic comments.

Last summer when backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail, I had troubles with my MSR water filter. I asked all the other backpackers what they were using for water filters, most were using Sawyer filters. I bought one, tried it in the sink at home, worked great. I plan to use that on future backpacking trips where my only concern is bacteria contaminants. If you get a Sawyer, make sure you know how to back flush it.

If I was camping where man made chemicals including ag chemicals might be present, I would be inclined to use my Katadyn Combi filter that has replaceable carbon filter. (That filter weighs a ton, have not used mine for maybe a half decade.) Or if my MSR filter was working well, that also has a carbon filter. Or, use an in-line carbon filter. Activated carbon does not filter out all man made contaminants, nitrates, etc., but it does filter out quite a few organic chemicals so it is better than nothing.

UV is only good on microbes, not on any of the ag chemicals you might see. I bought a UV Steripen for a trip I was going on four years ago, just in case I had to wild camp. I did not use it, but I was glad I had it as a contingency. For that trip and being a contingency, I wanted a very tiny light weight device.

And UV is best on the smaller microbes. The National Park Service specifically does not recommend UV on Isle Royale where moose carry a parasite, they only recommend mechanical filter or boiling water due to that parasite.

Chlorine bleach can be used in an emergency. Several drops per liter of water, wait a half hour. I do not rely on that as my sole water treatment, but on some trips I bring a one oz bottle of Chlorine bleach along as a backup in case that was all I had. If I was on a short trip and had enough fuel, I would rely on boiling before relying on chemical treatment.

Do not let your filter freeze, if it still works after that it might not really work properly.

If you get a Sawyer, make sure you know how to backflush it.

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Old 09-30-20, 08:09 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

My preference is a ceramic filter like the MSR Microfilter. It works after extended storage. It pumps water so that I donít have endure hand cramps or put a rock on the bag. It will filter around a liter per minute which is much faster than the Sawyer. It weighs more but if the filter doesnít work, it doesnít matter how light the filter is.
Two of us used the full size version for a week of backcountry backpacking. Worked terrific. I would know. I was in charge of fetching and filtering water at the campsites. Bought one for myself for later trips. Did, in fact, work great after extended storage.
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Old 09-30-20, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

I have never had the problem that Cyccocommute reports, but maybe testing out the filter before a trip if it hasn't been used for a long time might be a good idea as well. That or just carry an unused spare (3 ounces).
I’ve heard it all before and will 20/20 hindsight, I probably should have tested it but why would I suspect any problem? I used it once in clear water to filter a couple of liters of water at the most. In my mind, it was a new filter and should have functioned just like it did the first time. If I had used it for many gallons of water, I might have suspected something or thought it needed a back flush but it had only been lightly used.

As for carrying a spare, again, why would I suspect that I would need to? I have carried ceramic filters and never had to think about testing them before I took them on a trip. If they worked before, they would work again. I look at the element before I store them and replace it if needed...only had to do that once. A spare one is another $40 as well.

My point is a cautionary tale for people who are considering the Sawyer. If you buy one, most certainly test it before you use it, especially if it has been stored for an extended period. Since mine failed I have seen other people reporting the same thing. But, as with my experience, they only discovered the problem when they needed the filter to function.
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Old 09-30-20, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Iíve heard it all before and will 20/20 hindsight, I probably should have tested it but why would I suspect any problem? I used it once in clear water to filter a couple of liters of water at the most. In my mind, it was a new filter and should have functioned just like it did the first time. If I had used it for many gallons of water, I might have suspected something or thought it needed a back flush but it had only been lightly used.

As for carrying a spare, again, why would I suspect that I would need to? I have carried ceramic filters and never had to think about testing them before I took them on a trip. If they worked before, they would work again. I look at the element before I store them and replace it if needed...only had to do that once. A spare one is another $40 as well.

My point is a cautionary tale for people who are considering the Sawyer. If you buy one, most certainly test it before you use it, especially if it has been stored for an extended period. Since mine failed I have seen other people reporting the same thing. But, as with my experience, they only discovered the problem when they needed the filter to function.
Yeah, I can see why you would have not suspected that failure would occur. I did not mean to imply that you should have known. I have no idea how common the problem you had is, but you are the only one I know of who has had it. Based on your posting history, I consider you a reliable enough person that I'd check mine before heading out with one that had been sitting for a long period, but if I have not heard of your experiences it would have never occurred to me check or carry a spare either. I will say that mine have gone for long periods between uses and I have not experienced the same problem. Perhaps it is a matter of different climates and storage conditions. I have lived in a humid climate at all times that I owned a Squeeze type filter.
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Old 09-30-20, 11:39 AM
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I have the Sawyer Squeeze, and it works OK but the bag is somewhat difficult to fill. I would go for the Katadyn BeFree if I had a do-over.
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Old 09-30-20, 11:51 AM
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I test almost everything before I go on a trip.

I have not yet used my Sawyer filter, but in the past I always pumped some water through my ceramic filters before I left home, mostly to check to make sure the O rings were working, etc. I do completely dry my ceramic filter before storage, I gave that a visual inspection before assembly, it always seemed to pump a bit hard until the ceramic was fully saturated with water but after a few liters was working normally.

And always fired up my liquid fuel stove and ran it for a few minutes before a trip, twice I discovered a bad O ring on the filler cap and the tank did not hold pressure. It is best to learn that at home. A few times found that the leather in the pump was dried out, that gave me a chance to rehab the pump leather before I was hungry for a meal.

And set up my tent before a trip. I have an old REI solo tent that had a small clear plastic window in the fly at the door, once I discovered that the adhesive holding that window to the fly was no longer adhering, so I had to bring a different tent, later re-glued the window.

Some trips I made sure my inflatable pad held air, but it always has so I more recently have sometimes skipped that test before a trip. But I really should not skip that, skipping an equipment test is a sure way to make sure it does not work right.

My camping rain gear is only used for camping, not urban use. I have had waterproof coating on a jacket fail, discovered that at home during an equipment check before a trip instead of during a rainstorm.

I even put on my campsite pants before a trip to check size, my waist size has fluctuated up and down over the years, I want to make sure that I bring a pair that fits proper.

Etc., etc., etc.
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Old 09-30-20, 12:47 PM
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My experience has gone through three phases:
1. Initially I had water treatment tablets (e.g. aquapuur). However, when on an extended trip of 10 months I was more concerned about extended exposure to chemicals. So I would generally not treat anything if the locals were drinking from it (e.g. pump houses in Russia or getting from someone's home) but would treat streams or other sources.
2. In 2016 I level Prudhoe Bay with a pump type filter (MSR I believe) It worked ok for about two months but then started to clog up and I couldn't get it working again.
3. Later in 2016, I then picked up as replacement a pair of Sawyer filters. They are fairly small and light and used them for the next year of so. Not every day but frequently enough. They worked reasonably well for that. Perhaps used at least as much in places in South America with faucets but in a stream situation I would typically have to designate one bottle as "dirty" to get the water and keep track of what was dirty vs. clean.
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Old 09-30-20, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Yeah, I can see why you would have not suspected that failure would occur. I did not mean to imply that you should have known. I have no idea how common the problem you had is, but you are the only one I know of who has had it. Based on your posting history, I consider you a reliable enough person that I'd check mine before heading out with one that had been sitting for a long period, but if I have not heard of your experiences it would have never occurred to me check or carry a spare either. I will say that mine have gone for long periods between uses and I have not experienced the same problem. Perhaps it is a matter of different climates and storage conditions. I have lived in a humid climate at all times that I owned a Squeeze type filter.
I think average annual humidity may have something to do with it. Denverís annual average relative humidity is 29% while Tallahassee is 74%. There is also a large difference between the two locations actual humidity. Denver is drier than even the relative humidity suggests because our air carries less moisture due to the atmospheric pressure.
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Old 09-30-20, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I think average annual humidity may have something to do with it. Denverís annual average relative humidity is 29% while Tallahassee is 74%. There is also a large difference between the two locations actual humidity. Denver is drier than even the relative humidity suggests because our air carries less moisture due to the atmospheric pressure.
I forget the timing of some of the trips and whose filters we used on what trips, but most of that experience with my squeeze filters were while I was living in Baltimore. There is still a big difference in the humidity between there and Denver though so humidity is likely a big factor. I hadn't even considered that elevation might be a factor in actual moisture in the air, but both places are pretty close to sea level.
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Old 09-30-20, 06:11 PM
  #19  
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Steripen is the Only Thing IME. It does not filter, just kills microorganisms. IOW it doesn't improve the water's taste, but you don't get sick. Works best on clear flowing streams and lakes, but also worked on a cattle trough with a dead animal in it. A big advantage is that is doesn't clog and it works fast, 1 minute per liter no matter how many liters you've treated. Plus it's light and compact - you can carry it in a jersey pocket along with your rain jacket. I used various pumps and filters for years. There were all a PITA. Not that I ever got sick, but clogging filters and slow filtration even with pumps . . . I just got tired of it and bought a Steripen, maybe 10 years ago. My wife and I do long backpacks in the Cascades and it's seen a lot of use. The batteries need to be replaced every few hundred liters, I don't remember the number. They only weigh a few grams. I always bring spares, but have never needed them. I change batteries every few years whether they need it or not.
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Old 09-30-20, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I would not use that water at all. Runoff and shallow springs in agricultural areas in WI likely have a lot of nitrates and other ag chemicals. I would get all of my water from wells. Wells can be suspect too, but getting a one day supply of water is likely safe enough from just about any well you see.
I live in WI the unglaciated driftless area near the WI, MN, IA Mississippi river borders. There are reported receding well water tables, ag runoff from pastures, fields & irrigation. So in my case water purifying springs & creeks is out of the question and distilled water is safer? Thank you for noticing.
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Old 10-01-20, 06:21 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Car camping maybe (I’d carry a 5 gallon water jug instead). But not for bicycle touring. It might fit in a backpack or pannier but not much else will fit in there.

My preference is a ceramic filter like the MSR Microfilter. It works after extended storage. It pumps water so that I don’t have endure hand cramps or put a rock on the bag. It will filter around a liter per minute which is much faster than the Sawyer. It weighs more but if the filter doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter how light the filter is.
Jup, ceramic + active carbon filter is where its at. But even that one is sensitive to dirt (and tannins in water) so it pays to carry something to catch the water with first. We carry a Sea-To-Summit Ultra-Sil Kitchen Sink for that reason.
Its fancier big brother, the MSR Guardian purifier looks like it has a nicer filter head uses two hoses to better flush out the dirty water and is less likely to clog + higher fill rate (2.5L/min. vs. 1L/min.).
Katadyn uses a similar system so they are on par for me.

I have used chlorine drops in the past and they work okay. Modern versions hardly have any taste.

I would pack something like the Sawyer as a backup solution but honestly, cyclists should be able to carry enough water when touring.
Chances are that if you cannot carry enough water for the trip it will be too dry to find any water in wells anyway.

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Old 10-01-20, 08:01 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
Its fancier big brother, the MSR Guardian purifier looks like it has a nicer filter head uses two hoses to better flush out the dirty water and is less likely to clog + higher fill rate (2.5L/min. vs. 1L/min.).
Katadyn uses a similar system so they are on par for me.
I found that my ceramic cartridge filter (MSR Sweetwater) worked okay, but it was not all that light and seemed to clog quickly. I like the Squeeze better. There is still plenty to complain about, but it is cheaper and lighter. I stopped carrying the Sweetwater a long time ago.

I was a little shocked at the price tag on the Guardian when I checked it out. $350 is a lot more than I want to spend on a filter and it is bigger and heavier than I want to carry for just me. Maybe it is more suitable for a larger group.


I would pack something like the Sawyer as a backup solution but honestly, cyclists should be able to carry enough water when touring.
Chances are that if you cannot carry enough water for the trip it will be too dry to find any water in wells anyway.
I agree that usefulness of a filter on bike tours is limited to nonexistent, but there are a small minority of tours where I'd find one useful. One is when going into the back country. Another is when somewhere like the Sierras in hot weather where filtering water from ice cold snow melt mountain streams is nice. A quick ice cold drink is worth carrying a light filter there. On the other hand I sent my filter home on the Trans America and left it home on the Southern Tier and most other tours and didn't miss it one bit.
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Old 10-01-20, 10:38 AM
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Sawyer mini with katadyn micropur tablets as backup.
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Old 10-01-20, 11:16 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
I would pack something like the Sawyer as a backup solution but honestly, cyclists should be able to carry enough water when touring.
Chances are that if you cannot carry enough water for the trip it will be too dry to find any water in wells anyway.
That depends on the trip. I don’t carry a water filter on a road tour because passing through towns is common enough even here in the wide open western US. But when traveling off-pavement, there are often places here in the west where camps don’t have wells. The trip where the Sawyer failed me was one of those kinds of trips. The first night’s camp was at Quartz campground where the only water source is Quartz Creek. The second night’s camp was at Mirror Lake. The lake was the water source. I will not drink from any stream or lake in Colorado without some kind of treatment. I’d probably have second thoughts about drinking from a spring. It’s just not worth the risk. I was able to purchase water in Tin Cup so I wasn’t completely without water but there are loads of places here where that isn’t an option.

I carry a Camelbak but even that isn’t enough for 3 days of riding and 2 nights of cooking (I did boil raw water for freeze-dry meals), especially at altitude. Riding above 10,000 feet (3000 m) really sucks the water out of you.

Just about a week ago, I was going to do an overnight bike pack in southeastern Colorado. Because of various issues...trails petering out, wrong turns, missing trail markers, lack of trail markers, etc...I didn’t end up doing the ride. However, the only sources of water down there is springs and stock tanks. The springs can be a bit hard to find, although I was astounded by the number of springs and water I did find. Stock tanks are okay as a water source but I’m not about to do the cowboy thing and drink where cattle drink. Hollywood makes drinking from a stream or stock tank seem safe and even desirable but Hollywood doesn’t acknowledge what comes out of the south end of a northbound cow. And cattle aren’t real careful where they let loose and cow slobber is just plain gross!

I have never had a ceramic filter clog, by the way. All of the water I’ve ever filtered came from streams that have little to no sediment. It’s one of the perks of living near the source.
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Old 10-01-20, 12:26 PM
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Southwest Wisconsin isn't exactly remote. I've ridden there a lot and have never run out of water between towns.
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