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Backpacker's Health & Safety The Backpacker's Health & Safety forum is for the discussion of health and safety/survival issues that directly relate to backpackers.


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  #1  
Old 09-09-2015, 10:39 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Upgrading to a filter

well, after a scorcher of a late-summer hike(hotter than i've hiked in a very long time) - and absolutely demolishing our water supply - i myself worked my way through probably six liters a day - i'm convinced it's time to change/update my method.

my old method(ClO2 tablets) just doesn't measure up, it's too slow - we didn't have enough water fill opportunities and wound up drinking well before the four hours were up(and boy does that water taste kind of funky if you don't wait).

boiling as a backup method is still safe but SLOW when you're trying to do a lot of water(we had limited opportunities). we blew well over an hour fully fillilng all our water capacity on the second day.

filtering would have been THE way to go, that time.

looking around i see a lot of good ones - the one that's catching my eye is the sawyer mini. seems to have good things going for it. can work as a direct filter for top-ups, or as a gravity filter for camp and over-night full-tanking. price point is attractive.

seen some rumblings over time about the sawyer mini filters and their attachment methods - what's the skinny from current or new users? do these still fit platy soft bottles, or will i need to go the full route, use tubing and valved bladders?


(i plan to stick to the ClO2 tablets as a backup system should the filter pack it in - with boiling being the as-always final option).
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2015, 08:46 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Getting Pumped Up

For solo use I've been using Aquamira chlorine dioxide liquid for years now.
The directions state that it treats a quart of water in 15 minutes, or if very cold in 30 minutes (which is the time I usually use).
Aquamira comes in a set of two small 1 oz dropper bottles, Part A & Part B.
The draw back to using the Aquamira is a set of bottles only comes with one mix cup to treat one quart of water at a time.
I saved a second mix cap from a used up set of bottles.
It's possible to batch treat four quarts of water every five minutes using the two bottle caps and two mix cups at the same time.
(Only if you're careful not to tip over the uncapped bottles).

I've never owned or used a Miniworks, but for many years before switching to Aquamira I used a Katadyn Hiker pump filter.
I only use that now when hiking with groups.
I hate to pump water, so I "rent" my filter out to other members of the group on the condition that they pump my water too.
The two small bottle droppers of Aquamira only weigh a few ounces and the filter weighs about a pound.
So, that was an easy trade.
On one Boy Scout backpacking trip a kid who "rented" my filter actually managed to blow out the side of the pump by forcing it when the thing clogged.
I've never had any problems with the Aquamira and a new set lasted five weeks of daily use hiking the AT a few years back.
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  #3  
Old 09-10-2015, 11:07 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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the liquid ClO2 sounds useful, but i prefer something that can be bomb-proof, that is, i don't know how i feel about the mixing/etc. the more solid state the better.

i'm no fan of pumping. i've done it in the past, it works, but oy, what a pain in the back.

that's why i've been tablet-using for so long. scoop, fill, tablet, boom.

part of the attraction of gravity filtration - scoop, fill, let filter, done.

thanks for the vote on another alternative.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:20 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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I used a Sawyer Mini on an 83 mile kayak trip on the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in late December last year. The Sawyer had a 2L dirty water bag and I had an old 2 quart juice bottle for the clean water. i just strung up the Sawyer on a branch and used it as a gravity feet into the juice bottle while I worked on other things in camp. It worked like a champ. Of course, the Rio Grande is REALLY silty and I had to backflush it every gallon or so. I put the filter in a Ziploc and kept it in my sleeping bag to prevent it from freezing. I'll be using it as my primary from now on but will continue to keep some tablets on hand for back up use. I also have the liquid AquaMira system but for me, I find the bottles awfully hard to squeeze drops out, which might be a product of the arthritis in my hands and wrists.
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  #5  
Old 09-10-2015, 07:18 PM
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tacbear tacbear is offline
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Another vote for Sawyer Mini. Used it on the AT in May. Connected it to the pump from my First need system...pump and filter were less than 10 ounces! It allowed me to stop and drop my pack and directly pump water into my Camelback w/o taking it out of my pack. By the end of the trip everyone in my group was using my filter system because it was so fast.
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2015, 12:08 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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What about a lightweight multiple filter approach? Sometimes you have time for the tabs or a gravity filter, but sometimes you don't. So maybe carry tabs for when you have down time at camp, etc. And something like the Aquamira Frontier filter straw for when gravity filters or tabs just plain take too long?

For myself, my primary filter is a pumper, the Sweetwater Guardian. Back when it was invented, it was pretty small and light. It has carbon filtration and pumped on both strokes, so really liked it. With Reality's mods, it's smaller and lighter still. But by today's standards, it's a little big and heavy. And you said pumpers aren't your cup of tea anyway.

I do carry the Frontier in my survival kit. I'd trust it to keep me safe. I suspect it (or some straw filter like it) would be pretty practical for regular trail use when your favorite go-to's won't work. These days, everyone wants multi use, and this is the opposite. It's really light, small, and inexpensive, so regular replacement isn't really an issue. In this case, the cost of redundancy is really small. If you bought one and tried it at home and it worked well for you, it might be a pretty good trail solution for when the tabs won't do. (I know it says "single use" and "30 gallon life", but I bet you won't drink more on the trail than that on a single trip anyway, so it might do?)
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2015, 12:14 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacbear
Another vote for Sawyer Mini. Used it on the AT in May. Connected it to the pump from my First need system...pump and filter were less than 10 ounces! It allowed me to stop and drop my pack and directly pump water into my Camelback w/o taking it out of my pack. By the end of the trip everyone in my group was using my filter system because it was so fast.
That's a very clever idea!
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2015, 07:40 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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ggervin -
the frontier straw isn't a bad thought. while i normally tank up heavy when i do(to avoid having to re-tank before reaching camp) an intermediate/emergency option isn't an unreasonable thought.

part of why i have run water-heavy in the past was because of the tablets - the amount of time to render water safe was long enough that i always aimed at having enough water for the day when i set out. this is heavy, bulky, and i'm getting on in years, dangit. any sort of filtering option is going to be faster than tablets, and probably faster than boiling.

grandpa - sounds like the sawyer is apparently pretty fast, so a mid-day water break isn't nearly so onerous. if gravity feed was slow, i'd definitely be leaning stronger towards pumps - it might still be on the table for group trips if nobody else brings one.

the lack of a carbon element is a question - how does the water taste? it wouldn't be hard to work in a carbon element on either side of the gravity system, it's just one more thing.

tacbear - i like the notion of linking it to a pump like that. i might still have a lightweight one knocking around in a gear box somewhere. that could give me more capability. what quick-connects do you use for that? i've been looking at source's water bladders - they have a set of quick-connects, but options are options.
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2015, 05:11 PM
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tacbear tacbear is offline
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First picture is my First Need Purifier (weighs 18.5 oz as shown)

2nd picture is the First Need pump w/homemade PVC bracket so I can use it with my Sawyer Mini filter (6 oz as shown)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Filter1.jpg (148.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Filter2.jpg (171.5 KB, 10 views)
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2015, 02:50 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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The first filter I ever bought was the original First Need. Even in it's day it was bulky at best, but relatively cheap.

Your idea is totally awesome! That looks like a great pump filter! (Great photos of your setup, too.) Thanks for sharing it.
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