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What System do You Use? What System is Best?

 

My crew is getting ready for Philmont next summer. Going the last week so water *should* be plenty being post-monsoon season. What our scouts asked me to post has to do was post a few questions for feedback:

 

  1. What water filtration systems have you used (brand, model, style)?
  2. Which filtration process is best (e.g., pump, gravity, other)?
  3. Do you use filtration only? Sterilization only? Combination of both?
  4. Any other considerations for buying a purification system you would recommend?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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badwolf I used this water system on the AT

http://www.amazon.com/Platypus-GravityWorks-Filter-System-4-Liter/dp/B00G4V4IVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435845945&sr=8-1&keywords=platapus+water+filter

 

what I did was left the clean bag at home and used the dirty bag to fill my water  Reservoir in my pack with out having to remove it from the pack just stick the nipple in the drink tube it worked out well. 

 

while in camp I would fill both water reservoir in the packs and the dirty bag and hang that from a tree since it filters the water on demand. 

 

You do have to back flush it if you are using a lot of dirty murky water but that is not hard just life your pack up above the filter and it will clean all the mud out of it.

 

I also took tables potable aqua as a back up but never had to use them. 

 

I also did some testing I put the potable aqua in the dirty bag and then filtered it and it removed the Iodine taste and color from the water.

 

I have heard the Ultraviolet light systems work great until they stop working

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badwolf I used this water system on the AT

http://www.amazon.com/Platypus-GravityWorks-Filter-System-4-Liter/dp/B00G4V4IVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435845945&sr=8-1&keywords=platapus+water+filter

 

what I did was left the clean bag at home and used the dirty bag to fill my water  Reservoir in my pack with out having to remove it from the pack just stick the nipple in the drink tube it worked out well. 

 

while in camp I would fill both water reservoir in the packs and the dirty bag and hang that from a tree since it filters the water on demand. 

 

You do have to back flush it if you are using a lot of dirty murky water but that is not hard just life your pack up above the filter and it will clean all the mud out of it.

 

 

Thanks @@mattman578. My guys found this system and it seems both low cost and effective. We normally don't have sediment issues where we do back country stuff. Here in Europe right now just about everything is clear. In the MT-CO-WY-UT-ID area where we normally go the water is the same. Sounds like the AT has more sediment. Thanks for the feedback, I will pass along to the boys.

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We use a mix of the following:

  • Pump filtration is okay, but can jam after a few days of gritty water. So, you have to carry maintenance/replacement gear.
  • Tablets are reliable -- especially with cloudy sources, but hard on the digestion after a few days.
  • Gravity is easiest, but takes planning.
  • The UV light weights about as much as tabs ... good for low-sediment sources, fast acting, but still creeps me out.

Our boys are older so each can carry his own system, and we rotate through them over the course of a few days.

 

Really and truly, given our location, chelating, boiling and distilling would be the best. Followed by rain capture and fired clay/silver nitrate gravity filter. Neither of which are conducive to patrols on the move.

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Really and truly, given our location, chelating, boiling and distilling would be the best. Followed by rain capture and fired clay/silver nitrate gravity filter. Neither of which are conducive to patrols on the move.

And that is important. We found that while they are a bit of pain, pump filtration filters the most water the fastest. Boiling is faster for the amount of water, but that requires fuel for stoves in areas where weren't allowed fires. We take tablets for back up.

 

One thing for sure, practice using whatever system you choose before the trek. I can remember one trek where we spent more time reading the instructions than purifying the water.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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We used this http://www.rei.com/product/737349/katadyn-base-camp-water-filter in the BW and it was terrible.  It worked great on the first two bag-fulls or so, but after that it continuously plugged up and procedures to clean the filter screen were only marginally successful.  We took the built-in screen off, replacing it with a coffee filter which was marginally better.  I think it uses the same filter as the Katadyn hiker so if you had both it might be more viable.

 

On that BWCA trip I used an MSR mini-works filter (http://www.rei.com/product/695265/msr-miniworks-ex-water-filter) and I doubled up with Katadyn micropure tablets  (http://www.rei.com/product/743202/katadyn-micropur-purification-tablets-package-of-20).  I found myself cleaning the filter element in the miniworks about every third or fourth litre because of the sediment.  I thought the aftertaste from the micropure tablets was really minimal although the boys about gagged at the taste and covered it up with flavor packets. 

 

One of the other leaders on that trip used a SteriPen.  He typically used the pen after filtering in lieu of the micropure tablets because of the taste.  It did chew through batteries though. 

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Did Philmont last summer, only had to filter at one campsite. Used pump filtration, as mentioned, faster and less cumbersome then other methods. We had tablets for backup.

 

Dry camps are the tougher part of Philmont.

 

Used the same system the year before at Northern tier. Boiled water for cooking, pump for drinking, tablet for backup.

 

 

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Thanks @@mattman578. My guys found this system and it seems both low cost and effective. 

 

So bought the system above. Son had the next gen system $30 more than the one above. For the record that's $150+ worth of filter systems. Second use, the things clogged...both of them. Not in the water system but the hand pump. One pump handle broke (on the more expensive system). The systems' hand pump needed to have an o-ring lubbed every use. Ridiculous!! Worked great the one time (first time) we used it. After that it was a disaster.

 

Contacting the company to return or replace the product. I would totally steer clear of the Katadyn systems. They are worthless. You'd be better off using a coffee filter and iodine tabs.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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So bought the system above. Son had the next gen system $30 more than the one above. For the record that's $150+ worth of filter systems. Second use, the things clogged...both of them. Not in the water system but the hand pump. One pump handle broke (on the more expensive system). The systems' hand pump needed to have an o-ring lubbed every use. Ridiculous!! Worked great the one time (first time) we used it. After that it was a disaster.

 

Contacting the company to return or replace the product. I would totally steer clear of the Katadyn systems. They are worthless. You'd be better off using a coffee filter and iodine tabs.

Man that sucks hope they work with you and get you a replacement

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badwolf I used this water system on the AT

http://www.amazon.com/Platypus-GravityWorks-Filter-System-4-Liter/dp/B00G4V4IVQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435845945&sr=8-1&keywords=platapus+water+filter

 

what I did was left the clean bag at home and used the dirty bag to fill my water  Reservoir in my pack with out having to remove it from the pack just stick the nipple in the drink tube it worked out well. 

 

while in camp I would fill both water reservoir in the packs and the dirty bag and hang that from a tree since it filters the water on demand. 

 

You do have to back flush it if you are using a lot of dirty murky water but that is not hard just life your pack up above the filter and it will clean all the mud out of it.

 

I also took tables potable aqua as a back up but never had to use them. 

 

I also did some testing I put the potable aqua in the dirty bag and then filtered it and it removed the Iodine taste and color from the water.

 

I have heard the Ultraviolet light systems work great until they stop working

 

 

I love the Platypus.  It is lightweight and quick.  You fill up the DIRTY bag when you see water and can filter when you get to camp.  No effort required.  Been using the same filter for around 20 nights with no problems - often for multiple scouts.  You don't need the CLEAN bag and the system is less expensive without it.  Find a 20% off coupon and it is a great deal.  I actually, saw it on sale and bought a second one.  Now I bring two DIRTY bags and one set of filters.  Can carry twice as much water into camp.

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Why would anyone want to replace junk with more junk.  Go for getting your $150 back.

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Why would anyone want to replace junk with more junk.  Go for getting your $150 back.

 

I mis-spoke. We are most certainly going for our money back. As Mike Meyer's Scottish character might have said, "Well, if it's not Scottish it's crap!" Well, this certainly was not Scottish. ;)

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I mis-spoke. We are most certainly going for our money back. As Mike Meyer's Scottish character might have said, "Well, if it's not Scottish it's crap!" Well, this certainly was not Scottish. ;)

 

@

Oooh, oooh, oooh, I gotta remember that.  The moderators don't like certain words so from now on if I think something is not Scottish, I can say so!  Thanks!

Edited by Stosh
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What I used to use, was an MSR Mini Works filter/pump. It worked well and was easy to clean. It was dependable and seemed good for filtering from water with lots of stuff in it like the Colorado river in Grand Canyon where I was spending a lot of time. It's big problem is it's heavy, about a pound.

 

This past year I've been backpacking the Arizona Trail, 800 miles from Mexico to Utah. A lot of the water sources are sketchy at best, made up of dirt cattle tanks and other stock tanks. What I'm using now, is the Sawyer Mini Filter. It's small, inexpensive, and light. Very simple to use with no moving parts. It can be set up as a gravity system, but I just squeeze water through it. For about $25, you get the filter, a syringe to backwash it, and a 16 oz. bladder for the unfiltered water. I've used this system for the past 235 miles of trail and am very happy with it.

 

What I do is use Smart Water liter bottles instead of the bladder and that works well. The bottles are much lighter than Nalgenes and durable enough. They are also much easier to fill than the bladder. The filter will screw right on the bottle and I just use the filter instead of the bottle cap. I'll leave a water source with a liter of unfiltered water. That saves time at each stop since I may not need to filter water until I need a drink. I also may not need to filter the water at all if it is boiled for cooking instead of drinking.

 

My understanding is that the smaller smart water bottles with a squirt cap can be used to backwash the filter and then the syringe can be left at home. I've never tried that.

 

So my system is:

Sawyer Mini Filter.

50ml syringe for backwashing filter.

One 1 liter Smart Water bottle for unfiltered water.

Two 1 liter  Smart Water bottles for filtered water.

One 20 oz. Gatorade bottle for drinking.

One 1 qt. Nalgene for mixing electrolyte drinks.

One 2 liter Platypus bladder for unfiltered water for long dry stretches.

 

One minor change I'm thinking of is to switch to two Smart Water bottles of unfiltered water and one of filtered water. That should speed up stops for water by a few minutes and move the filtering to another stop where I wouldn't be doing anything else but resting anyway. If I do this, I will mark the cap of the second bottle so it is obvious what bottle is filtered and what bottle isn't.

 

Have fun at Philmont. It looks like I'll be an adult advisor for a trek there next summer too.

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