Water Treatment on the trail

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auguiev
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 06 2014 11:36 pm
City, State: prescott, az

Water Treatment on the trail

Post by auguiev » Dec 04 2014 11:33 am

Hello folks, as I'm gearing up for the Spring thru-hike I am now looking at water treatment options. Whatcha think??? I am looking at the MSR Sweet Water as well as sticking with chemical treatment (iodine, aquamira, bleach, etc.). I hate using pump filters (bad experiences in the past), and I also hate killing everything good in my gut with iodine. Anyone out there have a tried-and-true method for water treatment on the AZT?

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chumley
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Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by chumley » Dec 04 2014 11:53 am

:welcome:

There's a long thread on HAZ about water purification dating back to 2003. It's a good read. But the most recent posts are probably more relevant. See: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=1329&start=100#p99107

Currently, I think many use the Sawyer Squeeze or even better the Sawyer Mini. It can be purchased for about $20 at Walmart. It's super-lightweight and field-cleanable.

It's always good to have some bleach or other tablet as a backup too.
Profound observer

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Sredfield
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Joined: Sep 08 2002 1:07 pm
City, State: Ahwatukee, AZ

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by Sredfield » Dec 04 2014 4:34 pm

I used a First Need pump filter, changed the cartridge once or twice. Don't skimp on water treatment, you can drink questionable water and get sick "later" on a day hike but on a long hike "later" is part of the plan.
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

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igellen
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Joined: Mar 04 2013 6:56 am
City, State: tucson

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by igellen » Dec 25 2014 4:49 pm

I like the squeeze filter. Only problem is trying to suck up water from shallow sources. For those, a pump mechanism is nice to have. Sometimes I put a bandana over the pre-filter to keep sludge out. Aqua Mira drops are also good, although not as effective as a disinfectant.
I've had some friends from the PCT who have been surprised by the 'quality' of the water sources in Arizona. 2 of my favorite stories:
In the Babbitt Ranch section, one water source was a cow tank...when we arrived, the cow was standing in it (and no doubt peeing and pooping in it).
In the Mazatzals, we found the spring mentioned. It was in an iron culvert, which had rusted. The water was the color of red wine. Even with filtering, it tasted of rust!

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kevinweitzel75
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Joined: Apr 04 2010 1:15 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ.

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by kevinweitzel75 » Dec 25 2014 8:38 pm

Been using the MSR Sweetwater for a couple years now. A little heavy, but works like a champ with no field/sick issues yet. Probably time to change the filter though. I always pre filter with a bandana just to try to keep it clean. Have pumped some pretty questionable water, green slimy stuff on top out deer hunting one time. Drinking water had a very slight green tint to it. Tasted a little... well, didn't taste like bottle water that's for shure. But didn't care at the time, needed something to drink bad. Never got sick from it. Good pump.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
Robert Frost

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big_load
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Joined: Oct 28 2003 11:20 am
City, State: Andover, NJ

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by big_load » Dec 25 2014 9:35 pm

kevinweitzel75 wrote:Tasted a little... well, didn't taste like bottle water that's for shure. But didn't care at the time, needed something to drink bad.
There are few carbon post-filters compatible with the Sweetwater. They work wonders on bad flavors.

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blisterfree
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City, State: lithosphere

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by blisterfree » Dec 25 2014 10:44 pm

One point to consider: Aqua Mira isn't bleach, but rather chlorine dioxide. It neutralizes the bad guys by oxygenating your water, but is rendered largely inert by this process and won't negatively affect gut flora. A.M. also works passably well on reducing unpleasant taste and odor, although it can impart some of its own if mixed too strongly for a particular water source (for example, it tastes awful when added to tap water in a glass at home due to having so few dissolved solids to work on). There's a bit of a learning curve involved, but in my experience chlorine dioxide can be an effective primary method of water treatment in the Southwest. This, not in spite of notoriously foul sources like cow tanks and turbid runoff, but rather because of them, and the way filters tend to clog and fail under such duress.

I'd just add that filters are only as effective as their rated porosity is smaller than the cooties trying to pass through. Their effectiveness can also diminish with use, especially as they begin to clog, decrease in performance (harder to pump) and become more prone to internal damage. Cross-contamination of inlet and outlet tubes is also an obvious concern during storage. You'll probably get at least a few cooties (not getting into the technical jargon on that one) into your gut, at which point it's down to survival of the fittest (good cootie vs bad cootie).

Many hikers like filters and dislike chemical treatment, or feel compelled to carry both for contingencies. I'm just here to say that Aqua Mira is all I've ever used on the AZT and GET, I've treated lots of crappy water and never gotten sick. Prior to using A.M. I'd hiked other long trails that feature nicer looking water, on average, and always got sick at some point, regardless of water treatment method (filters, iodine, Polar Pure, bleach, grapefruit seed extract, the works). At this point I'm a full-on chlorine dioxide believer and can't see going back, or moving on, unless the status quo somehow changes for the worse. YM, of course, MV.

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RowdyandMe
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City, State: Deer Valley, AZ

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by RowdyandMe » Dec 26 2014 3:55 pm

@skillpore Now you know where Phoenix City water comes from. :sl:
Rowdy and Widowmaker

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blisterfree
Posts: 176
Joined: Jan 29 2012 11:47 pm
City, State: lithosphere

Re: Water Treatment on the trail

Post by blisterfree » Dec 26 2014 6:58 pm


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