Oct 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm #1281009
First post here. I've been day hiking for years but am getting into backpacking now. My first trips will be in territory very familiar to me: the Everglades terrain. Swampy, wet, mangrove forest, scrub, coastal prairies. I just got some gear in for some full weekend hikes, and looking into a multi-day hike at the end of December (just trying to find the right trail, not many to choose from for backpacking over several days). I expect the weather to get into the 30s at night, 60s or higher during the day, and though it will probably still be wet out there it won't be raining much by then.
Here's a gear list, and an incomplete photo of most of the gear I will be carrying. The big dSLR is not an option, it's an essential; I am a freelance photographer and part of the reason behind any hiking for me is coming back with new images. But I'm trying to see what else I can cut down on, right now the pack should be at an estimated 33-34#. I am 6'1" and 200lbs on a day I don't eat any pizza…
I looked up some other lists on this site and I seem to have more stuff in mine than most. I appreciate any help!
Eureka Solitaire tent 3#
Teton Fox 5200 backpack 6#
Suisse Microtekk .7 Adventurer sleeping bag 3#
walking stick (monopod)
toilet paper + bags
small micorfiber towel
cooking mess kit
food+snacks and water (if I need to cache for a trail??)
compass + maps
flashlight + batteries
camera gear + video (small p+s) filters= ND + cpl 6#
bookOct 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm #1794116
Nice, I love the everglades, going to be down there in Nov doing some car camping. Gear looks decent. Personally I would cut out the trench tool, replace canteen with platypus, ditch the venom kit (pretty much useless IMO) and take a good look at that mess kit, figure out what you will really use and ditch the rest.
Hopefully mosquitoes will be down with the cooler weather. Let me know what trail you end up finding.Oct 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm #1794125
Thanks, I was actually thinking along the same lines, although I was looking at a Nalgene bottle to replace the canteen – I just found out about Platypus while reading through these forums today. I looked them up and they have a 1L bottle for about the same money as a Nalgene type, but it's all flexible and stuff. I think that's the way I'll go.
I was going to bring the trench tool for catholes, but I might just get a plastic trowel instead. Much lighter. I've heard some mixed reviews on venom kits – I have snakes (non-venomous) and what from what I know about dealing with bites, the kit won't do much. But some people seem to swear by them. Further research required, I guess.
The mess kit will probably only include a pan to boil water in the end – I don't plan on buying filtration and don't want chemicals. I have been looking at prepacked meals like Heater Meals so may not need any actual cookware.
Trails I have found so far are in Myakka (Sarasota), the Concho Billy Trail or the Florida Trail section from the Oasis Visitor Center to I-75 (just found out about this one), both in Big Cypress, or possibly JW Corbett in Palm Beach.Oct 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm #1794189
Eureka Solitaire tent 3#: You're in the ideal area for a hammock to get off of the swampy, critter-infested ground. Consider a Warbonnet Blackbird hammock and tarp.
Teton Fox 5200 backpack 6#: heavy. Gossamer Gear Gorilla or ULA Ohm are a little over 2.5 lbs
Suisse Microtekk .7 Adventurer sleeping bag 3#: Lots of 30F-rated bags at 2 lbs or less.
gloves: wool liner gloves from Campmor or surplus store are only 2 oz
knife: a #1 Erickson Mora (4" fixed blade) is around 2.8 oz and $13
trash bags: a trash compactor liner bag is tougher, use one as pack liner
zip ties: delete, just twist bag shut
ziploc bags: good choice
first aid: looks too heavy to me, shoot for 3 oz or less
venom kit: delete
deet: try pircaridin sometime (I'm curious to know how it works down there in the near-jungle. :D)
shovel: delete, use a sharp, sturdy stick, hiking pole, or tent stake
shortwave radio: delete
cooking mess kit: look into freezer bag cooking, just take 1 pot which can boil 2 cups of water
canteen: use Gatorade, SmartWater, or other water bottle (around 1.3 oz)
2 tshirts: just wear one, polyester
underwear/socks: just one extra pair of thin polyester socks, wool if temps < 60 F
compass + maps: compass looks good, make sure maps stay dry
lighters: good choice, 1 mini bic, another backup
* You'll need some type of insulation under you. Consider one of these:
blue foam pad from discount store (the stiff foam, not the squishy stuff)
RidgeRest foam pad–probably only need 3/4 length
Exped SynMat UL7 inflatable (what I use and like)
* Repackage everything you bring so that you only bring what you'll actually use on the trip.
* Add a pealess whistle, carried in a loss-proof way on-person
* pants: seriously consider wearing a pair of light, fast-drying softshell pants like Patagonia Guides
* I don't see any water filter or treatment on your list. I'd use a filter in your area.
* Add a fleece beanie for cold nights in camp and sleeping.
* Have you thought about footwear and how you'll deal with wet feet when it's 30F?
Not counting food and water, you should be able to get your pack weight down to at least 15 lbs.Oct 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm #1794193
Thanks, Andy. That's a good breakdown from my list. I'm going to have to seriously reconsider some of my kit. I appreciate your taking the time to go over it.Oct 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm #1794199
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
Check the site's class lists. Ryan also has a packing list under troop 676 in bozeman montana. There is also a companion list that explains, in general, what each item is. I agree in the Swamp a hammock is the way to go. PM me for the info if you can't find it and I will help you out.
JasonOct 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm #1794207
You are on the right track by getting a list together. If you want to get lighter, try weighing each item and making a spreadsheet or list with the weights.
There are folk here who go out with kits that are just 5 pounds base weight (everything except consumables– food, water, and fuel). That is on the radically light side, but you should be able to put together a comfortable kit and stay under 12 pounds or so base weight— or better as you can handle it. You'll be loving that as it will help with your photo gear.
The job should be a little easier as you don't have sub-freezing weather to deal with. Hammocks are great for warm weather, bugs and creepy-crawlies.
Do read all you can in the forums here. Books by Ray Jardine and BPL's own Ryan Jordan and Mike Clelland are a great help.
Here is a guide I wrote for another forum. I think it will point you in the lighter direction:
Getting light takes a few steps:
*Don't take anything that you won't use. About the only exception for me is first aid or other emergency/survival items— stuff you never want to use but would be VERY glad to have when it hits the fan. And you can still keep those items Spartan and as light as possible. If it won't keep you warm, dry, fed, or safe, it stays home.
*Take only the amounts you need for the trip. Decanting soap, insect repellent, sunscreen and the like to small containers can save many ounces at little cost. You don't need a 3oz bottle of bug juice for an overnight trip, and so on.
*Weigh everything, write it down and add it up. Doing a spreadsheet may seem bothersome, but it is the easiest, cheapest way to lighten your kit. Scrutinize everything you put on your back. You will see the heavy stuff and know what to look for in future purchases to get your kit lighter and more coordinated (read efficient).
*Seek out the lightest, highest performance items you can afford. Sometimes that saves money: two recycled drinking water bottles will save you about 8oz and $20 over a pair of 1 liter Nalgene bottles. Chlorine dioxide tablets weigh far less than a filter, etc.
*Coordinate your gear to work as a finely tuned system rather than a random accumulation of gear that you just happen to like.
*Seek out items that can have multiple uses, like the rain cape/tarp shelter I mentioned above.
*Give up some of your city life conventions. You don't need separate sleeping clothes or several spare tee shirts, etc. It is okay to be a little smelly and dirty. It's not a fashion show and I don't care if your colors aren't coordinated.
*Know that you have control over what you take and how much it weighs. It is YOUR decision– and also your responsibility to live with the outcome. Much of the excess that we pack is in response to a fear of nature. Know how your body works. Understand the physics of staying warm and dry. Know how to navigate and take care of yourself. Your brain is (or should be) the best piece of equipment you have, and preparing it can make your wilderness experience safe and comfortable.
*Don't be afraid to hike your own hike. Everyone has opinions; they are free and worth every penny ;) You will find opinions on both sides of the weight fence– "that is too heavy" and "that is too fragile" for the same equipment. At one point my base weight was about 8 pounds, but I found frameless packs to be a royal pain to load and to wear, so I upped my kit weight a pound for a different pack and I'm willing to live with the compromises. Many people need more comfortable sleeping pads, or warmer bag and clothing. What works for a 20 year old male in top condition may be different that your needs. I see no gain in suffering– it is supposed to be recreation, not the Seal Team 6 training course! You may see gear lists that work for Colorado or the Sierra, but would be cold and wet in the PNW. For example, I like fleece and synthetic fills over down.
*Weight savings can snowball in your favor. A lighter kit allows you to use a lighter pack, you can wear lighter shoes, and so forth.
Of course there is a lot more to go in the pack and it adds up. If you have 20 items in your kit and can find replacements that are an average of 1oz lighter each, you saved 1.25 pounds. Cook kits tend to be too large and meal planning (or the lack of it) can tip the scales. I think clothing is the hardest for many to get their heads around and can be very expensive. Toys creep in all over, with cameras and electronics heading up the list, along with a host of "handy" trail gadgets. Books are another brick in the pack. A lot of little things can add pounds quickly. Nothing is lighter than leaving it at home.
Here is a very generic gear list for a typical ultralight kit. There are many variations and opinions, so consider it just a basic framework.
Ultralight generic gear list:
First aid kit
Base layer shirt
Now, to start working on your list. We dont' have all the weights, but I'll give my $0.02 on what you have:
Eureka Solitaire tent 3# [heavy– you can do better by 30%, or more]
Teton Fox 5200 backpack 6# [REALLY heavy. You can get a framed 58 liter pack that is less than half that weight and many frameless packs that are 24oz or so]
Suisse Microtekk .7 Adventurer sleeping bag 3# [heavy and bulky. You can get 32F bags in the 2 pound range or less]
space blanket [why?]
jacket/poncho [you need more planning here]
gloves [be specific and the weight]
walking stick (monopod) [understood on the photo end, but you can get a lighter trekking staff with a 1/4-20 thread under the top knob. We may save you enough weight to afford a real live tripod!]
knife [that one in the photo looks big. I use a 3.5" folder that is considered huge here, see multi-tool remarks below]
trash bags [one for a pack liner]
zip ties [a couple small ones for repairs, maybe]
ziploc bags [why?]
first aid [keep it small and stuff that you need for this environment]
venom kit [do they work?]
toilet paper + bags [watch out for Mike Clelland and TP!]
hand sanitizer [good, but a small container– enough for your trip, no more]
toothbrush/paste [small and light]
contacts solution [small container– enough for your trip, no more]
sunscreen [small container– enough for your trip, no more]
deet [small container– enough for your trip, no more]
small micorfiber towel
talcum powder [okay. but as above, small containers– enough for your trip, no more]
binoculars [if needed for your photo work and small, otherwise, no]
shovel [NO. A small potty trowel or tent stake, but not that folding thing in your photo]
shortwave radio [really small and light? CountyComm GP4L rocks]
cooking mess kit [NO. Read up on stoves and cooking systems. UL is typically a 500-850ml titanium pot and a spork, maybe a cup. Stove?]
canteen [NO. Platypus bladder or a recycled water bottle]
food+snacks and water (if I need to cache for a trail??) [needs planning. Water purification needs to be nailed down]
2 tshirts [one, and no cotton]
underwear/socks [what you wear and one spare pair of socks, no cotton]
compass + maps [good!]
flashlight + batteries [LED headlamp: small, light, long-lived]
camera gear + video (small p+s) filters= ND + cpl 6# [per your needs]
multi-tool [A small one like a Leatherman Micra or take a Swiss Army knife and nix your other knife]
fire-starter [good– like a mini firesteel?]
lighters [one mini-Bic]
cell phone [if you have reception. How will you re-charge?]
book [if you are going to have the phone, get a smart phone and use e-books]
There is a whole bunch of other stuff you need. Time to study up :)Oct 24, 2011 at 6:08 am #1794241
@swamp_stomperLocale: South East USA
Section 2 of the Florida trail is the drier and nicer part of the trail in big cypress. That's the section of trail north of I75 and south of the Indian reservation. The blue trail is one of the best pieces of trail out there. The Broward county chapter of the FTA, the Happy Hoofers, is holding a day hike out there this Saturday. We also have many hikes planned this season and some are multi-day hikes. One is a 3 day hike along Fisheating creek in December. You are also welcome to attend any of our meetings they are the second Thursday of every month at fern forest in Broward county. That being said wherever you hike out there some items you should take are a GPS, Water filtration system, and a camp stool. The GPS because it's very easy to get lost out there because of the dense vegetation. Clean drinking water is a big issue. I've seen even experienced hikers get in to trouble and run out of water. It's just not practice to carry all of your water on your back for a multi-day hike. The stool could be considered an extravagance but there's no place to sit when you need a break and unless your into sitting on wet ground and pulling ticks off yourself you will be glad you took it.
LarryOct 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm #1794414
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
Looks like you already have the gear, so just go out and use it. What you have is fine and should work well, though I too would drop the e-tool for a plastic trowel (or a "snow stake" – an aluminum tent stake that works well as a trowel and weighs ~1 ounce.)
As you get more experience, you'll most likely start to adapt your list, exchanging some gear for lighter or better alternatives. That's what every hiker does. Don't worry about having the lightest possible pack – get out and do some hiking, and it will come with time.
I would add another water bottle – I like to have two liters of water when needed, though I often hike with only one. And you'll need some way to treat or filter your water, depending on the source.
Hope you get some good photos. Please post them with your trip reports when you get back.
KenOct 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm #1794435
Most of us here would probably carry a lot less but it comes with experience (and a little money for some items). You do need a closed cell foam pad at least to go under your bag; that's an essential. I think you will also need water purification of some sort(pump, chemical, or UV light). I would repackage things like sunscreen and soap into very small packages; you'll be amazed how little of the stuff you actually need. Replace your canteen with a couple of free liter-sized water bottles; they will work fine and much lighter. You can save a LOT of weight on the bag and pack but it will cost you a bit, so I wouldn't sweat it right now. Go do it.Oct 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm #1794474
"Thanks, I was actually thinking along the same lines, although I was looking at a Nalgene bottle to replace the canteen – I just found out about Platypus while reading through these forums today. I looked them up and they have a 1L bottle for about the same money as a Nalgene type, but it's all flexible and stuff. I think that's the way I'll go."
Just walk into the grocery store and pick off a couple one liter bottles of drinking water. There is nothing lighter, cheaper or more useful.
"I was going to bring the trench tool for catholes, but I might just get a plastic trowel instead. Much lighter."
Good move. An aluminum snow stake is lighter yet, and smaller. I suspect the soils in the Eveglades are much easier to live with than thin mountain soils.
"The mess kit will probably only include a pan to boil water in the end – I don't plan on buying filtration and don't want chemicals. I have been looking at prepacked meals like Heater Meals so may not need any actual cookware."
I really encourage you to do more research on your water purification. A filter with backup chemicals is my advice. If you get internal bugs, you're gonna be one sorry camper! Boiling is good, but being able to stock up when you have a good water supply is important and the timing may not be right to stop, boil, cool it enough to bottle and move on. Modern chemicals like chlorine dioxide are much better than the old iodine treatments, in terms of both efficacy and taste.
By all means get a light stove and cook pot and work on a menu. The stove will allow you to boil drinking water too.
Have you been backpacking and done multi-day trips before?Oct 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm #1794567
I've been reading all your replies, so let me see if I can answer everyone. I really wish I had found this site just a couple of weeks before, I was concentrating too much on local hiking spots as I thought I had the gear figured out. But it's not too late to change.
Keep in mind that I am one of those "always be prepared" kinda people, though I usually end up relying on just my own ingenuity and whatever is at hand to fix problems. Did I mention I'm also an overthinker? That's why I'm here. (On my first road trip on a motorcycle, I carried half my toolbox and never needed anything. Now? I just carry the multi-tool and some fuses.)
A few points:
OK, ditching the canteen and probably just going with one or two 1L water bottles. I wasn't looking forward to drinking out of the plastic-tasting canteen anyway.
Ditching the venom kit, most all of you seem to agree it's a waste of space.
Ditching the folding shovel in favor of the plastic trowel or tent stake. Also getting rid of the binocs, guess I don't need them.
Water purification: I've read stuff over the years that nothing beats boiling? I did think it was inconvenient to have to set up a fire, but the purifiers are hella expensive. Chem tablets might be the way to go, I will look into this better now.
Clothing: I thought of bringing a second t-shirt in case the first got wet while wading (read: misstep and fall in). Maybe I can ditch that too. I have some fast-drying pants I've been using for years, forget the brand but that's what I'm taking. Footwear is a pair of Hi-Tec Natal hikers, not truly waterproof but they dry fairly quickly.
Foam mat/space blanket: After seeing the blanket, I can see it can't replace a foam mat so I guess I will switch them out. I was hoping the blanket would not only keep me off the cold ground, but give me a little cushioning. Not happening.
Better gear: I will look at some of the suggestions, but honestly I'm on a tight budget. I got the pack for $73 shipped, the sleeping bag for $37. Both have lots of good reviews, but neither is known for being UL. I'm not adverse to returning them and other stuff, but only if I find replacements that fit my budget. The idea for backpacking in the 'Glades came from not having enough spending money to hit Eastern Europe, or even returning to the mountain roads in GA, TN and NC on my bike. Like I said, though, I'll check out some lighter options and see if I can afford something better.
Hammock vs. tent: I went with a tent for a similar reason, budget. I would like something with netting and some cover, because as much as I love snakes, I don't want to wake up with one in my t-shirt. That Warbonnet Blackbird is nice, but it's also over $100 more than my Eureka tent. I'm going to dig deeper for a hammock, though (making a list here).
And now, individual responses:
AndyF, I'm already taking some suggestions to heart, as you can see above. Still working on some others. I think I have used pircaridin before and preferred it to DEET, but thanks for mentioning it as I will make it a point of getting this instead. I just have some deet cans laying around, though I hardly ever use repellent unless the skeeters are really bad.
Jason, I found the lists and have copied some into my files for reference. Thanks.
Dale, That guide is really helpful, and so is the generic list. I thought of the monopod as a walking stick as I have one already; a stick is another expense that I'm debating. The flashlight is actually an LED headlamp with red and regular light, so that's good. I'm getting from you guys to repack a lot of the "toiletries" into smaller quantities – that's an awesome idea. Ziploc bags will be good for small amounts of toothpaste, sunscreen, etc. (just not all in the same bag!). Cell phone is strictly for emergencies, it will be off for the whole trip otherwise. And I just got rid of a smartphone as it was costing too much monthly for features I hardly use, so maybe I'll just take a real light book (or just the SW radio – something to help me fall asleep, total insomniac here).
And this will be my first multiday backpacking trip, but I have been out in the Glades for a weekend at a time before (living out of ATVs).
Larry, Thanks for the heads-up on the Happy Hoofers, I was not aware of you guys. I'll try to pop in for a meeting. Also, I had not even thought of where to sit while out there, will look into a stool.
Ken and Ben, Good points. Sometimes it's just getting the best you can afford and doing it with what you've got. I'll see what I can work into my budget, but if I can't get a lighter pack, I'll just deal with what I have. After all, I have been carrying a shoulder bag (30+ lbs) of camera gear into the woods for years for day hikes, and at work I carry a 40+lbs tool bag all over the big megayacht marinas. For hiking, I'd rather be as comfy as possible, but I may have to live with a few extra pounds for now.Oct 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm #1794582
Hehehe– you'll change your mind on weight when you spend a few days married to your load. You're so lucky to have flat country to explore. Imagine hauling all that stuff up 2500 feet of switchbacks and then down, and then up again, and that might be the first day :)
Look at small vials for your toiletries. Ziplock bags will leak all over everything. Be really careful with DEET– it melts many plastics and stuff like pack coatings and other gear– like cameras. Check out the vial kit at Mountain Laurel Designs: http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=182 It seems expensive at $25, but you can eat up that much in shipping from several sources, nickel and diming yourself into the same corner. If not, do try to duplicate the size and styles.
You don't want waterproof shoes– they never dry.
Look at the Hennessy hammocks for a better price. They have some demos on sale right now. With a built-in insect net, you have the bugs and the snakes cut out of the picture. Comfy too. Get a Zip model.
You have to have a sleeping pad. It is more for insulation than comfort– the ground will suck the heat out of you. You can get cheap ones at Walmart that will work just fine. You can buy a $100 Therm-a-rest after you get the job with National Geographic :)Oct 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm #1794598
Dale, you're probably right about how I will feel about the weight – even when carrying all that I do, it's only for a few hours at a time and then I don't have to carry it anymore. It will be different while backpacking.
I emailed Hennesey for their current sale items. Thanks for the tip on the containers, I'll check them out as well.Oct 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm #1794608
I'm afraid hammocks are a whole other tangent for you to tackle while trying to absorb all this ultralight and backpacking stuff, but if I were going to go camping in Florida, I wouldn't think of anything else.
To get you even deeper in the mire, do check out hammockforums.net. There are a lot of Florida hammock campers there too.
I got into hammocks this last year and posted my research: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=50874Oct 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm #1794621
No worries, I'm a huge reader so lay on the info. Another great guide, I'll read it better tomorrow but I can already you cleared up some questions on hammocks. One concern is weather protection, or is that taken care of by hanging a tarp right over your hammock?Oct 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm #1794641
I'm not a hammock user, but yes, a tarp is directly overhead. Here is an example from an image search. A very large tarp:
Good Luck!Oct 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm #1794642
Tarp over the hammock. There are lots of options and most hammock tarps are larger to cover the length of the hammock– 10'x12' is typical, although there are smaller. Hennessy includes diamond/asymmetrical tarps with their hammocks, which are smaller but lighter. You can drop $200+ on a Cuben tarp that is 5oz-6oz too, so there is a broad spectrum. It is entirely possible to use a blue poly tarp, but at much greater weight and bulk and they lack features like multiple tie-outs.
A typical hammock setup:
Oct 25, 2011 at 6:25 am #1794723
@swamp_stomperLocale: South East USA
I also use a Hammock when hiking but in the groups I hike with I'm more the exception than the rule. One thing to be aware of is that Florida has strict rules about hanging things from trees in state parks and that's including hammocks. Some of the rangers are ok with it but most aren't. The Big Cypress is not a state park so you should be ok out there. If your thinking of going with a Hammock I second checking out Hammock Forums lots of great info there.
LarryOct 26, 2011 at 10:40 am #1795226
You're really going to want something to treat your water other than boiling. One cheap but light option is a Frontier Pro filter that screws on your bottle along with chloride dioxide pills. Combined, this is a light, affordable, and effective option. Or you can spend $100 on a UV steripen light.
You also NEED a foam pad or you will get cold.
You could do a lot more to lighten your load, but a little experience will show you that a lot of the things are not needed or are too heavy.Oct 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm #1795264
Everyone has their own approach, rationale, and preferences regarding water treatment. I like to use a filter when possible because it removes larger pathogens (worm eggs) which aren't affected by chemicals or UV. I also don't like the taste of chemicals or relying on electronics. I like the Sawyer Squeeze filter, but be sure to read up on its pros, cons, and possible issues. There's a good thread about it on this forum. (Make sure the filter doesn't freeze, or you'll have to throw it away.)Oct 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm #1795272
Glad to hear some good input on the Sawyer Squeeze. I have been looking at this one too. Have you been using it long? Can you screw it directly on a bottle like the Frontier Pro and suck directly from the bottle? Only down side I see on it is that it doesn't get the little stuff, but those don't scare me much anyway.
I think the UV gets all the big stuff, cysts and all; let me know if I'm wrong but that was my understanding. Batteries/electronics can be a downside though.Oct 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm #1795291
I just recently got the Sawyer Squeeze. I like it so far, but I'm still evaluating it. It comes with a Platypus-like bag (or bags) which it screws onto. It also has a push-pull spout on the end which you can drink from or point into a bottle or Platy. I have been able to substitute plain water bottles and Platys as the dirty water (squeeze) bag, but others have encountered problems with the filter not fitting on straight or sealing when using non-Sawyer containers. It's not clear if this is an issue with the filter or the bottles and Platys.
I also have a cut-down Tornado Tube which allows me to attach the output directly to a Platy.
True that it doesn't filter out viruses. I think they do have another similar but more expensive model which does. Most people don't worry about viruses in backcountry areas of the US.
Steripen is effective on protozoa and their cysts. There was a thread somewhere on this forum in which someone contacted the makers of Steripen about its effectiveness on deactivating worm eggs. If I recall correctly, they stated that one unpublished study indicated that it did affect them, but that doesn't mean it's safe to rely on it inactivating them.
Of course, another question is whether there's anything bad in the water to begin with. I've very cautiously drunk liters of raw water in wilderness areas without any problems, and that's what I'll do if I can't use the filter due to failure, or if I can't bring it due to cold.
Here's the Sawyer Squeeze thread:Oct 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm #1795297
This looks like a great option for Florida backpacking per the OP.
Also interesting to hear you can suck thru the pull top. Is it hard to do? If not, that sounds like a really good option.Oct 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm #1795303
I actually haven't tried sucking water through the filter. I did squeeze water into my mouth with both the supplied bag and a Smartwater bottle.
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