Jun 11, 2005 at 7:58 am #1216262
I am trying to decide whether or not I will bring a filter along with me, use chemicals, or just drink straight out of the source. I own a Katadyn Hiker, and if I were to bring chemicals I would probably take the Katadyn Micropur. I have read mixed opinions about this.Jun 11, 2005 at 9:02 am #1338053
I started a post under the food, hydration and nutrition section that you might want to look at.
I would not, under any circumstance (unless it was matter of life or death) drink water from the source today. Without saying, if you KNOW the source is a spring, that would be another matter, but creek, stream, river and lake water I just would not trust.
I have read mixed opinion between the Katadyn tablets and Aqua Mira. I do use Aqua Mira and have never had any issue with my water. I do pre-filter with a minimum of a folded over bandana.Jun 11, 2005 at 9:19 am #1338054
@ccorbridgeLocale: Southern Oregon
I use a MSR Miniworks, but I’m considering a Steripen. It’s lighter and purifies instead of filters. They now have a pre-filter for murky water. But my question is how do I get the purified water from the bottle into my Platypus easily?? Anyone have any experience with this?Jun 11, 2005 at 3:04 pm #1338058
I tried the larabar sample that was posted some time back. They taste good and won’t melt in my pack during the summer.
I treid them out in my food bag and weighed it all. But something was not coming out right. So I measured a bar without the wrapper and found that larabars are 1/2 oz heavier than advertised (not one but all flavors). So much for truth in advertising.
WalterJun 12, 2005 at 12:56 am #1338065
I just leave it in the flexible Nalgene Cantenes [sold on this website in 3(???) sizes] – if i’m using steripen & nalgenes that trek, instead of AqM & platys (sportbottles or bladders).
You might try a small plastic funnel – similar to what is sometimes used with an alc. stove if one isn’t using a lil’ nipper for alc. fuel.Jun 20, 2005 at 2:43 pm #1338330
@markrLocale: Santa Cruz
Back when I worked for the Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada Giardia was just starting to appear. I kind of scoffed at it until one of our wilderness rangers had to be helicoptered out due to extreme giardiasis. That changed my mind. I’ve met a few other victims since, including my own dog. I don’t think you should risk drinking it straight. Maybe you’ll get the mild form or maybe the acute form. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the backcountry with the acute form.Jun 20, 2005 at 4:40 pm #1338332
Umm I use an in line filter (Seychelle) with Aqua Mira for my drink on the go in my Platypus. For around camp, I just use my Aqua Mira in the small bottles that BMW sells. This can last a week and weighs next to nothing. By adding Crystal Lite in my 2 ltre. Platy it masks any unpleasant taste. For my dinner water I just add Aqua Mira and re-hydrate my meal. I cannot taste anything. Aqua Mira comes with a little pre filter that fits conviently over a Platypus mouth, this will take out any floaties. I have used this system now for a year and it has worked wonderfully. Hike your own hike!!!Jun 20, 2005 at 9:56 pm #1338337
@chirodrLocale: Southern California
I didn’t see a prefilter for the Aqua Mira product? There’s a sweetwater siltstopper for an inline filter setup, using the Seychelle.
JimJun 21, 2005 at 12:39 am #1338341
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Gossamer Gear sells a prefilter sock with their Aqua Mira kit. Anyone carrying a filter and wanting to reduce their pack weight should read <yosemite.org/naturenotes/giardia.htm>Jun 21, 2005 at 12:47 pm #1338352
Thanks Alan, I did mean sock.Jun 21, 2005 at 2:27 pm #1338357
@chirodrLocale: Southern California
Thanks Ken and Alan. Now to find the sock. I’ve got an Aqua Mira kit, but no sock. Would be very helpful.
JimJun 21, 2005 at 2:39 pm #1338358
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
and you get the two-part 1-oz. Aqua Mira bottles, plus 2 micro bottles AND a sock!
However, I wouldn’t get too excited about the sock. As you can see on the website, the holes are quite large.Jun 21, 2005 at 3:21 pm #1338360
I have used the sock in conjunction with a platypus and after gathering my water I check for floaties and found none. my wife has always been one to filter water and even she was amazed at how clear the water was. I guess you could use a cheese cloth with a rubber band around the opening to keep it on the platypus. either way it will work.Jun 21, 2005 at 7:02 pm #1338361
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Cheese cloth should work. Also, you can buy a cheap coffee filter replacement (fine mesh type, not paper), cut the mesh to size and rubber band to the mouth of your bottle — or get a very small piece of no-see-um mesh and do the same. All three have holes smaller than the aforementioned sock.Jul 1, 2005 at 7:58 am #1338627
I used the Miox system on my last trip without ill effects. The water tastes a little medicinal, and you have to wait some time for treatment to be effective but it is a light weight system. Only problem, you still have to strain out the floaties. JeffJul 1, 2005 at 8:22 am #1338629
You see that is what is great about using Aqua Mira and something to cover the moouthof the Platypus or other bladders. A cheese cloth or the “sock” takes out the particles (almost a pre-filter?) then with two 1 oz. Aqua Mira droplets you have a proven purifier. If the slight chlorine taste bothers you, just add a little Sunny D. or an equivilant. You won’t taste a thing.Jul 1, 2005 at 9:23 am #1338632
Most of the time, I’m getting my water from moving sources. I just pick a place where it is moving quickly and don’t prefilter. I rarley have problems with floatees.Jul 16, 2005 at 12:36 pm #1339135
@williamlawLocale: SF Bay Area
I backpack mostly in the Sierra Nevada.
I stopped filtering the water (with rare exceptions) a few years back.
I could find no rational reason to treat the water from an overwhelming majority of the water sources I use. See, for example, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=giardia+risk+sierra+nevada&btnG=Google+Search.
I just wanted to add another point of view to this discussion. I do filter in the Bay Area, in places with cattle upstream, and at times when I’m carrying the filter anyway and sharing the chore of pumping with friends who are less, um, rational about the subject.
BTW, with respect to filtering: I carry a lightweight Seattle Sports foldable bucket (4.5 oz or so) and fill that at streamside or lakeside and do the filtering in a more comfortable spot. I would never go back to sitting in the hot sun streamside swatting mosquitos. Definitely worth the weight (it doubles as another stuff sack of sorts).
Bill LawJul 27, 2005 at 12:27 pm #1339581
@williamlawLocale: SF Bay Area
Interesting article on this subject in the LA Times: http://tinyurl.com/7cjk8
Summary: Drink up!
Ryan Jordan is quoted in the article, BTW.
Bill LawSep 8, 2005 at 1:54 pm #1341362
I have a bit to add and I wonder if others would agree. Feel free to correct me if I make any false statements. Let’s examine the main types of pathogens we could face in the backcountry:
Cryptosporidium: Filtered out by mechanical filters, not inactivated by iodine or most other chemicals unless you wait 4 hrs.
Giardia: Filtered out by mechanical filters, inactivated by iodine and other chemicals in 30 min.
Viruses: Not filtered out by mechanical filters, rapidly inactivated by iodine and other chemicals. I believe viruses are not considered a health threat in most parts of the remote US.
Bacteria: Most pathogenic types are filtered out by filters, generally inactivated by iodine and other chemicals. I believe bacteria are not considered a health threat in most parts of the remote US.
So, let’s look at the overlap between filter systems and chemicals: basically, the only organism we’re likely to face that both treatments get rid of is giardia. So if you’ve been switching between chemicals (including MIOX) and filters as I have, you’ve been sucking down whatever Cryptosporidium, viruses and certain bacteria are around! My point is that we may not have much to fear from these organisms in general.
So I’m calling on others to add to this discussion. First, do you agree with what I said above. Second, do you think Giardia is a big threat to our health? Many say that giardiasis generally does not come from wilderness water sources (see http://lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/pcs/articles/giardia.asp). And third, is it worth the risk of ingesting toxic chemicals or carrying heavy filters to protect us from a threat that is probably overstated?
To wrap this up, I’ll just add that I don’t trust water that has cow or horse turd floating in it under any circumstances.Sep 8, 2005 at 3:06 pm #1341364
this topic has been covered in great detail in several threads during the previous months. certainly it is important enough to cover again.
you may also want to use the Forum Search capability to search for Giardia, Crypto, AqM, Aqua Mira, MIOX, Steripen, bacteria, virus, hepatitis, purification, filter, echinococcus, tape, hydatid, fluke, snail, and other relevant words. these words appear in many of my prev. posts on this topic as well as in some excellent posts on this subject from other Forum participants. [Note: Also search for ticks and skeeters for other backcountry health related info.]
i would add bacteria to your category of organisms that are easily eliminated by both filtration & chemical means. in this case, filtration does NOT include so-called “cyst” filters (or cyst only filters) which generally have an absolute pore size (and possibly an effective pore size too) which is too large to be effective in removing bacteria. [Note: since i’m not familiar with the specifics of these cyst filter constructions, i can’t assert that they use a labyrinth or “tortuous path” design which may remove organisms smaller than the absolute pore size – but it’s possible with some filter designs to do so.]
also, add to your list of potential pathogens/parasites amoeba, tapeworms, and flukes. these are easily removed by filtration. some are highly resistant to both chemical & UV-C methods of purification. add to your methods of purification UV-C (and possibly SODIS, i.e. solar disinfection – ~6hrs in sunlight, so maybe only useful in base camp).
boiling water is also an effective means of sterilization for some, not all pathogens (altitude can somewhat affect the efficacy of this method, of course). however, this method is very wasteful of fuel (unless using abundant natural fuels – which, to some, might still be considered wasteful of natural fuels???).
viruses, most notably Hepatitis A, may be present in the same water conditions which can also harbor certain bacteria, viz. fecal contamination.
certains types of tapes may come from wild canine feces contamination.
some species of flukes from waters with certain species of snails.
of course, eating spoiled, and/or under-cooked food (esp. “wild” foods) may cause some intestinal problems as well, but this is common knowledge to nearly everyone.
my impression is that here in the Northeast, we have, in certain areas, a very diff. situation than y’all have out west. here, we have lower altitudes, greater population density in some locales, and in many parts water sources pass through dairy farms. used to drink freely from water sources 40+ yrs ago as a kid and teen, but won’t do so now. in many (not all) Northeastern locales where i live and hike, the threat, IMHO, is most likely NOT overstated. elsewhere, high in the Rockies, it may NOT be a concern.
furthermore, on a somewhat related matter, no discussion of the subject “tiny critters, harboring germs, lurking in the wilderness that are out to get us” would be complete without mentioning ticks and skeeters. and that’s all i’ll do right now, viz. mention them: ‘ticks’ and ‘skeeters’. there. i mentioned them. guess, i could also have stolen a line from the “Wizard of Oz” – “Giardia, Crypto, and ticks, oh my!” ’nuff said.Sep 9, 2005 at 9:03 pm #1341434
Don’t forget Leptospirosis (‘Lepto’), which is common in Hawaii (and New Zealand? at least in sheep). Lepto causes several deaths each year, usually among tourists who bathe in the waterfalls and don’t mention their trip to Hawaii to their doctor when they fall ill some time later. Lepto is a 2um bacterium, but since it is highly active it has been reported to wiggle through 2um water filters. The nasty thing about Lepto is that it can infect through any mucous membrane (including the eyes), and it only takes about 30 seconds for the bacterium to enter the body and begin an infection. (At least, that’s what I read.)
>add to your list of potential pathogens/parasites amoeba, tapeworms, and flukes. these are easily removed by filtration. some are highly resistant to both chemical & UV-C methods of purification.
UV-C too? If UV-C can give somebody a nasty sunburn, I’d be surprised if these ‘big’ nasties don’t get cooked too. Now I’m bummed…I’ve switched to the AquaStar UV-C sanitizer (3.9oz not including bottle), hoping that it would kill everything, quickly.Sep 10, 2005 at 1:32 am #1341439
thanks for posting. ok. it’s been 30yrs since i worked as a clinical microbiologiest in a hospital lab. i’ve forgotten a lot. Lepto being one of them. thanks for mentioning it. cute little bugger. never saw much of it in patients’ cultures. it’s highly active as is the bacterium that causes cholera (Vibrio cholerae) which is also able to enter the human body similarly.
yes. tapeworm eggs have a coating on them that makes them highly resistant to both UV-C and chemical methods of disinfection. this makes them quite hardy and they are able to survive long periods in hostile environments just waitin’ around for an opportune moment. i’ve read that they can survive up to 10yrs outside of a host.
the dosing levels of the two poplular UV-C water purifiers, currently being marketed (i own the Steripen) are too low for effective treatment – at least at the dosing times that the devices are programmed for. you may want to research these numbers for youself – i’m certainly no expert. UV-C levels need to be either approx. ~14 times or ~28 times higher (i’m forgetting which number; i’m leaning towards the ~28x – my memory is not so good any longer) than the levels these devices emit in order to be able to kill tapeworm eggs. now the dosing time could be made longer, but i’ve read no research on this and so hesitate to say how long you would need to irradiate the water at the relatively low UV-C levels these devices emit. so, i don’t know how many times you would need to repeat the dosing with these devices. my gut feeling is that it won’t kill these eggs otherwise how could they survive so long outside a host? at least, that’s what i’m thinking.
this subject came up a few months back in these forums (you can prob. search for Steripen or UV-C using the “Forum Search” function, not the “Site Search” function, this website provides). I emailed both companies (and McNett which makes Aqua Mira) to find out the answer. They all replied to me quickly. None had any research/test data and so could not give an answer. All respondents were very nice and wished that they could be more helpful and recommended that their devices/products not be used in manners not specifically recommended (i.e., in this case as a means of eradicating tape eggs).
the good news is that other than certain endemic areas (e.g. Isle Royale – i only found this out a few months ago from G.R., another frequent Forum poster), it seems like these infections are rare in the backcountry. not to scare anyone, but, for the backcountry trekker, the real bad guy among tapes is a very tiny critter – only 4-6 millimeters long as an adult (not the 10′ to 30′ long that we normally think of as an adult tape in the gut of a mammal – including humans). it’s named Echinococcus granulosis (also 3 other related species – i believe only one other species is significant for humans though). it’s found in canine feces (foxes, coyotes, wolves, dogs) and, of course, water contaminated with these droppings or contaminated runoff . the bad news (depending upon how old you are) is that this tape is very diff. from its much bigger cousins. signs of infection may not appear for 20yrs. at which point fluid filled cysts, some of relatively large size, may be forming in the lungs, liver, and brain of the human (usually lungs, i think – not sure – sorry, i’ve forgotten). if they rupture when they are being surgically removed, anaphylactic shock could ensue, sometimes resulting in death.
keep in mind that, like many other tiny buggers, it has various life cycle stages, each of which can only infect specific organisms. humans need to worry about the eggs (one stage in the life cycle) found in contaminated water. these eggs are easily filtered out. canines are the final/definitive host, meaning that the adults live in the canines. man is an intermediate host for E. granulosis. the eggs hatch in our gut & another, non-adult, life cycle stage penetrates the inner portion of our intestinal wall and enters our blood stream. that’s how it gets to the other organs, mentioned above, to encyst and grow. this type of life cycle scenario is quite common among certain small parasites (not bacteria – “larger”, relatively speaking, critters, like protozoans and worms).
hope this follow on info helps. you could search for more info on both “Echinococcus granulosis” or “hydatid tape”. i’m sure that nowadays, the WWW has info readily accessible.
>>”3.9oz not including the bottle”
Others who read these forums use the Aq. Star purifier. Are you implying that you don’t use the hard Lexan bottle? Do you use the soft Cantenes? How do you protect the UV-C tube from breakage if you don’t use the bottle? please share. i’d be interested in knowing, as would others. this subject has come up in a short BPL article where a cigar tube was possibly suggested as a solution. What have you found to work?Sep 11, 2005 at 9:00 am #1341492
>yes. tapeworm eggs have a coating on them…
Oh, yeah. Eggs. I was thinking too much about the wigglies. Now I guess I need to think longer and harder about carrying a filter as the first stage of water treatment. There are coyotes (and rumors of wolves) in some of the areas I hike. (I’m surprised that I don’t have liver flukes from drinking from irrigation ditches as a kid; our cattle sure did. Maybe I do?)
>>”3.9oz not including the bottle”
>Others who read these forums use the Aq. Star purifier. Are you implying that you don’t use the hard Lexan bottle? […] please share.
I didn’t include the weight of the bottle simply to acknowledge that there are some options besides the included Lexan hard-bottle. I bring one with me backpacking anyway, because I like its ability to hold boiling water. But you can also use a Nalgene wide-mouth bike poly-bottle (1/2 liter), which weights 2.7oz. I don’t think the Cantene provides sufficient protection in general, although if I just shoved the Aquastar down into my sleeping bag it would probably be fine.
A recent development from Meridian Design is the Aquastar Plus. <http://uvaquastar.com/product_info.php/cpath/23/products_id/42> “The unit may now be safely carried outside of its bottle…”Sep 11, 2005 at 10:42 am #1341495
thanks for the reply & info the AqStar.
mainly here in the USA look for snails in the water (snails are an intermediate host for some flukes – mainly warmer waters if memory serves, but you may want to verify this as from time to time my “old-timers” acts up) and eating improperly cooked, infected sheep (another type of fluke).
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