Aug 27, 2015 at 12:29 am #1332059Dan MagdoffBPL Member
@highsierraguyLocale: Northern California
Hi All Wanted to see if ya'll have any suggestions for a new water purification system. I have had the same Katadyn Hiker Pro pump for almost 10 years. it has worked really well, BUT….the replacement cartridges are very expensive, and its big and bulky. I liked the Hiker Pro because I often am bring friends into the backcountry who haven't backpacked much and I often share my filter with them. I also like to use it while on the trail (gravity filters would not be the best for that). The in-line filters like the Sawyer Mini would be good if it were just me, but not the best for a group. I have been considering a steripen, but heard that chew through batteries on longer trips and you end up having to carry a ton of batteries. Anyway….do ya'll have any suggestions or input? Thanks! DanAug 27, 2015 at 4:38 am #2223314James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Steripen chewing through batteries? Well, not really. Depends on what you use. The Classic uses four AA batteries. It lasts through a long trip easily (say 300-400mi) with new batteries. The Opti uses CR123 batteries. This is really good for shorter trips in the 150mi range. It weighs about the same as a Sawyer Mini with bags. Always use lithium batteries. It sort'a depends. In dryer conditions you need to carry water anyway. I plan on a couple liters. Deserts are a special condition where you usually need to carry all your water. For wetter conditions a single water bottle (500ml) works for me in the ADK's. Canoeing for example, a steripen is more than enough for me. If you are traveling with a partner and sharing, then simply bring another set of batteries. Water discipline helps, of course. You do not need clean water for cooking, or, coffee/tea, breakfast, or for cleaning up…only for drinking. I usually carry a 2 liter platy bottle empty for convenience at camp. Only my drinking water gets zapped. I have been using UV treatments for about 10 years. I have never gotten sick. You do not have to carry large amounts of water. Every stream you cross a watering hole, it is easy to fill, zap and go. I usually empty my bottle before filling it. I seem to stay pretty well hydrated. Rarely, I get thirsty. After an hour of hiking I can usually find a stream or water running somewhere. On those occasions that I need to wait for two hours, I often spend 10 minutes at the stream, drinking a full bottle, then zapping a second for the pack. Hell, after 2 hours I need a break, anyway. Generally, I carry 2 bottles, though. This will often take me through a half day of hiking (4-6 hours.) I can usually find somewhere to fill up an empty along the way. Each bottle weighs a bit more than a pound. At maximum load it is about 2#8 including water, bottles, and steripen. This is for fairly instant water (about a minute) at a watering hole. This is included in my pack weight when I start, usually about 16-17 pounds for a week, or around 100 mi. It will vary about a pound or two over the course of a day. I usually figure about 25 pounds for two weeks out.Aug 27, 2015 at 6:09 am #2223318Dan MagdoffBPL Member
@highsierraguyLocale: Northern California
Ya, I only filter water that I drink. I never filter water for cooking or cleaning. But even still…I normally filter 3-5L a day while hiking, then another 2-3 when I get a to camp (I drink a lot of water in the back country. If you multiple that by 2-4 people….your looking at 15-30L a day of purifying. That adds up quick. The comment about chewing through batteries with streipens…I had heard that years ago….guessing their technology and efficiency has gotten MUCH better over the years. If you use a camelpak bladder, do you use a litter water bottle to "zap" then poor into the bladder? I was looking at the Platypus Gravity Works system….looks pretty interesting and efficient, but not as light as a steripen. Has anyone had experience with the Gravity Works system?Aug 27, 2015 at 6:38 am #2223325James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
" If you use a camelpak bladder, do you use a litter water bottle to "zap" then poor into the bladder?" No. The platty is always dirty. I hiked with a couple that had a Platypus gravity system. Big and bulkey, besides the weight. It was fairly slow to start, but since there was two 5L(?) bottles attached, it rapidly caught up. The trouble with all gravity systems is need you carry the water the next day. I never carry any except for my immediate needs, a half or full liter. But, that is mostly the ADK's, too. In other areas you might need more. I always flip one battery, but they learned from the original Journey. The current drain for the switch over a week is about enough to do 1 liter or so out of 50. So, it really doesn't chew through batteries…maybe 1-2%. The older model (pre-Opti) used to waste close to 5-8 liters…significant.Aug 27, 2015 at 6:57 am #2223326JCHBPL Member
While not the lightest possible system, I'm very happy with my DIY gravity system made from a Sawyer filter, a (previously retired) Platypus 2L Big Zip, some adapters and tubing. It comes it at 10 oz using the Squeeze and 8 oz using the Mini. I like the Big Zip as the dirty bag because it has a large opening and when you disconnect the outlet tube the connection port closes watertight. I can fill it quickly, continue hiking and filter later. This is a solution I am happy with, and is a result of having previously gone absolutely as light as technologically possible only to be disappointed at the cost of all the extra effort required. No, it's not the lightest, but for that extra ~5 oz you gain a huge filtering capacity for zero effort other than filling the dirty bag, thus scaling well to group size. I can easily return to a minimal setup by simply leaving the BZ, tubing and adapters home and retuning the the "traditional" squeeze setup.Aug 27, 2015 at 7:03 am #2223327Russ WBPL Member
@gatome83Locale: Southeastern US
Normally I use a Sawyer Mini for solo endeavors. Recently I asked a similar question about a group filter for hiking with my two sons and the consensus answer on this site to seemed to be some sort of a gravity system and the more recommended product was the Platypus. That's what I purchased and it works like a champ. It weighs about 11 ounces for the one gallon clean/dirty size which divided by 3 people is about the same per person weight as the Sawyer. My recommendation for what it's worth.Aug 27, 2015 at 7:14 am #2223328dirtbagBPL Member
Steripen. My batteries last plenty long. Sawyer mini..another option but a little "umpf" reguired to squeeze. You can do what I do..make everyone carry their own system..Aug 27, 2015 at 7:54 am #2223334Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
3-5 L per day, plus 2-3 L in the evening? Why do you drink so much? I drink 2 L per day total. Plus I drink 2 L of coffee, tea, soup that I don't filter. You should drink enough water, but more than that is no advantage. I use Sawyer Squeeze. I've heard the Mini is smaller and clogs more easily, weighs only a little less. I use soda bottle to squeeze from which doesn't weigh a lot, but you can apply a lot of pressure to squeeze. Takes less than a minute to squeeze a pint. After I squeeze about a quarter of the bottle, I unscrew the Squeeze a little to let in air or it gets hard to squeeze.Aug 27, 2015 at 8:01 am #2223335Lori PBPL Member
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I use a gravity filter, on the trail, in camp, and anywhere else. Throughput is not appreciably slower than a pump and I am usually done long before the 'pen people. Since I am on group trips a LOT with many different people, I am constantly filtering for those whose Steripen stops working. I like to scoop, hang, and have a snack or take pictures while filtering. No desire for the fiddling and swirling of the pen, or the work of squeezing and back flushing (I have the Squeeze and a Mini, use them for day hiking). I do have a Hiker Pro as well, for places like Henry Coe, where sources get low and murky such that I want a bandanna around a prefilter. There are places one cannot dip.Aug 27, 2015 at 8:48 am #2223345Andrew BrownBPL Member
I know that it's not exactly a water filter, but Aquamira drops are a quick way to treat water when traveling with a partner or small group. When you arrive at a water source, one person in the group mixes the proper amount of A and B solutions into a small dropper bottle (like one of these: http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=25040&catid=750). In the meantime, another individual fills up water bottles with untreated water. By the time the bottles are full, the 5 minutes of required mixed time has usually elapsed and you can add the mixed solution to the untreated water. This usually means your group is only spending about 5-10 minutes stopping to collect water and you can continue to hike while the mixed solution treats the water for the recommended 15 minutes. I find this system much faster than than a pump filter when I have to treat 4 or more liters of water. I still like my Sawyer Mini for solo trips because I can stop and quickly filter and drink a half liter of water and then filter another half liter of water to carry with me on the trail.Aug 27, 2015 at 10:03 am #2223364Dirk CommandeurBPL Member
I currently use a Sawyer Mini as my primary means for water filtration. Fine for solo backpacking but filling water bladders when I'm camping with my two boys has become tedious, leading me to consider gravity options. I've seen some DIY gravity filters using the Sawyer Mini. Sawyer also offers a 2L gravity system currently available on massdrop. Any opinions on how the Sawyer 2L gravity system compares to the Playtus GravityWorks 2L or 4L systems? Lots of positive reviews of the PLaytus have me leaning in that direction for a gravity system when backpacking with my family.Aug 27, 2015 at 10:56 am #2223380JCHBPL Member
One of my hiking buddies bought the 2L Platypus GravityWorks system and another bought the 2L Sawyer system. They both love them. If I hadn't already owned all the parts to assemble my own system I might have considered the Platypus, but at 13 oz (including the optional GravityWorks Carbon element) it is heavier than my DIY system and doesn't do anything better. Same can be said for the Sawyer, plus it weighs 16 oz (without a carbon filter). I added the GravityWorks Carbon element to my gravity system (and is included in the 10oz weight)…it's another of those 1.5 oz additions that just made sense to me. I always carry 10 or so Katadyn MicroPur tablets as a backup. Like most other backpacking gear choices, I look at water filtration in light of the conditions: For clear, high elevation mountain streams and lakes – I'd just use the MicroPur tablets…no filter. For UL/long distance hikes with possible suspect water, I use a very minimal Sawyer Mini system (5.5oz total). For skanky, bad tasting water, larger groups or where weight isn't really an issue, I use the DIY Sawyer Squeeze gravity system w/carbon element.Aug 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm #2223403Andrew BrownBPL Member
Why not just give each member of your group a Sawyer Mini? I think this method would be just as light as a gravity filter and cheaper in some scenarios. If each member of your group carried a Mini (1.4 oz) and the 500ml squeeze bag (.7 oz) and only one member carried the back-flushing plunger (1.2 oz), then the total weight of the groups filtration system is (n*2.1)+1.2, where n equals the number of people in the group. Only once your group size is 5 people or greater does this system become heavier than most gravity filtration systems. Of course, if I were carrying a gravity filter with a group larger than 5 people, then I might consider carrying more than one filter, thereby increasing the weight of my system. Similarly, if I were to buy each member of my group a Sawyer Mini at MSRP ($25), then the total cost of my group filtration system would be (n*$25), again, where n equals the number of people in my group. Only once your groups size is greater than 4 people does this approach become more expensive than buying a gravity filter. Again, of course, if my group size where to be much larger than 4-5 people and if I were carrying a gravity filter as my primary purification system, then I might want a second gravity filter or at least some kind of reliable backup, thereby increasing the overall cost of my system.Aug 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm #2223410Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
Yeah, why does there need to be group water? I use the mini in line with a dirty platy (the 1.8L hoser), which means I don't spend any time filtering, or waiting for UV, or even drops. Then when I get to camp i hang up the platy and use it as a gravity filter while I set up the rest of camp, letting the water filter into a clean Evernew bladder. Easy peasyAug 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm #2223423Terry GBPL Member
@delvxeLocale: Pacific Northwest
Hey Jennifer, doesn't your mini take too much effort to suck water through it to be a satisfactory in line filter? I tried dedicated sawyer in-line filter and found it was too much work to use in-line and I only rely on it for gravity.Aug 27, 2015 at 3:49 pm #2223447Tom D.BPL Member
@dafiremedicLocale: Southern California
If you are anywhere near the Sierras, the SteriPen is hard to beat. Sierra water is some of the most refreshing in the world IMO, better tasting than the Smart Water that came in my bottles, and the SteriPen is the only water treatment method that does not affect the taste. It does mean that you need to carry at least one wider mouth bottle, but it's a small price to pay. I always carry a few individually wrapped tablets as back up, but I've never had to use them.Aug 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm #2223454Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
"doesn't your mini take too much effort to suck water through it to be a satisfactory in line filter?" no work at all, actually. I had to flush it every few days on this CT trip, but I had a Camelbak Big Bite (or whatever it's called) on the end and just drank with the same effort as I've always had when drinking from a bladder hose. I was even able to raise the bladder above my head, squeeze the valve and fill up pots and gatorade bottles and whatnot without any issue. I'll send along a photo after I get home.Aug 27, 2015 at 6:03 pm #2223473AnonymousInactive
"No desire for the fiddling and swirling of the pen, or the work of squeezing and back flushing (I have the Squeeze and a Mini, use them for day hiking)." Are you saying you don't have to back flush your filter? If so, how exactly do you clean it? I've never heard of a filter, gravity or mechanical pressure driven, that doesn't require cleaning.
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