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Mar 24, 2011 at 12:27 am #1271029
I am from NZ and 2 of us are hiking the JMT in August – We never purify water here!
The joys of a pure green environment!
In fact, I have read many scientific articles, that with common sense, it is not needed on the JMT in higher areas.
My research suggests purification is always suggested by the authorities to protect them from the litigious culture of America. Something we don't suffer from here!
Having said this, what light weight purification system do you "locals" suggest?
We don't want to invest in an expensive system as we will never use it again.
I have researched both gravity feed (MSR Hyper flow), pump (MSR light) and chemicals (Aqua Mira).
I don't mind a bit of expense to buy convenience!Mar 24, 2011 at 5:03 am #1713856John S.BPL Member
No such thing as a pure green environment. NZ has bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites just like the rest of the world. Maybe your water is a little cleaner though ; ).Mar 24, 2011 at 5:17 am #1713858Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
You are probably used to what ever critters exist in your neck of the woods, but sometimes people travel to a new location and get sick from critters they are not adjusted to.
You could go without treating, but end up taking a week off the trail from getting sick. You would then usually be acclimated and be fine the rest of the trip, usually, but not always.
Maybe play it safe and use a Steripen or drops.
I have moved totally to the Steripen as you can treat water immediately at the water source, requiring you to carry less water, so its the lightest option.Mar 24, 2011 at 5:41 am #1713860William BrownSpectator
@matthewbrownLocale: Blue Ridge Mtns
+1 on the SteripenMar 24, 2011 at 7:57 am #1713915Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Remember there are 310 million people living in the US too: a little more "traffic" and a different ecosystem (even the "green" parts). The acreage of the US national park system alone is 25% larger than New Zealand as a whole!
Support staff are pretty much bound to telling you to treat your water, with legal issues and no regular testing/reporting program both weighing on that. The incubation period for giardia is 9-15 days, so it is difficult to identify where someone got infected, even if it was reported to the authorities. Once it is in the ecosystem, it can be carried by mammals to any water source, hence the name "beaver fever." No pun intended, it leaves backcountry water issues as a crap shoot!
IMHO, chlorine dioxide is the most effective for the weight (liquid or tablets), and certainly the smallest initial investment. The Steripen is the fastest for the weight. Pumps work well for a small group where the weight (and pumping) can be shared.Mar 24, 2011 at 8:28 am #1713926Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
I was an Aqua-mira fan until recently when I discovered I could save wight by not carrying as much water as I was used to.
I would often have to treat water and then carry it for several miles before I could drink it.
Now with the Steripen, I zap a liter and drink it while I zap the second liter (or two depending).
This means one less liter to carry, approximately 2 lbs weight savings.
Also, Steripen allows you to not carry any water if you are in a wet area, just zap what is needed at each water source as you go along. If you use drops in these areas, you always have to carry some water going through treatment process.Mar 24, 2011 at 8:42 am #1713934John S.BPL Member
Also never forget that carrying water, at least one liter, is a safety issue, especially if solo. If you get sick miles from a water source, you are sol with only a steripen and not having carried even a liter of water.Mar 24, 2011 at 11:26 am #1714035Chris SBPL Member
@bigseaLocale: Truckee, CA
"We don't want to invest in an expensive system as we will never use it again." Based on this statement it seems like Aqua Mira is the way to go.
It's the lightest and cheapest of the options and also consumable so there's nothing to bring back home with you that you will never use again.
Although as Steven mentioned, because of the wait time you may carry a little more water than you otherwise would, offsetting some of the weight savings. I'm also trying to figure out my water treatment plan for the JMT this summer. Since I have 2 friends to share the weight of common items with, I'm leaning towards just bringing my filter. I figure if no wait time allows me to tank up at water sources and then carry less water, the weight penalty for the filter is more than offset.Mar 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm #1715209
Agree John, but I've drunk "straight" through 50years of hiking in the high country of NZ with no problems – It makes me chuckle when I see American and German hikers sitting next to a spotless mountain stream purifying water.
No NZ hiker I know ever purifies water.Mar 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm #1715213
Chris (and others) great observation re water weight to carry whilst waiting for treatment to work – verses say pump. We are a party of two so the MSR hyperflow or Steripen seems best option for a $US100 investment.Mar 26, 2011 at 6:28 pm #1715228
Thanks Dale, so you are saying small is beautiful :)
Our authorities are the same re water treatment advice although notices tend to say, "water is safe to drink, but you may wish to treat etc"
If any of you are traveling down here, be sure to contact me first to help you with your planning.Mar 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm #1715245Warren GreerSpectator
Robin. Hope you have a good trip. The SteriPEN is the option, but certainly much more $$ than Aqua Mira. -I have just returned to hiking a year ago, after a rather long hiatus, and I, like you, used to drink from the source. Never did anything but that. It is a bummer that we have to worry about this now. But for me, better safe than sorry.Mar 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm #1715303Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
"Thanks Dale, so you are saying small is beautiful :)"
Very much so, and small governments can be more responsive and practical (I would hope). I've equated New Zealand with the Scandinavian countries. Hopefully, you can keep your water sources clean.
One infected person or animal and it's all over, so make sure you don't take any "visitors" home with you!Mar 28, 2011 at 12:21 am #1715810
OK, SteriPEN it is – Thanks guys for the input – I am traveling to Dallas April 26 for three days!!!! (Business) so will pick one up then. A lot cheaper than paying freight to NZ.
Hitting JMT North to South from August 9 – Got the permit, now the hard work, the logistics of it all, but I do love the planning!
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