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Thread: Water purification or filtration?

  1. #1

    Default Water purification or filtration?

    I'm thinking it's time for me to step out of the dark ages, grasp technology, and quit yarding water with me.

    I searched the archives, notice some of you mentioned just buying a water filter or purification system, and wanted to see if you had anything to add about the particular brand or unit you've bought now that time has passed.

    I'd like something small and light weight. Thought that the new MSR Hyraflow (sp?) might be the ticket, then noticed all the talk about being unable to use it in freezing temps.

    I'd appreciate any info any of you could pass along.

  2. #2
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I've got an MSR water filter. Not sure exactly what the model name is, but it is their bigger one. It screws directly into Nalgene bottles, and more importantly the MSR hydration bags (I have the DromLite?). Filtering water is a pain in the butt, especially when filling a few bags for dinner or something, but probably not as much of a pain in the butt as beaver fever.

    No real complaints on my filter, but those little pen versions do look nice and light.

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Ken- I have a Katadyn Hiker Pro and I love it. I don't know of a single filter pump that is going to work in freezing temps. Once you pull 32* water into a pump or filter that is 20*F it is going to freeze. Mine has performed flawlessly for three seasons now.

  4. #4

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    Ditto on the Katadyn Hiker Pro, I take it everywhere except on sheep hunts.

  5. #5

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    The guy at REI told me today to ignore Kataydn's claim that the hiker pro was field cleanable or field strip-able to clean once it was clogged.

    You guys have any problems like that or think the guy was full of poo?????

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    Default Ditto

    I use the Katadyn hiker - and have used it on sheep hunts too. Always performed flawlessly.

  7. #7

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    I've never had any problems cleaning my Hiker Pro, I had that thing so full of silt I thought it would never be the same. Rinsed out in some fresh water and she's as good as new.

  8. #8

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    One of my best internet finds in a long time:

    http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/WPD/CompareDevices.aspx

    This is the results of the army's testing of most commercially available water filters and water treatment solutions.

  9. #9
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Water purification

    Quote Originally Posted by springer View Post
    One of my best internet finds in a long time:

    http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/WPD/CompareDevices.aspx

    This is the results of the army's testing of most commercially available water filters and water treatment solutions.

    Springer’s website is interesting. I guess the Army would face similar situations and needs as hunters/hikers/fisherfolk.
    Usually I have access to fairly clear water - been using a two-step iodine disinfectant, and planned to try Aqua Mira this year. After checking out that website – maybe the Mircopur MP1 tabs worth considering –

    They suggest Katadyn Exstream , MSR Sweetwater filters too.

    Field experience counts heavily though. I refer to Buck Nelson's reviews
    (http://www.bucktrack.com/Alaska_Back...st_Review.html) often for many practical hints. Good luck.

  10. #10

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    I haven't been able to get the link to the Army website to open yet.

    Somewhere in my research, think maybe it was even MSR's website, that the Marine Corps uses the MSR. I think it was the miniworks model they use.

  11. #11

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    I use the Marine Corps MSR that was mentioned. I like that it screws into a nalgene, and it's easy to take apart and clean the filter. It's what I use for filtering when there's a group of people. When I'm alone I just use chlorine tablets; they take a few hours to work, but they don't leave a bad taste like iodine. They don't weigh anything and you don't have to sit there pumping; you just fill up your bottle and pop in a pill. I carry two canteens so I can drink from one while waiting for the other to be safe.

    I did a lot of research online about water purification vs. water filtering. Basically, you only need to worry about purification if you're in a third world country with open sewers. Also, cheap filters use disposable elements; once they clog up, you have to buy a new one. Better ones use a ceramic filter element that you can clean a few hundred times.

    I won't use pens that require a battery. They're tempting, but my experience is that batteries of any sort will lose their charge when it gets cold out.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I did a lot of research online about water purification vs. water filtering. Basically, you only need to worry about purification if you're in a third world country with open sewers.
    I wasn't worried about purification of the water as much as I found researching the subject that some people go the purification route instead of the filtration route because of not having to pump, and also the weight and size considerations (bottle of tablets vs. filtration pump) like you said.

    I've got lotsa experience with the iodine tablets mixed with powered bug juice to cover the taste. Thankfully we're way past that point technology now.

  13. #13
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    There sure is a lot of commercial $$$ to be made selling all of these things. I personally never use any of them and I spend a lot of time outdoors. I always try to get water from a moving source. If in question, boil, boil, boil. It takes two weeks for most pathogens to cause diarrhea or make you sick. I live in the bush (Ft. Yukon) for 4 1/2 years and never saw any of the locals with one of these nor did I ever use one. I am not trying to start a flame war, just one guy's opinion...
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  14. #14

    Default The Hiker Works Well

    I have used the Pur Hiker or maybe it is the Pur Hiker Pro for about 10+ years now, from before Katadyn bought Pur out. I never have had any problems with mine--but my brother did break his on a trip so we were reliant upon mine for the remainder. Cannot remember what exactly broke on his or why.

    A helpful hint--I use a coffee filter rubber-banded over the intake system to prevent a lot of the silt and other garbage from getting into and clogging the filter.

    Also, I do carry a back-up tablet-type system--think it is called Potable Aqua by a company in Wisconsin. But I think Aqua Mira would work the same. Never have had to even open the little bottles because my Hiker works so well.

    I have read a few articles and heard people say that the general time frame to actually become sick from most of the waterborne illnesses is normally longer than most hunting trips--so there might be some credence behind not taking anything to lighten your load and chance getting sick and then just dealing with it when you are back home and have the full range of OTC medicine as well as the hospital if it got really bad.

    Finally--MSR has a new filter out this year that is getting a lot of good press--saying it will dominate the market due to its features like low-weight, attaches to water bottles, ease of use and water flow, etc. I haven't seen it yet in person but you might want to check it out--it is called the MSR Hyperflow. Here is a link about it:
    http://www.backpacker.com/articles/12294

    Hope this helps a bit...

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I've got lotsa experience with the iodine tablets mixed with powered bug juice to cover the taste. Thankfully we're way past that point technology now.
    Yes, but I still carry some. Never know when you need a backup plan. Roger45..I got giardia from a fast moving mountain stream. The treatment is worse than the disease..never again

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I won't use pens that require a battery. They're tempting, but my experience is that batteries of any sort will lose their charge when it gets cold out.
    The army did test the UV pens and they failed miserably. Oddly though, they removed that testing data from the website and state that they are re-evaluating them. From the website:

    Hydro-Photon SteriPEN™ Device Evaluation

    The evaluation of the SteriPEN was removed from this website pending further review of the device capabilities. Once this evaluation is complete, the device information and evaluation will be made available.

    http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/WPD/Updates.aspx


    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Yes, but I still carry some. Never know when you need a backup plan. Roger45..I got giardia from a fast moving mountain stream. The treatment is worse than the disease..never again
    BTW, Did you guys notice that Iodine based treatments did not kill Giardia and Cryptosporidium? Check out they army website. They also have a lot of science on their explaining why, but I couldn't understand it (I only got a A+ in Microbiology and was a TA for a year).

  17. #17

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    Hello everyone. Let me apologize for such long post in advance, but water is what I do.
    I treat water for a living. (Water Plant supervisor) This is how I see it from a water professionals point of view.
    Field treatment techniques are no different than what comes out of your home faucet, just on a smaller scale.
    First, there is a distinct difference between filtration and purification. Water can be filtered but not purified and vice versa. Ideally you would want both.
    Filtration takes out the "big" stuff. Mud, silt, bacteria and protozoans, like Giardia and Crypto.
    Purification, aka disinfection, takes care of the viruses and any other living organisms that might have slipped through your filter. You have a choice in which disinfection method you prefer. Boiling, iodine, or chlorine are three of the more common ones. Any of these will kill or inactivate (you don't really kill Crypto) most of the bugs if given enough "contact" time.
    Of these, boiling would have the shortest contact time, but is the more labor intensive of the three. Iodine tastes terrible. And who wants to drink bad tasting water. Chlorine, if used properly, does the job without causing a bad flavor.
    As far as UV goes, to me there are too many variables, such as water clarity, water volume, and contact time, that have to be just right in order for UV to be effective. Most of us don't have the time or want to take the time to ensure everything is in order before we treat out water. We want to pump, pop, and go.
    When looking at a water filtration system, look for an effective pore size of 0.2 microns (um) or smaller. This pore size is small enough to exclude 99.9% of bacteria and protozoans that may be in the water. The charcoal filters associated with most systems are primarily for removal of taste and odor causing compounds, however, they are also effective for adsorbing volatile organics, such as benzene and other constituents of gas or petroleum products.
    After filtration, I would use chlorine for killing any remaining bugs. I choose chlorine simply because I know it works and I don't mind the flavor. Before using any chemical disinfectant, check expiration dates on packages and use according to the directions provided by the manufacturer.
    There is a minimum concentration required by chlorine and iodine in order to be effective. For your drinking pleasure and safety, use the minimum dosage recommendation and never exceed the maximum dosage. Too much chlorine is not good for the body.
    One last thing. Your taking you life into your own hands if you use nothing. Crypto, Giardia or bacteria infections alone might not kill you, but should something else go wrong before you symptoms begin, such as another illness that depresses your immune system, you may be looking at a hospital stay, if not worse. There are bugs out there that can kill you. Is your life worth an extra $100 or so in equipment?

  18. #18
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    Great post bstacy. Thanks for the good info. I live across the street from the water treatment plant here in Fairbanks, are we neighbors?
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

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    AKDoug: "... giardia ... treatment is worse than the disease..."

    On that note, I have read that the best giardia medication is Tinodazol. One 2 gram dose is supposed to knock out giardia quick. Unfortunately there is not enough money in it to get it approved by the FDA, so is not available in the US. My suggestion would be to pick some up over the counter if you ever get out of the country. I got 4 doses for $4 a while back. Unless you have a very long trip planned, you can leave it at home.

  20. #20
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default "Water is what I do".

    Great info bstacy. Thanks for the post.

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