View Full Version : How do you collect & treat your water?

2005-04-29, 16:12
Just came off of a thread that talked about water bags...brought me to thinking about water collection.

I have an MSR Waterworks II (http://www.thorncrestoutfitters.com/gearguide/wf-msr.htm) filter which screws directly onto my Nalgene water bottle and on to my water bag. I can pump directly into both.

I don't treat it after that. I just rely on the filtering properties of the ceramic, carbon core then final filter of the Waterworks II.

I put a coffee filter over the intake to prevent dirt from clogging it up. Works well.

I have used this in anything from fast running streams to extremely shallow mud puddles while climbing out of Hot Springs, NC in the middle of the summer - glad the pump worked so well.

2005-04-30, 00:41
I collect my water in either my 1L gatoraid bottle or my 2L platypus that has a big ziploc style bottom on it with a hankerchef(sp?) over the opening.

I treat with aquamira that I have prepared in a small bottle that I keep at the ready.

Lone Wolf
2005-04-30, 08:23
I collect it in a Nalgene and pour it into a water bag. I don't treat or filter any water.

2005-04-30, 12:45
Ditto on Lone Wolf's reply. KISS


2005-04-30, 15:27
I went for 30+ years without filtering or treating until my biologist friend asked "are you NUTS?!"

I use an aquamira squeeze filter bottle all day - no chemicals or taste, quick,and the water stays cold. At camp, I fill a 2-liter platypus and treat with aquamira drops - then I make sure I drink it all before I break camp in the morning.

There are still beautiful springs that scream "drink up", and when it looks right, and is bubbling out of the ground, I drink freely without filtering or treating. I filter or treat all surface water.

SGT Rock
2005-04-30, 17:55
Iodine pills. I kind of like the taste.

2005-04-30, 18:12
Iodine pills. I kind of like the taste.

I guess it takes all kinds, Top, but I think you must have stayed in the Army too long. What do you think about the taste of canteen plastic?
Not to say I like the taste of Clorox, but I like it better than iodine.

2005-04-30, 21:51
Iodine pills. I kind of like the taste.

Yea, probably does after all those years of Army coffee.

2005-05-01, 01:32
1)I use a bandana to particle filter,
2)then use 3 drops of "clorox " classic from my 1/8 oz recycled binoca bottle(holds 53 drops),
3)shake well to mix AND aerate,
4)set in the sun with the lid loose for a minimum of 20 min to let the clorine excape,
5)then store or drink.

If I could I would just filter and boil, but who carries that kind of fuel?

2005-05-01, 03:02
WOW-it appears that I am in the stone age on water collection? :) Doesn't anyone (besides me) use a filter any more? I could shed another couple pounds if I dump my filter...

What do you do when you only have a small mud puddle or something that doesn't allow you to dip your container in?

Rock - I picked up some Potable Aqua (i think) jars from my aviation life support shop today - haven't tried them yet, but whats the verdict on them?

SGT Rock
2005-05-01, 06:50
I tried a filter once and hated it. Lots of people use them though. I HATE chlorine, no matter how long you aerate it it seems to always taste like a swimming pool. Iodine at least reminds me of unsweetened ice tea. I have also read that the amount of chlorine it takes to truly kill giardia is higher than the concentrations needed in a swimming pool. YECH!

JARS of Portable Aqua? Do you mean the little ones or some monster jars I have never heard of? Portable Aqua is fine, you can get it all over the place. Wal-Mart, sporting goods stores, camping stores, outfitters. Put some in the water and 30 minutes later it is ready. Try to keep floaters out and use the water within a few days and you should be fine. Personally I have treated water with it and then left it in my water bottle for a couple of weeks after a hike and when I get the bottle back out the water is still potable. No smell of must and bad taste like you get from a canteen that has been cleaned with bleach.

2005-05-01, 07:15
JARS of Portable Aqua? Do you mean the little ones or some monster jars I have never heard of?

Little ones...about half the size of a small prescription bottle.

I tried a filter once and hated it. Lots of people use them though.

I have hiked about 250 miles with my filter and I like it other than the weight. It has become a ritual for me - stop, find a water source, pump the water and enjoy. I don't treat it other than what the filter already does. I know I am still in danger (however small) of giardia and other small things but so far, so good. Like I said, I have filtered out of small mud puddles and settled ponds from the US to Germany to Austria and no ill effects...

I will probably keep the weight of the filter and continue with this technique.

Thanks for the advice!

2005-05-01, 10:16
Scout, I also prefer the squeeze bottle (aquamira filtration) type water filtration systems. Not much heavier than your normal water bottle, quick, no taste. I have convinced all of my hunting and hiking buds to convert to this system. Bowel destroying bugs are present around where I hunt and hike, and I really don't feel like taking my chances without the filter bottle. For group hiking, I still bring my pump filtration system. (PUR)

2005-05-02, 14:09
I'm with you on the water filter. I hike Pisgah National forest (NC) alot. Once we came up on a large pond, beautiful clear water and ice cold. A hot summer day my buddy began to face drink right away. I was about to join him when I read the 4X6 sign just to our left.
Enjoy the water, swim if you like. JUST DON'T DRINK THE WATER.
National Park Service. I later learned because of all the mining and logging in the area years before, the water was contaminated with mercury. High levels of the stuff. That began my search for a water filter that would clean chemicals and the little bugs. I settled on the MSR mini water works.
Found the same problem in the Uwharrie park.

I guess it's a North Carolina problem, I keep one filter in my pack and one in the car. Once on "Dutchmans Creek Trail" in Uwharrie (Don't know why they call it a creek there is no water) I found a small stream black with tanic acid from the pollen. I dug a hole on the side of the stream and by morning it had filled up to several gallons, but the water still had a real slimy feel to it and still dark. I passed this water through the MSR and had clear sweet water. So it made me a believer.

2005-05-02, 20:35
This has been a real education--I also use a pump water filter. I am no expert on this so i bought one with a prefilter on the end of the intake hose and added another charcoal filter to the out put side. i have used it in swamps that were pretty green and never had any problems. The water is always clear and taste great with no waiting. I have looked at the little bottles of iodine pills and they all say that they don't kill criptosperiodem --i know this isn't spelled correct. Is this Cripto bug a problem or not important? my daughter got very sick from this the doctor said. When she drank some cider that was hand pressed by the school kids at a local farm. The apples were picked off the ground and not washed. Everybody got sick. Will the pump filter take this out?

SGT Rock
2005-05-02, 21:08
Usually the problem with the cider wasn't the fruit itself, but the ground it came into contact with and then wasn't cleaned all the way. Seems like this sort of thing happened a few years back and it was e-coli bacteria that was the bug.

2005-05-03, 09:28
The water treatment I've used has depended on the trip. A filter is easily shared among 2 or 3 hikers without a large weight penalty. It becomes even less of a problem when I'm hiking with our sons' Scout troop. In some places like the Grand Canyon a filter's pump helps collect water that may be pretty hard to collect otherwise.

I have also found that Aqua Mira is both a great backup to a filter (they do clog and experience other malfunctions) or a treatment on its own. I prefer Aqua Mira over iodine. I don't have a taste for iodine. A bit of filtering with a bandana or such helps the improve the appearance of water treated only with chemicals. Removing large particles is also supposed to help the effectiveness of treatment.

Major Slacker
2005-05-03, 12:55
I use a three part system:
1. Katadyn "Exstream" filter squeeze bottle - removes 99.9% of the chunks, grit, nasties and bad flavor - EPA registered - fill and drink convenience - at 9.7 oz. it's lighter than most other filters. I use it for hydration on the trail during the day. When I get to a water source I usually fill and drink (sometimes more than once), then fill and go. If water sources are few and far between I also fill a 1 liter Platypus and treat it (see #3) or use it later to fill the filter bottle.
2. Boiling - kills all the nasties. I'm boiling the water for dinner anyway.
3. Katadyn "Micropur" tablets - EPA registered - kills all the nasties - tastes like bottled water - very light - takes 4 hours away from sunlight. I use it to treat 1 liter of water in the Platy overnight. Saves me a trip for water in the morning, and it's a backup if the filter fails (hasn't happened yet).

2005-05-03, 13:04
Hey Tinny - just watched all your videos - very informative! Thanks for having them available. Your 3 minute stove creation was impressive!

2005-05-03, 15:55

Have you thought about a gravity filter? These are easily made and weigh about half of a hand-pump filter.

There are other sites that give a better description, but I'll try:

You'll need a 2L Platypus type water bag, about five feet of 1/4" tubing (from hardware store), an in-line water filter (see REI.com), and some twine.

Specifically, I've got a 2L Platypus bag. I bought a cap for the bag that has a 1/4" spout on it. Cut the tubing into two sections - a 3' section and a 2' section. Attach one end of the 3' section to the water bag's cap and the other end to the intake side of the in-line filter. Attach the 2' section to the exit side of the in-line filter. Punch out the holes in the bottom of the water bag and tie the twine through the holes so that you can hang the whole thing on a tree about six feet off the ground.

Basically, fill the bag with water, replace the cap with the attached tubing, and hang the bag upside down on a tree limb. The water will gravity flow through the filter and out of the end of the 2' section of tubing.

Some folks add clamps to the end of the tubing, then unclamp when they need to fill a bottle. I just tie a knot in it.

One of the drawbacks of this type of system is you need a two or three inches of water to fill the bag.



2005-05-03, 16:24
Tinney, not sure I know the MSR will filter 2 Microns, as with most filters, I found before I settled on the mini water works.
When questionable I always planned to use the the filter and then treat it with the "Aqua tabs" just to be very safe. I carry the "Aqua tabs" and another little bottle of tabs that profess to take the bad taste out of the water. But I have never used them. If anyone has I would like to know if they work? (Removing the bad taste)

2005-05-03, 22:09
Hey Fly.Fast,
Is that a Tilley you're wearing?


2005-05-04, 07:40
Greg, yup. Over the winter I found this hat at Cabela's. I have a need for sun protection and this is my favorite hat so far -- nylon, lightweight, broad brim, and comfortable. It's expensive compared to others I've worn but I intend to use it for years.

2005-05-04, 12:47
It floats, the brim stiffens up when it rains, and the wide brim gives 360 sun protection. I've used the same T3 for more than 10 years! It truly is "Endurable."
I'll gladly 'stand you to a drink' if ever we meet.

lucky luke
2005-05-09, 12:34
high all,

guess my name... in 35 years of outdoors i have never used a filter or any other treatment, except a silk-bandana. i have never had a problem. not in s-america, not in ak, wa, and the entire northwest and western canada, not on the at, not in the alps, not in the himalayans. however i experienced diarhhea attacks from water in new york city, in buenos aires, in rhawalpindi (after a HOOOOOOT meal on the market)...

honestly iŽld much rather share my water with a family of beavers than with the shareholders of a watercompany.

lucky luke

2005-05-09, 15:40
iŽld much rather share my water with a family of beavers than with the shareholders of a watercompany.

Haha! Very well put.

2005-05-10, 21:19
idoine+cool-aid. shooter

2005-05-11, 09:49
I suspect that if the water treatment pills don't take out cripto then it must not be a problem or it doesn't turn up that often. I beleive it only occurs in animal droppings like beaver poop. Many of the places where i hike are infested with beaver and also poop, so i guess i will keep filtering. Last time i was at cloud pond there was a moose standing in our water source and i don't think he was house trained. I beleive that a filter will take this out. I can not justify not filtering my water because being sick on the trail is not on my list of things to do. And now that you mention it every time i go with friends they always borrow my filter to treat their water also. So I guess this would break up the 15 oz weight between 3 people. I also read on the bottle of iodine pills that they are not for regular use and only for emergencies. I can only assume that they are not good for you and may cause health problems if used regularly. I know you guys have used them for years with no problems at all except mild brain damage. That would explain leaving toilet paper at home and cutting the handle off your tooth brush--HA HA Ha all in good fun no harm intended.---tinny--

2005-05-11, 17:49
I know you guys have used them for years with no problems at all except mild brain damage. That would explain leaving toilet paper at home and cutting the handle off your tooth brush--HA HA Ha all in good fun no harm intended.---tinny--

I'm still filtering too! I'm too picky to have floaties in my water anyhow...

2005-05-17, 03:47
I've used the same Sweetwater pump for years; I just dunk the prefilter in a pool and start pumping. To get a little more mileage out of it, I always put a coffee filter over the mesh screen on the prefilter. Works well for me. I do switch out the filters, though.

I can't see the post now, but I thoght I saw someone talking about using a filter to get mercury out of the water. I hope they weren't serious. A ceramic/charcoal filter will get out most microorganisms, but any chemical pollutants will slip right through, just like filtering coffee or Kool-Aid won't give you pure water when you're done.

2005-05-19, 09:10
well I have brought some pills for really nasty water but to tell ya the truth i usually will hike extra miles just for better water,if all fail boil it but most time i just drink it never had a filter takes to long :elefant: ky

2005-05-21, 05:37
Hi Scout,

soundslike a great purchase...But isn't it a bit robust? Coming back to the discussion you mentioned, during that I've lost confidence for the necessity of carrying along a water bag on the trail altogether. :damnmate: My 20 hn backpack has too many things to enclose anyway :turtle: So I decided to switch for the old bottle/flask system :) It's cheap, convenient and easy- no broken pipes or valves which cease to function in the middle of a day..
Thansk for bringing forth this discussion, because I'm pondering on buying some mini trail filter, which would occupy little space in my pack. I've been advised Katadyn Camp microfilter, but that seems to expensive for the time being...Any suggestions?

2005-05-22, 07:47
Yea, probably does after all those years of Army coffee.

ROTFLMAOPIMP! (Well, almost!)

Hubby's friend's wife tried to show me how she made her coffee almost 35 years ago. It was tolerable. Maybe the inspiration for spending the $$ on Starbucks...


2005-05-22, 12:52
I collect my water in...my 2L platypus that has a big ziploc style bottom on it with a hankerchef(sp?) over the opening.

I've worried about accidental opening of the ziploc-style bottom on those platypus'. Have you had any troubles? Do they pack (and stay closed) when filled?


2005-05-22, 16:36
...But isn't it a bit robust?

Yes, it is a lot of water to carry and I remember reading in my own journal - "Water weight is a killer..." so I think I just need to watch when I pump and rely more on drinking at the filling spots. I usually fill in the morning and evening and end up carrying all this water along with me - up to 3 quarts. Probably not the best idea for conserving weight. I am going to plan on stopping more frequently and enjoy the hike!

Recommendations for other filters? Hmm...my friend carried a PUR filter which had a nice pump to it but I have to say that my WaterWorks II is still going strong and I have never had any problem with it after 5 years of random hikes. I will stick with it. Love it cause it screws directly into the Nalgene and my MSR Dromedary bag! (not sure if I mentioned which bag I had)

2005-05-23, 02:00
Hey all.

I promise you. You get crypto once you will never go unfiltered again. I saw a buddy get it. Messed him up for over a month. Anywhere anything craps is suspect.

Here in the midwest you would be a straight up nut to drink the water untreated.

Crypto is a varmit in a shell if I reacll correctly. No treatment can get at it. It can be filtered out tho. Your stomach acid can dissolve its hide tho and let it out. Then the fun begins. Yee-haw. Hello dehydration http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cryptosporidiosis/default.htm (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cryptosporidiosis/default.htm)

We filter and then treat. That's about 100% as you can get without boiling. If one fails the other will do pretty good. We all carry firestarter tho. Just in case.

I had a PUR guide. Easiest pumper on the market. But sold it once I figured out I could get a hole in the pleat and never know it. gotta MSR now. I like the scrubbable core and field maintainable guts. I don't know about all this ultra violet stuff except that they take batteries so i'm not too keen on them

We used alot of sweetwater drops to kill the viruses. But I can taste it and I swear it makes me more thirsty so I switched to iodine pills. I use the nuetralizers tho. Gonna get some polar pure next trip. Iodine goes bad and the bottles they come in are heavy, can break, and the caps draw moisture. Chlorine will go bad also.

http://www.polarequipment.com/page6.html (http://www.polarequipment.com/page6.html)

And remember that the surgical tubing on your water bags will hook right onto to your pumps most times if you want to go for the easy fill and any filter you buy should be field cleanable or else you will eventually get stranded with a defunct system. Watch out for those gravity, squeeze bottle and inline filters, they're notorius for that.

I love prefilters. Lotsa muck round here. Coffee filters or the sweetwater Siltstopper works for me. Another good trick is to carry a Dirty bag. Get some pond water and let it settle at camp before you pump it.

I also learned that "turbid" or flowing water like those clear looking rapids has more crapola stirred up in it than some nice still clear placid place like a deep spot

But maybe I'm paranoid. Heck, I've filtered melted snow before LOL

2005-05-23, 10:41
Twas I that goofed about the chemicals.
I spoke to Eric at MSR and MSR professes the Mini Water Works will remove "Minerals" such as copper, Zinc, Iron, mercury, even gold or silver.
As long as they are not smaller than 2 micros, I believe a condom will pass 5 micros.
You are right no filter will stop chemicals, my error.

I was told by a Ranger here in the Carolina's that the log miners used such minerals to treat the lumber for over 60 years and the minerals of course settled over the years in the soil and water.

Good hiking

2005-05-23, 11:39
Yep - one typical lumber treatment was CCA or chromated copper arsenate. The treatment process has recently been banned by the EPA.

2005-05-23, 14:06
I usually have the bag empty and only fill my Gatoraid bottle during the day. I fill the platypuss on my last water stop for the day. It stays real well. Never had a prob yet. (knock on a tree)

I also keep a couple of those Platypus repair stickers that they make just in case. The zip loc on it is very robust.

2005-05-23, 17:34
I usually have the bag empty and only fill my Gatoraid bottle during the day. I fill the platypuss on my last water stop for the day. It stays real well. Never had a prob yet. (knock on a tree)
I am going to try that on my next hike (June 28 - July 7).

2005-05-23, 23:27
... platypuss ...

Thanks for the reply. But watch that spelling! :biggrin: