Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Outdoors Activities

hiking filter recommendations needed

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Alan Georges:
Against my better judgement, I'm getting talked into a three day/two night event this spring in the Pearl River swamps on the MS/LA border.  Allowed gear is what you can carry, so this is essentially the same as a bug-out scenario.  No way to haul enough water for this duration, but there is plenty of water on site in several stagnant ponds and maybe on the overflow edges of some slow-moving creeks if there's been rain.  Nasty stuff full of tannin, silt, and who-knows-what microorganisms.  But at least there's plenty of it available.

I'm thinking about getting something like a Katadyn Vario filter, then after filtering hitting it with a Steripen to make sure.  Any suggestions?  Different filter, or use chemicals, or...?

Funny, I've never really tackled the portable water filtration problem.  Ground water's just so awful here that I've always carried what I need: a 3 liter camelbak and 5 gallons back at the truck took care of things.  The problem is that for a three day pack event, there's no way to carry enough.  I've got some Berkey bottles (freebies from Berkey Guy orders), and plan to carry one as a backup to the filter, but it won't have enough flow to really keep up with the event.

Having said that, if I can get this lightweight filter thing sorted out, it'll open some new outdoor possibilities for me.  The new filter will get some use then.  In the meantime, any thoughts or advice much appreciated.

I've always used the Sawyer Mini. Hooks up to water bottle so you can grab some water and keep moving. It comes with a bag to hook it up to and you drink from that. Throw that in the trash. Always leaks. I just screw it onto a soda bottle. Small and cheap so I always have a few around.


You may be fine with just the Vario's 0.2 micron glass fiber filter. 

I've purified similarly nasty pond water with the Katadyn Pocket filter's 0.2 micron ceramic filter, with salutary results.  I have more faith in the long term durability of the ceramic filter technology, but for a short trip the glass fiber seems like it should be fine.

I've used the Katadyn/PUR Hiker filter for years.  You can filter a quart in a few minutes. I would suggest taking an extra filter element and make sure you have the pre-filter attachment for the intake hose.  Be real careful when you are pumping to avoid clogging the filter which then becomes almost useless.  You can backwash it with boiled water or something but that is a hassle and takes some time. If you are on the move a lot then taking time to fix a clogged filter may be very disruptive to the group. For me, anything critical should have a backup of some sort because, well it is CRITICAL. :)


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