The water in my area is dirty and no doubt full of pathogens and possibly pollution as well. I can't justify purchasing a water purification system for this hobby, even the Sawyer, so what I'm planning to do (still haven't been backpacking - though I've done lots of backyard and car camping) is somehow collect water at every crossing (unless my containers are already full), filter it through a cheap charcoal filter (Brita bottle filter), and boil it when I make camp. This of course means I've got to carry enough clean water, per person, for drinking and cooking, to last until the next boiling, and I've got to carry at least the same amount of unboiled water so I can prepare it for the next day and transfer it to my clean containers.
Unless I'm overlooking something? Maybe some tricks to make this lighter and easier?
Perhaps I could always make sure to camp close to a source so I only have to carry drinking water and collect again for cooking and next days beverages, but then what if I don't know what the conditions ahead are like?
How many dirty bottles should I carry, and what sizes. How many clean?
Would you boil once a day, or also stop for lunch and boil then as well?
Step me through your process if you boil, or what you would do if you had to boil.