Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#126200 - 01/02/10 05:00 PM PCT Advice/Experience?
Boomer Offline
member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Minnesota,USA
Anyone have advice for water filtration systems for me? im thinking of using the steripen.
_________________________
Modern civilized man, sated with artificialities and luxury, were wont, when he returns to the primeval mountains, to find among their caves his prehistoric brother, alive and unchanged. -Guido Rey

Top
#126204 - 01/02/10 08:57 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Boomer]
Heber Offline
member

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 245
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I don't have PCT experience but I do use a Steripen. I really like it. Your concern there is going to be batteries. The problem I have noticed is that if you leave the batteries in the Steripen for any length of time they seem to lose charge. If you take them out after each use then it should be fine. If you are careful that way and change your batteries every time you re-supply then it should be fine I would think.

I do have the solar charger also and I have tried it. It seems to work but needs good sun for quite a few hours. You won't get that everywhere on the trail so I wouldn't rely on it.

Top
#126207 - 01/02/10 10:15 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Boomer]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3188
Loc: Portland, OR
The PCT is a very long trail and the quality and quantity of water can vary considerably from one section to another.

The water sources in SoCal are notoriously scanty and can easily become polluted by cattle or other animal use. Thru hikers are often confronted with stagnant pools or troughs with scums of algae, insects, or worse. I don't think a Steripen would be adequate for such situations.

On the other hand, the Sierras often have abundant clear fresh running water that has melted from snowfields within sight of where you draw your water. For such water sources you can usually drink with no filtration or purification and be perfectly safe.

Oregon and Washington, where I hike, are not as bad for water as the worst places in California, but because of the volcanic nature of the Cascades the water sources are very often lakes, not streams. Lake water is pretty good, but I use a Katadyn Hiker filter unless I am lucky enough to draw water from a pure, burbling spring that emerges within a few feet of me.

The Steripen ought to work OK for most lake water in the OR and WA Cascades, I should guess, but there is that problem of relying on a gadget with batteries that can go dead on you, or just go haywire on you. I tend to avoid such "solutions" and rely more on simpler ways of doing things.

Whatever you choose, I wish you luck and happy hiking. The PCT is a great trail to hike!

Top
#126208 - 01/02/10 11:15 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: aimless]
Eugene Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/09
Posts: 60
Loc: San Diego, CA
I'm having a tough time with this too. I'm ruling out the Steripen because of the funky batteries.

For mild filtration, I'll use a bandana or coffee filters.

For main filtration, I'm planning on using a mixture of chemicals, boiling and filtration.

Chemicals weigh almost nothing, so of course I'll have some.

In the Sierra's, boiling may be the only way to go. I may have a stove, but I want to conserve fuel, so I'm thinking about getting a Ti grill and using wood for melting snow.

As far as filtration, there's the MSR Gravity filter. I think it weighs 13 oz. The issue with that is the filter must be protected from freezing. The upside is it can be used as a water bucket to grab all the water you need at one time. The filter is cleaned by backflushing, so this should be able to provide most of the water for the PCT without needing a new filter.

Basically, my plan is:

If it's above freezing, I'll filter. If it's below freezing, I'll boil. If I'm in a pinch, I'll use chemicals.
_________________________
www.eugeneleafty.com

Top
#126212 - 01/03/10 12:26 AM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Heber]
Shrike Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 59
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By Heber
I don't have PCT experience but I do use a Steripen. I really like it.


I am in the same category as heber. I use a steripen and really like it but have no PCT experience. I do not like relying on batteries for water but with chemical treatment as backup it is a good safe system. If the water has some floaties in it you can just use a bandanna or coffee filter to remove them.

I was in Washington a couple years ago and met a guy at Mt. Hood who was on a thru hike of the PCT. He showed me this wacky little gadget called a steripen. He said he had used it the entire trip and loved it. That is how I was introduced to UV purification.

Boomer - It has been done and I am sure you can make it work if its what you want to use. Happy trails!

Top
#126214 - 01/03/10 12:57 AM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Boomer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Boomer
If you're going a long ways you probably should not rely on finding clear drinkable water, boiling takes too much energy and requires time to boil and time to cool, and the steripen battery situation might not be good and it could fail, but if you weigh the batteries and add a second steripen it might be fine. I don't know if you can still buy one, but I've been using a PUR hiker in the Sierras for over a decade without a problem or need to change the filter. It is also the fastest water filter and when mosquitos are sucking your blood it allows you to spend less time squatting by the lake.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

Top
#126216 - 01/03/10 02:15 AM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Jimshaw]
Eugene Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/09
Posts: 60
Loc: San Diego, CA
Mosquitoes by the lake are why I like that MSR Gravity filter. All I have to do is take a big bucket of lake water and I can take my water further away to filter.
_________________________
www.eugeneleafty.com

Top
#126253 - 01/04/10 12:19 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Eugene]
ral Offline
member

Registered: 11/30/02
Posts: 123
Loc: San Francisco
I hiked the PCT in 2006 which was a heavy snow year-----personally I used chemicals the entire way (Aqua Mira) when I felt that I needed to purify which was less often as the days went by---while there are bad sources of water in SOCAL this is overblown a bit---most of these cattle troughs people speak of are filled from a nice spring and you can usually get water from there---not always but in most cases. In the Sierras it makes no sense to boil or to melt snow---you will not be camping in the snow unless something goes haywire one day. Even in 2006 it was never necessary to camp in the snow---certtainly the passes we snow bound but the southern facing slopes were snow free below the passes. I also would say that many folks were very diligent (including me) about purifyi8ng water in the beginning and many were not so later on.

Top
#126254 - 01/04/10 12:22 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: ral]
Boomer Offline
member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Minnesota,USA
so im hearing chemicals are the way to go? ive honestly never used them before. Mainly because I have always heard there is a foul taste associated with them did anyone feel like this is a problem for them when they used chemicals for water purification?
_________________________
Modern civilized man, sated with artificialities and luxury, were wont, when he returns to the primeval mountains, to find among their caves his prehistoric brother, alive and unchanged. -Guido Rey

Top
#126257 - 01/04/10 01:47 PM Re: PCT Advice/Experience? [Re: Boomer]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2930
Loc: NorCal
People differ in how the taste affects them--some are sensitive to it and others seem not to be. Chlorine dioxide is the best alternative and not too bad tasting; I simply can't tolerate iodine (which is less effective anyway). The source water quality affects the tast too. I'll suggest experimenting with ClO2 before committing to chemical treatment for a multi-month trip.

Are you thru or section hiking? You have to option of matching your water treatment to the trail section you're in, e.g., chemicals in the desert, UV in the Sierra, chemicals in the southern Cascades, etc. You can store the options in your drift box and select which one, based on where you're headed and the water sources.

I like UV and choose it if I know the water isn't going to be particularly cold or cloudy. I'll filter if it's going to be cold and I take tablets when I'm traveling very light (and always keep a few as backup to filter or UV).

Cheers,

Originally Posted By Boomer
so im hearing chemicals are the way to go? ive honestly never used them before. Mainly because I have always heard there is a foul taste associated with them did anyone feel like this is a problem for them when they used chemicals for water purification?
_________________________
--Rick

Top

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Tent Question
by Bill Kennedy
10/07/21 03:30 AM
Tarp camping
by balzaccom
10/06/21 09:56 AM
Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp?
by rionada
02/24/13 02:35 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Working a trail crew
by balzaccom
10/10/21 08:32 PM
Waterproof boots
by Tom7654
09/28/21 09:56 AM
Grandma Gatewood Revisited
by Bill Kennedy
09/26/21 01:51 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
I Made Bamboo Trekking Poles
by 4evrplan
01/17/18 12:36 PM
Featured Photos
Spiderco Chaparral Pocketknife
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 41 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
mjhgfd, Emmie, Sand Hollow, rdo, tizzacd70
13072 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
Backpacking.net
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum