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#153788 - 08/17/11 07:59 PM Gravity Filters
Glenn Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Did a quick search, and couldn't find this question.

Any feel for whether gravity filters are appropriate for solo backpacking?

I asked a buddy, who used one on a solo trip and then went back to his pump. He said it worked fine, but just seemed like a lot of extra fiddle factor for a single hiker; said he thought it was more appropriate for group use.

That's one opinion; I'd like some additional input from those of you who use them for one person. (The particular brand isn't relevant, only the convenience of gravity versus pump for one-person use.)

#153789 - 08/17/11 08:06 PM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I only take the pump filter when I need to. Lot less fiddling with the gravity filter particularly when you get one that connects directly to the platypus, and if you walk off and don't come back for an hour, the platy is full and not overflowing. For solo one bag of water can repeatedly supply me til I break camp the following morning - no repeat visits to the water source.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#153791 - 08/17/11 08:41 PM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: Glenn]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2964
Loc: Portland, OR
If it isn't appropriate for solo use I must be doing it all wrong, then. grin

I moved from a pump to a gravity filter because it was a lighter option, less work, and the water sources I use tend to be copious, so there's no trouble dipping up a bagful of water to filter. The only fiddly part is identifying a good spot to hang the filter. That can take several minutes.

#153796 - 08/18/11 12:30 AM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: aimless]
ETSU Pride Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 931
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I don't really understand gravity filters. I saw a guy using it a couple weekends ago, but I think pumps are way better and faster. By better I meant convenience. I guess it a personal preference. lol.
It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.-- Horace Kephart

#153798 - 08/18/11 09:07 AM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: Glenn]
Dryer Offline

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3585
Loc: Texas
In Ray Jardine's book "Beyond Backpacking", page 496, there are instructions for making a dandy water bag with integral filter. I made one from silnylon and as the instructions say, any filter cartridge can be used as long as one end has a tubing nipple. I haven't bought filter cartridges in a while but something that works down to 1-2 microns should work fine. The bigger the tubing hole/diameter the better, for speed. Speed is the only downside to gravity filtering. It's slow compared to pumping, and you have to keep an eye on your bottles during the process. Pre-filtering (coffee filter, bandanna, settling) will save your final filter from clogging. On a large scale, I've got missionary friends who use a big coffee urn with spigot and a few inches of diatomaceous earth in the bottom. Dump in river water and out comes clean water. A couple drops of bleach and you're good to go. Basically a swimming pool filter.
paul, texas KD5IVP

#153800 - 08/18/11 09:44 AM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: Glenn]
ringtail Offline

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
The best water treatment depends on the location and your hiking style.

I use a gravity filter when I know I will be getting some water from an undesirable source. But, it is a lot of work to set up and take down for just a quart. I tend to filter at least two quarts at a time with the gravity filter.

Most of the time here in Colorado the water is clear enough that treating is OK. I did a hike in July where we crossed a stream about every half mile. I could pull out my quart bottle without taking off my pack and harvest a quart, then treat with a clorine dioxide tablet.
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

#153818 - 08/18/11 03:39 PM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: ringtail]
ndsol Offline

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By ringtail
I did a hike in July where we crossed a stream about every half mile. I could pull out my quart bottle without taking off my pack and harvest a quart, then treat with a clorine dioxide tablet.

Than wait for up to four hours?

#153821 - 08/18/11 05:44 PM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: ringtail]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I guess it's all a matter of perspective. On the rare occasion I end up filtering on trail, I stand there holding the gravity filter. Scoop, fills the bladder/bottle in a minute, shake out the bag, fold it up, put it away, and somehow I'm done before all the pumper people who took that first couple minutes up with attaching hoses.

And I don't have to wait 30 - 240 minutes and then drink chemicals.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#153874 - 08/20/11 08:55 AM Re: Gravity Filters [Re: lori]
mosquito Offline

Registered: 05/13/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Minnesota
I use both a gravity filter and chemicals. The gravity filter is nicer because of instant gratification. We just got back from the WCT and it worked great. I like to sit and have my filter do the work instead of pumping.


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