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#182296 - 01/26/14 07:49 PM Water Filters that make h2o taste good
wesarnold Offline
member

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 45
Loc: Birmingham, AL
So, I did a quick search and it seems that most posts about filters are about how light they are, how fast they pump, and how small of a particle size they can filter down to. But for whatever reason, I don't see too many reviews that mention the flavor of the water after it's filtered. I've not used many filters (okay, only 1...ever). And I'm not sure if it's my filter, or if it's common...but I can't stand the "leafy" taste of the water I get out of the streams and creeks. Is there a filter that removes particles well enough that it tastes just like regular bottled drinking water?

Thanks!
_________________________
adventureempires.blogspot.com

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#182297 - 01/26/14 07:56 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
Your best bet is a filter that contains carbon--it will adsorb some portion of the organics you're tasting. Chlorine dioxide treatment can reduce it in some cases--but it probably depends on the specific water and contaminants.

The Katadyn Hiker has carbon in the cartridge, and I'm sure there are others. You could also make your own carbon filter to use in addition to a biological filter. Aquarium filter carbon would work.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#182298 - 01/26/14 08:16 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: Rick_D]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
I have poured water through my bandana and some charcoal from a fire pit to help the flavor.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#182300 - 01/26/14 09:28 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
You can try a filter like the Katadyn Hiker models with carbon in. But I have filtered tannin laden water with it and it still doesn't get all the flavor out. You won't find a filter on the market that will filter down to the molecular level - so researching water sources and not taking water downstream of agriculture or industrial/mining facilities, or sulfurous hot springs, or salt water, is all you can do about things other than bacterial/cyst/protozoa that contaminate water.

About the only thing that works with tannins is to flavor it with something - like food or tea.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#182302 - 01/26/14 11:17 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
First Need.
Duane

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#182309 - 01/27/14 07:43 AM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: hikerduane]
wesarnold Offline
member

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 45
Loc: Birmingham, AL
This is okay. Honestly the fact that you guys' water tastes the same is comforting. I was afraid you were going to respond that all your filters turned your water into great tasting spring water. To the flavoring isle I go!
_________________________
adventureempires.blogspot.com

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#182312 - 01/27/14 09:57 AM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Originally Posted By wesarnold
This is okay. Honestly the fact that you guys' water tastes the same is comforting. I was afraid you were going to respond that all your filters turned your water into great tasting spring water. To the flavoring isle I go!
well most of the water in the sierras taste better than bottled spring water!
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The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#182317 - 01/27/14 04:14 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: rockchucker22]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
Originally Posted By wesarnold
This is okay. Honestly the fact that you guys' water tastes the same is comforting. I was afraid you were going to respond that all your filters turned your water into great tasting spring water. To the flavoring isle I go!
well most of the water in the sierras taste better than bottled spring water!


I was going to say the same about the rockies! I will go out of my way to find the springs just to taste the water. It is practically euphoria to sit at a spring and drink, drink, drink until you are about to burst. Then sit a while and drink some more before you head out. And make sure to fill up an extra liter for later.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#182319 - 01/27/14 04:37 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: finallyME]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Originally Posted By finallyME
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
Originally Posted By wesarnold
This is okay. Honestly the fact that you guys' water tastes the same is comforting. I was afraid you were going to respond that all your filters turned your water into great tasting spring water. To the flavoring isle I go!
well most of the water in the sierras taste better than bottled spring water!


I was going to say the same about the rockies! I will go out of my way to find the springs just to taste the water. It is practically euphoria to sit at a spring and drink, drink, drink until you are about to burst. Then sit a while and drink some more before you head out. And make sure to fill up an extra liter for later.
I grew up in CO and you would be hard pressed to find better water than good ol Rocky Mountain pure H2O! Sierras is a close second.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#182321 - 01/27/14 04:57 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: rockchucker22]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
Originally Posted By finallyME
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
Originally Posted By wesarnold
This is okay. Honestly the fact that you guys' water tastes the same is comforting. I was afraid you were going to respond that all your filters turned your water into great tasting spring water. To the flavoring isle I go!
well most of the water in the sierras taste better than bottled spring water!


I was going to say the same about the rockies! I will go out of my way to find the springs just to taste the water. It is practically euphoria to sit at a spring and drink, drink, drink until you are about to burst. Then sit a while and drink some more before you head out. And make sure to fill up an extra liter for later.
I grew up in CO and you would be hard pressed to find better water than good ol Rocky Mountain pure H2O! Sierras is a close second.


Well our Ozark limestone filtered spring water is pretty darn good too. I'd enter it in a taste test competition with both Sierra and Rocky Mountain water. But I do sympathize with wesarnold.

I'll offer that you invest in the Britta Squeeze bottle with their activated charcoal filter and give it a shot. Lori may well be right about it not filtering tannins, I've not tried it, but I know what leafy water taste like. Still, the Britta bottle is inexpensive and so are the filters so it's worth a shot. I use mine a lot.

I found that after a few light uses with pretty good water the Katadyn Hiker filter imparted a sort of musty taste to my water. I ended up giving mine away.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#182324 - 01/27/14 05:10 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: billstephenson]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
if you don't run bleach water through, then remove the filter to let it dry before storing, harmless bacteria grow in the dark damp filter that flavor the water you filter.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#182326 - 01/27/14 06:24 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: billstephenson]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Ozarks' are famous for their wonderful water, that's why the best Bourbons come from that area. I haven't been lucky enough to try it...... Yet!
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#182508 - 02/05/14 01:04 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: billstephenson]
bpackengneer Offline
member

Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 26
Loc: Massachusetts
As others have said, look for something with a carbon filter like the Katadyn.

Backpacking Engineer

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#182763 - 02/11/14 04:24 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
Happy Birthday BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“ Is there a filter that removes particles well enough that it tastes just like regular bottled drinking water?”
+1 on First Need.
+1 on Rocky Mountain water

If you want to get rid of the tannis flavor, First Need does an amazing job. That is if you want the extreme: lake water now tastes like distilled water.

I used the First Need extensively in the Midwest; it being the only filter that will turn brown water crystal clear.

Being in the mountains, I DON’T want to turn mountain water into distilled-tasting water; so I use UV out here to keep the high mineral-energy boosting taste.

Good luck in your filter choice,
-Barry
-The mountains were made for Tevas

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#182765 - 02/11/14 04:41 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: BarryP]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Don't let the blue dye test fool you into thinking First Need takes out chemicals, because it most certainly does no such thing. It is able to take out viruses where filters do not. It contains activated charcoal that does the job of removing tastes.

It is unnecessarily, heavy, has a shorter life span than many filters, and would be my choice for international travel. The directions instruct you that in some cases you should add iodine to the water - which says that is is not infallible.

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#182767 - 02/11/14 04:55 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
The First Need also uses an iodine-impregnated filter to remove viruses which, for those with thyroid issues, pregnant women and those with an iodine allergy (like me) is a no-no. Unfortunately, you may not find out about these problems (except pregnancy) until you've used the iodine and gotten horrible symptoms. Been there, done that!

If you want to get rid of viruses, add chlorine dioxide before or after filtering. It zaps viruses and bacteria in a few minutes, but may take several hours to kill protozoa. The filter gets the protozoa and bacteria. The two together take care of everything except chemicals in the water, a real issue where you're downstream of mine tailings or an agricultural or manufacturing area.

I've backpacked Washington's Olympic NP coast (whose water sources all contain tannin) several times and had no problem with the water, even though it retains a yellowish cast after filtering (close your eyes before drinking). I usually use a powdered drink mix (the kind with extra electrolytes) in it, which helps with the flavor.


Edited by OregonMouse (02/11/14 05:00 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#182805 - 02/12/14 10:35 AM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: OregonMouse]
Happy Birthday BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“The First Need also uses an iodine-impregnated filter to remove viruses…”

Hey, you’re in luck Oregon Mouse. First Need uses no iodine!. One of the only filter purifiers (true purifier) that doesn’t use iodine.

“…Manufactured in the USA from the finest raw materials, our water purifiers are ecologically and environmentally compatible; they purify naturally without adding chlorine, iodine or other pesticides to the water you drink and use in your foods and beverages. General Ecology's "Structured MatrixTM" technology is independently certified to USEPA Purification Standards against all three classes of waterborne disease organisms - parasitic cysts, bacteria, and viruses - instantly, without pre/post treatment, without wasting water and without electricity. Outstandingly effective, they also remove chemical and aesthetic contaminants, …”

Lori, you’re right, the ‘blue dye’ test doesn’t check for chemical filtering. It just checks to see if the filter is cracked from droppage or freezing. This is the only filter that can do that easy test. If you see blue dye (or tannins for that matter), then don’t trust the filter! Again, that’s not true for any other filter.

“The directions instruct you that in some cases you should add iodine to the water - which says that is is not infallible.”

The First Need instructions don’t say that. In fact, before or after First Need, no chemicals are needed. You might have got that from the Katadyn Filter instructions.

And yes, it is heavy (relatively speaking). So if I’m hiking anywhere near farmland, I would use the First Need. It “removes dirt, unpleasant tastes and chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides” But I’m glad I’m not backpacking in the midwest right now.
And yes it has a shorter life span. Even though it advertises 150 gallons, in the Midwest I only got ~40 gallons before it dropped to 1L/min. I save those cartridges for gravity filtering for home emergencies.

-Barry
-The Mountains were made for Tevas

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#182806 - 02/12/14 10:46 AM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: BarryP]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
It's not a filter.

And no, I got that on the First Need website, which has the manual. The First Need website also says that as you use it the purifier loses some of its effectiveness against viruses. It works by some complicated electrostatic attraction in its structure - that doesn't work so well the longer you use it. And it has carbon in it (not charcoal, I misspoke) and the instructions additionally state the first time you use it it will put black particles in the outflow - just like any Hiker Pro will when you put water through the carbon in the filter.

Anyone who has questions about that can review the actual website.
For some reason, the US site has very little information, but the Canadians believe in sharing.
http://www.generalecologycanada.com/faq.html

It does not remove chemicals no matter the hype - the only way to remove chemicals is by more complex processes. I'm not going to believe that no matter who says it. Why bet my health on their electrostatic process working reliably? They say themselves you have to replace the filter because the reliability degrades. As with all water filtration devices we are left with faith that the makers are not lying to us - and I am going to continue choosing water sources carefully, because this claim is a bit much to swallow. It's unreasonable to expect that much out of a mechanical device you can pack. And why spend a zillion dollars replacing the unit every month (that's how often I'd have to, based on usage and their instructions) when a single fifty dollar Hiker Pro and proper source selection does the job?

Pretty sure OM has done her research, in the best interests of not having a reaction. Perhaps new models lack it but I'm also remembering reading about the iodine in the cartridge.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#182813 - 02/12/14 01:51 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: lori]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
It's a dense piece of writing. They claim chemical adsorbtion but declare they don't use "GAC [granular activated carbon], carbon block, extruded carbon and other coarser charcoal filters."

My takeaway is they're using some form of carbon, but one that doesn't fall under one of those categories. Carbon adsorption is a very common form of chemical removal technology and since they cite TCE and other organic contaminants, almost assuredly at use here. (It's how they removed semi-volatiles when I worked in environmental remediation.)

Can somebody cut one apart and report back?

The rub is carbon only removes certain classes of chemicals and even the treatable chemicals have varying affinities for carbon. The poor consumer has no hope of knowing 1. what's present in the source water 2. whether the filter is removing it and 3. at what point the carbon becomes saturated and begins desorbing the very chemical it was previously removing.

First Need was the first filter I bought. I moved on when lighter, faster ones became available. But I don't filter for anything more complicated than microorganisms so haven't concerned myself with chemical removal. If I hiked where there was agricultural or mining contamination I'd probably re-think the whole bring-in-your-water thing.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#182828 - 02/12/14 04:39 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: lori]
Happy Birthday BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
“It's not a filter.”

Yep. I admit. It’s MORE than a filter. If I’m in decent water country, I wouldn’t take it. Overkill.
My friends easily get 100 gallons out of their cartridges. But they’re more patient.

And the First Need is only for those people that can’t psychologically handle tannins (like me); other filters ALSO get out the cuties but not the tannins.
I do like the simple design of one hose (just leave it on the filter) and one bottle; thus minimum connects and disconnects. And it pumps 2L/sec! That’s a big help for that quick afternoon stop at a water source and you have to pump 2 people’s water. Less fiddle factor for filters from the folks at generalecology.

And First Need never had iodine so I’m not sure how that rumor got started. Other ‘purifiers’ do use iodine though.
If I didn’t mind tannins and slow flow, I love the weight of the Sawyer mini! Even scouts would have a hard time cross contaminating hoses (It has none smile ).

As with ALL filters, you have to put your faith in them because you really don’t know if they’re working 100%. You have pretty good reasoning’s; but never to 100%.

-May you always have an unclogged filter
-Barry

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#182832 - 02/12/14 05:20 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: Rick_D]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
One of the things I read about charcoal filters is that the longer the water is exposed to the charcoal the more contaminates will be removed. I suspect any carbon based filter would perform the same.

With that in mind, we might want to filter our water slowly with charcoal. I tended to use my Hiker filter like a bilge pump, pumping as fast and hard as I could. That may not work as good as a more gentle approach.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#182838 - 02/12/14 06:09 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: billstephenson]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
Hi Bill,

That squares with what I gleaned from the design folks. They wanted adequate contact time, even flow through the filter media (no short-circuiting or no-flow zones) and redundency for when break-through occurred. To those ends they would match the system capacity to the design flow and contaminant concentrations. A typical system would have parallel in-line pairs of carbon vessels. When breakthrough occurred at the lead vessel, the carbon would be replaced and it would be switched to be the trailing vessel.

The carbon business is a good one!

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#182844 - 02/12/14 07:24 PM Re: Water Filters that make h2o taste good [Re: wesarnold]
scratchtp Offline
member

Registered: 09/11/12
Posts: 64
Loc: New York
Anyone used the katadyn carbon cartridge?

I've never used it, but it looks like it would work pretty well. It's not a filter, but uses activated carbon to remove some tastes, and it looks like you can attach it inline with a hydration pack. The other nice thing about it is that you can replace the carbon afterwards without buying a whole new cartridge, which seems a lot more reasonable to me. I have read that with other filters (katadyn hiker, msr miniworks), the activated carbon stops being effective much earlier than the filter element itself, so you are stuck either using activated carbon that stopped removing chemicals long ago, or are forced to buy a new filter cartridge.

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