View Full Version : Water purification system and base layer gear questions

03-23-2015, 14:27
I am heading out on April 4th to thru-hike the AT, with my dog. Currently I have a katadyn base camp gravity filter that weighs 12 oz with filter and assorted parts necessary to operate. The filter can hold up to 9.6 L of water. Obviously I won't need to filter that much at any one time. My question is, should I consider an alternative? I've read about the Sawyer Squeeze system. Is it superior, for consideration of weight? If so, what components do I need exactly, it seems like there are at least 20 different options and I don't know where to begin.

Also, I've been to REI multiple times over the past six months in my quest to find the right gear. A salesperson recommended a silk baselayer, which I purchased, but is very light. I'm wondering if it will keep me warm at night, at least during the first couple months on the trail. Should I consider a composite wool layer, at least for part of my trip?

Any advice is much appreciated. While I have backpacked before, I was seriously under-prepared, and hoping to get some advice from more experienced hikers.

03-23-2015, 14:41
I prefer wool baselayer to silk. Better temp regulation and keeps BO down.

I like the Sawyer filter set up inline as opposed to the squeeze (same filter, different accessories). The convenience of just using my bladder as a 'dirty' bag, scooping it full and going when at a water source is great. I use my inline on a 3L bag, which I rarely fill completely but like the flexibility. I can go to a water source, fill it completely and then gravity filter water into my cookpot and gatorade bottles around camp and still have my traveling water for the next moring. This is real nice when it's a long or difficult trek to the water source for a location or if I have to wind up camping dry.

03-23-2015, 16:08
Opinions are like arse holes.....here's mine[emoji2]...I like capilene as base layer and use the sawyer squeeze...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

03-23-2015, 17:08
As far as water filtering goes, I've been using Sawyer for years, but tried Aquamira drops on the last couple sections I've done and really liked the simplicity and foolproof-ness. You just have to plan ahead a little more is all, and it's weight is scalable.

03-23-2015, 17:19
I love the Saywer Squeeze and the only reason I would use something else would be if I knew it was going to be below freezing the entire time, and I would use tablets.

I prefer wool base layers, but the capilene seem to work just as good.

03-23-2015, 18:06
I like the Sawyer Mini... as little as $20 at WalMart so it's really cheap to replace. It's basically the same thing as the Squeeze but smaller.

The setup I like is as a gravity feed system. Because of it's small size, it takes a little longer to filter than some other methods. But in gravity mode, you can be busy with other camp chores while your water is filtering.

My specific setup is a Sawyer Mini paired with a 2L Evernew water carry as a dirty water bag (because the standard thread of the Evernew match the standard threads of the Sawyer... where as Platypus used a custom thread).
For clean water, I use a 2L Platypus Hoser (bite valve removed)... however I replaced the thick/stiff hose that came with the hoser for thinner more bendable (and lighter weight) surgical type tubing (actually, I repurposed the tubing from my old sweet water filter).

The only time I consider using something other than the Sawyer is when temperatures are expected to go below freezing.

The only really big negative with the Sawyer filters is that if the device ever freezes, the traces of water left in the filter will break the glass filter fibers. That not only renders the device useless as a filter, but even worst, you have no way of knowing if the device has been damaged in the field.

03-23-2015, 19:00
Here's some advice from a fellow Jacksonvillian (is that what we're called?:)):

I've only ever used the regular size Sawyer Squeeze. It works great and is so simple. I use a clear 2 liter Platypus bag for dirty water, as I like to see how much water is in the bag--the bags it comes with are opaque. You need to backflush the filter about 1/month--use the tip of a Smartwater sports bottle. The Sawyer Mini works fine, but needs backflushed more often. I only ever carry 1.5 liters of water as there is plenty of water on the AT.

The only other option I ever considered is drops, but here's why I dont use them: I dont want to fiddle with the small dropper thingy and then have to wait for 30 minutes; I dont like floaties and brown water. With drops you drink everything you scoop up, all you've done is kill the things that make you sick. With a filter, lots of that junk is filtered out. And I think the Squeeze is simpler and easier--I just fill the bag, squeeze into my water bottle and drink. Most water stops take less than three minutes.

Regarding underwear/baselayer, I've only used synthetic. I have light, medium, and heavy weight stuff. All seems to work fine for me, so I never saw the need to spend 2-6 times the cost for wool or silk. How thick you need is personal preference. But living in FL, I find that my body is not acclimated to the cold and I need thicker layers than most people. I'll be standing around camp in a 3-4 layers while people from the north have maybe 1-2.

03-25-2015, 13:23
wool base layer and sawyer mini!

03-25-2015, 15:32
Wool base layer and the full size sawyer squeeze. The big squeeze is way less prone to clogging, in fact I never back flushed mine all the way until I lost it in PA some 3 months into my hike!

03-25-2015, 16:43
I prefer capiline silk to hike in. Capiline two to hike or sleep in and Capiline 4 for insulation/warmth. Wool and smartwool does not feel as good on my skin as a baselayer and I use the base to wick moisture and don't expect much warmth out of the 1st layer. I prefer the Sawyer Squeeze Regular because of degrees need to backflush and fewerr clogging issues or slow rate of flow (Water that is...my urine is alway's a slow rate of flow at my age...:D)

03-25-2015, 17:28
Yeah the smart wool isn't the softest material but you get used to it, and the benefits of not getting stinky make them worth their weight in gold!

03-25-2015, 20:05
I use silk next to my skin and smart wool as the next layer. I always found silk surprisingly warm for being so light. And another user of sawyer filters here.