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Klampfenhauer
11-24-2012, 08:11
Hey Guys, I hope i do not have failed to notice a thread about water.
My question is,>> Is it really necessary to take a water filter onto the trail?<<
I want to trhuhike and iīm not shure wether to take a filter, because the health office in germany meant to me,
that there is no huge danger of getting ill by drinking water. (out of streams and lakes etc.)

Whats your opinion?
Do you take a filter with you?
If so, what kind of?
Do I underrate the Situation ;For example the danger of an giardiasis infection.



Sorry for my unprofessoinal english.
Thank you for reply :)

Starchild
11-24-2012, 09:01
I would suggest some form of water purification especially from someone not native to the area.

Karma13
11-24-2012, 09:16
First of all.... :welcome

There are a ton of threads on water purification. If you search on 'Aquamira' you'll find a lot of them.

Here are some good ones. The first is from a fellow German:
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?88456-Water-Quality&highlight=filter
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?87834-Water-purification-and-water-availability&highlight=aquamira
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?52218-Aquamira-amp-Cryptosporidium&highlight=aquamira

Good luck with your preparation. I hope you have a wonderful hike!

yellowsirocco
11-24-2012, 09:54
I carry a filter, but I use it less than 50% of the time. Most of the water is good, but sometimes you can't help but drink something that is not ideal.

Why carry a filter instead of chemicals? I can suck up some nasty looking stuff and have clean water with my filter. The chemical people are using a leaf or a cup and trying their hardest to get half a liter while I can easily just drop my tube in and get a couple of liters in half the time. It is just easier. And you don't have to wait.

moldy
11-24-2012, 10:02
In many parts of the Appalachian Trail you should do something to the water to protect your health.
Most hikers(not all), will do one of 3 things to the water. Filter or treat with chemical, or steralize by boiling or UV light system.
What I do is, examine the water. If it's a clear spring or small creek early in the year in the mountains, I do nothing, I just drink. I use a UV light system to steralize any water that comes through farms and cow pastures. I also use it in all slow moving rivers or standing water like lakes or ponds. I use it more often in the hot months of June July and August.

Del Q
11-24-2012, 10:03
I have gone from filters to aqua mira, two hikes with nothing, am going to try the Sawyer Squeeze in the Spring..............had Giardia last year, I am not convinced that it comes from the water 100% of the time. Lets face it, hygiene on long hikes is not easy, add all of the mice on, in and around shelters, fecal matter............

One concern with filters is that before and after use they are wet/damp in a pack, the bacteria count must be insane.........how clean is that really?

Agree 100% on the waiting for aqua mira to do its thing, 30 minutes minimum...........when you get to a good water supply and are empty do we wait those 30 minutes?

When I have chemicals or a filter, I use it when necessary, if the water is coming directly from the ground and I am high up, usually just go for it.

garlic08
11-24-2012, 10:10
I was surprised at the amount of clean water coming from good springs on the AT. I did not treat that water. I carried Aqua Mira, a chemical purifier, but only used it when I had to take water from stagnant ponds, pastoral areas with active grazing, and from urban areas (creeks near roads). That amounted to about 20 to 30 liters of water the entire trail.

Here's a brief summary of some points in the many threads:

Many long distance hikers find that mechanical filters require too much maintenance. Some say it's not a good idea to carry something for which a repair kit is sold. But many others enjoy using mechanical devices and especially like electronics with glowing lights, and are willing to carry such devices to help avoid risk.

Surveys show little difference in reported sicknesses between those who purify and those who don't.

Many say that personal hygiene, specifically hand washing, is more important to health on the trail than purifying water. Same with food safety--keep others' dirty hands out of your food. When sharing, pour into their hands.

Kerosene
11-24-2012, 12:25
I've also discarded my filter to use Aqua Mira, and for a high mountain spring coming directly out of the rock I don't bother with that (I do use if I have to dip out of a pool, however).

While a filter is more convenient for pulling water out of a shallow or leaf-covered pool, there is no way that anyone can avoid cross-contaminating for any significant period of time.

Colter
11-24-2012, 12:53
Surveys show little difference in reported sicknesses between those who purify and those who don't.

I almost always agree with Garlic because he's done a ton of hiking and he is very sensible and pragmatic. But I do disagree with what the surveys show. The oft-quoted Mueser survey was one of the few to show little difference between treating/not treating drinking water on the trail. It wasn't, however, a scientifically rigorous survey. Most surveys show water treatment is important. This was a major peer-reviewed study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2310/7060.2004.13621/abstract) of 334 Appalachian Trail backpackers and it concluded Lack of hygiene, specifically handwashing and cleaning of cookware, should be recognized as a significant contributor to wilderness gastrointestinal illness. Hikers should routinely disinfect water and avoid untreated surface water. A large, scientific survey found giardia in 14% of springs (http://bucktrack.blogspot.com/2011/03/waterborne-giardia-for-backpackers-no.html).

Many people get by for years without treating water. Some people get sick on their first trip. I know many people who've gotten giardia more than once, including me. Most of us are true believers when it comes to treating water.

Personally, I am a fan of Aqua Mira drops.

Don H
11-24-2012, 19:09
Some comments based on the study:
I would treat all sources of water on the trail, even water from hand pumps. I use Aqua Mira or a Steri Pen.
Freezer Bag cooking eliminates dish washing, just dip your spoon in boiling water before using.
Hand washing is important but next to impossible most of the time. I always had sanitizer and used it several times a day.

Question; how long do you wait for Aqua Mira before drinking? I've heard anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours.

Colter
11-24-2012, 19:17
...Question; how long do you wait for Aqua Mira before drinking? I've heard anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours.

The big source of confusion is tablets vs. liquid. I prefer the liquid, which is 5 minutes to allow the mix to react, then wait 15 minutes after pouring that mix into your water. With very cold water, 30 minutes is recommended. For tablets, it's 4 hours. That's why I use the liquid.

cliffordbarnabus
11-25-2012, 00:40
done the at 2.7 times. time #1 I filtered. never sick. time #2 and #.7 I never treated. never sick.

pct. used bleach sometimes. sick once.

5.5 year globe bike ride. never treated (including Bolivia, Kosovo, Bosnia, India, kaz-Stan, Cambodia, etc). sick some.

was the sickness due to water or just living? who knows?

if most people saw the inside of their pipes, they'd run to the streams. but it's - for some reason - comforting to turn a piece of metal and see water (usually unaware of the actual SOURCE) cascade into something white and porcelian...

joshuasdad
11-25-2012, 04:31
While I usually use a filter, chemical may be better for a thru. Some filters can be damaged if exposed to freezing temps, so you need to sleep with your filter or take other precautions on cold nights (and days).

T.S.Kobzol
11-25-2012, 06:37
I never treat my water besides opportunistic boiling and I have never been sick. I do, however administrer discrimination to where and how I get my water.




While I usually use a filter, chemical may be better for a thru. Some filters can be damaged if exposed to freezing temps, so you need to sleep with your filter or take other precautions on cold nights (and days).

Don H
11-25-2012, 07:07
Well everyone has to make their own decision if they will treat water on not. My theory is better safe than sorry.
Every outdoor organization that I know of (ATC, NOLS, AMC etc.) recommends treating water.

Cherokee Bill
11-25-2012, 09:48
Do I carry a filter ............. damn right! I have seen the results of Gerardia (sp).. Have seen animals standing in creeks, drinking, peeing and crapping at the same time!

garlic08
11-25-2012, 10:12
...if most people saw the inside of their pipes, they'd run to the streams. but it's - for some reason - comforting to turn a piece of metal and see water (usually unaware of the actual SOURCE) cascade into something white and porcelian...

I realized something like this when I saw day hikers in the Smokies carrying bottles of "Appalachian Spring Water" they bought in Gatlinburg for $3 each. When they're in the cities, they buy spring water to drink. When faced with the actual spring, they drink bottled water they bought in the city. That made me shake my head in wonderment.

Colter
11-25-2012, 11:26
To the best of my knowledge, every major public health organization in the country that has taken a stand, recommends treating backcountry water. And as Don H said "Every outdoor organization that I know of (ATC, NOLS, AMC etc.) recommends treating water."

The reason it is more risky to drink untreated surface water in the backcountry than to drink from a tap (and statistics clearly show it's true) is that city water is treated. Appalachian Springs bottled water, for example, is not surface water pulled from an untreated spring and bottled: Our bottled water plant is equipped with ultra modern equipment and there is an on-premise lab where each production run must pass stringent test before each run is released for shipment. It is also inspected by various government and independent labs...We use the ozonation process which kills any bacteria (I drink tap rather than bottled water myself.)

Inevitably in threads like this there are numerous people who have drank untreated water and not gotten sick, and others that have gotten sick. The trouble is, "past performance is no guarantee of future results."

The largest retrospective scientific study ever done (http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/medline/record/ivp_00029262_105_330%20) on backcountry giardia concluded this: drinking untreated mountain water is an important cause of endemic infection.

Is it risky drinking backcountry water untreated? Yes. It's a fact.
Is it worth the risk to drink backcountry water untreated? That's a matter of opinion.

Sarcasm the elf
11-25-2012, 11:37
I use Aqua Mira drops as well. I usually treat my water, but will sometimes drink from clean spring or cold fast-flowing stream without treatment.

I do own a Filter but I rarely use it. As others have said it was very difficult to avoid contaminating the filter parts that contained the clean water.

brian039
11-25-2012, 11:44
You could get by without one in Georgia and North Carolina but once you get into VA the water sources are rarely springs. Filters are annoying, I would get Aquamira as long as you don't mind a few floaty things in your water.

T.S.Kobzol
11-25-2012, 12:09
If I was any kind of official organization or even if I was to speak in front of a High School audience I would without question recommend treating water. Doing otherwise would expose me to a potential lawsuit. Same goes for 'every outdoor organization'.


[

QUOTE=Don H;1365093]......Every outdoor organization that I know of (ATC, NOLS, AMC etc.) recommends treating water.[/QUOTE]

Colter
11-25-2012, 12:18
[QUOTE=T.S.Kobzol;1365153]If I was any kind of official organization or even if I was to speak in front of a High School audience I would without question recommend treating water. Doing otherwise would expose me to a potential lawsuit. Same goes for 'every outdoor organization'.

They recommend staying off of ridges during lightning storms and taking good care of your feet and wearing life jackets when out on boats, too. Maybe for lawsuits. Or perhaps because it's good advice.

T.S.Kobzol
11-25-2012, 12:31
It is not a bad advice. :-)



[QUOTE=T.S.Kobzol;1365153]If I was any kind of official organization or even if I was to speak in front of a High School audience I would without question recommend treating water. Doing otherwise would expose me to a potential lawsuit. Same goes for 'every outdoor organization'.

They recommend staying off of ridges during lightning storms and taking good care of your feet and wearing life jackets when out on boats, too. Maybe for lawsuits. Or perhaps because it's good advice.

MuddyWaters
11-25-2012, 13:53
filters work on clean water
filter clog , quickly, on poor water
Sometimes backflushing works to clean, sometimes it doesnt
In any case, it is always a time consuming PITA to do so
You will likely carry a chemical treatment backup because filters fail and clog
Ask yourself if you really want to carry both.
Ask yourslef again after a few hundred miles

Josh Calhoun
11-27-2012, 10:51
i was pretty much raised in Western NC about 6 miles from the trail. when rabbit and squirrel huntn we drink straight from the creek all the time. and now that i am a avid backpacker nothing has changed. i use my own judgememnt if the water source is clean enough or not. if no i use a few chemical drops and then im on my way.

Beast Mode
11-27-2012, 15:56
There are definitely risks to not treating. I will tell you that by the end of the AT about 50% do not treat anything, Another 20% treated with Aquamira chemical drops when drinking from streams but not springs, another 25% treat with Aquamira 100% of the time. Probably only 5% were still carrying filters because they break and are heavier.

Blissful
11-27-2012, 17:26
Several hikers had giardia this past year; they didn't even know they had it either - the "runs" for weeks - until I pointed it out. Bring some kind of treatment (http://blissfulhiking.blogspot.com/2011/12/to-treat-and-not-to-treat-water-that-is.html) and maps (to hep locate good sources). I relied on Aqua Mira myself

bwendel07
11-27-2012, 20:11
I finished my thru this year without treating my water, I was smart where I chose my water and sometimes I carried a little extra. Not that I am saying that I was lucky I just was smart where I chose to get water from and it worked for ME. I wont tell anyone that do not have to treat their water but If you are common sense minded and think about your sources it is easy to do without treatment. If I were to do again I would do exactly the same way.

Lone Wolf
11-27-2012, 20:14
Hey Guys, I hope i do not have failed to notice a thread about water.
My question is,>> Is it really necessary to take a water filter onto the trail?<<
I want to trhuhike and iīm not shure wether to take a filter, because the health office in germany meant to me,
that there is no huge danger of getting ill by drinking water. (out of streams and lakes etc.)

Whats your opinion?
Do you take a filter with you?
If so, what kind of?
Do I underrate the Situation ;For example the danger of an giardiasis infection.



Sorry for my unprofessoinal english.
Thank you for reply :)
i never treat or filter. works for me. never been sick

Malto
11-27-2012, 23:03
I love all of the responses... "I have hiked xxx and never got sick.". Ok, data point of one. Colter has probably looked into this more than anyone I know. Maybe he could link to his mini PHD dissertation that he wrote.

I spent years hiking the high Sierra without getting sick then I got giardiasis twice on trips near Sonora Pass and Big Sur. Both cases had something in common, cattle. While this is a data point of one as well it also fit perfectly with a study of high Sierra water that you can find here.
http://www.modbee.com/2010/05/08/1158938/fouled-waters-sierra-lakes-streams.html

I believe the biggest watch out for bad waters in cattle grazing areas. You will find large concentration of PCT hikers getting sick near or directly after Kennedy Meadows which follows high grazing areas shortly after Mojave. What does this mean in the AT.... Watch for cattle areas and treat or don't treat, it is you who will have to deal with the consequences. A cheap and effective water treatment is two drops of bleach per liter. Like Aqua Mira, wait 30 minutes.

Finally, I took a full course of Metronidazole on my PCT hike to treat giardiasis in the event that my luck ran out. Many hiker buy it on the Internet, search for Fishzole and the dosage is 250mg three times a day for five days. I used this the second time I had giardiasis, it is the identical medicine that I was prescribed the first time. (please spare me the safety lectures.)

Beast Mode
11-28-2012, 10:08
I love all of the responses... "I have hiked xxx and never got sick.". Ok, data point of one. Colter has probably looked into this more than anyone I know. Maybe he could link to his mini PHD dissertation that he wrote.

I spent years hiking the high Sierra without getting sick then I got giardiasis twice on trips near Sonora Pass and Big Sur. Both cases had something in common, cattle. While this is a data point of one as well it also fit perfectly with a study of high Sierra water that you can find here.
http://www.modbee.com/2010/05/08/1158938/fouled-waters-sierra-lakes-streams.html

I believe the biggest watch out for bad waters in cattle grazing areas. You will find large concentration of PCT hikers getting sick near or directly after Kennedy Meadows which follows high grazing areas shortly after Mojave. What does this mean in the AT.... Watch for cattle areas and treat or don't treat, it is you who will have to deal with the consequences. A cheap and effective water treatment is two drops of bleach per liter. Like Aqua Mira, wait 30 minutes.

Finally, I took a full course of Metronidazole on my PCT hike to treat giardiasis in the event that my luck ran out. Many hiker buy it on the Internet, search for Fishzole and the dosage is 250mg three times a day for five days. I used this the second time I had giardiasis, it is the identical medicine that I was prescribed the first time. (please spare me the safety lectures.)


It's more than a SS of 1 if close to 50% of the people finishing the AT last year had stopped treating at all (except perhaps near cattle or other obvious sources of disease). Personally, I just didn't think it was worth the risk so I treated about 75% of my water (the other 25% being from springs). Although I was never positive that AquaMira has zero side effects.. that would be something to look into.

Colter
11-28-2012, 12:01
It's more than a SS of 1 if close to 50% of the people finishing the AT last year had stopped treating at all (except perhaps near cattle or other obvious sources of disease). Personally, I just didn't think it was worth the risk so I treated about 75% of my water (the other 25% being from springs). Although I was never positive that AquaMira has zero side effects.. that would be something to look into.

The trouble is, there are many people who don't treat water and get away with it, and there are people who get sick, but it's not possible to accurately predict which category we'll be in before hand.

As far as "drinking smart" the EPA has found [Giardia] Cysts have been found all months of the year in surface waters from the Arctic to the tropics in even the most pristine of surface waters. (http://water.epa.gov/action/advisories/drinking/upload/2009_02_03_criteria_humanhealth_microbial_giardiah a.pdf)

One large study found giardia in 19% of springs (http://water.epa.gov/action/advisories/drinking/upload/2009_02_03_criteria_humanhealth_microbial_giardiah a.pdf).

Here is my look at the science (http://bucktrack.blogspot.com/search?q=giardia) that gg-man referred to.

Left Hand
11-29-2012, 10:45
I will always chalk this up to a personal decision. Personal decisions = personal consequences.

I have backpacked areas of the AT from Grayson Highlands south, frequently, for 12 + years now and have not filtered my water. I also reside in Northern GA and work in an industry where I spend roughly 50% of my life in the woods, and do not filter. I do carry a bleach solution in an eye dropper, in case I do find spots deemed "sketchy."

Professional Organizations will always recommend treating water. At the end of the day, it's your choice.

Don H
11-30-2012, 09:25
i never treat or filter. works for me. never been sick

The problem with statements like this is that new people come here and read where someone with thousands of posts and several thru-hikes of experience say they don't treat and conclude that it's not necessary for anyone to treat. For someone who does not have experience in choosing water sources and is not use to drinking raw water this is bad advice.

I know one of the ridge runners in Shenandoah, I asked him if he treated his water. His response was "I don't but you should". Good advice. He's use to it, his body has built up resistance to the bugs (Giardia is not the only bad bug in water although that's what most are concerned about) but mine hasn't.

So my advice is treat all water including water from pumps and springs. I use Aqua Mira and pre-filter through a piece of nylon stocking since I don't like chunks in my water. Consider it insurance, I've never had Giardia but I bet it sucks having the runs for a few weeks.

I do believe that many get sick from hand to mouth contact by sharing food and drink and also by not washing hands after going to the privy. Studies bear this out. So wash you hands or use sanitizer after going to the privy, handling log books, and before eating. Also avoid sharing food with others.

You really need to do everything you can to take care of yourself when you're thru-hiking. Water treatment is just one of them.

Phikes
11-30-2012, 10:26
AQUAMIRA! Nuf said.

ATMountainTime
11-30-2012, 10:48
Treat water every time (for me), Aqua or Platapus. trying to hike with diareah just isn't much fun. ive never gotten sick from water, and dont intend to.

Lone Wolf
11-30-2012, 10:56
The problem with statements like this is that new people come here and read where someone with thousands of posts and several thru-hikes of experience say they don't treat and conclude that it's not necessary for anyone to treat. For someone who does not have experience in choosing water sources and is not use to drinking raw water this is bad advice.

I know one of the ridge runners in Shenandoah, I asked him if he treated his water. His response was "I don't but you should". Good advice. He's use to it, his body has built up resistance to the bugs (Giardia is not the only bad bug in water although that's what most are concerned about) but mine hasn't.

So my advice is treat all water including water from pumps and springs. I use Aqua Mira and pre-filter through a piece of nylon stocking since I don't like chunks in my water. Consider it insurance, I've never had Giardia but I bet it sucks having the runs for a few weeks.

I do believe that many get sick from hand to mouth contact by sharing food and drink and also by not washing hands after going to the privy. Studies bear this out. So wash you hands or use sanitizer after going to the privy, handling log books, and before eating. Also avoid sharing food with others.

You really need to do everything you can to take care of yourself when you're thru-hiking. Water treatment is just one of them.
my post wasn't advice. it was a statement. not treating or filtering works for me. real simple

Lemni Skate
11-30-2012, 13:48
When I have my kids with me I treat the water. When I'm by myself I don't. I usually trace my intestinal distress to Mexican food I have in trail towns.

Lemni Skate
11-30-2012, 13:50
I do believe that you can become immune to many of the little thingys in the water.

Don H
11-30-2012, 15:47
my post wasn't advice. it was a statement. not treating or filtering works for me. real simple

Wolf, like it or not you are well known in the AT community, you have stated here that you have completed 7 thrus and have thousands of miles on the AT. Therefor your words, along with others who have thrued or have many miles of AT hiking, and make it known here, carry a certain amount of clout. People come here looking for answers from those with a certain amount of expertise. When we're talking about something with health ramifications I believe it is incumbent upon those of us that have experience to give sound advise.

Yes you and I and others here know how when we can probably get away without treating water. We also know what gear works and what clothes to take. A new person comes here looking for some knowledgable advice, I wouldn't advise someone that they only need a 32* rated sleeping bag for a early March start even if I thought I could get by with it. Like my friend who is a ridge runner says "I don't treat but you should". Sound advise in my opinion.

Pedaling Fool
11-30-2012, 17:08
Wolf, like it or not you are well known in the AT community, you have stated here that you have completed 7 thrus and have thousands of miles on the AT. Therefor your words, along with others who have thrued or have many miles of AT hiking, and make it known here, carry a certain amount of clout. People come here looking for answers from those with a certain amount of expertise. When we're talking about something with health ramifications I believe it is incumbent upon those of us that have experience to give sound advise.

Yes you and I and others here know how when we can probably get away without treating water. We also know what gear works and what clothes to take. A new person comes here looking for some knowledgable advice, I wouldn't advise someone that they only need a 32* rated sleeping bag for a early March start even if I thought I could get by with it. Like my friend who is a ridge runner says "I don't treat but you should". Sound advise in my opinion.
Well, the OP did ask for people's personal opinion. I also say the same thing about not using filters/purifying agents. It's not like I built my self up to drinking untreated water; I started drinking untreated water from the very first time I was on the AT at the tender age of 15 when I thru-hiked the state of Maine (sobo).

cabbagehead
11-30-2012, 19:07
Giardia is chlorine resistant. CLICK HERE. (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/)
Cryptosporidium is chlorine resistant. CLICK HERE. (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/)
http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html

I know from school that there are many parasites that can form cysts and remain dormant in the body. If they're mostly/all pushed into dormancy, the host won't experience symptoms. Some can survive an entire human lifetime in this state. If your immune system weakens from old age, they may become active in large numbers.

The important thing to realize is that if you don't get sick right away, the pathogens could be dormant. They could make you seriously ill decades after exposure.

The CDC says that bleach is effective in killing viruses and bacteria, but not eukaryote pathogens (protozoans, giardia, etc.). The eukaryotes have tough protective shells.

A good option is to get a large pore hollow fiber matrix filter. The Sawyer company advertises their filters to have 0.1 micron pores. A 1.0 micron filter would be fine. Large pores allow for the smallest filter with the fastest flow rate. After filtering, kill all the small stuff with a tiny amount of bleach.

Colter
11-30-2012, 20:47
I do believe that you can become immune to many of the little thingys in the water.

Perhaps, but I can tell you for a fact that I didn't become immune to giardia after the first time, or the second!

Lone Wolf
11-30-2012, 21:00
Wolf, like it or not you are well known in the AT community, you have stated here that you have completed 7 thrus and have thousands of miles on the AT. Therefor your words, along with others who have thrued or have many miles of AT hiking, and make it known here, carry a certain amount of clout. People come here looking for answers from those with a certain amount of expertise. When we're talking about something with health ramifications I believe it is incumbent upon those of us that have experience to give sound advise.

Yes you and I and others here know how when we can probably get away without treating water. We also know what gear works and what clothes to take. A new person comes here looking for some knowledgable advice, I wouldn't advise someone that they only need a 32* rated sleeping bag for a early March start even if I thought I could get by with it. Like my friend who is a ridge runner says "I don't treat but you should". Sound advise in my opinion.

only 5 AT completions. and like i said, i don't give advice i just say what i've done over the years. i'm hardly gonna feel bad if someone gets sick from drinkin' untreated water cuz they read that they didn't have to treat on the internet

Papa D
11-30-2012, 21:12
aqua-mira or a little bleach is just fine - skip the heavy, clogging, cumbersome water filter. You will want to treat most water. You might elect not to treat some water (i.e. high spring right out of a a rock).

ryan850
11-30-2012, 22:04
I would, even though your chances of getting sick are relatively slim. I get more dehydrated when I have no way of treating water. It's just hard to want to drink the water near the trail when you've been stepping over moose crap all day. That being said, if you go without it, look for springs or the top few inches of water in a lake or pond that has been under the sun's UV all day. Otherwise, a running creek is your best bet.

Even though I've gone back to using a filter, I used bleach on my AT thru-hike. It's cheap, as effective as iodine, and nearly as effective as chlorine dioxide-based treatments like Aquamira. Remember that nothing is as effective as boiling, and your second best bet is a combination of chemical and filter. Filters aren't as effective at getting rid of viruses as chemical treatments, and chemicals aren't as effective on giardia and crypto as a filter.

Here is how I used bleach: Some people are reluctant to use bleach, but donít worry, I got my method from the Red Cross and the Center for Disease Control. I use bleach because it is effective against protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. Itís safe for you and the environment. Itís incredibly cheap and lightweight. And it is available in most small resupply towns.

Itís also nice to have bleach around for cleaning my toothbrush. I just add 4-6 drops to water in my cook pot and let it soak. If youíve ever thru-hiked, you know how important this is.

Bleach Treatment Method - as instructed by the American Red Cross and the Center for Disease Control.

1. Before heading out, I fill an eyedropper bottle with common household bleach. I use an old Visine bottle, but keep in mind, bleach will breakdown in direct UV light and become less effective. If using a clear container, cover it in something: some of your duct tape supply, paint, or something.

2. Fill your water bottle with water. Again, the best is actually the top few inches of lake water. The longer time under the sunís UV rays does a lot of the work for you. Otherwise, a spring or swift moving creak will be fine. If the water source is not clear, I tie a bandana around the top of my bottle when filling. Chemical treatment is much less effective if the water is not clear or contains free-floating organic material. Bacteria, protozoan, and other organisms that cling to free-floating particles are harder to kill.

3. Add one drop of bleach per 16 oz. of clear water, use two drops if the water is very cold, cloudy, or discolored. (If youíre not using the common 4-6% sodium hydrochlorite solution you may have to use more or less, check your bleach bottleís label.)

4. Screw on cap nearly all the way then squeeze the bottle until it starts to pour out then tighten the lid. This ensures that the entire bottle, including the cap and threads, get disinfected.

5. Wait 30 minutes, if water does not have a very slight chlorine smell, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Here is why I went back to using a filter, if you're interested:

1. Chemicals arenít that great at killing Cryptosporidium. And filters are better at getting rid of Giardia. Both of these protozoans live in a cyst, filters can easily pull them out of the water. Filters arenít great for getting rid of viruses, however. So, other than boiling, a combination of chemical and filter is the best. I donít always use the filter, but if the water source is not the greatest I do.

2. I carry more water when I'm using chemical treatments, so it cancels the weight of the filter. When I started carrying bleach, it was mostly to save 11 oz. from my pack weight by getting rid of my filter. However, in areas where water is more scarce, I was often carrying up to 16 ounces less water when using a pump filter. Itís because when I have a filter I can drink water immediately right at the source and pack out less.

3. The water is colder at the source than it is thirty minutes later after the bleach treatment. This is appreciated on a hot day.

You've probably read most of this stuff on other sites, but I hope this helps.

Ryan Grayson
RyanGrayson.com

scree
12-01-2012, 23:39
Ryan and others -

Be careful with bleach. Not because it's unsafe, but because lots of store brands aren't always honest about what's actually in it.

You can generally trust unscented clorox, but always make sure the bottle says 6% chlorine if you buy a store brand. Often cheap bleach is diluted rendering it either ineffective or less effective at your accustomed dose. If the bottle doesn't explicitly say 6% chlorine, don't use it for water treatment.

I've switched to Aqua Mira for purification but always use a bandana over the bottle when filling to filter silt and chunky stuff. Filters became too much of a PITA. I've had several waterborne diseases (lab diagnose giardiasis and amoebiasis, and a number of cases of TD), mostly from South American travels, but I've never gotten sick in the States just using Aqua Mira and non-sketchy water sources.

hikerhobs
12-08-2012, 21:19
I use bleach one drop for every 10 ounces, works for me!