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  1. #1
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    Default Filter + water purification?

    I'm relatively new to backpacking so forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I'm wondering if anyone uses a water filter AND water purification drops or tablets.

    The trips I've been on so far I've used a Sawyer Mini and that's worked fine. However I know there are things it cannot remove from the water. I've been considering using Aqua Mira tabs along with the filter. Does anyone else do this, or is this just unnecessary overkill?

  2. #2
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    Overkill. The Mini will take everything but a virus and viruses aren't a particular issue. Why ruin the taste of your perfectly good spring water?

  3. #3
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Can you elaborate on how you knew your Sawyers were ruined"?
    I ask because according to Sawyer's own website, there is no way to field test Sawyer to determine if it's been compromised. Seem like the only way to KNOW a Sawyer has been compromised is that either the flow rate goes way up (i.e. lots of damage, easy for water to flow thur now) or way down (i.e. no water flow because the thing is clogged with ice).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Can you elaborate on how you knew your Sawyers were ruined"?
    I ask because according to Sawyer's own website, there is no way to field test Sawyer to determine if it's been compromised. Seem like the only way to KNOW a Sawyer has been compromised is that either the flow rate goes way up (i.e. lots of damage, easy for water to flow thur now) or way down (i.e. no water flow because the thing is clogged with ice).
    I have read don't know if it is true !!!! If you can blow through it it is bad .

    Thom

  6. #6
    Registered User Dex's Avatar
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    The platypus can be checked by blowing into it. Not sure about the Sawyer.

  7. #7
    Registered User Moosling's Avatar
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    I've been told to put my sawyer in the tech pocket of my sleeping bag or down near my feet to prevent the membrane from freezing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

    Hey engine, just curious what sort of temperatures were you seeing in the Smokies last week?

    I hope your hike is going well!
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  9. #9
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Hey engine, just curious what sort of temperatures were you seeing in the Smokies last week?

    I hope your hike is going well!
    Most of last week we saw highs in the 30's and lows ranged from 10-24 degrees. We waited for 2 days in Fontana for things to improve, so we didn't see the worst of it.

    Caboose is resting her leg for a couple days (tendonitis), but we'll be back on the trail tomorrow. Having the time of our lives... It's been even better than we hoped! 😁

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  10. #10
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    We watched multiple Sawyer filters (including ours) get ruined by the freezing in the extreme cold of the Smokies last week.

    The guy with a Steri-pen had no issues...Our new Steri-pen is waiting at a post office just up the trail.

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    When I went through the Smokies on my thru hike last year it was raining like crazy. The folks with steripens, tablets or drops weren't too happy then. The water looked like melted chocolate ice cream with leaves thrown in for texture. Contrary to common advice, a bandana will only remove mud to a point.

  11. #11
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    You do have to take care of them. You can't let them freeze. Doesn't hurt to have a backup be it tablets or a stri-pen but it's not a failing of the Sawyer that it froze.

  12. #12
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    From Sawyer: While we have no proof that freezing will harm the filter, we do not have enough proof to say it will not harm the filter, therefore we must say that if you suspect the filter has been frozen, to replace it — this is especially true with a hard freeze.

    I wouldn't trust a frozen one. I might continue to use it until the next opportunity to replace is if I had no other backup. I'd be particular about where I got my water, however.

  13. #13
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    From Sawyer: While we have no proof that freezing will harm the filter, we do not have enough proof to say it will not harm the filter, therefore we must say that if you suspect the filter has been frozen, to replace it — this is especially true with a hard freeze.

    I wouldn't trust a frozen one. I might continue to use it until the next opportunity to replace is if I had no other backup. I'd be particular about where I got my water, however.
    Exactly...

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    From Sawyer: While we have no proof that freezing will harm the filter, we do not have enough proof to say it will not harm the filter, therefore we must say that if you suspect the filter has been frozen, to replace it — this is especially true with a hard freeze.

    ...
    Based on that non-information gobbledygook, I wouldn't trust Sawyer.
    How long does it take to freeze a handful of filters and find out if they still work?
    I also wouldn't trust the Mini.
    Wayne



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  15. #15
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    I am particularly paranoid about my water.

    I use(d) a Sweetwater Guardian filter with Siltstopper and these:

    https://www.amazon.com/Potable-Aqua-...rds=water+tabs

    I let the tabs work at LEAST 30 minutes before drinking. Had NO water related problems or intestinal problems from any cause.

    Now: ask me about Lyme..................
    Old Hiker
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  16. #16

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    I'm surprised Sawyer doesn't have definitive answer to if a freeze damages their filter. You'd think it would be easy enough to test and should have been part of the R+D testing. They know it's going to happen.

    I've never cut one of these open to see what exactly they use inside, but I bet freezing does little or no damage. There is a chance it may no longer remove the very smallest of contaminates, but it would still remove the bulk of the stuff you don't want in there. 99% of the water on the AT is fine to drink as is anyway, so you'd probably never know if the filter is doing anything or not. I use mine mostly to filter out the grit.
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  17. #17
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    Everything works because nothing is needed. 99% of the water is safe to drink right out of the side of the mountain.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I'm surprised Sawyer doesn't have definitive answer to if a freeze damages their filter. You'd think it would be easy enough to test and should have been part of the R+D testing. They know it's going to happen.

    I've never cut one of these open to see what exactly they use inside, but I bet freezing does little or no damage. There is a chance it may no longer remove the very smallest of contaminates, but it would still remove the bulk of the stuff you don't want in there. 99% of the water on the AT is fine to drink as is anyway, so you'd probably never know if the filter is doing anything or not. I use mine mostly to filter out the grit.
    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    Everything works because nothing is needed. 99% of the water is safe to drink right out of the side of the mountain.
    Uh, identify the unsafe 1% please! (Hint: you can't without lab testing!)

    I did water quality surveys in college. I covered waterways in the TN/NC area including some streams on the trail. That 99% safe isn't true! All the streams I tested had some form of pathogen.

    It's a numbers game. If you play enough, you will hit the jackpot sooner or later.

    I filter and treat.

  19. #19
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithereens View Post
    Uh, identify the unsafe 1% please! (Hint: you can't without lab testing!)

    I did water quality surveys in college. I covered waterways in the TN/NC area including some streams on the trail. That 99% safe isn't true! All the streams I tested had some form of pathogen.

    It's a numbers game. If you play enough, you will hit the jackpot sooner or later.

    I filter and treat.
    If it come out of the side of the mountain it is safe to drink. If it comes out of a beaver pond or a stream, maybe not.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    If it come out of the side of the mountain it is safe to drink. If it comes out of a beaver pond or a stream, maybe not.
    Well, I may be a bit of a hypocrite. I know a few water sources that I will not hesitate to drink straight from. If you find water from an artisan well or similar the water usually tastes so good it would be a sin to treat. And they are almost always safe.

    The general rule used to be that if the water is flowing and getting aerated for something like 25 feet, it was safe to drink. (Little critters called rotifers like moving water and eat other microbes.) Not sure how well that holds up nowdays though. Stream health isn't always that great anymore.

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