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  1. #41
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    I filter, depending on the trail and location. On the AT I don't filter. On the PCT I started using Aqua Mira, and then stopped after the first couple hundred miles. On the CDT I filtered through New Mexico because of all the water sources used by Cattle. I did not filter on the CT, but I did filter on the AZT for the same reason I did on the CDT. Basically, if cattle consistently use the water sources I filter with a Sawyer. FYI - I got Giardia on my PCT hike, but have never had it since that hike. :-)

  2. #42
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by D2maine View Post
    do whatever you like its your choice

    - for me filtering is so easy -

    1.fill bottle
    2.screw on filter
    3.drink

    If i want a mixed drink for electrolytes or flavor, i filter into my clean bottle and add drink mix. simple, fast, effective and simply not worth the risk when filtering is so easy. if i want a bunch of water for a long carry or for camp i fill my vecto bladder and attach directly to my filter when its time to use it.

    lastly filtering makes virtually all water sources ok to use, no wasted time hunting for the perfect spring...
    Yeah, I've seen several hikers taking this simple approach... just screw a Sawyer filter {usually mini, but I expect to start seeing more micro} on the top of a "dirty" water bottle and filter as you drink.

    Of course these user's water bottle takes a pretty good beating from the repeated squeezing... but it's obviously pretty easy to replace water bottles on a regular basis.

  3. #43
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greensleep View Post
    Indeed! Thumbs up on this example of smart hiking.
    D2maine's type of hiking (filtering more specifically) isn't inherently smart or dumb. It is simply a system that works for him/her. Others may do it differently or not at all. Once again, their method, or lack thereof, isn't inherently smart or dumb...
    Lonehiker

  4. #44

    Default Pathogens are ubiquitous

    It is highly doubtful that anyone is "immune" to giardia, as there are several strains.

    It is certain that no one is immune to ALL the pathogens found in surface water in the backcountry: which include giardia, cryptosporidium, campylobacter, e. coli, staphylococcus and more.

    Giardia is commonly found in springs. As the EPA says 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

    Water samples from streams and springs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were analyzed… Levels of fecal coliform and total coliform in most water samples were unsuitable for drinking without treatment. As a result of these findings, park managers increased efforts to inform visitors of the need to treat drinking water and removed improvements at backcountry springs which tended to give the springs the image of safe, maintained water sources.

    Hibler (1988) found Giardia cysts in 19% of springs

    There are countless examples of people going for years without treating and without getting sick, of not treating once and getting sick, of going for days or weeks or months or years before getting sick. Past performance does not guarantee future results no matter who we are.

    Getting sick from backcountry water is not a rare event, several people on this thread have gotten giardia.

    Halfwayanywhere does an annual survey of PCT hikers. For 2019, 846 people responded. Here's the results for water treatment:

    • 60.7% of hikers always treated their water and 5.8% of these hikers got sick
    • 31.6% of hikers mostly treated their water and 8.5% of these hikers got sick
    • 6.90% of hikers sometimes treated their water and 9.8% of these hikers got sick
    • 0.80% of hikers never treated their water and 16.7% of these hikers got sick


    This is one of the best articles I've read summarizing what the pertinent studies have found.

    I treat everything. I don't care what other people do, but I do care about what the data shows, and it shows no one can determine that any surface water is safe without testing it, including springs.

  5. #45
    Garlic
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    I think it's good to remember that drinking water isn't the only source of GI distress. How about hand-washing after using the toilet? On my AT hike, I saw plenty of filthy hikers sharing food. Some of the shelters looked like cesspits, and there's often community property that gets handed around (logbook).

    Water treatment should be one part of your health plan.

  6. #46
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    From that PCT survey, it looks like a person who only sometimes treats their water has just a 4% greater chance of getting sick over the course of their entire thru hike than those treat their water religiously.

    Not sure how everyone else thinks, but I am guessing the person who is fastidious about water treatment might also be better about hygiene. That might account for some of that 4%.

    I was surprised that as anyone who never treats anything the whole way.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    I think it's good to remember that drinking water isn't the only source of GI distress. How about hand-washing after using the toilet? On my AT hike, I saw plenty of filthy hikers sharing food. Some of the shelters looked like cesspits, and there's often community property that gets handed around (logbook).

    Water treatment should be one part of your health plan.
    I agree. The data says both are important.

    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    From that PCT survey, it looks like a person who only sometimes treats their water has just a 4% greater chance of getting sick over the course of their entire thru hike than those treat their water religiously.
    In comparing the sickness rate of the two groups, we are comparing 9.8% of the sometimes treaters to 5.8% of always treaters. The ratio would be 9.8/5.8 or a 69% greater chance of getting sick.

    For example, if it were seat belts in professional racing and 1% die always wearing belts and 2% sometimes wearing belts, the odds of dying double.

  8. #48
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colter View Post

    For example, if it were seat belts in professional racing and 1% die always wearing belts and 2% sometimes wearing belts, the odds of dying double.
    Funny, I have been tempted to use some version of the old Seatbelt analogy myself. In this case, I think it is warranted, filtering/treating does decrease, if only a little bit, the already very low odds of drinking untreated water JUST like seatbelts slightly help the very low odds of being hurt in a crash. And both things, treating water and the 2-second fairly automatic act of putting on a seatbelt have practically zero downside and hassle factor.

    So most of us just do it, zero biggie.

  9. #49
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    How 'bout a helmet? Wearing a helmet while driving a car would cut fatalities in auto crashes in half, that would be around 20k/year in the U.S. alone. After all, seat belts started out as a racing thing.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    How 'bout a helmet? Wearing a helmet while driving a car would cut fatalities in auto crashes in half, that would be around 20k/year in the U.S. alone. After all, seat belts started out as a racing thing.
    Not sure where you might have dug up that "half" thing. Source? I'm really curious on that little tid-bit.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Funny, I have been tempted to use some version of the old Seatbelt analogy myself.
    Please don't use any of "my" analogy, it is probably flawed.....

  12. #52
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    I read it years ago. It is why helmets are required in motor racing. Another factoid I can't provide a source for is that most car fatalities are from head injuries. Whether it is 45% or 55% wearing helmets in cars would dramatically reduce fatalities in car accidents. Folks just won't go to the trouble just like the early days of seat belts. I don't treat my water but I do wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle and a seat belt in the car and airplane. Airplane drivers are like car drivers, helmets would dramatically reduce fatalities in airplane crashes. I think I would wear one if not for the ribbing I get from folks.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    I read it years ago.
    That's what I thought.

    For the record though, I do get your point. There are many ways we could save lives every year that would seem silly to most everyone (like wearing helmets driving, like you said).
    Last edited by colorado_rob; 05-06-2020 at 18:50.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I never take water from a stream next to a road, you never know if a farm is up stream and has a higher chance of being contaminated by chemicals, or there could be a house with a poorly maintained septic system.
    Worst tasting water I remember ever having while backpacking was from a stream/river going through town. It was my only option at the time because I didn't plan ahead and wanted to dry camp in a sweet spot. Terrible road water. Filtered and boiled you could still taste the nastiness from all the chemicals and who knows what! Learned my lesson there.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Yeah, I've seen several hikers taking this simple approach... just screw a Sawyer filter {usually mini, but I expect to start seeing more micro} on the top of a "dirty" water bottle and filter as you drink.

    Of course these user's water bottle takes a pretty good beating from the repeated squeezing... but it's obviously pretty easy to replace water bottles on a regular basis.
    tried the micro and the mini - went back to the tried and true squeeze, the micro and the mini both were not worth the added hassles for the weight savings...

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    . . . the old Seatbelt analogy myself. In this case, I think it is warranted . . .
    I actually don't see a lot of similarity in these two things. Both safety precautions are to prevent low likelihood events. BUT, filtering water does take significantly more time (yeah, a minute or two or more instead of 10 seconds) and often involves removing your pack. Putting on a seat-belt takes maybe five seconds. AND, the big difference is that the seatbelt saves lives whereas water treatment, for the most part, saves a doctor's visit and a week or two of feeling like crap . . . BIG DIFFERENCE.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  17. #57

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    I might not treat water from a spring with good flow, but would always treat from a standing body (lake, pond) or stream. It's not that hard or time consuming to do so.
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  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    I actually don't see a lot of similarity in these two things. Both safety precautions are to prevent low likelihood events. BUT, filtering water does take significantly more time (yeah, a minute or two or more instead of 10 seconds) and often involves removing your pack. Putting on a seat-belt takes maybe five seconds. AND, the big difference is that the seatbelt saves lives whereas water treatment, for the most part, saves a doctor's visit and a week or two of feeling like crap . . . BIG DIFFERENCE.
    filtering involves none of these things...and takes no longer than screwing filter onto bottle...

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by D2maine View Post
    filtering involves none of these things...and takes no longer than screwing filter onto bottle...
    That dear D2maine depends on how you choose to manage your filtering.
    And, I for one find filtering as I drink from a bottle awkward and slow and a bit hard to manage the flow well if I'm huffing and puffing, and overall downright annoying. But hey, kinda like whether or not to filter, we each have own fears, priorities and pet peeves, and level of risk avoidance.

    I may well have developed immunity as a kid to some of our more common water born diseases as, when I'm backpacking, I drink much more "wild water" than I do treated water, and at 58 years old, to my knowledge, I have never been sick from it. That being said, treating is super easy and it allows me to comfortably drinking from a lot of water sources I would not other comfortable drinking from. So, I'm fully support treating water for those that feel inclined in places they feel inclined to do so. I do. I also think it's silly to suggest everyone should treat all their water all the time as many of us have enjoyed hiking many 1000's of miles and drinking many hundreds of gallons of untreated water from all kinds of places without ill effect. And, as noted above, it's not like giardia or chrypto have a high likelihood of killing us. To some, the risk of illness is small and the price of treatment (no matter how small to you) is more than we want to pay.

    HYOH
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  20. #60
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    I recently (last year) bought a Grayl bottle/filter and like it real well. Have used it on two week long hikes so far.

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