Author Topic: Water purification when up on the fells.  (Read 1515 times)

richardh1905

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #15 on: 07:43:56, 12/07/20 »
Richard, we both have Sawyer Micro filters. We had the Sawyer minis that we used for years but upgraded last year to the Micro filter which filters must faster.


Thanks April, certainly the Sawyer Micro looks to be the way to go. Time that I stopped prevaricating and taking my chances and ordered one. Would be stupid to catch something when there is such a practical solution readily available.
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forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #16 on: 12:06:16, 12/07/20 »
I'll throw in my 2P.


Generally because I like to travel fast I've had to be somewhat circumspect with this kind of thing.  If I'm high up and it's a fast flowing stream I just drink from the source, the lower I go/busier the route I tend to drop a filter tablet in my waterbottle and drink after half an hour or so.


I've used he Sawyer mini and frankly I find it terrible, it has a fairly slow flow rate and the bags it comes with are quite useless.  You need to buy the larger ones to actually be able to process enough water at which point you might as well buy the more effective Squeeze.  It's fine for camp use though.


MSR Trailshot I thought would be the perfect filter and to be fair the flow rate is much faster + far better for harder to access sources - however it's a far less comprehensive filter than the Sawyer.


Grayl Geopress is in my mind the best option for my needs and has been worth it: has a cabon filter and claims to be able to filter metals, particles and microplastics as well as viruses and bacteria, which makes it the highest grade of filter amongst the other options - as well as having around 5x the flow rate of the Sawyer mini.   It's not particularly cheap (though it's only 20 quid more than the squeze) but the ease-of-us has made it worthwhile for me.  No bags, no matching waterbottle, still effective.


Maybe I'll end up buying a micro out of curiosity (and tempted by the idea of not replacing anything but the bags) and loving it, but I was traumatised by the frustration of the mini so I'm not holding my breath!

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #17 on: 12:21:13, 12/07/20 »
Richard, this assessment of purifiers / filters by Outdoor Gear Lab might help. They suggest the Sawyer Squeeze is best for personal use, but that the bags are a weak point.


https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/camping-and-hiking/best-backpacking-water-filter

April

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #18 on: 18:03:04, 12/07/20 »
Thanks April, certainly the Sawyer Micro looks to be the way to go. Time that I stopped prevaricating and taking my chances and ordered one. Would be stupid to catch something when there is such a practical solution readily available.

The Sawyer Micro is much faster at filtering water than the mini. It took about 5 minutes to filter 3l of water on Friday night just using gravity, no squeezing involved. We don't use the bags that come with the filter that much, we use our platypus 3l bladders when we are camping. You can buy 79p bags from the likes of Home Bargains if the Sawyer bag fails, ours did with the Sawyer mini eventually. I have just hand squeezed 1l of water using the bag and it took 2 minutes but I wasn't putting much pressure on the bag.

We were always happy with the Sawyer Mini when we were using it camping. We both set our 3l of water up to filter while we put the tent up and got our gear sorted and it had filtered by the time we'd done that so we were never particularly stressed about the time it took. We decided to upgrade when it seemed to take ages to filter some water to drink from the tarn near Black Sail Pass on our way up Pillar last year. It was windy and we got cold waiting for it to filter so we got the Micro filters the following week!

We have been very happy with the Micro and have no regrets getting another Sawyer filter.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

gunwharfman

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #19 on: 18:42:26, 12/07/20 »
I've often thought about buying a new water filter but have never got around to it. I have always carried a Lifestraw but have only used it about 6 times but your recommendation has made me think again. Thank you.

richardh1905

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #20 on: 19:23:15, 12/07/20 »
Thank you all for your replies.
WildAboutWalking - Join me on my walks through the wilder parts of Britain

Birdman

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #21 on: 08:45:51, 15/07/20 »
I have used both the Sawyer Mini and the Sawyer Squeeze. The Mini is fine for a while when filtering perfectly clean water, but it will clog up very soon. I have used it on the Arizona Trail and at the end it had become very slow. The Squeeze has about twice the filtering surface (at the cost of being somewhat heavier) and suffers much less from the clogging up problem and filters a lot faster. Therefore, you'll find many Minis in hikerboxes along long distance trails like the PCT, because everybody abandons their Mini and replaces it with the Squeeze. This includes the ultralight crowd that weighs every gram.


My Sawyer Squeeze was used on the entire length of the PCT and last year also on the Bibbulmun Track in Australia and it still works great (with regular backflushes). I estimate it has already filtered 750-1000 litres of dirty/ suspicious water in its lifetime.

As mentioned by some, the squeeze bags that come with it are useless for their intended purpose. Most people screw the Sawyer on a Smartwater bottle (the thread fits, it's a standard thread) and squeeze this bottle. It's much easier to fill. The squeeze bags can still serve a useful purpose though: I have cut off the top so I can use it as a lightweight (and flat) tool to scoop up water from puddles or very shallow streams, because without that filling up your (dirty) bottle or bladder can be a real pain in areas where water is scarce.


Because I'm lazy, I don't squeeze anything but use my Sawyer in a gravity setup. I use a 2L Evernew water bladder as my dirty bladder and screw the Sawyer on top (note: use Evernew, a Platypus won't work properly because it uses a proprietary thread that is slightly different than the standard used on most softdrink bottles, the Sawyers and Evernew). I have connected a wire loop to it, so I can hang it from a tree/ fence/ rock. Then I have a hose (from a platypus drinking system) that I connect to my clean bladder on the ground. The 1 metre water column in the hose creates enough pressure to suck the water through the filter while I'm relaxing with a snack. I think it works great. The only downside is that I have to carry the hose (57 gram), which I don't use for anything else (I don't like drinking systems).

In places like Scotland, with plenty of clean but sometimes suspicious water, I can't be bothered with filtering and just pop in a chlorine tablet when in doubt.
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

BuzyG

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #22 on: 10:11:19, 15/07/20 »
I'm learning much from this thread.  Can't say I have ever filtered or purified water on the move, other than on RN training exercises many moons ago.  In the mountains I take water straight from a fast flowing source and snow melt. Never been i'll (Yet).  On the moors I carry all that I need as I only day walk.  If I ever get around to retirement, I can see me going back to wild camping and needing to replenish water at lower levels, so it's good to learn what's out there now.  O0

Birdman

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #23 on: 11:56:39, 15/07/20 »

I have drunk this water in the Sonora Desert, Arizona. It was nice and tasty after filtering with the Sawyer filter :) But it is good to pre-filter it to remove floaters, dead bees, etc to prevent your filter from clogging up too soon. You can use a bandana or something like that.




Glacier fed streams are also clogging up your filter pretty quickly, because of the very fine silt. If possible, I would let the water sit for about half an hour in my dirty bladder to allow the worst of it to sink to the bottom. Usually these fast flowing streams should be safe anyway, but on the PCT I had to use one that had a dead horse in it! it was about 50 metres downstream, but still... there could also be one upstream, who knows?


I have never been sick on any wilderness trail, but I have often been sick when travelling in cities with other people around and eating in restaurants. That is where the real health risk is.
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

rigby

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #24 on: 12:02:09, 15/07/20 »
When in the wilds, I carry a Sawyer Mini filter (I covet the Micro, now that it's available) to get rid of the bigger stuff and chlorine dioxide tablets to deal with viruses and really small bacteria.


the Micro has real problems with clogging.. if you're after a faster flow rate then go with the plain squeeze.
the old bandanna over the intake trick helps a lot with the bigger particles.


i use the beFree now.. in conjunction with the 3L hydra pack it takes seconds to refill mine & others bottles. the hydra pack has taken a right beating and no problems with splitting. the propriety cap size is a bit of a faff and you get less capacity out of it but the ease makes refilling a doddle.


my worry walking in England is pesticides & heavy metals..
« Last Edit: 12:09:59, 15/07/20 by rigby »

April

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #25 on: 19:09:47, 15/07/20 »
the Micro has real problems with clogging.. if you're after a faster flow rate then go with the plain squeeze.
the old bandanna over the intake trick helps a lot with the bigger particles.

We have had the Micro Squeeze since last September and we have had no problems at all. We back flush ours after we have filtered 3 or 4l's of water to keep them clean and always back flush when we return home. Still filtering as quickly now as it did from new.

I have had a look at some of the reviews of the Micro filter and from what some people were saying they didn't seem to know having to back flush the filter regularly was normal so it is no wonder the filter got clogged.

NB. I never use the push-pull valve on the filter, I find the flow rate slows using that for some reason.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

windyrigg

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #26 on: 19:24:28, 15/07/20 »
Sawyer mini for me as well, or ex-Army purification tablets.
The tablets do give that 'lets drink a swimming pool' feeling, but if you add a tiny bit of Tang (or similar) powder the chlorine taste is gone
PS. I should perhaps explain, Tang is a powdered orange fruit juice (allegedly)

rigby

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #27 on: 20:35:05, 15/07/20 »
I have had a look at some of the reviews of the Micro filter and from what some people were saying they didn't seem to know having to back flush the filter regularly was normal so it is no wonder the filter got clogged.
could be.. a knowledgeable friend had one and he had problems with it as an early adopter.. maybe sawyer sorted the design (it's not THAT much different in size from it's big brother)

Ronin83

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #28 on: 21:28:38, 15/07/20 »
I've just started using the sawyer mini which is my first filter. I don't mind taking a bit of time to filter, no biggie. Seems OK to me. Only thing is everyone said smart water bottles fit, but they don't.
Anyone know which bottle fit?

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Water purification when up on the fells.
« Reply #29 on: 21:52:31, 15/07/20 »
I've just started using the sawyer mini which is my first filter. I don't mind taking a bit of time to filter, no biggie. Seems OK to me. Only thing is everyone said smart water bottles fit, but they don't.
Anyone know which bottle fit?
A post from Birdman further up this page (not the one with the photo) talks about compatible threads for the Sawyer Squeeze. Perhaps this also applies for the Mini.