Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Water Purification

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
User avatar
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 2:56 pm
Location: Denver and Nathrop, CO

Water Purification

Postby Lemmiwinks » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:16 am

For years I've been using Iodine tablets for water purification, but I'm looking into using a different system. Just wondering what the majority thinks is the best, most reliable, purification method? Do you prefer pump filters, steripen, or should I stick with the tablets (iodine or chlorine dioxide)? Thanks in advance for any input.
“If you're bumming out, you're not gonna get to the top, so as long as we're up here we might as well make a point of grooving." -Scott Fischer

User avatar
Posts: 639
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: Boulder

Re: Water Purification

Postby I Man » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:17 am

Katadyn & MSR make great water filters that are under $100, lightweight, easy to use and effective.

I still always carry a backup (tablets, stove, etc)
You can touch the void, just don't fall into it.

"I fly a starship across the universe divide....and when I reach the other side...I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a Mountain Man again.

Re: Water Purification

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:20 am

MSR Sweetwater is about as brainless as it gets and easy to pack. I like it a lot more than my old Katahdin cause it pumps in both directions.

Steripens seem to be a great thing, but I've seen them in person crap out on day 1 of a 9 day trip for no reason, I've also heard this happens to others as well.

No feedback on tablets or drops, never used either really.

User avatar
Posts: 1022
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 8:30 pm
Location: Castle Rock, CO

Re: Water Purification

Postby randalmartin » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:24 am

Lemmiwinks wrote:For years I've been using Iodine tablets for water purification, but I'm looking into using a different system. Just wondering what the majority thinks is the best, most reliable, purification method? Do you prefer pump filters, steripen, or should I stick with the tablets (iodine or chlorine dioxide)? Thanks in advance for any input.


You are not going to get a definitive answer here. Mostly equally valid opinions. I equally like (and have used both) the Sawyer Squeeze (very quick and filters to .1 micron) and a Steripen. Steripen does a more complete job by killing/disabling viruses if that is significant concern. Both the Sawyer Squeeze and Steripen are very light (< 4oz). No reason to carry a big heavy filter anymore. If you are going to be filtering for a group you might also be interested in the gravity filtration systems that Sawyer also has.

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:00 pm
Location: Jackson, WY

Re: Water Purification

Postby Upstate Hiker » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:38 am

I bought an expensive water filter and stopped using it. Its heavy, and I hate kneeling by a stream to pump water. My filter failed me twice, once in a fairly risky situation (and I was so happy I had backup iodine). Now, I am back to only using iodine. They have neutralizer tabs these days, so it doesn't taste like it used to. There light and easy to use.... just scoop some water up and wait. When I travel, I carry iodine in case I can't boil water, so I don't have to buy the bottled stuff.

User avatar
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 6:10 pm
Location: Up high in the San Juan Mtns (Apr-Nov) and down by the beach in CA & HA (Nov-Apr)

Re: Water Purification

Postby San Juan Ron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:38 am

I have used a SteriPen for many years without any problems. Works great and water is available instantly. I change out the batteries at the beginning of every year (there is now a solar powered version available). SJ Ron

User avatar
Posts: 998
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:55 pm
Location: Broomfield, CO

Re: Water Purification

Postby nkan02 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:49 am

I really like my SteriPen - exchanged it for Katadyn Hiker Pro and never looked back. I think it is less expensive than the "traditional" water filter. Works great, much faster than Katadyn, weights nothing, no brainer. I even like that a set of extra batteries needed for the filter can be used as a back up for GPS on long trips.
Last edited by nkan02 on Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:00 pm
Location: Jackson, WY

Re: Water Purification

Postby Upstate Hiker » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:53 am

I Man wrote:Katadyn & MSR make great water filters that are under $100, lightweight, easy to use and effective.

I still always carry a backup (tablets, stove, etc)


My filter is the MSR Sweetwater.... but here's the thing.... I don't understand having to carry backup. Why not just carry iodine or chlorine? The same goes for the Steripen.... you would need to lug around spare batteries.

User avatar
Posts: 1556
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:54 pm
Location: Littleton, CO

Re: Water Purification

Postby Cruiser » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:56 am

I've been using the same Katadyn mini ceramic filter for more than 10 years now. It's lightweight and pretty much foolproof. It's slow, but it's dependable. The ceramic element is good for like 2000 gallons of filtration. I happened to pick up a replacement filter for it a few years ago on clearance for about $10 but if I hadn't I'd still be using the original filter. Ceramic is great in that respect. Just have to be careful not to let the filter get frozen or it can crack the media. MSR miniworks is a great filter too. It's mighty quick so it works well for small groups and it's pretty easy to take down for cleaning. But it's fairly large compared to my little Katadyn and the filter life isn't as good.
Where ever you are... There you are.

User avatar
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:12 pm
Location: Boulder, Co

Re: Water Purification

Postby OnyourLeft » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:58 am

I've been using a Katadyn Hiker pump style filter that has always served me well until last Saturday. I pumped a liter or so of water out of Cub Lake in RMNP and noticed it looked a bit off color. I drank it anyway and pretty soon my mouth and throat started to feel weird. Kinda like burning or irritated, almost like some kind of chemical. That was after I already drank a few ounces. I dumped the rest and have had no symptoms since. Hopefully nothing happens in the next few days. I was disappointed to say the least and not sure how much I can trust it going forward.

If anyone has any educated thoughts on what might of happened I'd like to read them.

Posts: 272
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Water Purification

Postby viejo » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:23 am

Ceramic filters will remove particulate but will do nothing for dissolved minerals or chemicals. The burning sensation is your mouth definitely sounds like a chemical contamination, perhaps from the fire supression efforts that had been going on near there.

Likely non of the traditional back country treatments will handle that. Steri-pens and iodine/chlorine/chlorine dioxide are based on killing the little bugs. Filters try to remove them down to a certain size (typically o.1 to 0.2 microns).

None of these handle dissolved heavy metals or chemicals, although some units may come with a charcoal absorption unit which could remove some chemical contaminants.
Last edited by viejo on Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:34 am
Location: Golden/Lakewood, CO

Re: Water Purification

Postby Scotzman » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:30 am

I'm also in the market to purchase a water purification system and gave been strongly leaning towards the steripen option, but being new to the mountains of CO, my question/concern would be, is the majority of water one would be pulling from fairly free of sediments and therefore perfect for the pen or would the water also need straining if some sort and therefore be more practical for a traditional filter?

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests