15751RE: [John Muir Trail] Re: Water Treatment - Marti124 article
- Jun 1, 2011
My MSR/Sweetwater pump/filter broke down (stress cracked on internal connector bar) after ~6+ years plus 2/3 of JMT trip. It was very good. I have never used the Sawyer filter before so it hasn’t failed me yet. My only concern with the MSR/Sweetwater is the weight compared to Sawyer or other methods (like yours). How long before you treat the water with ClO2 before you drink it? I read from 10 min to an hour?
It's true that the Sierra water is very clean and I've talked to rangers who have gone 20 years without filtering water in the back country. There are a host of rules to follow and they've been published on this board before. Either John Ladd or Peter Burke or John Dittli-Goethals or Ned (mountaineducation) posted the rules. Sorry I can't find them right now. But I recall one person still getting Giardia following the rules over a 20 year period too. Personally, I'm too lazy to bother with the rules and find it easier to just take precautions and not have to worry about such things. If it came down to dying of thirst or drinking the water, I'd drink the water though. The risk is very minimal.
Why are you still thinking of bringing a filter if your own experience shows a breakdown after 2/3rds of the trip?
I stopped taking filters in multi-week Sierra trips a long time ago (about 6 years ago) for that very reason.
On Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 3:48 PM, Joe MacLeish <jmacleish@...> wrote:
OK so 2/1 in favor or 1/1 if trips not people are counted. My last Muir trip in 2008 the Rangers told me I could drink almost any reasonable water if it wasn’t to near people or stock area. They said the Sierra was a lot cleaner now than 15 years ago. Both g pairs told me they rarely filter or treat their water. People have been trained and stock is way less. This was two different Forest Service and US Rangers. Coincidentally my Sweetwater/MSR just flat broke about 2/3 of the way through the trip. A kind soul in for a few days only gave me their Iodine but mostly I drank raw from the stream and got nothing. My wife and I used to drink straight from the streams in the 70s until it seems the water went bad and we got Giardia twice. So maybe I take the filter and use it. If it goes south plan B is use Iodine or Chlorine Diox and be careful.
Hi Joe, Yes! Dave and I used the Sawyer in-line in our platypus bags while hiking the JMT last year. Both systems worked great. We both used the standard Sawyer filter included with the 2 liter system. Dave has a new Platypus bag, and his contained quick connects and easily connected to the filter. My platypus is a bit older, so I needed to use the connector for the back-flush adapter - and then it worked great.
I really like this system, and we experienced no issues with it at all. I did not find that the flow was decreased noticeably (once the filter fibers are wet, that is). I strongly suggest you disconnect, drain, and store the filter in your tent (somewhere where it will not freeze).
The gravity filter use worked great too. And, the modified system is much lighter than a pump filter, or the use of the Sawyer system (with its heavy bags).
We did perform a back-flush or two, but not because the performance was poor. We hooked up the filter to a bag and squeezed it (reverse flow) to backflush it.
Both filters are still going strong.
Advantages - good filtration, no wait times, use as hydration system and as gravity flow (most excellent for use with alcohol stoves - because it's more difficult to achieve prolonged boiling - so, filtered water is a good thing), very light in weight, ideal for hikes with clear (not turbid) water.
Another advantage for us - because we were both carrying the system, if one filter clogged, or whatever, we could disconnect it, and continue, using water obtained via gravity flow from the working filter. That is, we had a back-up water treatment system.
I like the system enough that I use it in areas with clear water. When you are in a turbid water area (such as John Ladd's early season hike of the Grand Canyon, when upstream inlets are adding silt), use alum prior to filtering, or use a chemical treatment.
Here's the JMT report, the John Ladd GC adventure, and a link to using alum to treat turbid water (for filtering or chemical treatment
Joe, thanks. I was on the Superior Hiking Trail in MN for 4 days.
I have the filter you mention and I would not recommend it for the JMT.
It is great on the SHT and I bring that filter along with Chlorine
Dioxide tablets and the 1 micron pre-filter by DudaDiesel. But that
filter once clogged can only be brought back to life by backflushing,
which requires their adapter and a kitchen faucet. I wouldn't want to
trust any filter for 25 days to work. The Steripen Opti and Chlorine
Dioxide combo-approach I use (with the DudaDiesel pre-filter) is all
that is needed for luxury enjoyment of water and time on the JMT. If
all you want is clean water and luxury enjoyment of free time (and
lowest weight) go with the Chlorine Dioxide and DudaDiesel pre-filter on
If you do bring the below filter, I recommend the pre-filter to minimize
clogging risk and I'd bring the adapter to backflush it (or else bring a
spare filter, they only weigh 2 oz about).
--- In email@example.com, "Joe MacLeish" <jmacleish@...>
>are great. So I read the PDF by marti124 on water treatment but no
> Everytime I poke around on this site there is something new. You guys
mention of filters. I am trying a Sawyer in-line filter at 2-3 oz for
this years JMT trip (spec says 2 oz, I weigh at 3). I just cut it into
my water sipper line and go as usual except the water is filtered as
used not prefiltered or treated. I have tried it around the house and
it feels like no extra suck is needed. The gravity feed through the
filter is as fast as my old Sweetwater/MSR pump filter. Does anybody
have any experience with this thing. Are there any problems.
Directions say backflushing is easy and it sounds easy but I haven't
gotten it to that point yet. I will take Chorine/Iodine as back up
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