Lightweight and Ultralightweight Backpacking:

The View from Here

Panoramic view from a mountain top in Glacier National Park, Montana

The 10 Essentials

10 Essentials: Water

If you have specific local knowledge the spring, or the creek, has good drinking water, nevertheless look upstream for dead animals, sewage, or possible leaking septic tanks. I only drink from springs and streams I know, and I check each time I get water.

I have also had giardia. One and one half years later, I was rid of it. Even so, I could be a carrier. I do not share drinking or eating utensils, or containers. Giardia is bad. The drug treatment is bad. Be careful.

There are a number of reasonably convenient means of having good drinking water:

  • Carry water: I have the Platypus plusBottle™ Holster 1-liter flat water carriers for drinking water. The carriers are insulated, to an extent. They have a comfortable shoulder strap I don't mind. The drinking water is at hand. I have two. Both start out, having fresh drinking water. Then, one becomes my water treatment receptacle. This is a minimum. If I am going out for more than one day and if I plan an overnight, of course, I have a larger Platypus Water Tank, for carrying water and for water for cooking.

  • Treat water: This video demonstrates the Sawyer Gravity Water Filtration System.

  • I have a Sawyer in-line water filter for the gravity water filter system, because I can use it in towns on a thru-hike or near the trailhead, plus I can use it with my 1L or 2+L Platy Bottles or plusBottle with either the Platypus Quick-Disconnect Kit or Shutoff Valve accessories.

    It should be noted, the Platypus GravityWorks/Cleanstream™ Filter Cartridge is available separately, either for replacement or to assemble your own gravity filter kit using the smaller 1L or 2+L Platy Bottles or plusBottle.

    The 4 Liter Platypus GravityWorks™ Water Filter complete system is also available.

    Sawyer has their complete gravity filtration systems shown at REI.

    I prefilter with part of a coffee filter, or, one of the .4 micron prefilters available for widemouth water bottles which I "dunk" slightly below the surface using a hiking pole.

    This is because the surface of the water has organic matter I would rather avoid.

    The inline water filter is suspended between the Platypus containers, for gravity feed. I do this during lunch break, or at the end of the day. I treat the water, inside the container by adding the right amount, and no more, of McNett AquaMira 2 part water treatment drops in plastic Microdrop dropper bottles. I wait for the amount of time for the water temperature. This is why I have two drinking water containers. One is ready for drinking, while the other is getting ready for drinking. I have the larger Platypus water container, full overnight, and ready for drinking and using the next morning.

    The Platypus Big Zip SL is a top-opening bag that may more easily cleaned.

    The 4 Liter MSR Autoflow Microfilter has a top-opening water bag, much like the storage bags for kayaking. It is possible to rinse out this bag entirely.

    I do not recommend iodine water treatments. No one should have iodine, very often.
    I have seen hikers, using the Katadyn Exstream Purifier Bottle. If ultralight is for you, and if you do not mind a miniscule trace of iodine, I would use this product, by using a coffee filter or a cloth as an additional prefilter.

    The Katadyn MyBottle Microfilter water bottle provides 0.3 micron filtration.

    This video demonstrates the Sawyer Water Treatment Bottle.

    This video demonstrates the Sawyer Squeeze Filter.

    I recommend water filtration, if the standard is 2 microns or less. However, I don't like to carry either the Katadyn Pocket or SweetWater Guardian water filters I have seen in use: they are heavier and bulkier than the system I prefer to use. If you always like to carry a rucksack, or a small pack, one of their water filters may be your choice.

    My international adventure travel trekking friends insist the Katadyn Pocket water filter kept them healthy.

    The SteriPEN has gained popularity, because it weights 4 oz. and 1 liter of water is ready in 90 seconds. However, the water must be clear. This means, cloudy water (silt, glacial runoff, or algae) will not be purified. Many people have a Steripen for clear water, and have a backup system for everything else.

    If you like a water bottle UV purifier, Meridian Designs also has a water bottle and a rechargeable Li-Ion battery kit.

    The information and PDF report for the mÜV is impressive.

    This product is not marketed in retail stores. Nevertheless, I think we will be seeing more of the mÜV UV purifiers. The performance numbers are excellent.

    I am considering purchase of the floating 3 oz. mÜV UV purifier for clear water sources in the mountains.

    My lightweight water filtration system is the in-line gravity water filter. My ultralight backpacking setup relies on the Sawyer in-line water mini filter or Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets.

    No matter what, walk upstream as far as possible to look for any strong source of pollution.

    10 Essentials: Food

    copyright © 2017 Connie Dodson. All Rights Reserved.