Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Water purification?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Water purification?

Old 12-09-21, 03:16 PM
  #1  
Jno
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Water purification?

Do experienced tourers use filtration systems when they are crossing Canada? I donít love the iodine pills so if filtration is necessary, Iíd also be curious if the gravity works systems work.
Jno is offline  
Old 12-09-21, 04:11 PM
  #2  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,595

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 314 Posts
I carry a purification system on any tour where I'll be able to camp in the wild, and much of Canada fits that. I use AquaMira drops, a two-part chlorine dioxide system that reacts quickly and leaves no taste detectable to me, compared to treated municipal water at least.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 12-09-21, 07:39 PM
  #3  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 2,026

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 340 Post(s)
Liked 128 Times in 96 Posts
I came down the Alaska Highway in 2016, went via Banff and crossed into the US in Montana.

On that trip, I started with a pump type water filter. It jammed up and had difficulties and I replaced it instead with a basic Sawyer water filter once I got to Banff. The Sawyer worked well from then on for the next 16 months after that it took to reach Argentina. In general I would catch water in a "dirty" bottle and/or pouch and then let it gravity feed.

In general my approach to filtering water on tours has been:
(a) if other local people drink the water, I will also unless there is an explicit warning; that also includes tap water in Canada and many other places.
(b) when I areas where I get water from streams or other natural sources, I will filter it
(c) I avoid using water treatment pills, particularly for extended periods of time

I also crossed Canada in 1997. Starting in Fairbanks, AK and ending in St John's Newfoundland. I didn't filter any water on that trip and had some limited cases on the Alaska Highway where I used purification tablets.
mev is offline  
Likes For mev:
Old 12-09-21, 09:47 PM
  #4  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,899

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2904 Post(s)
Liked 1,044 Times in 841 Posts
I have not crossed the continent, but I can say that I never carried a filter on a bike tour. But, I go out of my way to tour where there are campsites with showers, etc. My Iceland tour, I did not know if I might need to disinfect any water so I bought a Steripen to bring along as a just-in-case way to treat water, but never used it.

That said, I have been filtering water for years when backpacking, canoeing and kayaking. I wrote up a piece on the gravity system I assembled recently. But, you will note that one person that did not understand the importance of backflushing the filter kept blasting the filter, but he was in a small minority, several others concurred that it is a good filter. And I met a LOT of backpackers that swore by that brand of filter. That thread is at:
Sawyer Mini Filter and Gravity System.

If you are not used to cobbling together bits and pieces that were bought at different stores into a single system, you might be better off buying a complete gravity system instead of assembling one like I did. But I read that some people that bought Sawyer brand bladders had them fail, so if you get a Sawyer gravity system, it might be a good idea to also get another brand of bladder as a backup that has compatible threads.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 12-09-21, 11:40 PM
  #5  
SquishyBiker
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 105

Bikes: 2014 Avanti Circa (Rd Dist), 2020 Giant Toughroad (Rd Tour), 2021 Trek Allant+ 8S (eCommute), 2021 Scott Aspect 940 (Mt HT), 2014 Santa Cruz Superlight 29er (Mt FS), 2022 Scott Spark 960 (Mt FS)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by mev View Post
I came down the Alaska Highway in 2016, went via Banff and crossed into the US in Montana.

On that trip, I started with a pump type water filter. It jammed up and had difficulties and I replaced it instead with a basic Sawyer water filter once I got to Banff. The Sawyer worked well from then on for the next 16 months after that it took to reach Argentina. In general I would catch water in a "dirty" bottle and/or pouch and then let it gravity feed.

In general my approach to filtering water on tours has been:
(a) if other local people drink the water, I will also unless there is an explicit warning; that also includes tap water in Canada and many other places.
(b) when I areas where I get water from streams or other natural sources, I will filter it
(c) I avoid using water treatment pills, particularly for extended periods of time

I also crossed Canada in 1997. Starting in Fairbanks, AK and ending in St John's Newfoundland. I didn't filter any water on that trip and had some limited cases on the Alaska Highway where I used purification tablets.
This.

My girlfriend has tramped over 1500mi with the Sawyer setup with a dirty water roll up bottle pushing filtered water into a clean roll up bottle - no problems with it at all.
The only thing she modified was setting up the system to be gravity fed, hung from a tree, then she could do something else while the water was being filtered.
Although the Sawyer should work with a number of water bottles, the Platypus bottles seemed to give her some trouble, so I'm inclined to stick with the Sawyer roll up bottle for the dirty bottle...
SquishyBiker is offline  
Old 12-09-21, 11:49 PM
  #6  
MarcusT
Senior Member
 
MarcusT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NE Italy
Posts: 1,398
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 644 Post(s)
Liked 440 Times in 255 Posts
Never cared for chemical purification, have used filtration systems for the past 30 yrs. The great thing is, is that they keep getting smaller, lighter and better at filtering. Presently using the Sawyer
MarcusT is offline  
Likes For MarcusT:
Old 12-10-21, 05:28 AM
  #7  
Jno
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Looks like the Sawyer has the trust of the majority. Thanks for the replies
Jno is offline  
Likes For Jno:
Old 12-10-21, 05:35 AM
  #8  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 3,082
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1810 Post(s)
Liked 1,492 Times in 951 Posts
Originally Posted by Jno View Post
Looks like the Sawyer has the trust of the majority. Thanks for the replies
Get the Squeeze not the Mini model. Much better flow and less likely to clog up. I can filter a liter in about 30 seconds with the Squeeze.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 12-10-21, 06:48 AM
  #9  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,124
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
I have had good luck with Sawyer filters, both the Squeeze and the Mini. The dirty water bags used to get lots of complaints and required some care in squeezing. These days I don't hear many new complaints about that. Maybe the bags are better now, maybe folks learned to handle them, Maybe they just use other bags or gravity, or maybe I stopped listening. Any way, if in doubt, take some care with the squeeze bag or use something different. If going with gravity I doubt it would ever be a problem.

FWIW, I bought a one gallon Sawyer Gravity filter setup to stick in our emergency "go bag". The setup claims to weigh 8 ounces. I have not checked if the 8 ounces includes the weight of the cleaning syringe and associated coupling. The setup looks well thought out and durable.

I use one when backpacking or canoeing, but I typically don't use a filter when touring with only a few exceptions. I enjoyed having one in the heat of one trip in the Sierras mostly because it was nice to filter ice cold mountain stream water and have a near freezing drink on a 100F afternoon. The other time was when going off road touring and drinking water from lakes, streams, or other surface water.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 12-10-21, 06:55 AM
  #10  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,124
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Get the Squeeze not the Mini model. Much better flow and less likely to clog up. I can filter a liter in about 30 seconds with the Squeeze.
I have had good luck with both, but yeah, probably worth a few extra ounces if depending on it for much of your water. If it will be light and or ocasional usage the Mini may still make sense for the more weight obsessed. Speed isn't such a big deal most of the time if using gravity since you can walk away from it and do something else. I am pretty obsessive about the ounces so I have opted for the mini pretty often for shorter trips or where filtering will be sporatic. I have both and choose depending on the trip.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 12-10-21, 07:01 AM
  #11  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 3,082
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1810 Post(s)
Liked 1,492 Times in 951 Posts
It is one oz difference between a Mini and a Squeeze. Plenty of people have had trouble with the Mini.

Also, don't let the membrane freeze, bring it into your sleeping bag.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 12-10-21, 07:46 AM
  #12  
L134 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: San Diego
Posts: 564

Bikes: 1978 Bruce Gordon, 1977 Lippy, 199? Lippy tandem, Bike Friday NWT, 1982 Trek 720, 2012 Rivendell Atlantis, 1983 Bianchi Specialissima?

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 265 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 62 Posts
I like the Grayl water filters. I've used mine for international travel as well as on two 1+ week tours on GDMBR. One of my touring partners on GDMBR had a Sawyer system and started borrowing my Grayl at water stops after seeing how easy it was to use. It also served as an extra water bottle. Most complaints seem to relate to the fact it does take some force but I don't find that to be a problem and I'm no he-man. I'm still on my first filter but now see that maybe it is due for replacement because of age. The ultra compact is on clearance at REI. I might buy another. It was recommended to me in Cambodia by an Australian who used his while trekking in Nepal.
L134 is offline  
Old 12-10-21, 09:12 AM
  #13  
timdow
Miles to Go
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 627

Bikes: 2022 Juiced Crosscurrent X, 2022 Fuji Touring, 2005ish Fuji Club LE, 1998 Schwinn Moab (drop bar conversion), 2010 LHT (Stolen)

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 122 Post(s)
Liked 97 Times in 64 Posts
I use the Sawyer Squeeze, but one that has become the filter of choice with many backpackers is the Katadyn BeFree. If I didn't already own the Sawyer, I would get the BeFree. Lots of reviews and comparisons between the two out there.
timdow is offline  
Old 12-10-21, 04:18 PM
  #14  
gauvins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,756

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 731 Post(s)
Liked 89 Times in 72 Posts
Originally Posted by timdow View Post
I use the Sawyer Squeeze, but one that has become the filter of choice with many backpackers is the Katadyn BeFree. If I didn't already own the Sawyer, I would get the BeFree. Lots of reviews and comparisons between the two out there.
I've purchased the Katadyn filter for two reasons: (1) they work with the Hydrapak system (42mm IIRC); (2) I am familiar with their marine dessalinator, which is very reliable.

The beFree is indeed very easy to use - screw on the Hydrapak and drink from it. Or press on the bladder to pour filtered water in your kettle. Water flow is excellent.

My experience is limited to a 3 days, 3 persons trip in the Rockies. Never had to rely on it while riding across Canada.
gauvins is offline  
Old 12-11-21, 06:27 PM
  #15  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 310 Post(s)
Liked 328 Times in 203 Posts
I carry an MSR pump and it has worked fine the few times I have used it. I have carried it a lot more than I have used it. Also used tablets which seemed to work fine, but need to be replaced every year because they seem to imbibe water from the air. Did the C&O last September and kind of got used to the iodine taste.
Pratt is offline  
Old 12-11-21, 09:40 PM
  #16  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,736
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 529 Post(s)
Liked 212 Times in 143 Posts
When touring I always carry with me a few of the newer purification tablets that don't taste nearly as poor as the older iodine tabs. But in all my years touring, I've only used them one time, and that was when I was so far away from humanity and was facing the possibility of dehydration.......of course immediately thereafter and just around the bend, I come upon a gas station.....Doh!
robow is offline  
Old 12-17-21, 07:10 AM
  #17  
waddo
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Japan
Posts: 309
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 141 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
Katadyn Befree, i think the name is. Flow-through is much faster than Sawyer. In Japan we often find pipes in the mountains/parks/shrines spewing mountain water. We assume it's drinkable but there is rarely a sign saying so. We can filter to fill a two litre bottle in less than a minute.
waddo is offline  
Old 12-17-21, 07:57 AM
  #18  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,124
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Katadyn Befree, i think the name is. Flow-through is much faster than Sawyer.
From what I have read there doesn't seem to be a clear cut winner in a comparison between the Sawyer Squeeze and the Katadyn BeFree. The back flushing vs swishing around methods of cleaning both have advantages. The swishing is easier, but apparently wound up being needed way more frequently and being less effective in at least some reviews. The BeFree by every accout is significantly faster to start with, but by at least some accounts over long usage, like on a thru hike it eventually slows almost to a stop. At least one report suggests that on a thru hike you will go through more than one filter with either choice, but the review linked here suggests that over the long haul they found the slowdown was more severe for the BeFree. Replacements mid trip are much easier to source for the Sawyer since it tends to be available in big box stores.

A good write up from some folks who did a lengthly comparison of how each will fare in real world extended usage conditions is at https://hikinghammonds.com/2019/10/0...tadyn-be-free/ They give a pretty good summary of the pluses and minuses of both. They did find some issues with slowdown after longer usage with the BeFree that most reviews don't mention. Perhaps they just had bad luck with theirs, but it seems more likely that mosts tests are not side by side comparisons with long term usage in real world conditions.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 12-17-21, 03:21 PM
  #19  
BikeLite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,110
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 352 Post(s)
Liked 112 Times in 72 Posts
For thru hikers the clear winner is the Sawyer Squeeze.
BikeLite is offline  
Old 12-19-21, 07:40 AM
  #20  
waddo
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Japan
Posts: 309
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 141 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 33 Posts
Our Katadyn BeFree: when it's been in storage for many months, we first fill it with water and hang it upside-down over night. This clears the filter and then it works just like the first day we bought it. It was the trickle of the Sawyer I saw in reviews that made us go for the BeFree and I have to say we have zero problems using the above mentioned procedure.
waddo is offline  
Old 12-19-21, 05:34 PM
  #21  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 828
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 310 Post(s)
Liked 328 Times in 203 Posts
To be really confident about the potability of water, the recommendation is filtration and chlorine, or iodine. Or, boiling.
None of these will eliminate toxins and carcinogens. It is a wonder we're still alive.
Pratt is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.