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Carrying water

Old 12-04-06, 12:21 AM
  #26  
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You can do just as well as the very expensive Miox by using a little bleach, which is easily available to the bike tourist.

If there is a reluctance to using iodine, backpackinglight.com sells a couple solutions that work well without iodine. Aqua Mira is one of these. There is no aftertaste from them, though they are certainly more expensive that iodine tablets from walmart. You can also buy iodine tablets along with a bottle of tablets (vitamin C, I believe) that eliminate the iodine taste.

Although you should not use iodine on a regular basis, for occasional use, it's perfectly fine. I would hate to carry a pump on a long trip when it would be used very seldomly. I have an MSR water purifier pump that I have used on offroad trips. the biggest advantage of the pump is it's fast so you don't have to wait before using the water. But it's heavy compared to the chemical purifiers, and like any tight filter, susceptible to clogging. so, I'll likely not use it very much anymore. Aqua Mira is my current first choice for backcountry purification.
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Old 12-04-06, 02:17 AM
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"Plastic bottles, unless they are recycled, become litter -- landfill, waste, whatever you want to call it. They take hundreds of years to break down, and were only used once before being thrown away. That is the problem with them."

Why do people throw them away, sounds like they last mostly forever?

Anyway, the backcountry aside. Pumps are just another form of conspicuous consumption. That's Why I prefer free water. Thopugh I did ask at a picket line for water once, and what di they kindly give me? Bottles of water. Seems circular.

Thanks, guys, for the run down on new products. I am out of date. I think the main concern with pumps is that you have to get something into the water to pump it, so now that is wet, so what do you do to clean it, carry rubber gloves, alcohol? It's like double bagging to work in a SARS ward, you're fine until you pick it up from a door handle on the way home. In Special Opps the stakes are high, and if a water system allows one the element of surprise or more options for evasion, OK. Those guys are so dopped up on one thing or another, it's hardly the advert for a healthy lifestyle. They are also a whole lot healthier than I am. I just don't generally regard that as the touring operating environment. You can't even find people cold enough to shoot dogs. Still totally accept it's great technology when one needs it.
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Old 12-04-06, 07:47 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
Pumps are just another form of conspicuous consumption.
Long term they are probably cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using bottled water. Of course given the choice I just use tap water to fill my water bottles and water bag.

In some situations filters make complete sense; in others not. I have not yet used a filter while bike touring on road, but depending on the location would definitely consider it. I did find the filter very useful on a MTB tour.

Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I think the main concern with pumps is that you have to get something into the water to pump it, so now that is wet, so what do you do to clean it, carry rubber gloves, alcohol?
Again I don't get it. I guess it depends on where you are filtering the water from, but I usually have used the filter with sources that I would have washed with, but not drank from. I doubt most people are filtering raw sewage. I usually just shake the intake hose and strainer dry and maybe keep it segregated from the clean water hose. If the water source is particularly nasty I rinse the intake hose and strainer with filtered water.
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Old 12-04-06, 08:24 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
I think the main concern with pumps is that you have to get something into the water to pump it, so now that is wet, so what do you do to clean it, carry rubber gloves, alcohol?
If you were really concerned about it, you can rinse off the intake with some of the filtered water. However, in general, it's not a problem. Just use basic common sense. It's not like a tiny amount of untreated water is going to hurt you. After all, people go boating on lakes and get very wet from the untreated lake water without getting sick.

If you are traveling in the third world where you need to protect yourself from viruses, perhaps it would be a different story, but most water purifiers do not have tight enough filtration to trap viruses. fortunately, in the US/Canada, viruses are not a significant concern in ground water. It's bacteria that are the main problem.
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Old 12-04-06, 09:38 AM
  #30  
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A 100 oz Camelbak and three water bottles - 2 filled with sport drink and one with water as a spare. I pack the Camelbak with as much ice as it will hold each morning (around 6 pounds depending on the size of the cube) and top with water. Even riding in 103 F heat along the Columbia in 2005, I had ice water for up to 6 or 7 hours. Well worth the sweaty back

Try to plan your route through towns on a regular basis. All of them have some regular source of water or they wouldn't be there. Even in the mountain west, towns aren't so far apart that you'd be days from water on a bicycle.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:02 AM
  #31  
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filters are heavy and seem not to be worth the weight for on road touring; off road or fire road tours, definetly handy.

When I was testing gear for MSR I took a prototype of the Miox purifier out for field testing - it was definetly a DARPA funded project...

Bleach, Aqua Mira and the Miox pen all use chemical process from chlorine compounds to 'purify' the water. a mechanical 'purifier' like the First Need or Katydin filters give you better quality, better tasting water.

I think a purifying filter is handy but heavy for on road tours. a prefilter definetly helps cut down on the clogging, I'm going to start using a coffee filter on top of my prefilter, great idea!
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Old 12-04-06, 03:07 PM
  #32  
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What I found usefull to conserve water and I do that by using trangia, or any, non stick pans to cook on. After eating I use a tissue to wipe all the utensils and then a very little bit of water, on to a sponge, to wipe clean. Its amazing how much water you save.
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Old 12-04-06, 03:19 PM
  #33  
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my favorite way to conserve water by washing dishes is to lick your spoon or other utencils clean, then put a small splash into the pot and plates, swish it around, use your finger and fingernail as a sponge and scraper to clean off anything stuck on the pan, and drink the dishwater. No soap needed. Wash the pots and utencils the next time you get to running or plentifiul water.
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Old 12-04-06, 04:06 PM
  #34  
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For most of my bike touring, 2 water bottles in the bottle cages is enough. However, for that rare occassion when I need to carry more, I have a collapsable Nalgene canteen that I fill and strap on the luggage. Otherwise, it's stowed empty with the rest of my gear. Lightweight and takes up very little room when empty.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:10 PM
  #35  
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I have done several tours with the temperature in the high 30C and low 40C. All off road and only rarely passing by towns. Water was something we thought about and carried plenty. 10 litres each and we also took the oppurtunity if we passed somewhere we could fill up not far from where we intended to camp to get another 4 or 5 litres, as you can use lots in camp. Even with so much and filling up every time we passed a supply point somewhere several times we got down to our last water bottle and were worried about running out. We now always fill up everything as we go and only empty excess out when we know we are going to reach a refill point quickly.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:24 PM
  #36  
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I have a 2-litre camelbak and two water bottles. I haven't needed anything more than that as yet. If I did, I'd think about going for a stove or something with which to boil/purify water.
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Old 12-07-06, 11:16 PM
  #37  
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You can't boil water you don't have. boiling water for drinking water requires a lot of fuel and is hardly realistic for bicycle touring. Not to say I haven't done it. I've definetly melted SNOW for water on bike tours before. None of that is going to work in the desert Southwest.

I've also pulled water out of mere mud puddles along the side of the road with a First Need filter for potable water on tours before. Clogs up the filter quick though, which explains my interest in that coffee filter prefilter idea..

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Old 12-08-06, 09:15 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
filters are heavy and seem not to be worth the weight for on road touring; off road or fire road tours, definetly handy.

Bleach, Aqua Mira and the Miox pen all use chemical process from chlorine compounds to 'purify' the water. a mechanical 'purifier' like the First Need or Katydin filters give you better quality, better tasting water.

I think a purifying filter is handy but heavy for on road tours. a prefilter definetly helps cut down on the clogging, I'm going to start using a coffee filter on top of my prefilter, great idea!
Those "filters" pump systems are not heavy, no where near as heavy as carrying a gallon of water (nor near the space) that some here report doing! In fact these are so light that I carry mine in my backback when I go places where water may be an issue and forget I'm even carrying it.
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Old 12-08-06, 09:22 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
You can't boil water you don't have. boiling water for drinking water requires a lot of fuel and is hardly realistic for bicycle touring. Not to say I haven't done it. I've definetly melted SNOW for water on bike tours before. None of that is going to work in the desert Southwest.

I've also pulled water out of mere mud puddles along the side of the road with a First Need filter for potable water on tours before. Clogs up the filter quick though, which explains my interest in that coffee filter prefilter idea..
The Pur that I have and the First Need you have work very well. And the ability to take water from mere mud puddles or downstream from a cattle discharge and be able to drink fresh clean bug free water in mere minutes is great. I've used mine for years in many foreign countries where the even tap water could make you very ill and possibly die, and never had a problem.

And your right, boiling water is not aways practical, either due to fuel restraints, not enough water to boil, or stealth problems; plus boiling water always waste some water to steam if you don't capture it, and that waste may be precious to you.

Last edited by froze; 12-08-06 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 12-08-06, 11:01 PM
  #40  
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Yikes!
That thing weighs more than my tent!

Originally Posted by Losligato
Oh yeah, we are also carrying a Katadyn Pocket Microfilter filter.

-It is field cleanable
-The filter element lasts for 50,000 liters
-The aluminum construction is a bit heavier than others but it is far more durable.
-It filters almost everything from water

While we can purchase bottled water just about everywhere in Thailand, it kills me to throw 20 liter plastic bottles a day into the waste stream. So we pump whenever possible.

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Old 12-09-06, 07:24 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
Yikes!
That thing weighs more than my tent!
Oh man your not kidding that thing is heavy, at 1 pound 4 ounces for that pump, why heck I rather carry several gallons of water!
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Old 12-09-06, 12:09 PM
  #42  
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Are you kidding? 1 litre of water weighs one kilo! A pound 4 ounces is nothing!
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Old 12-09-06, 12:29 PM
  #43  
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"gain I don't get it. I guess it depends on where you are filtering the water from, but I usually have used the filter with sources that I would have washed with, but not drank from. I doubt most people are filtering raw sewage. I usually just shake the intake hose and strainer dry and maybe keep it segregated from the clean water hose. If the water source is particularly nasty I rinse the intake hose and strainer with filtered water."

I'm not anti filter, but I think there is some self dillusion going on. A lot of us just drank the water years ago. And an industry has since grown up to convince us (with some reason) that the water isn't fit to drink, so we have all these pumps etc... To give an example a few decades back trout fishermen used to say if it's clean enough for trout, it's clean enough to drink. Folding cups were really popular in catalogues back then, you just dipped in. Then someone wrote an article on beaver fever, which would be a legitimate risk to people almost right up into the alpine zone, and lots of people started to worry. I was working in the backpacking industry at the time. So sure, if you are in an area where the surface water should be clean but you might have a beaver taking a dump... makes sense.

It still is reported that a fair number of people are getting sick using these things. Ray Jardine wrote in his book that on their trips when they used filters they had more trouble than in cases where they just looked for clean water and didn't treat it. So while people are saying they aren't pumping raw sewage there is evidence that pumps seem to make it sound like a good idea to exploit even lower quality sources of water, like standing pudles. I know some of the advertising used to show just those sorts of water sources. But that kind of thing is probably not my concern in most bike touring. It's more industrial polusion and the polusion that comes from human sewer systems. I'm in the Great Lakes basin downstream of the Love Canal. One of the largest poluted fresh water sources in the world. Driving down the saint lawrence river one has one of the worlds largest open sewers running the whole way, it looks nice, but there is both heavy industrial polution and heavy sewer use. I just don't think the pump is a primary water option, it has to be minicipal type water. On the other hand there are many small lakes that are clean enough for people to spend a fortune for the cottage and the swimming so water collected there is as OK as it likely gets.

I guess my feeling is the water is either fully treated municipal water, or proven poluted, in which case the pump isn't much use. Or it's probably good to drink and the pump is giving a false sense of security, though it may reduce the concentration you take in which is wonderful. I think given the options the best choice is free treated water, which is usually there for the asking. It's too bad they seem to have rolled up the municipal fountains...

I'm Impressed the pumps worked well in the third world. I would have thought the water too heavily used for that to be reliable.
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Old 12-09-06, 12:31 PM
  #44  
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"Are you kidding? 1 litre of water weighs one kilo! A pound 4 ounces is nothing!"

It's not either or though is it? You are carrying heavy water and the thing required to take it at source, and you are pumping it also. It's a lot of work just to avoid tap water. Now if the water suppply is uncertain, you probably need a few options, and a pump might have to be one of them.
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Old 12-09-06, 10:03 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1
"Are you kidding? 1 litre of water weighs one kilo! A pound 4 ounces is nothing!"

It's not either or though is it? You are carrying heavy water and the thing required to take it at source, and you are pumping it also. It's a lot of work just to avoid tap water. Now if the water suppply is uncertain, you probably need a few options, and a pump might have to be one of them.
What your saying is correct! The pump is only used for emergencies when tap water may not be availableor in poor quality; it's not for avoiding tap water...at least in America. If you use tap water in third world countries you better filter it or your might be visiting a third world hospital which means you might leave that hospital in a box not on your bike! I've used my filter in many third world countries where tap water was very bad and would make you very sick or dead and never had any ill effects. Some of my partners would their boil water to eliminate bacteria, viruses Giarda, cysts and parasites AFTER they filter it; but my Pur Scout unit is a purifier thus I didn't have to boil the water. Once my partners saw I wasn't getting sick they all bought the Pur system and stopped boiling the water.

I've also used in lakes, rivers and streams both here and abroad when carrying in water would have been a big hassle and very impractiable

When I said down stream from a cattle discharge I was trying to be brief, I should have mentioned the stream was a natural creek fed from a river and the cattle discharge area was about a mile upstream, thus the water was contaminated but diluted enough to be drinkable IF purified first. In fact my instructions say not to use in raw sewage-that shouldn't have taken much common sense to figure that out.

The instructions for my unit also says not to use in scummy or algae water BUT that's only because that kind of water will clog up the acorn ball filter that goes into the water, but using a coffee filter to protect that filter will prevent it from clogging.
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Old 12-09-06, 10:04 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
Are you kidding? 1 litre of water weighs one kilo! A pound 4 ounces is nothing!
You all need to take comments a little bit less serious....I WAS BEING SARCASTIC!
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Old 12-10-06, 06:14 AM
  #47  
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Sorry man, you are far too subtle for me!
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Old 12-10-06, 04:51 PM
  #48  
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3-5 liters in panniers, and as many on-the-bike bottles as it can manage. In the past, that's been one bottle. My touring bike now has braze-ons for three cages, and I fully intend to make use of all of them next time I go on tour. The last tour I went on, I carried three liters in my panniers in a 1 liter Nalgene bottle and four .5 liter plastic water bottles. My touring partner carried two 1 liter Nalgene bottles in his panniers, and each of us had a small bike bottle. Altogether, we had more than 5 liters between us, and it wasn't enough for two people. We were forced to refill from a river in the remoter part of north western Massachusetts. This is all the evidence I could ever need that carrying iodine tablets along, even on a road tour where you don't expect to need them, is cheap insurance! It took us some three hours or so before we got to a place where we could dump the nasty iodized water in favor of gas station bathroom tap water, so I'm very glad we had the stuff.

Boiling water with your camp stove isn't an option. We didn't realize at first that we had the iodine tablets (we had very cleverly stashed them with our first aid supplies, and brought them along by accident!), and we wasted half of our stove fuel boiling perhaps a liter and half of water.
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Old 12-10-06, 06:24 PM
  #49  
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I've been keeping up with this thread for a while now and while I was out riding today I thought of an easy solution for this problem. Simply make a pannier frame using PVC plumbing pipe as a support frame for whatever material you plan on using and fill the pipe with water. It would be very easy for anyone to do. PVC pipe is easy to cut and glue. It's available in plentiful quantities at your local building supply store. It's also inexpensive. While I was pedaling I came to the conclusion that you only need one cap for filling and removing water from the pipe. Simply use a screw on cap on a "T". I considered a small valve for draining the pipe but having it get broken or leak would be a disaster! You would never know you had lost part of your water supply. Filling would be easy. Getting the water out from just the cap on top would not be very hard to do. Simply carry some 1/4" tubing and use it as a straw to drink directly from the pipe or start a siphon to drain it into a water bottle. As for the pannier material, I think using plastic straps and Coroplast to fill in the frame so you can carry your stuff would be easy and cheap. Sewing a bag that would fit around the PVC pipe frame would make it look very nice.
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Old 12-10-06, 08:28 PM
  #50  
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[QUOTE=grolbyBoiling water with your camp stove isn't an option. We didn't realize at first that we had the iodine tablets (we had very cleverly stashed them with our first aid supplies, and brought them along by accident!), and we wasted half of our stove fuel boiling perhaps a liter and half of water.[/QUOTE]

A lot of people are allergic to iodine so a system like First Need or the Katayn is idea.
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