Thoughts on Water

There have been a number of discussion on water purification products for the PCT.  I’ve chosen to use the best of class Sawyer Squeeze.  When it first arrived, I took it to my back yards, scooped some Milwaukee River water and tested it.  It worked great.

During my first shakedown, a six-day hike of the Ice Age Trail in northern Wisconsin, I learned a valuable lesson.  On my very first stop, the water source had a ton of algae.  I did not bring anything to screen the water before filtering it.  My Squeeze was clogged.  To save weight, I didn’t take the means of properly flushing it.  For the rest of the hike my Squeeze would take 15 minutes to filter a liter.  My attempts to flush it were unsuccessful.

On my second hike, I had the means of properly flushing it and it worked great.  I’ve seen some videos on using the sport cap from a Smart Water Bottle to flush the filter, but for now, I’ll bring the syringe.  I also designed a simple contraption to filter the bigger chunks before I start filtering.  I cut the top off a water bottle and using a bandana, I can significantly reduce the larger solid deposits in the water.  The bandana ties to my backpack.  The water bottle is slightly larger than a smart water bottle, to it takes no room in my pack and the extra weight is essentially nothing.

The big decision I have been mulling over is whether to take a backup method of purifying water.  The most likely way my Squeeze would fail is if it freezes.  I’ve slept with it in my pocket on freezing nights.  I have Aqua Mira drops as a backup.  However, they weigh three ounces.  As of now, I’ve decided to not take a backup.  Three ounces is three ounces.  In a worst case scenario, I would just drink the water.

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