Living and hiking in Wisconsin, I have not needed to worry about water. We have plenty. The first seven hundred miles of the PCT is a quest for water, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated by that. With few water sources, there will be times that the source will be best described as sketchy. Also, a number of hikers every year get sick, usually because of the water.
To save weight, I’m going to be monitoring water sources and carrying only enough water to get the the next source. Purifying water is going to be a daily task for me. I’ve done plenty of research.
In my survival kit on my flight suit in the Navy, we carried iodine tablets. Iodine works great, but makes the water taste terrible. There are other chemical solutions. The city I live in uses the same chemicals as Aqua Mira drops. Aqua Mira works great, but it is a resource that I need to resupply. Not every town is going to carry them.
There are pens that use ultra-violet light to kill bacteria. They work great and are fast, but they require batteries.
The choice I finally settled on was the Sawyer Squeeze. The Sawyer Squeeze filters anything bigger than viruses out of the water. It is small, light weight, and will provide enough filtering power for the entire trail. The Sawyer Mini is an even smaller and lighter version, but the flow rate is terrible, so most recommend the larger version.
The only weakness to the Squeeze is that it is destroyed if it has water in it and freezes. Even in the desert this could be an issue. In Wisconsin, I put it in my pocket when I sleep. I’ll so the same when I’m cold on the PCT.
With that settled, what I’m pondering right now is what to do about a backup solution? Water is so critical that if my filter breaks, I’m in trouble. However, there is a weight cost to carrying a backup.
I have an Aqua Mira set, but it weighs an extra three ounces. I know what you are saying, it’s only three ounces, but I have a whole list of things that I could take that just weigh three ounces. I’m trying to put my fears behind me. So, as it stands, I’m just taking my Sawyer with no backup. We’ll see how I feel about that on the trail.