Water Filter

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Guest

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My wife and I took our first BWCA trip the first week of July, so I had some new gear. My Katadyn Vario filter failed on day five. After calling and talking to Katadyn it was blamed on algae clogging the cartridge. What does everyone use? I'm looking at a gravity filter either a Platypus or Sawyer. Any thoughts?
 
W

Willis

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Welcome to the site 2alpha!

I have a Katadyn Hiker and have never had a problem. I always make sure that my unfiltered water is pretty clear before running it thru the filter. Any filter, even a gravity type, will clog if there is too much junk in the water.

I use one of these in 10 L to collect water and let it settle. http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/13

It packs down to a really tiny size.
 
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Aberdeen, MD
I used to use an MSR MiniWorks (about a pound). I got into an ultralight phase and started using Aqua Mira drops (3oz), which are the ones where you mix A+B, wait 5 minutes, add to the water, wait 20 minutes, and drink. That worked fine, without the physical effort, but with the down side of having to mix and wait. i kept hearing about how awful iodine tasted, but one day, while standing at an outfitters checkout, i saw some polar pure sitting there and bought it. SO glad i did. it's already at saturation, and you just have to add it to the untreated water. there is a slight taste, but i don't mind it, and after a week on the stuff last year, i find that i pretty much can't taste anything bad anymore... it took about 2 days that first time, and now it's ok after the 2nd bottle (about 2 hours into a trip!).

I carry two 32 oz bottles. one is "drinking", the other is "working". as soon as i finish a bottle, i pour in the correct amount of polar pure, dunk my bottle under the water (keeps the surface crud from getting in), fill it, and cap it. this then goes back into my pack and i drink from the other bottle. shampoo, rinse, repeat... you get the idea.

when i get to a portage, i drink everything i have and then portage without the additional 4 lbs of water. longest portage to date is 1.6 miles or so, for which i think i carried a full bottle to start. again, you get the idea...

polar pure is off the market over an issue with the DEA, but there's a canadian supplier of sublimated iodine crystals that i've heard on another forum provides good service. http://raems.com/webad/USP.html i believe the owner's name is Brian.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I recently got a Platypus GravityWorks filter system and used it on a six day trip in the Adirondacks. It worked superbly -- easy, fast and lots of water.

All you do is scoop up four liters of water in the Dirty Water bag, while in the canoe or on shore, connect the hoses, hang the bag, and the water drips through the filter to the four liter Clean Water bag. It takes maybe six minutes while you do other things. You can then feed the clean water via a clip hose into your canteens, water bottles or for washing jobs.

To clean the the filter, all you do is hold the Clean Water bag higher for a couple of minutes and let some water back flush into the Dirty Water bag. I do this preventatively every second or third use or so.

The whole apparatus, about 11 oz., rolls up into a soft net bag, which fits nicely in one of my Duluth pack side pockets alongside my Bahco Laplander folding saw.

I'll never go back to a pump.

http://www.rei.com/product/813799/platypus-gravityworks-water-filter
 
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Kinda depends on the trail you are traversing. We usually carry a MSR MiniWorks. We have had the same unit since 1991. The chief attraction is that you do not have to dip a bag into the water. Sometimes there is not enough water to do that. We never try to do a portage sans water. So where there are long portages we will continue to use a pump filter. The MSR can be inserted through a bog and get water out , and can filter from a two inch deep brook.

Gravity bags are wonderful. We have one of the MSR ones too, the Autoflow. We used it for a two week trip on the Yukon River and for that trip that was the correct tool. It is hard to stand on the banks and pump. And the banks are wicked steep and unstable. The fewer trips the better. Being able to scoop 4 l of river water once was a godsend.

We will continue to choose between the two for future trips. Sometimes one tool is better, sometimes another.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Sometimes there is not enough water to do that. We never try to do a portage sans water. So where there are long portages we will continue to use a pump filter. The MSR can be inserted through a bog and get water out , and can filter from a two inch deep brook.

You are much more of a wilderness tripper than I am, and far more a portageur than I choose to be, but I don't quite understand what you are saying here.

I'm talking about canoe trips not hiking, and I've never had to secure drinking water on a canoe trip from a bog or a two inch brook. A liter of carried water should be enough for one person on any reasonable portage until the next open water is reached. For emergency use, which used to be my standard approach, I have tablets or would just drink from side streams without filtration/purification.
 
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Different strokes for different folks. Some of my canoe trips involve hiking. I like Algonquin and in Wabakimi the portages are sometimes unmapped, unblazed and just plain tangled. It can take hours to do 800 meters.

Story time..I am sure I have spit this one out before.

We had a 1600 m portage in Wabakimi . Then we had to cross a little lake that was about 1/4 mile wide. Then resume portaging for 900 m. We each had one liter water at the start. Hot miserable day as the boreal sometimes is. We had trouble finding the 1600 so it took a long time to do that portage. We got to the "end" and the path disappeared into a bog that was the former lake. I looked at the map..the field check date was 64 years before.

We needed water. We could not paddle across the bog and it was not well enough supported to hold us up.. So one foot went through.. We stuck the hose of the filter in and got replacement water. We could not have done it with a bag. It took a long time to pick around the perimeter and worse to locate some old junk that marked the start of the 900 meter trail. We spent a good 8 hours doing some 3000 meters.

All you exiting Granite going to Cache Lake bewared
 
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Guest

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MSR Miniworks and a cautionary note about Pristine/Aqua Mira drops.

MSR Miniworks and a cautionary note about Pristine/Aqua Mira drops.

My wife and I have used the MSR Miniworks filter for over a decade without a single failure. It not only filters thoroughly, it produces great tasting water.

Recently we purchased the Pristine/AquaMira system of drops in order to have a lighter means of treating water for backpacking trips, but upon opening the package and reading the instructions and the little charts they provided, it became clear it would be useless to us except at the hottest part of summer. The minimum wait time necessary for it to destroy cryptosporidium and giardia cysts is an hour and that's when the water temperature is lukewarm. How often is a drinking water source that warm? Hardly ever. And in spring or autumn temperatures, the wait times required are around 4 hours. If one has to wait that long, one might as well use a filter or just boil one's water when one gets to camp. One can boil gallons of water in a fraction of the minimum time needed for Pristine/AquaMira to do it's job properly. I was initially attracted to this product by videos and reviews of people who use this product and who I now realize were unaware or chose to ignore the times required for it to treat the water at typical temperatures. These people are drinking partially treated water. I don't want a false sense of security when it comes to intestinal parasites. The manufacturers do not present this information on the outside packaging or bottles themselves. You have to buy it, open it up, and read the little booklet and consult the charts to see that it only works reasonably quickly in warm water. We returned it for a full refund from where we bought it as we did not want to carry water around for 1 to 4 hours until it was genuinely safe to drink.

Hope this helps,
-Martin
 
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I have the MSR Miniworks. The water tastes great but it seems like I have to clean the filter way to often. About every third liter it gets to pumping hard. I clean it with the pad supplied and it works great for another 2-3 liters. I use it in the boundary waters so it's not like the water is muddy. Is this normal? Dave
 
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Guest

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I have the MSR Miniworks. The water tastes great but it seems like I have to clean the filter way to often. About every third liter it gets to pumping hard. I clean it with the pad supplied and it works great for another 2-3 liters. I use it in the boundary waters so it's not like the water is muddy. Is this normal? Dave

I usually scrub the filter every 3-4 litres so that pumping will go faster and easier. Every 2-3 litres seems a little more frequent than necessary, but it really is a function of water quality.
Hope this helps,
-Martin
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I read the OP to be specifically asking about gravity filters because he was unhappy with a pump filter that had failed.

As to tablets, I used to use iodine, which only requires 15 minutes or so but doesn't kill everything. The chlorine dioxide tablets can kill bacteria in 15-30 minutes but require the full four hours to kill protozoa. For this reason (and others) I carry two 1L Platypus collapsible bottles -- one with purified water to drink while the other has tablets that are purifying. Fortunately, I haven't had to resort to pills in a long time.

On two or three day overnights with no portages I might just carry three gallons of water and skip the filtering. Extra and movable ballast is good in some canoes.
 
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I have the MSR Miniworks. The water tastes great but it seems like I have to clean the filter way to often. About every third liter it gets to pumping hard. I clean it with the pad supplied and it works great for another 2-3 liters. I use it in the boundary waters so it's not like the water is muddy. Is this normal? Dave

BWCA water is loaded with small algae that you can't see. Those get filtered out. Boreal forest water looks clear but is not. Still three uses seems minimal. In Wabakimi we clean every 9-12 liters.

It would be nice to hear about people who have gravity filters other than mine. While the storage bag seems robust, its wise to have a repair patch. To me that seems to be a potentially weak spot.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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It would be nice to hear about people who have gravity filters other than mine.

That's why I included a link to the REI page for the Platypus GravityWorks. There are 35 reviews, most of them quite detailed and positive. There are comments on the strength of the bags.

On edit: I just looked at video on the MSR Autoflow, YC, and there are obvious differences from the GravityWorks. The MSR only has one bag, the dirty water bag, and you fill the canteens, etc. from that. The bag is opaque and it looks like a roll top.

The GW has two bags. They are transparent, and the dirty water bag is a zip lock type. You empty the entire dirty water bag through the filter into the clean water bag. Then you fill, wash, etc. from the clean water bag. Or, you can just fill up the clean water bag at the beginning of the day and carry it in your canoe as a 4L container of clean water. You can drink directly from its tube or refill your canteens periodically. You never carry around dirty water.
 
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The clean water receiver in the MSR can be either a wide mouth Nalgene or a pot or the MSR Dromedary. I have all of them. So yes I carry around two liters of fresh water plus if I want to use a Nalgene (I seldom do on portage trips as for me the Dromedary is so much friendlier to carry) I can.

To backflush of course we use the Dromedary. So in essence it too can be a two bag system. Probably I liked it because I saw no need to buy two bags when I needed only one. The Dromedary was already in the kit.
 
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North Iowa
I have tried several of the Katadyn products and my home made system with a Sawyer filter and beats both of them hands down in the BWCA. This last year we filtered over 160L of water before I had to back flush it and it worked GREAT!
 

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Guest

Guest
I recently got a Platypus GravityWorks filter system and used it on a six day trip in the Adirondacks. It worked superbly -- easy, fast and lots of water.

All you do is scoop up four liters of water in the Dirty Water bag, while in the canoe or on shore, connect the hoses, hang the bag, and the water drips through the filter to the four liter Clean Water bag. It takes maybe six minutes while you do other things. You can then feed the clean water via a clip hose into your canteens, water bottles or for washing jobs.

To clean the the filter, all you do is hold the Clean Water bag higher for a couple of minutes and let some water back flush into the Dirty Water bag. I do this preventatively every second or third use or so.

The whole apparatus, about 11 oz., rolls up into a soft net bag, which fits nicely in one of my Duluth pack side pockets alongside my Bahco Laplander folding saw.

I'll never go back to a pump.

Glenn, I’m pleased to hear that the GravityWorks performs as advertised. I received one as a gift and it is still in the box; I haven’t had non-tidal opportunity to try it.

First use may be a heavily silted western river this spring. I’ll be silt-settling in a bucket, but I’m thinking of bringing a funnel and fine screen (or maybe some cotton balls/coffee filters/?) to trap the worst of the silt prior to pouring into the GravityWorks.

If anyone has a technique that works for pre-filtering silt with a gravity filter, or has used one on heavily silted rivers I’d like to hear how it worked.
 
G

Guest

Guest
My first filter was a cup, that very, very, very slowly filtered 8 oz of water in about 10 mins. Oh well, you live and learn. My Pur (Katadyn) Hiker Pro broke down 2 yrs ago. Last year I replaced it with a Katadyn Gravity Base Camp Bag. It works great, and filters while I do camp chores. I agree that it depends on your trip needs, which kind / process you choose.
Brad
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have an MSR Miniworks - I find it to be a lot of work (~90 strokes/liter) and requires regular cleaning.
Also have a Platypus CleanStream - no work at all. Backflushing takes only a few seconds, then you're back to getting a gallon of clean water in 5-6 minutes. When the filter is on its last legs it doesn't clog, it just slows down. When a gallon takes 8 minutes (my personal guideline) and backflushing doesn't help, it's time to get a new filter. The original filter lasted for 10 BWCA trips (half solo, half partnered).
I also have a Katadyn filtration water bottle for when my water runs out. Haven't had to use it yet but when I do I'll be glad it's lashed into the boat.
My kitchen utensil kit includes Aqua Mira (mentioned above) as well as a little squeeze bottle of bleach - 8 drops per gallon.

Overkill? Methinks not.
 
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