Water filter

Questions about equipment and supplies to bring on a trip (including reviews).

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Water filter

Post by Groginator »

I'm getting back into backpacking after a while away from the wonderful pastime, and am planning a 5 night trek to the island in early August. I have not used my old pump style water filter in years so I'm replacing it. Will be overnighting at Hatchet and Desor with the rest of the nights along the coast. I've heard the lakes have pretty significant algae blooms and I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations on using a gravity filter like the Katadyn BeFree vs. a pump filter like the Katadyn Hiker Pro or the MSR Miniworks EX? My impression is the pumps are better for dirtier water, but the gravity systems are inviting to me as they require less effort and have fewer parts that may break. Is the lake or stream water dirty enough to require a pump filter? Your input is appreciated!
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Re: Water filter

Post by JerryB »

A couple of comments. First, enjoy your trip and be sure you can identify thimbleberries (and blueberries and raspberries)!

Algae blooms come and go, so you will need to check for the latest news later in the year. I do not believe there have been blooms in Hatchett or Desor, but I may be wrong. But, and this is the key point, if there is a bloom, no filter will work from you safely. As for preferred filters, I use two. One is an MSR gravity filter. It feels like the height of "glamping" to have 3-4 liters of water hanging there whenever I need it! A great back up, because it is so small and cheap, is a Sawyer Squeeze.
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Re: Water filter

Post by kolo »

In my wanderings I have only used the Katadyn Pro Hiker with very good results. I am fortunate to have traveled to Isle Royale and some of the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah, so the sources have been relatively clear/clean. Lake Superior is some of the best water you will find. Sometimes some of the inner lakes have the algae blooms so you will have to get updates on those lakes from the Park Office.

Enjoy your trip! Is it your first time to the Isle? If it is, it won't be your last!
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Re: Water filter

Post by Ingo »

I've used a Platypus gravity system for a while now and love it. Had an issue one year because I hadn't properly cleaned it before storing (i.e. run a bleach solution through the filter), and also didn't test it before the trip. Well it worked, but very very slowly. So I learned 3 lessons: always clean before storing, always test before leaving, and have a backup like JerryB. I've run some pretty dirty water through it, but it's easy to backflush as needed. The Platy bags are a pain to get dry though with their little holes, though.
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Re: Water filter

Post by Tom »

I've had a Hiker for years (back when they were Pur) and it's still going strong; I recently picked up a Hiker Pro on a sale because the price was cheaper than just buying the replacement filter. Both are very capable for whatever IR throws at it. I also carry (well, actually, another hiker) a Katadyn gravity filter. For a while they made them designed to use the exact same filter element at the hiker/hiker pro. I don't know why they stopped doing that, since that made it so nice to have redundancies.
The park has traditionally asked that you backflush filters if using on Superior before using in inland lakes, and so I use the gravity for Superior and the pump for inland lakes... thus not needing to backflush all the time.
I like a pump filter because I know it should get me through anything.... but dang, a gravity filter is nice because you can just set it up while you are getting camp going, and have all the water you need so effortlessly...
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Re: Water filter

Post by Base654 »

I have used a few filters but my favorites are the Sawyer squeeze, mini and the micro. The biggest (squeeze) weighs in at 3 oz and is the one I now carry. the flow rate is just about as fast as I can squeeze the bag. If you get the squeeze plus for a dollar more, it comes with a connector to connect a bottle on each end of the filter to ease filtering and other parts to build a gravity filter. The flow rate is a bit slower on the mini, but not annoyingly so. You can pick up a two pack for the price of squeeze and have a backup. I bought the micro because I had a gift card and it is so cute, but is slow. I had to back flush a mini once after filtering a couple of quarts out of a grungy puddle, but it was back to full power after.
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Re: Water filter

Post by sgatz »

My favorite filters are made by Rapid Pure. They filter all the way down to viruses (not a big concern here), and can be frozen solid with no problems. Almost all of the other filters you have to throw away if you think they might have been frozen (even a few ice crystals will poke big holes in their sensitive membranes and allow stuff through). This summer, second half of July, I will be there with the Explorer Camp system (fill the bag and get pure water FAST).
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Re: Water filter

Post by Ted4bp »

Great topic.

Health and safety are always a concern, especially on a hike. The biggest problem is a plugged filter which I have experienced at McCargoe Cove one year, I was using a mini squeeze and only droplets came out not matter how hard I squeezed. A friend used the same filter with the same water and his was gushing. The difference between our systems was that he used a 10 liter gravity bag and hose adapter mounted to the side. My thoughts are that the fine silt dropped to the bottom which I forced into my filter and his settled to the bottom. So now I use a saywer mini and a cheap amazon 10 liter side feed gravity bag, threw away the heavy strap though.

Stay safe and have fun.

Happy Trails!
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