Water Treatment on the Trail

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Re: Water Treatment on the Trail

Post by Manveruon »

Definitely like this approach!
I’ve got a somewhat older Sawyer Micro Squeeze myself, and I’ve really enjoyed it over the last seven years or so. Very convenient and works great! I don’t end up doing a lot of overnighters, so the kind of redundancy you’re describing has never really been necessary for me, but it seems like a good plan to at least have one backup system. For now though, the Sawyer Micro Squeeze is my go-to!
redhandfilms wrote: Mon Nov 07, 2022 3:32 pm On my recent trip, I took the Sawyer Micro Squeeze and it was perfect. The filter and squeeze bag are nice and small. When rolled up together, they're about the size of an empty cardboard toilet paper roll. On this trip I had my 3 liter leather costrel, but my base camp was a few miles from water. I did a day trip to a waterfall and back. The squeeze system was fast. It took just a few minutes to fill my costrel. Then, I did one final fill of the 24 oz bag, left the filter on it and stuck the whole thing into the expanding foraging pouch on my belt. I drank directly from this on the hike back and the 24 oz was enough to get me to camp without having to touch the water in my costrel. If you're drinking straight from it, you could put it in a sack to hide it.
As far as I'm concerned, the Micro Squeeze is a permanent piece of my kit. It goes into my modern camping/hunting survival kit as well. For the most part, for rangering, that modern kit goes from a camo zippered pouch into leather belt pouches.
That said, the old saying goes, "Two is One, One is None." In survival situations, you need redundancy. Never rely on just one method for anything vital. Three is better, so I'm reworking my kit some. I'm going to make a new needs wallet that will hold a 16 oz steel water bottle. That bottle will be packed with survival gear, including purification tablets. So, then I'll have the Sawyer Filter, a small bottle I can boil water in, or tabs if I can't get a fire going. Filter for regular use, boiling is secondary if filter breaks/is lost. In camp, if I have my full kit I have my cook pot, but the small bottle will remain on me at all times as backup. Tabs are last resort because they're consumable and will run out eventually. It think it's a good set up that could last long term if necessary.
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Re: Water Treatment on the Trail

Post by Iodo »

Rangerofthesea wrote: Sun Nov 06, 2022 1:20 pm Bit late to the discussion but with regards to the part about hanging filters looking too modern, I have attached a picture of my millbank bag. It is made from cotton and will filter 3 litres of water.

This is the first step in removing larger particles from water and should be done before boiling or adding chemical treatments.

Some chemicals don't work as well with larger particles in the water so it's always worth using one of these first whatever method you are using.
OK, reckless teenage me did trust water filtered only through a millbank bag, then I learned more about chemical contaminants and bacteria, you have the right idea that it is only a first step of purification, I never got ill but that was just luck. Now I see the millbank bag as a primary way to clean grubby water to help prevent my actual filter from becoming clogged

However I would be happy to use it if I had to, followed by a bushcraft style layers of fine fabric and charcoal filter, but only if the water was boiled after, the UK is a small and polluted island, you can never be too careful

(this is experience from experimental bushcraft and the odd camping trip, for the most part when I'm in ranger kit I only do day treks and carry the water I will need)
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Re: Water Treatment on the Trail

Post by redhandfilms »

Even a simple bandana is a great first stage filter to get the particles out. I also know many of us carry some char cloth for fire starting. If you're willing to sacrifice a bit (you may be able to dry it out later, but no guarantees.) it could be wrapped up with a bandana for a bit of additional filtration. Still need to boil after.
In my interest of always wanting things to perform double duty, perhaps a snapsack could be made to work as a millbank bag. Heck, on a hot day, I wouldn't mind using the hood of my cloak to pre filter and then keep my head cool!
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Re: Water Treatment on the Trail

Post by Ben Sinister »

Growing up, we never carried water. We would be out in the woods before sunrise and after sunset and didn't carry an ounce. Not even an empty bottle. Water was everywhere and we just drank when thirsty. We usually found the source of the spring, where contamination is not really possible. The water is coming out of the ground and there is no chance for anything to have been in it yet. We knew the land and knew where the springs were.

If you think about it, we can make a filter out of basically dirt and sand, so an entire mountain is about the best filter I can imagine.

I still have no issues drinking direct from a spring, and I fill my water coolers 5 gallon bottles at a local spring for my everyday drinking. I see no reason a Ranger would not know his local woods and where the springs are.

That all being said, I carry a sawyer mini, because I am often in unfamiliar terrain, and unsure what is upstream. This summer I canoe several days and filtered the lake water with no ill effects. I simply filled the minis bag and let it drain into my bottle while I traveled.
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