No filter/treatment

dirtytough

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How many guys don't do anything to their water? I have never done anything except fill up my water bottle and drink it.
 

rye_a

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I don't know where you live, but once you get giardia/crypto you might change your policy...
 

swat8888

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I've done it before, but not till it was towards the end of a trip. I have a buddy who never treats his water...granted were in the Alaskan mountains usually, and there is some pretty clean water there. Certainly no dead birds like another similar thread mentioned. Chronic mud butt and parasites living in my intestines grosses me out so I always treat my water...although I admit quite often I cheat on the 30 mins wait time for iodine tabs. Going to try the chlorine tabs this year.
 

Matt Cashell

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Filtering/Purifying is pretty easy insurance.

I had a boss that told me he contemplated suicide when he had Giardia. No thanks.
 

sreekers

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I have a weak stomach to begin with, a bought with something that filtration or a drop could take care of. Severe dehydration from losing everything in my digestive tract, not worth it.
 
OP
D

dirtytough

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Alaska, Washington, Colorado, and Montana are the places I have just dipped and drank.
 

couesbitten

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Have filtered before (a little), but I would say that 95% of the water I have consumed while hunting/camping has been in a wilderness area, and unfiltered. Haven't filtered in the last 11 years.
 

Kevin Root

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Filtering, treating or disinfecting water is so simple that it just makes sense for me to do it and not to chance getting real ill from it. For years I just hit it with some heat to boil it and kill possible bugs when in the backcountry. There are so many solutions these days to make water safe. That watering hole or stream that's been safe to drink out of for years might not always be safe the next time you take a drink. What may look, smell and taste good could make you very sick.
 

stephen b

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I somewhat agree with both sides on this issue. As far as not filtering- I survived plenty fine for 25 years of my life with camping, Boy Scouts and fishing/hunting in the back country and even drinking right from western Oregon "civilized area" streams without ever a thought of doing anything to treat water. In fact I never really had heard of it, or saw anybody treating any water in person till I was about 30 years old.

But.... I wish I could have done anything to prevent having the "Turkey Trots" as we called them when I was touring in Turkey when I was 17 years old on the USA Jr. World Wrestling team ( 17-20 yr olds ). We were told to be careful, and were, but at least 6 of us on the team got infected at different times during the 10 days we were there. I got infected/ infested and was in bed ( or on the toilet for 2 straight days). Finally only had the energy to make the weigh in on the 3rd day- and the coach said- "Are you sure you want to wrestle tonight?" I said- "Why not- at least I am not in bed- and this is what I came here for."

Well,... that night I was scheduled to go up against the previous years Sr. European champion ( he was 25 yrs old). Well right off the bat- when the match started, he hit me with a firemans carry and then proceeded to put a gut wrench on me- and I felt like my guts were going to pop out and I even ended up slightly "streak striping" my singlet. I was so weak and had no energy to fight off any of his attacks; I wish he would have just pinned me and put me out of my misery- but he just abused me for 7 minutes and I crawled off the mat. Earlier in the tour I had beaten their Jr. champion that was my age group- but I was no match for the Sr. dude that night in the shape I was in.

....I have never been sick with any H2O borne illness since ( even though I have not always treated it)- but that experience is one that left an indelible impression.

Now, for back country use- I mostly just carry iodine to treat, unless I am going to be in an extended base camp- then I filter. I am thinking of going to the Sawyer in line deal after what I have been reading.
 

slim9300

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I drank right out of Western WA streams since the first time I tagged along behind my old man in the woods at age 4 or 5. I drank from them on hundreds of different occasions from north of Forks down to Naselle. (also down the entire OR coast and SE AK) Never got sick once. My dad has done the same from 1974 to now. He's out there almost every day drinking to his hearts content as he cruises timber. He must have the luck of a lottery winner in some of your minds. ;)

I once watched my old man drink out of elk tracks in eastern MT the day after a hard rain. He pushed aphids out of the way with his hand to do it. I told him he was an idiot too.

When I was 20 I started treating my water when I went on backcountry trips. The only reason was because my vacation time was now limited and it would really piss me off to not be able to kill my elk for the year because I couldn't function. Lol. I figured it was better safe than sorry despite open criticism from my pops.

There is a school of thought in the backpacking world that filtering and treating water is only for your piece of mind. I'm not quite there, but it certainly isn't as effective as most of you think it is at killing everything.

I was just reading about this the other night on a few backpacking forums. I found some pretty shocking information.

Here's a post I found:

"I have not heard this about AM (AquaMira) Waiting to see what evidence there is either way. Last I read on their site they were waiting for FDA approval to make certain claims about the product anyway. I tried it and didn't like the taste.

As to bleach. If you go that route use unscented. The scent stuff is a poison and will make you sick or worse. And if you follow the recommendation of survival class, CDC, or FEMA you should treat, wait 30 minutes and smell the water. If you cannot smell the chlorine in the water, you have to add the same amount again and wait another 30 minutes and smell again. If you cannot smell the chlorine yet, then you are supposed to dump it and find another water source - that source is too contaminated for bleach to kill it and still be safe to drink. So basic rule of thumb is if you cannot taste or smell the chlorine, you are not using enough.

As to iodine - Basically if you encounter water that is lightly to moderately contaminated and follow the package recommendations, then you are probably going to be fine. And the entire time the iodine is in the water, it is working. So if you take a drink at a half hour, you have less protection than you will when you take another drink from that water 30 minutes later or an hour later - then you are getting a higher protection level than is required by the FDA. When you filter and there is something in the water, it gets the chance to come back as it sits in your bottle. But as to water quality in the back country - there has never been a study of the water on the AT, but from anecdotal evidence (the fact that some people that never treat or filter don't get sick, and the general consensus being that most stomach bugs are probably hand to mouth passing of other diseases) one can assume that the water along the AT is either not contaminated by Giardia or crypto in most places; and in the places it is: the contamination is so low it wouldn't cause most healthy people that drink it to get sick.

To the safety of iodine. You already eat it regularly in salt - read the package, it is iodized. The reason for that is you need iodine in your system to prevent goiters. And a recent article I read said with the low salt craze in America that most people are not getting the RDA of iodine now anyway - so if you increase your iodine intake for a few months it probably won't hurt the average healthy person. Plus you can neutralize the iodine with VitC after it has done it's job.

And as to filters - Roland Meusser, in his book, has data that shows in laboratory controlled tests that filters are only 70% effective against Giardia after they have been used regularly. The stats on filters are only when they are new. Compare that to Iodine treatment in the same study that found the iodine to be greater than 90% effective when used according to the package recommendations. And 99% when given longer periods of time. Plus filters do not stop any viruses - even the filter makers recommend using chlorine or iodine in addition to their filters to protect against viruses. The last big outbreak of illness on the AT was HepA - a virus. I've never heard of a big outbreak of Giardia or crypto on the AT, while there have been many many cases of stomach viruses every year on the AT. Hmmmm....

Anyway, we didn't have filters for years in the back-country and everyone survived without them. Now that filter companies are selling them to backpackers, our water has suddenly become very very dangerous and the battle cry is "I don't want to take any chances" LOL. The best thing you can do is practice good hygiene. If you really don't want to take chances you would bring a filter with iodine and wash your hands like a doctor."

And then this one:

"I just read an article in a BackpackingLight magazine about effectiveness in treating the biofilm present in most water sources. Most treatments are lab-tested against free-floating organisms, which are harder to kill once they "congregate" into colonies protected by a biofilm. In summary, the findings highlighted that water filters were ineffective, and in fact biofilm can propogate around the filter elements. Aqua Mira was consistently the most effective, especially at 2X dosage levels, with the Miox UV pen giving marginal results. The iodine crystals of Polar Pure did not fare well in these tests."

Here's a link to the thread. Lots of interesting info. Btw, AT is the Appalachian Trail.

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-19174.html
 
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NDHunter

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Apr 14, 2012
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North Dakota
I always treat it. Honestly I'm a bit surprised to hear how many people dont treat it. I mean if it works for you then great, but i thought it was a matter of WHEN you would get sick, not IF you would get sick, if you didnt treat your water.
 

couesbitten

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I enjoyed slim's post, and it reminded me of an article I read about 15 years ago (I think it was in Outside magazine). It was about this very subject, whether or not there is a need to filter water before drinking. It was a very interesting article, and as I remember it, they collected samples from approximately 40 sources, from pristine mountain streams, rivers inside the city limits, lakes, ponds etc. The results of their lab studies showed that although there were detectable levels of giardia & crypto in most of the samples, the levels were only high enough to cause an infestation/infection in one sample, which was collected from a stock pond on a cattle ranch (or something like that).
 
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Kevin Root

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I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the debate. There is a risk issue. You assume a certain degree of risk when you drink water and everyone has to assume their own degree of risk. Even our urban water standards allow some bacteria. There are a lot of people who will say, "I've been hiking for years and never got sick drinking the water without treating it". I myself have done it more than once, but that's not informed risk. It's kind of like riding a motorcycle without a helmet or driving a car and not wearing seat belts. One needs to assess, "What's my real risk?" If you know there has been substantial human or animal activity in the area you better treat it. If you're pretty confident this is untainted alpine water, you're probably safe to drink it without treatment.

It's very rare for folks to die but the illness is not pleasant. Once someone is burned, they're pretty cautious about their water. Humans, pack animals, domestic pets and wildlife all have the potential to contaminate backcountry water sources. Wilderness untainted alpine water is pretty clean for the most part and probably ok to drink though. One might argue that even though the risk of infection is small, it's still a risk and perhaps a risk not worth taking.
 

Matt Cashell

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I have read a bunch of stuff on this issue as well. The studies show that most Western US water is pretty safe. I think somebody could hunt the Western US for their lifetime and never get sick. I also think that carrying a Steripen or Sawyer filter is pretty easy, and makes it even less likely you will get sick.

I also carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer, because I think that contaminated food and toilet issues are more likely than water to get you sick in the backcountry.
 

Ryan Avery

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I have drank from many questionable streams in N. Idaho and never had a problem. But if I have time I will filter it. One of my hunting partners has been drinking out of the steams for 40 years and never filtered once.....But if you get the fever one time I would bet you would be a filtering mother from then on:)
 

wyelkhunter

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Kinnear, WY
for me it is a matter that I just don't even want to chance it. I have been around a couple of people who have had giaridia here in the mountains of Wyoming and it is not pretty.
 

BuckSnort

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I have done all of my filtering with a PUR' Hiker (now owned by Katadyn).. I got Giardia a few days after a Timberline hunt a few years back even though I filtered all the water I drank and cooked with. Maybe I got it from cooling by head off in the creeks, who knows.... It wasn't fun and the thought of getting it again just before a hunt has scared me enough to keep filtering.... Those high Alpine lakes look nice and clean but the snow melt and rain filters through A LOT of marmot shit to fill them up ..lol...

I too plan on getting a Sawyer inline for ease of filtering...
 

slim9300

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I have done all of my filtering with a PUR' Hiker (now owned by Katadyn).. I got Giardia a few days after a Timberline hunt a few years back even though I filtered all the water I drank and cooked with. Maybe I got it from cooling by head off in the creeks, who knows.... It wasn't fun and the thought of getting it again just before a hunt has scared me enough to keep filtering.... Those high Alpine lakes look nice and clean but the snow melt and rain filters through A LOT of marmot shit to fill them up ..lol...

I too plan on getting a Sawyer inline for ease of filtering...

It's just as likely that you got it from your filtered water. You are much better off treating it along with the filtering. ;)
 
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dotman

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I just picked up the Sawyer Squeeze and also ordered 3 extra 2l bags and the inline adapter kit for the sawyer squeeze, all total I spent less then $80 including tax at my local bass pro on the filter and shipping on the accessories from Sawyer, have a filter that can hook up to my hydration bladder and an extra 9.5l in storage bags, not including the source bladder i'm probably at 9oz for all this stuff. The cool thing is I can have it on my hydration bladder but also remove it and attach it directly to the squeeze bags.

If you goto their website they have a ton of accessories you order directly from them that I have not seen on any retailers page. The inline adapter for the squeeze is $6 and 3 extra 2l bags are $11.
 
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