Although I could not participate, I was asked to help put together a presentation these boys would make about hydration while backpacking. A patrol would be given coordinates to the boys' location, and then receive information about different types of water purification systems from these older scouts.
The week before I had hiked with a couple of recent PCT through-hikers and discussed water purification. I learned, for example, their opinion that purification is much more important on the PCT than on the AT, because there is so much more range land out west. Having cattle nearby can create for some nasty bugs in the water, while the Appalachian Trail often stays further away from development.
As a hiker who cannot afford to miss work because I ingested some bug out on the trail, I am not going to take a chance on the purity of my water. My goal is to bring plenty of water, but there are times when I do not bring enough, such as when it is hotter on the trail than I anticipated. This happened to me recently on a hike in the Three Ridges Wilderness. Though I filled from a spring on the trail I did not drink the water, as my Steri-Pen did not work correctly. And though my friend said that he would not filter at this spring, I wasn't going to take the chance.
So the timing was right to look again at some options for purification on the trail. Here are some options I considered. There are definitely other options out there as well!
|Lifestraw shown with packaging. |
Tennis ball included to give idea of Lifestraw's size.
Pros: Easy to use. Very lightweight – weighs 2 ounces. Needs no batteries. Has no moving parts. Easy to clean. No need to wait for purification or pumping.
Cons: Freezing may harm the filter, so not recommended for winter use. There are also complaints online about the bag that comes with this product, but the thru-hiker mentioned above loves this product and uses it with a standard plastic soda bottle. I have never tried one, so I list it here as another potential option for folks.