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Old 11-16-2003, 03:40 AM   #1
mtgoat
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Safe Water

What is your criteria for safe drinking water? Do you ever trust what you come across or do you treat or filter everything? If you trust some sources, what do you go by? Everyone has different views on what is OK and what is not. Do you ever have a need for a bulk water supply, like for a camp in one spot for a period of time? If so, have you ever used bleach to purify large amounts at one time?
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Old 11-16-2003, 11:15 AM   #2
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If it's a 'known spring' (underground source), and I didn't have the means of filtering it or boiling it, then I wouldn't be all too concerned with drinking it.

If it's a standing or natural body, I won't bother to trust it unless I was minutes away from complete dehydration. I never trust a source an animal has deficated into at some point.
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Old 11-16-2003, 02:31 PM   #3
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filter

I always bring my pur hiking filter but I have drank water out of John's Brook in the Adirondacks and did not get sick. At the time I did not have a filter when I drank out of the water and since the water was crystal clear I chanced it. The water there is still very clear and do not think it would be a problem.
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Old 11-16-2003, 03:50 PM   #4
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In the High Peaks, I don't carry a water filter. But I don't drink out of every water source, either. Before I stick my face into a stream, I take into consideration upstream activities, such as human and animal activity. So, for example, on the way up Panther Creek in the Santanoni's, I don't hesitate to drink directly from the stream. I wouldn't drink downstream from Marcy Dam, however. I try to use common sense and carry enough water to get me from one water source to the next.
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Old 11-17-2003, 07:04 PM   #5
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I wouldn't consider any water source safe to drink without a filter in NY. I have seen many people drink out of the stream, and I haven't heard of many cases of giardia from that, but I wouldn't do it. I work in a hospital, and the lab usually sees about one case per month. They usually attribute it to unclean sanitary activities, not hiking. But I still filter my water, I guess I'm just paranoid.
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Old 11-17-2003, 07:17 PM   #6
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If ithe stream's up high where all of the little feeders are just outta the ground, I will drink it - Not much else. The Panther Brook, yes,,,,,but only way up.

Call me extra-safe, I carry a filter anyway so why chance it? It's not like the old days when I had my Sierra cup.

Incidentially, most cases of Giardia are the result of dirty hands and not bad water.
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Old 11-18-2003, 03:20 AM   #7
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Filter it all...............

Generally I filter everything. My PUR (now Katahdin) microfilter is small and is standard gear for my pack and it only takes a minute to filter, so I do it as a matter of practice. I have a 100z camel bladder, so I may only need to do a top off or refil once (if at all) on a given dayhike.

Overnights and Pack-in's I have a larger volume filter and a collapsable 5 gallon container that I fill for camp use. It's about a 10 minute process to filter that much at most and it gives about 1-2 days of general camp use (outside of any hiking).

I haven't done much mountain hiking in winter, but have some experience in winter camping. For that I generally just melt clean snow.

With that said, in emergency situation (such as severe dehydration) I'm not above sticking my face in a stream (heck, even a puddle for that matter) if I needed to. I'm definatly of the "Life now, Giardia later" philosophy.
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Old 11-18-2003, 05:17 PM   #8
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Well, I have personally had giardia twice both times from dirty water. The only thing that I will drink after those experiences is filtered water or water that has been treated with iodine tabs.

I have drank from a natural spring a few times, and never got sick....so I may do it again if I didnt have the opportunity to filter it, but other than that I try to say clear of untreated water.
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Old 12-03-2003, 11:02 PM   #9
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I second Willies post. Common sense, an idea of the sources, but I also carry a filter just in case. You never know where or when you may need water in a pinch. Right Kevin?! My pack on average probably weighs 60 pounds. But I'm paranoid and would rather be safe than sorry, and in addition to a filter I carry iodine tablets. I haven't had to use them yet, thank God. I hear they taste pretty nasty. Well at least the water does. I don't think you are supposed to eat the tablets then drink the water. I'll have to check the directions.
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Old 12-04-2003, 08:23 PM   #10
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I filter every drop

I used to be a "stick your face in a fast moving stream and drink" kind of guy. I shared a camp some years back with a young man that told me the most harrowing tale of contracting giardia while in the back country. He told it in graphic detail. He was at one point sure he would die, and then he got worse to the point that he just wished he would die.

I never want to experience that and I feel more confident with filtered water so...I filter every drop.
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Old 12-18-2003, 11:51 AM   #11
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Backpacker magazine has an interesting article on this subject. Jeff was reading it (aloud) on the way up to our last hike.

Basically, the final analysis was that most water sources not regularly trampled on (like camping sites, resort areas, etc) had low enough concentrations of giardia that you'd have to drink something like 1,000 liters in a 24 hour period to get sick.

Now, they didn't outright say 'stop using filters NOW!', but they were suggesting that remote spots and mountain sources ('trusted') were probably in the lowest risk categories and filtering was not necessary. Camping/resort areas and sources that may get runoff from grazing fields are in the highest risk and need filtering as a precaution.

Jeff will probably be posting some details from the article soon as he was quite smitten with the results.

As a matter of fact, I didn't even bother bringing my filter on my last hike. It was weight I just didn't feel I needed, and I knew the sources were good (originated from trailless peaks in the Sewards).
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Old 12-18-2003, 01:25 PM   #12
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You made me look

http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/GIARDIA.htm

This article and many others online claim that giardia is spread by human feces and possibly by other animals. They're not certain that the little critters we've been blaming all these years are true carriers.

hmmm?
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:24 PM   #13
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Re: You made me look

Quote:
Originally posted by Fox
They're not certain that the little critters we've been blaming all these years are true carriers.
Backpacker also suggested something along the route of poor hygeine causing more cases of the squirts then giardia... at least the surveys they conducted did.
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:40 PM   #14
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Re: Re: You made me look

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Originally posted by Kevin
Backpacker also suggested something along the route of poor hygeine causing more cases of the squirts then giardia... at least the surveys they conducted did.

Ick! I have to read this article. Which issue is this in?
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Old 01-07-2004, 10:25 PM   #15
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Lightbulb Betadine a good treatment

I've been drinking from all types of water sources in the Adirondacks for years. I've made it a point to treat my water unless I'm drinking from a well established, tapped spring. I've tried filtered water, tablets, crystalline iodine (polar pure), and boiling. In talking with some of the DEC employees, I found that some of them use Betadine as a water treatment. Many of them have it in their first aid kits. Betadine is readily available in drugstores everywhere, and a 16oz bottle can be purchased for under $10.00. 8 years ago I started carrying a small 2oz. plastic bottle of Betadine, with an eye dropper in the top. The general rule of thumb is 1 drop of Betadine per cup of water (4 drops per qt.) shake, and let stand 20 min. The dose should be increased or doubled, for cloudy (dirty) water, or when the temperature gets cold.
I've found that the 2oz. Bottle is very light to carry, takes up very little room, it makes many gallons of treated water, and in 8 years, I've never gotten sick on the trail. I've drank water as dark as strong tea, (Oswegatchi river) and water from stagnant ponds that stank, and I've never had a problem with this method. It's not as good as a filter, but it can cut down on weight, and bulk in your pack!
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:03 PM   #16
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Once you have had Giardia, you will never trust any source again. My buddy came down with a case a few years ago. It looked like the worst case of food poisoning I had evr seen. I filter evrything!
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox
Ick! I have to read this article. Which issue is this in?
The article was from late 2003, Nov or Dec issue.

I usually boil water at camp when cooking, but pump my drinking water from the nearest stream/pond out of convenience (cooler water). If I'm relatively high up the mountain, I wouldn't think twice about drinking from the source... there's really nothing there to comtaminate it tothe degree I could get sick. It's heavily travelled and stagnant areas we need to be most concerned with. Knowing the source helps a lot, and the article being referenced addresses some of the more common sense stuff...

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Old 06-01-2004, 02:20 PM   #18
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I also always bring a filter, and a bottle of iodine tabs for backup, along with a smidgin of vitamin-C to kill the taste.
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Old 06-01-2004, 03:38 PM   #19
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I always use a filter! Better safe then stupid. Only takes a minute or so and twith the filter I usually only have to carry one water bottle and keep refilling. Less weight to carry overall. I also have some purification tablets in my first aid kit. In the winter I always boil water since the filter will freeze.
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Old 06-30-2005, 07:00 PM   #20
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Someone posted this article on VFTT. I did a quick search here and didn't see it, so I'm posting it here, as it appears to clear up some common misconceptions about giardiasis. Sorry if it's a duplicate.

http://pweb.jps.net/~prichins/giardia.htm

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