Lot’s of great info on this thread from previous posts. I myself have switched to using AquaMira for almost all of my backcountry trips later in the season in areas where I know I’ll have regular clear water sources. It does take some time, but 30 minutes always seems to fly by for me in the backcountry. If you’re looking to cut ounces from your pack, it’s one of the best options in my opinion. A full two bottle set (it’s a 2 part system that will treat up to 30 gallons) of AquaMira is only 2.8 ounces compared to 14.6 ounces for the Katadyn Pro Hiker (these are the weights I recorded from my Pelouze digital scale). And to me the taste is unrecognizable. I still use the Katadyn Pro-Hiker during early season when there’s runoff or if I’m unfamiliar with the water sources in the area since the filter is nice to have for murky or muddy water. Either way, you can’t go wrong. I use the liquid AquaMira (haven’t tried the tablets yet).
I also am 100% Aquamira liquid. Never been sick and I think it improves the taste of the water. We always fill up our bottles at night or in the morning...and fill back up throughout the day before you run out of water. I am in CO, so I know it is different for everyone, and we hunt a valley with lots of springs.
I go with the Sawyer Squeeze, it is light and compact but it takes some time and your hands get wet. I never had a problem with it freezing but the heat off my back (while it is in the pack) probably helps. The bladder(s) can also be used for extra water storage which has come in handy.
I'd like to hear from somebody that "has gotten the bug" from drinking bad water while out in the backcountry. Does it come on fast or is it one of those get sick after you get back home?
I haven't gotten it myself, but here is what the CDC says:
Incubation takes 1 - 3 weeks. Most folks are out of the woods (so to speak) when it hits them.
Giardia sounds very bad. But, I have drank from a stream only after I watched another person who drinks from that same stream every year without any problems. If it's been tried and tested I will probably drink the water if it is flowing good. If I am unsure I use the Iodine tablets...
1)Very inexpensive way to cut weight
2)saves a lot of space
3)I don't mind the taste, and usually add Emergen-C powder
Just a thought: To deal with the wait, I'd try to replenish my supply of water before I have run completely out even though that means carrying some extra weight I like to drink a lot so Im willing to lug extra water to be safe. I guess instead of carrying the weight of a filter carry that extra weight in water and haul similar weight? that's a lot of waits/weights haha
There is not much better then drinking from a high mountain stream. I don't think I could get myself to put some kind of tablet in the water, that's just me though. If I have to drink out of a pond or something, maybe, but a stream, I am taking the chance. Everything I have read suggests that it is very unlikely to get something and I have never gotten anything.
Just think about all of those guys 20-70+ years ago, our fathers and grandfathers. They never put tablets in water, they didn't filter it either. I carry a filter for when something looks iffy.
I filter everything with my hiker pro, if you dont have a treatment system you better get the water from the source and pray..I actually pray when using a filter too! Technically viruses cannot be filtered, but a .2 micron filter of the hiker pro (or other similar size filters) works pretty good. The theory is viruses attach themselves to larger particles and is therefore filtered through your filter.
The "bug" usually affects you when you get home, but if you get it while in the backcountry you are in a heap of trouble. I seen someone get carried out of the Appalachian Mountains that had it, dehydration was a understatement.
Back in 2007 my hunting partner and I were packing in around 6 miles into the wilderness out of the Cinnabar Basin, north of Gardner MT, for an archery elk hunt. We had hunted the area before and we always drank right out of a stream that was about 2 miles in. Just like in the past we drank from the stream, only this time something wasn't right. By nightfall I had a raging temp, chills, vomiting, diareaha, and a splitting headache. We hastily made a camp in less than ideal terrain and I proceeded to eat every single medication in both of our first aid packs. I have never in my life thought that an illness in the backcountry was going to come so close to killing me. We woke up the next morning and my temp had broke but I still wasn't feeling to well. We hunted the morning and then decided we needed to head out. To top it all off we ran into a young griz at 10 yds on the hike out. Learned a lot of lessons on that particular hunt, or I guess you could say hike since it only lasted less than 24 hours.