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Water Filtration: is it necessary?


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I still mostly don't treat my water.  I typically pack a couple liters from the car and by the time that is out I'm in the alpine and selectively choosing where I grab from. 

I don't think the risk is all that great, but then again you all haven't gotten giardia (twice !!).   My short memory is probably why I still enjoy thrashing around the North Cascades after 25 years of suffering.  And I love sparkles.


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No, I do not filter water.

I do not own a water filter.

I have never filtered water.

I am in the outdoors about 30 days a year now.  I used to be out in the outdoors about 100 days a year.

I have never gotten sick.

I selectively choose where I get my water.  Do I get my water from:

Outlet of a high use lake: No

Downstream from a trail frequented by horses or humans: No

Non moving puddles/bogs:  No

Everything else where I get my water: Yes

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I did my graduate school research and dissertation on waterborne pathogens (Giardia spp., Cryptosporidum parvum, and Fecal Coliform bacteria).  Every stream I tested had the protozoans, however, they were typically at concentrations far below what is necessary to cause an infection.  That said, if there were protozoans present, Fecal Coliform bacteria was typically in the millions of CFU per 100 ml.  One of the take aways is you are more likely to encounter bacteria than protozoans, which can still make you very, very sick. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you decide to fliter, a Geigerrig pressurized bladder with a filter, (I use a Sawyer) has an almost zero pentily in weight time and bulk.  System works good just lube the fittings with dielectric grease and an extra fitting just case one breaks. Time to fill bladder is exactly the same, time to drink the same, time to fill cook pot a bit more , extra weight only a few ozs. Extra bulk , about the size of a fist.



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On 2/2/2018 at 2:59 PM, ivan said:

got campylobacter drinking out of the stream coming down from colchuck balanced rock after a scorching, waterless day - wholly-jeebus, it was like a had an iv-drip of lsd in my veins for 5 or so straight days - couldn't fart for weeks w/o having to throw them undies away :) 

got a nice call from the CDC or some-such a few days after being diagnosed - they wondered if i'd traveled to the 3rd world lately....


Holy shit! (no pun intended).  I had the exact same experience with campylobacter.  Except I got it from biting into slightly under cooked chicken.  But the hallucinations and the call from the CDC are all on point.  Not a pleasant experience by any margin.




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On 2/18/2018 at 6:21 PM, DanO said:

a Geigerrig pressurized bladder with a filter, (I use a Sawyer) has an almost zero pentily in weight time and bulk. 

I'd never heard of this, kind of interesting  http://www.aquamira.com/geigerrig/products/engines-and-accessories/


I've always been a little cavalier about filtration, sometimes serious about it, sometimes not at all. Never been laid low by backcountry water, so I'm probably one of those asymptomatic carriers, Typhoid Off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If interested, some trail and home remedies for intestine bugs, or food poisoning etc.

Non herbal tea, green tea is the best, make it strong and hot, keep drinking  until feel better, strong like four tea bags in a cup. (Note: Drink tea like the locals when overseas for your belly. ) Mainly for food poison, but helps for critters.

Activated charcoal, little capsuls , can find in health food stores, very good for food poisoning or other poisoning, but even helps against the critters. I carry some every hike. NOTE ,  Activated Charcoal will absorb out medications as well.

For intestine critters certain herbs or herbal tinctures. Primarally Black Walnut hulls, Wormwood and Cloves, take as directed. For critters, not for food poisoning. ( One can take a one time dose of tincture one teaspoon/tablespoon on empty stomach , but likely to get VERY stomach sick from such strong treatment, may do a couple days if feel the need.)

Stomach or intestine viruses, can try food grade iodine in water and drink. May also work for other bugs,  iodine is used to treat water, same idea but inside your gut. For critters. 

If you do such treatments suffering likely to be much reduced.  As compaired to doing little to nothing conventinal treatments. Likely to be feeling well in few hours to a day or so, verses much longer.

Dont forget these treatments or suffer and worse yet unable to move yourself effectivly.


A most powerful quick acting treatment mainly for food poisoning but will help with critters. Take activated charcoal powder, remove from 5 to 10 capsuls , place into cup. Add in green tea, make it strong, bitter strong, add in boiling hot water, let steep around 5 to 10 minutes stir every now and then .  Cool enough with cold water to be drinkable. Stir and drink this until you feel better, if you puke it up no worry keep drinking, do more cups if needed.  This is not for unknown chemical poisoning but will work well with most anything else. This can take a sick like your dying event, to feeling much better, IF done quick enough.



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