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[pct-l] h2o filters???

I've used the Pur Hiker, MSR miniworks, Safe water anywhere Inline filter,
various chemicals (Iodine tablets, Polar Pure, most recently aqua mira).
Most of these aplications have been used during long distance hikes.

Here's the/a scoop on filter types.  Ceramic filters (MSR Miniworks) are
cleanable.  When the cartridge becomes clogged you can simply scrape off a
layer of ceramics and voila!  You have a new cartridge.  One cartridge
could go multiple thruhikes with absolutely no problems.  Ceramic
cartridges become clogged much more frequently than paper/proprietary
filters.  Why?  Surface area.  With a ceramic cartridge, you generally
only have about 20-30sq in of surface area, therefore all of the sediment
is trapped into a relatively small area.  Because of this small surface
area, there is also less pores for the water to pass through, this is why
they pump slower.  Paper/proprietary cartridges (Pur) are folded up like
an acordian inside of the filter body.  The result is that you have an
enormous surface area which equals a faster pump rate and slower clogging
rate.  However, these paper cartridges cannot be cleaned, nor can they
usually be backflushed.  When they break, you're stuck.

I began the AT with the MSR and hated it by the end of the third day.
Granted it works wonderfuly and I wouldn't even think of taking another
filter into alaska or areas with HEAVILY glaciated streams being the ONLY
water source of water.  However, on the AT and most trails in the lower
48, most elements that clog a filter are not from glacial till, but from
dirt and mud and the crap that people sometimes try to filter.  Why?
WHen you've been at a water source for 10 minutes and you've only filled
up two quarts you'll understand.  It took ON AVERAGE 135 strokes per
quart!  What a joke. When I reached Gatlinburg, TN, I recieved my beloved
Pur Hiker and used it (with a cartridge that already had a summers use in
it) successfully until Duncannon, PA, where it became difficult to pump
and I switched out cartridges (It is appropriate to mention here that the
PUR pump averged 35 strokes per quart, 100 strokes difference). I used the
next cartridge until about mile 75 of the 100 mile wilderness in Maine
when it clogged.  In this stretch I saw about 4 clogged Pur's, mostly
because noone wanted to drop $25 on a replacement cartridge right at the
end of the trail.  However, between iodine, and other filters becoming
"comunity" filters we made it the rest of the way without event.

After the AT I purchased the SWA Inline Filter in my efforts to save
weight.  This filter works with a hydration system so that you "filter as
you drink".  What a novel idea.  It doens't require too much umph to get
your water out, infact, the filter can be used as a gravity feed type if
you wish.  The filter itself cannot be cleaned, but a stainless prefilter
can.  Make sure that the hydration system that you use it with has a
plyable tubing like the platypus ones.  No plyable tubing will leak.

I used Iodine on the Long Trail and have no complaints about it.  In text
with a long distnace hike, you get used to the taste very quickly, infact
I prefered the taste of Iodined water after about a week.  There have been
some heath issues raised about the long term use of iodine, but from what
I've been able to ascertain, it effects those with thyroid problems most.
I've also heard from what I consider to be a very reputable source that
one injests more iodine in one pound of shrimp than using iodine as a
primary source of water treatment for one year.  However, in vain, I
cannot verriy this statement.  However, I myself consider it to be true.

I've had the pleasure of using Aqua Mira a few times and it would be my
choice of water treatment if it weren't so doggone expensive.  It is
tastless, takes care of all of the little bugs that we're all so worried
about here, and is very lightweight and not bulky.

It is probably suited for me to state here that to my knowledge, all of
these methods mentioned take care of all of the little buggies that we're
most concerned about except for iodine.  Iodine's weakness is
Cryptosporidia.  Sorry folks, can't help you there.

Now for my opinion (I'm aware that I've interspersed a few in there with
the facts).  Water treatment is a very personal and very psychological
thing.  I treat about 30-40% of the water that I drink.  I DO NOT RECOMEND
THIS PRACTICE, nor do I recommend treating your water.  I don't care what
you do.  My treatment of choice would be AquaMira if I could afford it.
In light of that fact, I now use Polar Pure most of the time.  I have a
friend who has 4000+ miles on one bottle of Polar Pure, with crystals
still remaining.  The whole bottle costs $10...do the math.  I have had
personal experience with Pur adhearing and going beyong their stated
warranties, though they might not do that for you.  I've gotten several
free filter elements because of clogging issues, and I know of people
who've gotten 10+ and new filters altogether.  I've also had personal
experience with the MSR warranties and have found them to be more than
acceptable.  I do not have any experience with the warraty depts. of
McNett (AquaMira), Polar Pure, or SWA.

One more comment.  For those of you who have a Miniworks, or are
purchasing a miniworks, I have one piece of advice for you.  Don't take it
apart before you know what's in there.  There are some small parts that
are essential for operation that I've seen lost over and over and over
again.  Take that little ball that controls the flow direction...

This is not an attempt to persuade you to go one way or another on water
treatment, like I said; I don't care what you do about it.  Just a few
facts intermingled with my opinions.

Yall have a nice day... -Hungry Howie & The New Sushi