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[pct-l] filter necessary, or just iodine?

Hi Matt,

This is question 37 on the non-existant PCT-L FAQ list.  I haven't hiked
the PCT and generally choose to use a filter, so I can't answer your
question directly, but I'm not sure that anybody really can:

(1) Since something like 30 percent of the population either doesn't get
giardia or doesn't develop symptoms, testimonials of "I did this and
didn't get sick" don't mean very much.

(2) Tests show that iodine is more effective than chlorine, but that
even iodine is a bit iffy with giardia and ineffective against
cryptosoridium (another giardia like bug).

(3) In the non-trail world, most people get giardia and friends from
hand to mouth contamination.  There was a tantalizing (but not terribly
scientific) study on the AT that suggested that the same is true on the

(4) A small bottle of unscented hand sanitizer (and not letting other
people stick their spoons in your pot) may be as important to staying
healthy as anything else you do.

(5) If you use iodine, a scum filter may be a good idea.  The more
organic stuff floating around in the water the less effective iodine
tends to be.

(6) There are some other chemical treatments (Aqua Mira?) that I don't
know much about.

(7) We all talk about giardia and intestinal upsets as if they were one
and the same, but in reality giardia is just one of many.

While I haven't been there, I seem to recall that some water supplies on
the PCT are pretty gross.

-- Jim

On Mon, 2002-02-25 at 19:24, Matt Geis wrote:
    Are there water conditions out there on the trail that will necessitate a
    filter?  In all my days backpacking, I've never had problems just using
    iodine.  Any success/failure stories out there by people who decided to
    forgo the filter and just treat with iodine?  I was considering using a
    bandana to act as a "solid-materials" (i.e., scum) filter.
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