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[pct-l] A few questions


I'm making plans for a thru-hike this summer and have a few questions.
I've read the PCT Hikers Handbook and have decided that a light pack is
for me!  I've consequently made a pack, clothing, and a tarp.  In the
spirit of cutting weight, I was thinking of turning my plastic ground tarp
into a poncho.  Kind of a dual purpose thing.  The idea of holding onto an
umbrella for hours while hiking doesn't sound too appealing.  I figure
that with a decent design and good hat (any suggestions for good hats?) a
poncho would be fairly effective at keeping the wind and rain at bay.
This would also emlinate about 10 ounces.  I figure that an umbrella
through the desert sections will be quite valuable though.  What does
experience have to say on this idea?
Also, of major concern is safe drinking water.  I have an MSR filter
(about 14 ounces), but
am wondering how others have handled this obstacle (chlorine or iodine
tablets, any particular filters that have performed admirably, or does
scouting out the water source work well enough?).  I would like to travel
without a filter if possible for the reduction in weight.  If a filter is
too invaluble though, so be it! 
One final question on the umbrella, I saw in the original edition of the
Handbook, that Jardine had sewn an 'umbrella holder' on his shoulder
strap.  Has anyone else tried this?  Or, do most just carry the umbrella
in their hands?
The last question concerns fuel for stoves.  The stove I've got can burn
just about anything, but white gas is preferred to keep the thing from
clogging up.  Do most of the resupply stations sell white gas, or do you
have to break the law and mail it to yourself?
Thanks for the help!  There's nothing like firsthand experience!  You'll
probably see a few more questions from me from time to time.

Hike on,

John Thoreson

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