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[pct-l] filters

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I have used several filter types and find a simple carbon matrix like First Need perfectly acceptable for the USA, where there is not yet Third World viral contamination for instance. 

Some filters may be a few ounces lighter and some are heavier, but c-m filters don't seem to be particularly heavy or harder to use than any other. We used one for the AT because it was relatively inexpensive yet sturdy, gave a large amount of clean water quickly, had an excellent prefilter, and could be safely backflushed in case it clogged on the hike. I also liked the fact that it dealt with agricultural etc contaminants which is sometimes on my mind in lands where farms, logging, and mining may be nearby.

I sometimes carry iodine backup in places where a fire might not be practical. My personal preference is for filters because, as others have pointed out, they make safe water available immediately so there will never be a choice between dehydration, carrying inordinate amounts of water, or drinking partially-purified water and there is no need to deal with particulate matter.

Giardia cysts and so on are not evenly distributed throughout bodies of water, and it is often possible to get a safe drink from a contaminated stream. Without filtering or treating there is no guarantee however, and I prefer to be conservative in health matters. As someone else mentioned, the location of the water and what it looks like is no indicator of absolute water safety, and sporadic use gives only sporadic protection.     Barb

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