Water Filtration - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-15-2010   #1
tmaggert's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, 80033
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Water Filtration

Since I have this Middle Fork trip in August (light boats) plus a Grand Canyon next August I've been thinking about investing in water filtration. A search for filter only pulls up info on coffee filters and filter plant. Does anyone on here use water filtration on the river?

I have looked around and since there are ~14 people on the MF trip, I want a high capacity system. I started to look at the Katadyn Expedition ($1200), Aqua Sun Responder S ($1800), and First Need Base Camp Purifier ($489.93). Now I really like the Aqua Sun Responder S because of the connivence (no pumping, solar charged), speed (1gal/min), and UV sanitization. I know it is enough to offset the >$1300 price differences. I like the Katadyn Expedition over the First Need Base Camp Purifier because of the 'barrel' pump set up. Once again it is not worth the ~$750 price difference.

I started to think about building my own set up before I found the First Need filter for relatively cheap. I determined I could build a complete solar powered, reverse osmosis and UV sanitization for ~$1000. The only issue was I could only get 3.75gal/hr with a decent size setup. Then I looked closer at how the Responder S got 1gal/min and noticed that it was just a carbon filter and UV. Then I looked at the Katadyn Expedition and it is just a ceramic filter. I've also seen the Katadyn Base Camp ($84.95) which is just a gravity system but uses glassfiber, activated carbon granulate.

I now know there are many different ways of filtering water but here is the million dollar question, what is necessary on the river? Will just a carbon system work? Do I need UV? Do I want ceramic? Reverse osmosis is overkill?

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Old 03-15-2010   #2
Wirednoodle's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
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If you look around you can find the Katadyn Camp that comes with the ceramic filter.

The fact that the First Need is a purifier as opposed to just a filter says a lot. It is your gut, but I would go for knowing the water is as pure as can be. My vote is the First Need for sure.

Whichever way you go, take a spare filter of some sort. It would be wise to get the 1 micron filters that are used to filter bio diesel (cheap bag like filter). Works as a good pre-screen and helps the filter last longer.

My .02
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Old 03-15-2010   #3
mountains, Colorado
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Last year we pieced together a set-up based on the home canister filters. The key is the filter inside. You must get an absolute 1 micron (special ordered on-line, but can be bought in most major cities.) A couple of ball joints on each end of the canister, tubing, and a 5 gallon bucket with a screw on lid (keeps it all packaged and contaminated water free). We use a little alum to help settle things out and a tbsp. of bleach to keep the finished product totally safe. From settle to drinking water is about 2 hrs. for 40+ gallons. Total cost set up, under $200. Meets the specs recommended by the rangers on the grand.
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Old 03-15-2010   #4
Westminster, Colorado
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FWIW, if you filter, you still need to bleach. Especially on the Grand which is downstream of the Page sewage plant that spills periodically.
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Old 03-15-2010   #5
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Greeley, Colorado
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Consider borrowing or renting one. I own the Katadyne Expedition with a couple of friends. PM me if you find this helpful. E-
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Old 03-16-2010   #6
Louisville, Colorado
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I use a Katadyn Base Camp (~$60), not super high capacity, but good especially if you had a few of them. I like it for several reasons. It is a hanging bag where gravity is the pump so I can scoop up dirty water and let the dirt settle to the bottom instead of trying to cram in through a filter with a pump. Pumping water for a group of 10 gets tiring fast. It holds a lot of water 2.5 gallons, and has a 0.3 micron filter (gets bacteria) - that is the same filter I would use in my small backpacking pump, although I often find myself taking the base camp if I know water is plentful because it is lighter than my backpacking pump. I just scoop the water and hang it up in my kitchen. Of course I always have an extra filter, and iodine (just in case) for water. And bleach for doing dishes.
Been doing this for several years, drank some pretty mank water (floating cow patties anyone?) without additional treatment. I have never fallen ill.
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Old 03-16-2010   #7
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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The Katadyn hanging filter is a perfect backup, but I wouldn't use it as my main filter for a Grand Canyon trip. Get the big expedition filter, the hanging bag for your backup, and keep a backpacker filter in a different boat just in case.
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Old 03-16-2010   #8
Louisville, Colorado
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yeah, I could imagine the GC being a different beast. I haven't had the pleasure.
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Old 03-16-2010   #9
mountains, Colorado
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This is the page that has the recommendations from the GC rangers:
Grand Canyon National Park - Safe Drinking Water (U.S. National Park Service)
My pieced together filter above is a little old school. It was used on the grand for years before companies came out with their expedition style filters. As stated earlier (and on the above link), always use a few drops of bleach with any filter. Also, be sure to see that the filter measurement is absolute (not nominal). Absolute means that nothing larger than 1 micron get through. Nominal means that a little can. For example, a .5 micron nominal can possibly let through larger particles than a 1 micron absolute.
I still think this type of filter is better than the others because it is cheaper, faster at filtering, and you don't have to pump it (simply turn the valve, fill the water jug and turn it off).
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Old 03-26-2010   #10
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vancouver, Washington
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find out where the outfitters get their water. there are some springs along the river you won't get much cleaner water as it comes from the earth and not from pasture runoff --- and it will cause less clogging in your filters. If not be sure to add bleach and let it sit for a hour or two before pumping so the particulates settle.

... there are some good carbon block filters for pretty cheap that are sub micron. Obviously the smaller your filter the more pressure needed to get substantial flow through it.
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