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  1. #1

    Default Filtering water for a large group

    This summer I am going on a camping trip with a group totaling five people including myself. We're not going backpacking per se but, more like setting up a base camp by a remote lake and probably doing short day hikes from there. Three of the campers are new to camping.

    Obviously, water availability will not be a problem but filtering enough for 5 people's cooking, drinking, and washing needs might be. On my own solo backpacking trips, I use the full sized Sawyer Sqeeze with an Evernew bag in a gravity feed setup which, provides plenty of water for me or me and a partner.

    I've looked at the 2019 CNOC Vecto 3L bags and just might get two of those, one as a clean bag and one as a "dirty" bag configured in a gravity setup. At least that would give me 3L at a time.

    Is there a better system out there (that won't cost a fortune) that would filter large amounts of water at a time? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Gravity system seems like a good way to go. Make sure it's bombproof and have chemical backup.

  3. #3

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    Hard to beat sawyer squeezes for ease of use. Cheap too. How much clean water do you really need at once?

  4. #4

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    If it were me I'd probably just use the Sawyer squeeze as a gravity system with Aquamira as a backup.

    If you had a big water container you could treat the whole thing at once with Aquamira, letting the treated water sit overnight to really, really kill everything.

  5. #5

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    Forest Service trail crews use gravity filters at their base camps, last time I encountered one. Why, however, would your filter cooking water?
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  6. #6
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    I usually filter my cooking water because I don’t usually keep anything at a rolling boil for at least 1 minute. (That’s what my local water department says to do when there is a water purity concern). Better safe than sorry, esp with some of the lousy toileting and hygiene practices I’ve seen on recent trips.

    to each their own

  7. #7

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    Katadyn makes a 10L gravity system that works great. I think i paid around 100 bucks. Works fast,just hang it from a tree branch and dump the water in. 1200 miles on the AT for two people and only changed the filter once.

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    The approach I'd take is to use equipment that will be useful to you later. Maybe duplicate what you already have, which doubles/triples your capacity, but also gives you a replacement for your usual setup, or could become the property of one of your companions - just in case they decide they want to continue hiking and camping after this trip. To me, that's better than getting something you don't have a need for later.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    Forest Service trail crews use gravity filters at their base camps, last time I encountered one. Why, however, would your filter cooking water?
    My question is more why would you filter water for washing?

  10. #10

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    FWIW - I normally use a Sawyer Mini for myself, but will use a Katadyn Hiker Pro pump style filtration system when there are more than a few people in the group. It processes water quickly and doesn't take a lot of energy to produce several liters of water as needed. Weight is negligible and the convenience of nearly instantaneous filtered water with a group of people is nice to have.

  11. #11

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    I have seen groups on the AT using a large collapsible container they all used for getting their water. Several gallon capacity, I'd guess.
    .
    I don't like having to be dependent on others for my needs. Granted, cooking for a group may be more efficient with larger pieces, but I would, if hiking with a group, encourage everyone to have a sawyer to filter their own water.

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    Bleach is the way to go! I'm still not sure why it hasn't caught on other than a common but misguided fear of it. NOLS and Redcross both recommend as safe. It is cheap. I bring two bottles in case one spills and several eye droppers from the drug store. Just drop 2-4 drops in each persons bottle, shake, wait 15-30 minutes depending on temp, bottle size, and water quality. Bleed the threads and go. Basically, it is Aquamira but cheaper and without the pain of mixing A and B solutions. For large groups, I just use it to purify two hanging dromedaries at camp. I've used bleach exclusively for 5 years with groups up to 20 people! Also used it on my thru-hike. Join the bleachers!

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    My scout troop uses the 4 liter Platypus gravity filters and we carry chemicals as back up. We remind the scouts to fill up at night, and again in the morning during breakfast before we break camp. Because we fill up containers over a longer period of time, we dont have to stand around and wait to fill bottles immediately before we hit the trail.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by madfarmer View Post
    Bleach is the way to go! I'm still not sure why it hasn't caught on other than a common but misguided fear of it. NOLS and Redcross both recommend as safe. It is cheap. I bring two bottles in case one spills and several eye droppers from the drug store. Just drop 2-4 drops in each persons bottle, shake, wait 15-30 minutes depending on temp, bottle size, and water quality. Bleed the threads and go. Basically, it is Aquamira but cheaper and without the pain of mixing A and B solutions. For large groups, I just use it to purify two hanging dromedaries at camp. I've used bleach exclusively for 5 years with groups up to 20 people! Also used it on my thru-hike. Join the bleachers!
    Aquamira is a different chemical, chlorine dioxide. It is more effective on many organisms. While better than nothing, bleach does not reliably kill protists like giardia. Also bleach degrades over time, making dosages iffy. What is right for a natural disaster is not necessarily right for hiking.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  15. #15

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    Katadyn befree, its really fast.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by chknfngrs View Post
    Hard to beat sawyer squeezes for ease of use. Cheap too. How much clean water do you really need at once?
    This was going to be my suggestion. $18 bucks a person hassle free. Each person carry 2 smart water bottles and go nuts lol
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    Quote Originally Posted by orthofingers View Post
    This summer I am going on a camping trip with a group totaling five people including myself. We're not going backpacking per se but, more like setting up a base camp by a remote lake and probably doing short day hikes from there. Three of the campers are new to camping.

    Obviously, water availability will not be a problem but filtering enough for 5 people's cooking, drinking, and washing needs might be. On my own solo backpacking trips, I use the full sized Sawyer Sqeeze with an Evernew bag in a gravity feed setup which, provides plenty of water for me or me and a partner.

    I've looked at the 2019 CNOC Vecto 3L bags and just might get two of those, one as a clean bag and one as a "dirty" bag configured in a gravity setup. At least that would give me 3L at a time.

    Is there a better system out there (that won't cost a fortune) that would filter large amounts of water at a time? Thanks
    Only suggestion is that you have backup. I'm a former Boy Scout Assistant Scout master. We would do backpacking trips with 10-15 combined adults/scouts. We had two filters a gravity Sawyer 3 in 1 (predecessor to the Squeeze, but fairly similar), and some kind of ceramic filter with a pump. We didn't have a clean water bag, but would filter into different containers. Would take about 45 minutes to an hour for the 30 or so liters we would usually filter.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    Forest Service trail crews use gravity filters at their base camps, last time I encountered one. Why, however, would your filter cooking water?
    Caution. My brother teaches microbiology at a university. He always filters and boils. That, and in my case, I really don't want to have unfiltered water in any of my bottles.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by madfarmer View Post
    Bleach is the way to go! I'm still not sure why it hasn't caught on other than a common but misguided fear of it. NOLS and Redcross both recommend as safe. It is cheap. I bring two bottles in case one spills and several eye droppers from the drug store. Just drop 2-4 drops in each persons bottle, shake, wait 15-30 minutes depending on temp, bottle size, and water quality. Bleed the threads and go. Basically, it is Aquamira but cheaper and without the pain of mixing A and B solutions. For large groups, I just use it to purify two hanging dromedaries at camp. I've used bleach exclusively for 5 years with groups up to 20 people! Also used it on my thru-hike. Join the bleachers!
    My problem with bleach is taste and waiting time. It's worth it to filter because filtered water simply tastes better than chlorinated water and is quicker to be usable. If you don't mind the taste or time, it's a cheap solution. I keep some Aquapur tablets for backup to my filter.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    My scout troop uses the 4 liter Platypus gravity filters and we carry chemicals as back up. We remind the scouts to fill up at night, and again in the morning during breakfast before we break camp. Because we fill up containers over a longer period of time, we dont have to stand around and wait to fill bottles immediately before we hit the trail.
    Yes, the 4 liter Platypus gravity filter is great for a group! (I do use the Sawyer Squeeze when alone or with just one other person). As others mentioned, definitely carry a chemical backup. Aquamira is my backup...

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