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Author Topic: Do I really need a water filter?  (Read 5869 times)

diegotailwind

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Do I really need a water filter?
« on: January 02, 2010, 03:37:23 AM »
Ok everyone, here is another question...
Like I said in another topic, I will travel to SE Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos... maybe more if i like it  ;D)
I was wondering if i would really need a water filter? They are expensive and frankly I'm wondering if they are reliable?
If I do get one, can anyone recommend a model?
thks

travleur

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2010, 10:52:19 AM »
I traveled for quiet a while, including 3 years straight in developping countries and used my water filter almost every single day. I would certainly not recommend to do what the locals do. It can be ok in western countries, definitely not in poor countries. Indian drink water from the Gange River, for example, I would not recommend to do the same. I used my filter mostly for financial reason (and secondly because I traveled in remote areas like Tibet), even if bottle water are cheap, it ads up. Of course if you travel for a few weeks and if you are not planning to bike in remote areas where bottled water are not available, go for buying bottled water and forget about a filter (you can bring tablets for emergency). But if budget is an issue, and/or if you plan to bike in remote area, I would recommend a filter. Tablet sucks, it's ok for an emergency but that's it. I used a pump filter for 3 years (the First need from General Ecology) and then I switch to the MSR miox purifier. The latest is FANTASTIC. If you use it correctly water doesn't taste any different, in a few minutes you can purify liters of water, it's as big as a big permanent marker. Cons: use batteries and salt (very little though), and you need clear water (but with a pump I would not recommend to use muddy water as it clogs the filter very quiclky - maybe it's better on the Katadyn model since you can scrub the filter to clean it, Im not sure). the First Need Pump filter is good. Pros: no batteries, you "can" use unclear water, no bad taste; cons: heavier, need to pump, filter get clogged after a while and it becomes a work out to pump (not after 1 month though). There is also the Steripen which use a different purification sytem (UV I believe - the miox create a chlorine/saline soltion that kills germs, just like a miniature city water system purification). But otherwise the idea and pros and cons are about the same. Enjoy your journey.
Cheers
travleur

petervanglabbeek

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 03:31:28 AM »
I always travel with a water filter, in my case with the Katadyn Mini. Especially in the tropics this is very useful. You need a lot of water and many diseases are present in even the cleanest looking rivers. In most places you can buy bottled water, but the costs add up if you need about 5 to 10 liter per day per person. And apart from the costs, the enormous waste of all the empty bottles is terrible.
Filtering water with the Katadyn Mini is hard work. I never make the one liter per minute that Katadyn promisses. You have to pump and as the filter gets dirtier the pumping gets heavier. The good thing is that you can filter the dirtiest water to drinking water and you can clean the filter easily. I am still using the same one after 5 years. Expect at least 10 minutes per day of filtering per person. It is a good upper body work out, something you sometimes miss on a bike tour :)
Another option is boiling water. Of course you can do it yourself if you carry a stove, but in the many Chinese guesthouses and restaurants all over South East Asia you will find the big Thermos flasks with very hot water. I always asked if I can fill my drinking bottles on my bike with it. You get used to drinking hot water. Or bring some teabags if you like.
Peter van Glabbeek

Salvu

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 05:16:37 AM »
It is all very important what you mention here. I'm always tempted to do as the locals do but I've had some bad luck in Tunisia. The thing is, I was there for only one week and one week is not enough for your system to get accustomed. If it's rainy season you can collect rain water pretty easily. I sometimes did so on bus shelters. The water that falls on the roof of the shelter usually drips down at the corners. I filled some bottles this way and it's always safe to drink rain water.

umlungu

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 10:30:14 AM »
Has anyone heard anything good/bad about the lifesaver water filter system.
What is the size of the filter pores of conventional filters? And do they filter viruses?
thanks!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 11:52:52 AM by Stephane »

tony

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 11:05:02 AM »
Yes, I Have a friend who uses it whenever he travels with his camping car. He's happy with it. It's a typical pump filter using ceramic to filter germs and virus and a carbon blocking chemicals. Not all filters kills viruses. Each manufacturer will tell you. But there are 2 reasons why I would not use this filter on a bicycle tour. The main reason it is too heavy and too bulky. Second, it doesn't seem that there are any ways to clean the ceramic. So even if they claim 1000 gallons or whatever, if you start to filter water not completely clear, it will get very difficult to pump way before the 1000 gallons and you will have to change the filter. For this kind of filter I would recommend to check some of the Katadyn filter, the mini ceramic is 3 times lighter than the lifesaver and much more compact (and I believe it's cheaper too). The General Ecology- First Need Deluxe is good but you can't really clean the filter on that model either (just by doing reversed pumping). If you're not planning on filtering very dirty water (which I would not recommend with a pump filter as it will clog the pore quiclky), I would suggest the Steripen or the Miox Purifier as mentioned by travleur.
I hope this helped, Tony
« Last Edit: June 04, 2010, 08:11:34 AM by Stephane »

travelinxs

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 03:24:46 PM »
Personally, I would not carry a water filter. My reasons being; Ive managed so far after 25 years of travel, they seem a bit expensive and Ive read a few journals where cyclists have bemoaned their filters after theyve broken down on the road. I do however carry chlorine tabs with neutralising tabs for dodgy tap water or mountain spring water, and iodine drops for emergency use should I feel compelled to drink from a puddle in the road! I think in SEAsia it isnt essential as so many alternatives are available. I would be happy drinking the tap water in major towns and cities there, though Im not suggesting that is a sensible option! You definitely have a choice at least and maybe its as much dictated by your budget as to whether you get one.

biciclown

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 11:17:00 AM »
Normally I carry a msr filter. The thing is how do you see your filter. I see my filter as my medical kit. I will like not to use it but if I need it is there to help me. Money should not be a problem if we are talking about health.
But is quite hard to see my filter inside my luggage and thing about the weight..., so I cover it and put in one of the panniers that I usually do not use to do not throw it away  ;D
Thailand    (56 countries)71,934 kms and 5 years No stop
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On Two Wheels

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 02:27:53 PM »
I've just bought an MSR filter off ebay.  I don't actually intend to use it that much, but it was very cheaply priced. Plus as biciclown mentions, it's not too much to ask if it's going to make the difference between staying healthy or having a dose of Gandis revenge.
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onrbikes

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 09:27:10 PM »
We've also been using the MSR for many years, but now are unable to get replacement parts.

When we bought it, over 10 years ago we bought an extra ceramic filter but now need the white material filter.
 Does anyone know where to parts from??

Fred


Stephane

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 07:02:30 AM »
Hi Fred,
Can't you find the part you need on the MSR water treatment & accessories page?
If not, your best bet is to contact them; they have excellent customer service.
Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 08:40:16 PM by Stephane »
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erckdotorg

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2010, 10:22:01 PM »
I really don't think you need a water filter.  In SE Asia, water is for sale literally everywhere, even in the middle of nowhere.

fenlabiz

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2010, 11:34:02 PM »
It is true that water is often available is SE Asia. However I had been in several places where it was not, and I had to filter collected rain water from local water tanks. Also, for a lot of long-distance travelers, cost is an issue; like travleur said, even if water is failry cheap, after month (or years) of traveling, day after day, it adds up. And another reason people use water filter is the ecological nightmare caused by plastic bottle, buying 2 to 5 1.5L water bottles every single day certainly is not the greenest thing to do..

onrbikes

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2010, 05:27:39 PM »
 I was needing some spare MSR water filter parts and some new water bags, and wasn't willing (I'm too cheap) to spend that kind of $ at cascade camping for the spares. Here in australia the extra $ involved in getting some of the stuff is a joke.

After searching countless sites I found these two, for platypus bags, and MSR spares and other camping goodies.


www.waterspecialist.com.au
www.gogogear.com.au

Fred

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Re: Do I really need a water filter?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 11:58:27 AM »
Another option is the Steripen. It's a portable UV light filter, and kills bacteria, protozoa, and viruses (many filters don't remove viruses). It also doesn't leave any weird taste in the water and is relatively fast (a litre a minute or so). However, it does rely on batteries (NiMh AA for the normal or Lithium for the one with the digital display) (I would recommend this over the Miox which also relies on batteries). It is ideal for filtering tap water (it works only with fairly clear water and does come with a pre-filter for clearing out sediment). It's kind of expensive but is tiny, stops the use of wasteful bottled water and will pay for itself in a couple months of solid use (assuming a price of 15 cents a bottle of water or so).