Pack size and water filtration

6:14 p.m. on August 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I have two questions. The first is regarding pack size. I recently bought an Osprey Exos 46 but before I took it out of the box I already knew it was not going to be big enough. So now I am looking to get the Aether 70 or 85. I want to keep my pack as light as possible so I am leaning towards the 70 but wasn't sure if the extra 15 liters of space would be worth taking on the extra weight which I believe is less than a pound.


The other question is about water filtration. I have an MSR water filter which I took out on the AT in Vermont last summer. Each time my friend and I tried to use it the main plastic part would fill up with water but nothing would go into our water bottles. I am wondering if dealing with these problems is even necessary. We were given some iodine and neutralizer tablets by friendly fellow hiker. These treated our water without any problems for the rest of the trip. Can I just use these and not even worry about bring the filter?

6:54 p.m. on August 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I'd get the 85 for the room, others might disagree but I say better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. also make sure the pack is a good and comfortable fit, a pack that doesn't fit well or is uncomfortable is a real bummer. sounds like the msr is defective, maybe the pump part is no good. send it to msr, you may have a warranty. get some aquamira (chlorine dioxide) to treat water chemically, no one uses iodine anymore. still for water treatment I use a katadyn hiker with prefilter as my primary, I like my water now as opposed to having to wait some four hours for the tablets to work, the tablets and boiling are a backup. I look to others to give you more feedback, these are just some preliminary suggestions. 

8:09 p.m. on August 29, 2012 (EDT)
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stp8027 said:

I have two questions. The first is regarding pack size. I recently bought an Osprey Exos 46 but before I took it out of the box I already knew it was not going to be big enough. So now I am looking to get the Aether 70 or 85. I want to keep my pack as light as possible so I am leaning towards the 70 but wasn't sure if the extra 15 liters of space would be worth taking on the extra weight which I believe is less than a pound.

My go to pack for my trips is an Argon 85(in my avatar photo.). I can compress it down to about 55 liters(guesstimate.)

Just out of curiosity, how long are the trips you plan on taking, what seasons(winter kit is typically larger than a summer kit,) so on and so forth?

The best feedback I can personally give you is to always get your gear first and then get a pack last(to fit your gear,) 

Put your gear that you would take on your trips in stuff sacks(if you do winter trips pack that,) then take it to the outfitter and see what size pack it fits in. This will get you dialed in the best in regards to your pack volume needs.


The other question is about water filtration. I have an MSR water filter which I took out on the AT in Vermont last summer. Each time my friend and I tried to use it the main plastic part would fill up with water but nothing would go into our water bottles. I am wondering if dealing with these problems is even necessary.

What filter? I have an MSR as well(Miniworks.) What filter it is may help in regards to figuring out what is going on with yours. 

We were given some iodine and neutralizer tablets by friendly fellow hiker. These treated our water without any problems for the rest of the trip. Can I just use these and not even worry about bring the filter?

You could, you could also use drops of bleach, Aquamira, or boil. Time will be a big factor when it comes to these methods.

You could always go UV with a Steri-pen, or a product like Camelbak's All Clear. How funky the water sources you are going to be using will be a big factor as to how well these will work, or whether they are a viable option at all. 

I personally always carry Aquamira with me as a backup for my filter. All kinds of fun stuff can happen when in the field(most of which will when you are not prepared for it.)

As stated above, regardless of what pack ya get the 1st and biggest concern should be optimum fit.

11:30 a.m. on August 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Pack size primarily depends on what you're going to use it for. 25-30 litres is fine for a daypack, I use a 55/65 for a weekend backpack, and some of the people here who do long backcountry trips go to 85 litres and up.


Whatever water treatment method you pick, I'd suggest carrying water treatment tablets or drops (Pristine, Micropur, Aquatabs, etc.) as a backup. For the minimal weight and cost, why not? Always good to have redundancy on anything that's crucial.

9:11 a.m. on August 31, 2012 (EDT)
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Most important make sure the pack fits you . I use a 65 custom made pack . Before that I would just try out packs at stores , and bring a mock load and walk around alittle . It won't simulate a trail, but you can see how the pack might feel. Just make sure your gear fits. I use a katadyn hiker pro it has lasted 4 years. Have seen them break if you go to fast. My buddies all have Msr pumps . They need cleaning sooner than mine. Know we all use coffe filters over the pick up end with small rubber bands. The filter will last long between cleanings. With out the coffe filter I have seen dirty water plug a filter on the first pump.

10:28 a.m. on August 31, 2012 (EDT)
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You might like a recent thread that touched on water treatment.  People have different views about treating water:

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/beginners/topics/127950.html

From what you are describing, your MSR pump is clearly not working the way it is supposed to.  I would either take it apart and  make sure the parts are all sound & the openings all unblocked, or I would return it.  If it's been well-used, perhaps the filter element needs to be flushed in clean water or replaced.  I have a fairly old MSR pump that is working fine, and i have replaced the filter element twice.  pre-filter screens on the inbound end can help avoid clogging, depending on how mucky or silty the source is.

People also have very different views about backpack size.  I err on the larger side, so long as the pack has good compression straps to shrink it down; others prefer the smallest and lightest option they can find, and there is a wide spectrum of alternative beliefs in between.  i tried an Aether 70 and thought the suspension started to feel uncomfortable with weight in excess of 40 pounds.  that's one person's opinion, of course, but the amount of weight you plan to carry should factor into your decision.  osprey's argon is a heavier backpack but handles weighty loads better than the aether - more robust suspension all the way around. 

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