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Desalination of seawater

Can my water filter desalinate sea water? I am going to Barrow AK next summer and want to know if I can use my Katadyn Hiker water filter to desalinate the Arctic Ocean water while backpacking the coast?


Not even close. 


There is a lot of ice in the mountains one their glaciers plus lots of rivers. Glacier ice can be melted fairly rapidly.

Thanks Bill, hadn't thought of that!

Few mountains or glaciers near the coast. 

Gary, will you be packing a firearm and/or going alone?

No firearm. Needed for what Polar Bears? Maybe I can catch a ride or a tour. Hadn't  thought about the bears. 

You don't want the bears thinking about you either.

Polar bears make all other bears seem tame and friendly.  Even people that live in the Arctic fear them.  Many explorers talk about the fear they experience when they leave the range of the Barren Grounds grizzly,  and head into polar bear territory. 

Wonder if I can rent a gun in Barrow? I have not had a gun since I had a Flintlock 50 caliber in 1990.

@Gary: My understanding is that unless you shoulder at least a 300 winmag, and can fire off three well-aimed shots in two seconds as a bear closes from 50 yards, you might as well lay down and play dead. I wouldn't mess around with any rentable handgun you haven't trained with. So, you know, find a nice used rifle and start training now if you're sure solo Barrow exploration is in the cards.

You've been to Alaska before, so you know the cycles of the lean season, which I'm sure you'll take into account. In no way am I suggesting you couldn't safely explore the Arctic Circle without a firearm, without ever having an issue with a bear. Maybe shoot an email to Andrew Skurka, as he's done a lot of solo exploration up that way. He'll also likely be the best resource for figuring out the best way to maintain a supply of potable freshwater.

A 12gauge shotgun with deer slugs works...and with bird shot could get you meals in season with a license.

No matter what, you would need some practice as suggested.

The lean  season in the Arctic is all year, unless you are a polar bear and can find the seal population.  Unless you can find some Arcitc char.  Unless you happen to be there at the right time when the caribou come through. 

For people not familiar with firearms, carrying them can create problems.  Polar bears are the largest carnivores in the Western Hemisphere.  It takes some large calibers and practice to stop them.   I would consider a portable electric fence and some flash bangs.  It would be great to have a dog on sentry duty.  All natives have dogs around. 

I carried a .444 Marlin in Alaska for 2 years.  I made handloads for it with solid bullets and practiced rapid fire often.  Now I would take a Marlin .45-70.  The average person would have problems with the recoil. 

ppine, your mention of natives owning dogs reminds me of something a native told me;

'Let them [bear] fill up on the dogs and then we'll fill up on the bear'.

Good one OG.  

In the open ground of the far north my only worry would be polar bears.  Unlike grizzlies, which normally leave you alone if you are at a good distance, polar bears will hunt you down.  I would not want a 1000 lb carnivore trying to make a meal of me.  I would prefer a 45-70 (shooting the hot buffalo bore loads) or 12 ga with slugs.  My son-in-law grew up in AK and they always had a family member standing watch with a 45-70 while others were picking berries.

Something else that I looked up, the weather that far north. In May when I had thought of going to Barrow, it will still only be below freezing, and the warmest month is July and still around 50 degrees. Guess when the time comes I will look into booking a tour. I plan to see Southeastern Alaska by ferry, and not as just a tourist but to apply for a job on a ferry or other marine vessel. The perks of being an employee are good, being able to do what the tourists pay big money for and living onboard  the ship for 2-3 months. I found one vessel via that pays well and offers free room and board.

I still have at least 8 months to think about it.


Great idea. 

The Alaska Ferry system is wonderful.  Great people.  The anti-cruise. 

I have taken it twice from Bellingham to the terminal end at Haines. 

The North Slope is not that interesting. My uncle Alaska Bob worked in the oil fields there at the end of his career.  So many better places in Alaska to visit.  I really like SE and the south central part.  Never been out to the Alaska Peninsula.  The Interior is really interesting. 

I lived in Alaska from October 1977 to December 1979. I worked in Anchorage the winters of 77-78, 78-79 and half of 79-80. I spent my summers in 78-79 backpacking in Denali NP. 

I also lived in Denali Park working at the Denali River Cabins in May-July 2006, then during August I bicycle toured down to Homer Spit and back to Seward, then took the ferry to Valdez and then biked back to Anchorage and worked Sept 06 to Jan 07 and returned to the Lower 48. 

I tried to return to Alaska in Oct 1980  but was hitchhiking and was refused entry at Bellingham WA. I didn't have enough money the customs said to be on foot  thumbing to Vancouver. I planned to catch a train to Prince Rupert then the ferry up the Inside Passage.

So next May /June I plan to return to Bellingham and go where ever I need to to start work on a cruise ship in the Galley. I have already inquired at /

and was told to wait until January to apply for next summers season.

August 14, 2020
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