Water purification and 3 season tent recommendation

4:50 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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Okay folks, next question. Can I get some recommendations for a 3 season tent that balances weight, quality and cost? Same for water purification systems.

8:07 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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REI Hubba

8:20 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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Ken for your tent the Rei half dome 2 plus is one of the best values out there. Weight is around 5lb very roomy with good head height and 2 vestibules. It is a proven star at around $200. 

for filter sawyer squeeze works great they also have the mini sold in a 2 pack at around $20 to $25 

9:45 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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Certain water treatments are better than others depending on the water conditions and how many in your party, among other variables. Sawyer Mini is great if you are solo and in areas where the water is relatively free of silt and muck.

9:53 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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boil, baby, boil!  cheap and fool proof

11:55 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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As for water treatment, I suggest you read my 4-part article here on Trailspace. This will give your the basics and help in your selection among the alternatives, which are:

1. Boiling

2. UV treatment

3. Filters

4. Chemical treatment

11:59 a.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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Whats the question tent or water filtration? Sorry lost on this But I do highly recommend you read the article posted for your knowledge...

12:25 p.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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I'm looking for recommendations for two separate pieces of gear. One, a 3 season tent that is a good value considering weight, quality and cost. Two, a reliable filtration unit to filter water from creeks, streams, lakes etc. Something I can trust to clean the water well enough to keep me hydrated on the trail and not make me sick.

Thanks for the REI tent recommendations. I've seen these in my research, but I needed experienced confirmation. 

I'd like more feedback on the filtration units.

Thanks for the help folks. Getting feedback from experienced backpackers means a lot.

12:40 p.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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Would you like freestanding meaning it comes with poles..Or would you like one that uses trekking poles to Support it? Single wall construction or double wall construction? If it's three season you could go with single wall...Which is lighter than 3 pounds...Which could be used if one of you decide to Backpack by yourself...No reason to have a 5 pound tent even for 2 people at  when backpacking 3 seasons...

5:30 p.m. on February 11, 2016 (EST)
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hikermor said:

boil, baby, boil!  cheap and fool proof

 dang if you aint right. question is how do I get a cold drink that way?? LOL 

10:13 p.m. on February 12, 2016 (EST)
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John when I boil I'm usually taking my water from cold mountain streams and what I do after its boiled I fill my containers and suspend the opening above the stream but let the rest of the container sit in the cold stream to get my water nice and cold. Now this only will work if you got a nice cold stream or river but it works.

12:02 p.m. on February 13, 2016 (EST)
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Ken Hammond said:

I'd like more feedback on the filtration units.

Thanks for the help folks. Getting feedback from experienced backpackers means a lot.


The gravity feed filtration units are faster and lighter than the hand pump filters and just as good at removing "critters" as the hand pump units (Platypus and Sawyer are two brands that work well at filtering in the field - look at my review of one of the Platypus). Over the years, I have acquired way too many filters. I now use one of 2 gravity feeds for trips where I need a lot of water (i.e., multi-day treks, vs day hikes). For day hikes where I probably will need only one refill, I use the small Sawyer or just fill a large Camelbak bladder before leaving home.

Remember, though, you need to know the source of your water. Filters, chemicals (chlorine dioxide and iodine), UV, and boiling will NOT remove heavy metals (like the lead in that town in Michigan that is much in the news right now) or industrial and agricultural runoff. Here on the SF Peninsula, we have a beautiful backpacking area that had mercury mining back in the gold rush era, Quicksilver Open Space Reserve. There is still enough mercury in the water that you cannot eat the fish or drink the water. Yes, an activated carbon filter does remove some amount of such contaminants - but not all. In high mountain areas (Sierra, Cascades, Rockies, Adirondacks), you are generally ok. But there are parts of all those that have had mining and agriculture, and hence the heavy metals and chemicals in the water in some of those areas. As the saying goes: "KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!" The past history is not always obvious.

10:11 p.m. on February 14, 2016 (EST)
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The Sawyer Squeeze is inexpensive and will last you a life time (1 million gallons). It has its cons, but I think it's the best filter on the market.

I don't like the Sawyer Mini because it is so slow in filtering.

Do NOT mess with SteriPens. When that piece of crap fails on you on the trail, you're out of luck.

11:46 a.m. on February 15, 2016 (EST)
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Despite Goose's comment, I have never had a Steripen fail, except running out of battery once (mea culpa - I neglected to charge it). I have, however seen many "operator errors", especially with the older versions that require making sure the contacts are IN the water (lifting the pen will shut it down).

There are UV devices that are pretty close to foolproof and have very long battery life. The Camelbak All-clear has worked extremely well for me for the 3 years I have had it. The battery duration is 80 treatments, with the 3/4 liter capacity of the mid-size Camelbak water bottle line.

UV does have the limitation that you can't use it if there is ice in the water, similar to the limitation on chemical treatments that the reaction time is slowed tremendously when the water is cold. Turbid water also has a negative effect on all methods of treatment, though running through a coffee filter helps a lot (and when a coffee filter blocks up, you just replace it, unlike clogged pump filters which may or may not clear by back-flushing).

1:33 p.m. on February 17, 2016 (EST)
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I prefere to use a hammack. But I still love my Mt. Hardware light wedge 2. The bilt in gear loft has allways be a plus. As for water purification, I use a Katadyn vario. It Iis prince and heavy but pumps fast. The Sawyer filters I have been told work good. Some of my scouts use the Sawyer.  If the sorce is full of sediments or shallow a pump seemes to work better. 


5:11 p.m. on February 17, 2016 (EST)
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A few tents you should look into if their an option they weigh around 3 Lbs..

Big Agnus Copper spur UL 2

REI Quarter dome

Msr Hubba Hubba NX 2

12:24 p.m. on March 1, 2016 (EST)
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for a 3-season, lightweight tent option, I recommend the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL-2.   No condensation, and versatile.  This is large enough to accommodate my wife and I, yet light enough that I have solo's with it on numerous occasions. 

I used it on the AT last weekend in cold conditions (3"+ snow and 22 degrees F with a 10 knot wind) and it was plenty toasty.

For water filtration I use a Sawyer Mini when its just me or my plus-one. For a group, I use the Katdyn Hiker Pro.  I also take purification tablets in my kit as a backup.

One recommendation about the Sawyer Mini ..... it comes standard with one 1-liter "dirty water bag."  I bought additional bags at REI that were 2-liters sized ... and that has greatly improved the utility of the device on the trail.

6:32 p.m. on March 2, 2016 (EST)
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Guess I'm not the only one from nc

10:11 p.m. on March 2, 2016 (EST)
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I'm a big fan of the MSR Hubba Hubba as well. Easy set up. Free standing. Friend of mine has one and I think it's great. It is a 2 person and it does sleep 2 average size people just fine. We have used it a lot and usually without staking it down or using guy lines. Great tent. 

8:01 a.m. on March 3, 2016 (EST)
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Agree on the MSR Hubba...and also the Big Agnes recommendations. I have used the MSR and hiked with several folks who use the Fly Creek and love it.

Second the full size Sawyer as well. Choose the source carefully to avoid virus issues but the speed of that filter is worth the weight over the mini. I was a boil only guy for years, but use a wood burning stove for that or you have to carry a lot of extra fuel. Plus the Sawyer allows you to carry less water on your back a,d you can quickly full up a bottle along the trail (assuming there is a source), and avoid the long wait for boiling and coping water at the end of a long day.

4:07 p.m. on April 4, 2016 (EDT)
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I just got the new the Platypus Gravity filter and it works great.  As far as a tent, I use a hammock and tarp.  I don't wake up as sore.

4:59 p.m. on April 4, 2016 (EDT)
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If weight isn't too much of an issue (hiking as a pair and sharing a tent) the R.E.I Half-Dome 2 is a great tent (I only use it for canoeing in the summers...but it has been through some crazy storms and sleeps two easily). That said...I Personally feel like anything over 3 pounds is too much for solo backpacking, and truth be known 3 pounds is terrible with all the lighter options available...but they will cost you twice what I bought my Half-Dome 2 for.

As far as water filtration...I like gravity systems for when my water demand is high and temps are warm (I use the Sawyer .02 and Platypus bags). For solo-backpacking I use the Sawyer mini in warmer weather, and either Aquamira or a Steripen in the winter.

9:12 a.m. on April 6, 2016 (EDT)
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Hey Ken. So I highly recommend that you take a look at the review I did on the Kelty Salida 1 (or 2, no difference except weight) here. 


It is a bit cheaper than some of the recommended tents, very well built, more than a pound lighter than some other recommendations as well. 

As far as water purifcation... A sawyer squeeze is probably your cheapest way out besides boiling. A bit easier to get a drink on the fly. Water purification tablets are cheap and easy to use also. More fool proof than a Sawyer as they do not freeze or malfunction. There are a a pile of tents to choose from. Consider when you are researching these few things: Seam sealed from the factory so you dont have to do it. A gear vestibule. Adequate venting. Side entry or end entry is a huge deal to me (i prefer side). Good luck 

9:46 p.m. on April 6, 2016 (EDT)
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Uriah said

Water purification tablets are cheap and easy to use also. More fool proof than a Sawyer as they do not freeze or malfunction.

He is not alone in forgetting 2 extremely important points about chemical water treatment:

1. all chemical treatments are just that - chemical. As everyone should have learned in high school chemistry class, the rate of reaction is temperature dependent. The recommended time from the manufacturers of Chlorine dioxide, for example, recommend allowing 4 hours for the chemical action on protozoa and bacteria to fully act, if the water is at "room temperature" - that is 20°C/68°F. If the water is colder than that, the time required to kill or disable the critters increases. Yes, a lot of people will claim they get away with 20-30 minutes under all conditions. But there is a reason the manufacturers recommend the 4 hours.

2. if the water is frozen or has ice in it, or is turbid, the effectiveness of chemical treatments can go to zero.

Also, know your water source - certain algaes are just plain dangerous (witness the multimonth delay of the crab season this year on the West Coast - yeah, yeah, I know, crabs live in salt water - however, certain plant life, as well as industrial and agricultural runoff does occur in some streams and rivers in what apper to be deep wilderness locations - same caution applies to boiling or filtering water - KNOW YOUR SOURCE). 

To repeat a bit of science - study after study shows that the major cause of illness among backpackers is due to the failure of groups (or even one person in the group who is the cook) to diligently wash their hands after performing their digestive system duties.

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