I began with a Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter, but after fumbling with all the hoses and then the realization at how much it really weighed, I decided to try a different route. So I picked up some Aqua Mira Drops, a Gatorade bottle and some “soft bottles” and set out. Turns out, I really liked this system. For me, it was easier to use and much lighter weight!
But then, my attention was turned towards some light-weight filters. One of these filters was the Aqua Mira Frontier Pro. This is a lightweight filter, however, this filter is not to be used as a “stand alone” filter. The Frontier Pro will filter down to 3 microns, which is said to remove “99.9% of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and other contaminants.” With this in mind, this filter is a great addition to chemical water treatment set-ups.
Ideally, the chemicals will kill most of the small stuff within the first 15 minutes of use (of course this depends on both the temperature and the turbidity of the water). At this point, the chemically treated water can then be filtered through the Frontier Pro, which will then remove the larger organisms such as Giardia and Crypto. As an added bonus, the Frontier Pro filter will also filter out any of the chemical taste that the chemicals may have added. So, ideally, at this point, the water will not only be safe to drink, but also should taste good! And again, all of this is offered in a very light-weight package…
So, I gave in (naturally). I picked up one of the Frontier Pro filters for less than $20 (on Amazon.com). I also decided that since I was indeed adding a little extra weight back in, I would also pick up some of the MicroPur tablets. Twenty of these tablets weigh in at 0.5 oz in the packaging. When I compared these to the 3+ oz Aqua Mira drops, the tablets easily brought the overall weight back down.
Here is a quick video I did while on the trail in which I briefly run through the items I used.
So, as seen in the video, the other items that I used with this water system included my 2L Platypus soft bottle and of course my 32 oz Gatorade bottle. Also, since the opening on the Platy is small and would make it difficult to fill with water, I carried along a 1 qt Ziploc bag in which I scooped water up and then poured it into the Platy. Once I poured the water into the Platy, I simply dropped the tablets into the Platy and let sit for 15 minutes. Next I simply screwed the Frontier Pro directly to the top of the Platy and then turned the Platy upside down and let the water filter through the filter and into my Gatorade bottle. Easy-peasey.
So, what are my thoughts…
I like the fact that this set-up puts me more at ease about actually removing or killing everything in my water. I also like the overall weight of this system.
I don’t mind waiting the 15 minutes for the chemicals to work in the water. On my past trip I typically filled the bladder with 2 liters of water, treated it and then poured 1 liter in my Gatorade bottle. This way I would have a liter ready for when I needed it. And I needed at least 2 liters with me on this past trip.
I was also fine with the time it took the water to filter through the Frontier Pro and into the Gatorade bottle. It was not the fastest by no means, but overall, I found the filter to be easy to use and efficient enough. I like that I can simply screw the filter onto the top of my Platy bottle, however, by doing this I cannot use the prefilters that came with the Frontier Pro. I imagine by not using these prefilters, the actual filter’s life span may be shortened. I will have to see how I like this fact over time considering that this filter has a limited life span. Once these clog up, or after 50 gallons (200 liters) are ran through the filter, it is trash. However, on a good note, these are rather inexpensive…
As far as the tablets, I found that the tablets will leave a strong chemical taste to the water, If I filter the water after using the chemicals, there is not a chemical taste, however, when I let the chemicals work overnight and did not filter the water the next morning, the chemical taste was quite strong. Good thing I was gulping it… In my experience, I have not found the Aqua Mira drops to have a chemical taste, even when not filtering. Due to this, I do not think that I will continue to use the tablets unless I plan on using a filter along with it.
I actually found that using a Ziploc to scoop water and then pour it into the Platy was easier than I had imagined. Granted it did take a few times to get it down, but in the end, it worked out great. I like this better than using my Gatorade bottle to scoop the untreated water, and then later adding treated water back in. As well, I liked this method better than fumbling around with all the hoses from when I used my Hiker Pro. I will continue to use this system for when I bring along the small mouth Platy (which has grown on me a lot so I am sure it will come along for quite a while…)
Overall, I think that it was a success. I may try repackaging the drops though and still carrying those over the tablets, but I will see. I of course plan to finish using the remaining tablets, so who knows, I may change my mind with them too. I also need to figure out a way to use a prefilter with the Frontier Pro and the 2L Platy. But anyway, I liked it pretty well. It is worth bringing along again and trying out.
So, until next time, thanks for reading!