My water, that is… I add Kool-Aid to my water while I am hiking along the trail… I love me some Grape Kool-Aid (and before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with Tinny’s Cult).
This post is (again) about my water system. And to be honest, nothing has really changed, but I am just so happy with this system that I want to talk about it a little more. (Really, I cannot tell you how happy I am with this entire system, from the way I collect the water, to the way I treat the water, store the water, and drink the water. For me, this just works.
So, what is the system:
- 2L Platypus Platy Plus Bottle: 1.3 oz (38 gm)
- Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets: 0.2 oz (6 gm) per 10 tablets
- McNett Aquamira Frontier Pro UL H20 Filter: 1.6 oz (46 gm)
This is a total of 3.1 oz for my water purification system. Notice I said purification system, not filtration system. This is because the tablets will kill all the viruses and small bacteria in the collected water within 20 – 30 minutes. For the larger baddies (Crypto & Giardia) a wait time of 4 hours is recommended, however, this is where the Frontier Pro Filter comes into play! After dropping in a MP1 tab and then waiting up to 30 minutes, the water can then be filtered through the Frontier Pro filter which will eliminate those big baddies. After this is said and done, the water is purified, meaning no viruses and no bacteria! (Which is more than those “filters” will accomplish.) Also, I typically carry the tabs in a Ziploc baggie just to keep up with them which adds about an extra 0.2 oz.
But, this is just part of my water system. With the above listed items I can prepare untreated water to be ready to drink, but then I gotta drink it outta something… this is where a $1 Gatorade bottle comes into play. I have bought those expensive Nalgene bottles and numerous other marketed water containers, but I enjoy using a plain ole’ Gatorade bottle best. Why you ask?
- Price: At about $1 each, they are way cheaper than those other containers.
- Availability: Walk into almost any convenient/grocery store and there they are.
- Disposable: These last a while, but thanks to # 1 & 2 it’s ok if they don’t.
- Wide Mouth: Not quite Nalgene wide, but wider than soda bottle mouths.
- Light Weight: At ~ 1.3 oz/bottle, they are far lighter than many other containers.
- Clear: The see-through bottle allows me to keep up with how much I have/drank.
- Prefilled: That’s right, this baby comes filled to the top!
So, as you can see, I have a few reasons to like the Gatorade bottles. Even though I used to think it was silly when the “cooler” Nalgene type bottles were available (besides, we all know that a “real” hiker carried a Nalgene type bottle).
But let me be clear here, I am not saying that the Gatorade bottle is the “perfect” water bottle solution. (It can fail, or not be available.) And while I am at it, let me also be clear in saying that the above “purification” method is not the “perfect” solution either. (There is room for user error.) Even the way in which I carry my Gatorade bottle is not “perfect.” Let’s face it, if something truly were to be perfect, then we would ALL be using it, now wouldn’t we? (You know you would too, so just admit it.)
However, this stuff is as close to perfect as I can get for the type/style of hiking I do, for the places that I typically go as well as what just feels comfortable and what I am happy with. I am not trying to push this system onto you (constant reader), or anyone else. Instead I am simply sharing what I am VERY HAPPY with using. (So, thanks for reading so far, and if you would like, please carry on.)
ULA probably played a large part in converting me to both chemical treatment as well as using Gatorade bottles. In the beginning, I used a Camelbak 100 oz bladder with a Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter, and I gotta say, I hated fooling with the hoses and trying to balance in awkward places/positions. But once my ULA Circuit arrived, that changed! The Circuit had water bottle holders on the shoulder straps, and I was looking forward to giving them a try.
I loved them.
Fast-forward to me getting my ZPacks Blast 30 backpack. After receiving this pack, I decided to rob a set of the water bottle holders off of the Circuit and place them on the Blast pack. However, now I am only using half of the ULA water bottle holsters…
As seen in the picture above, the ULA water bottle holder is on top. It is simply a yellow elastic cord with a cord lock and a clamp on the end. To operate it, one simply slips the water bottle in the shock cord and then cinches the cord lock tight against the bottle. Simple, ain’t it?
The smaller cord below is a DIY piece that has replaced the top ULA water bottle holder. A while back I watched a YouTube video on a Water Bottle Carrier by tbhan55, and then a few weeks ago I noticed one of my buddies was using this same basic set-up. When I saw my buddy with his water bottle attached to his pack via a small carabiner, it hit me…
When I got home from our Scout meeting I pulled out the extra Spectra cord that came with my ZPacks Hexamid tent, some tiny cord locks and a mitten hook (both of which was also purchased from Joe at ZPacks). Constructing the new water bottle holder was quite simple. I cut the cord approximately 7″ long. I slid the mitten hook on the line and then doubled it over. I then pushed the cord lock over the 2 ends and up towards the mitten hook. (Now the mitten hook was secured on the cord.) Lastly, I simply tied the 2 ends of the cord together.
Operating the new water bottle holder is rather simple. As can be seen in the photo above, simply put the loop over the mouth of the bottle and then cinch it tight under the lip with the cord lock. The water bottle is now secured to the water bottle holder. Next, I attached the mitten hook directly to the daisy chain on my backpacks shoulder strap. Finally I insert the bottom of the bottle through the ULA water bottle holder and cinch the cord lock snug.
The top water bottle holder actually holds all of the weight whereas the bottom water bottle holder simply keeps the bottle stationary. In my use so far, this has worked quite beautifully. The mitten hook attaches easily enough to the daisy chain, although if I am wearing gloves, removing them makes is sooooo much easier. Over time the cord lock would work its way back a little, but never enough for the water bottle to fall through. On occasion I would simply check the position of the cord lock and re-tighten if needed.
I could have simply tied another knot in the cord to hold the loop securely around the mouth of the bottle, however, since I used the cord lock I can easily remove the bottle without cutting the cord. So, the cord lock makes it reusable.
So, how do I use this system? Well, again, I have spoken about this in other entries here on my blog, as well as other videos, but I decided to do one more:
But in writing…
I start off with a brand new, filled Gatorade bottle. Before leaving I will fill the Plat with 1L of water (out of the tap so it does not need to be treated). As I hike I drink from the 32 oz Gatorade bottle. Once it is empty I replace the water in the Gatorade bottle with the water from my Platy. At this point I begin to think about refilling the Platy bottle, however, this all depends on how fast I am drinking as well as how often I am coming across water. If I choose to refill the Platy when the Gatorade bottle is still full I will only get 1L and drop a tab in. If the Gatorade bottle is closer to empty I will get 2. Using this method I only carry the water I need, and no extra.
So, to be clear on this point, I am not carrying extra water simply because I have to wait for it to treat since I am using chemicals. To be honest, when I was carrying the Camelbak with the Hiker Pro I carried much more weight. I typically filled the bladder often because I could not easily see how much water I had left and would top off just in case. Sure, I could empty my pack out to get to the bladder, but that was a hassle that I was never happy doing. So, with the bladder and filter, I was usually carrying a lot of water, plus a 14 oz water filter. In comparison, now I usually carry 2L of water or less and only 3.3 oz in water “purification.” So, I will leave it to you to do the math…I don’t need too…I have carried the pack! 🙂
So, in the end, this is what I am very happy with. If you happen to meet me on the trail and ask me for clean water, this is how I will serve it up! And just as the title suggest, I will probably add in some grape Kool-Aid to give it a little flavor…Yum!
Thanks everyone for your time. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe encouraged you a little to find that “perfect” system that works for you (if you haven’t already).