Water seems to be one of the things that people most under estimate when they plan a day out. Even a small amount of dehydration can affect your ability – yet frequently I find I’ve clients who bring too little – presumably to save weight , we all like to save carrying weight if we can I’m just the same when I’m out playing – but it’s vital to keep hydrated. So how to manage that?
For the last few years though – in fact ever since getting a dose of Giardia working in Morocco, I’ve become a lot more careful about what I drink. I live, work and play mostly within in the English Lake District or in the Central Alps – both areas where water, people and animal life are abundant. Twenty years ago I’d drink straight from the streams in the Lakes – now I won’t due to increases in activity and the increase in treatment resistant strains of various horrid illnesses.
So I’ve looked for ways to balance those two things – a desire to save weight & a need to have safe drinking water.
There are plenty of water filters, tablets and micro stoves out there – so I thought I’d tell you about my two personal go to items. Neither are designed for mass or expedition water treatment – and both have their own set of Pro’s & Cons – I use each slightly differently.
If it’s just me and its summer then my usual bottle of choice is a Water-to-Go bottle.
This really is a simple system – a 0.75ltr bottle that the manufacturers claim filters out 99.99% of all known problems. I was an early adopter and three years later its still going strong – though I do note there are now a few more funky colour options.
So how does it work?
Simply remove the screw cap and fill…in doing so you’ll see that the cap has the filter attached to it.
The lid has a fold down drinking outlet – and the action of your sucking pulls the water through the filter – simples.
Obviously you need to make sure that you keep the drinking lid clear of your source water but that’s not difficult – and then you’re good to go.
If I know I’m on a day where I’ll pass streams, ghylls, tarns or lakes then this is a great option – If I’m moving fast and free then I can set off with the bottle empty – it weighs just 138g – and take a drink as I find it.
However there are some drawbacks; the lid leaks a fair bit unless its upright (I’ve found this out more often than not when I’ve put my rucksack down for a break and come back to it wet) and it’s really for personal use- I don’t really want to be drinking from the same container as people I may not know.
So what do I do if I’m with a group?
Well recently I was given a Grayl by the guys at 2Pure and I’ve gotta say there’s a lot to like.
Initially it looks like a standard drinks bottle – though it feels a bit heavier at 309g. American in design it holds 16 fluid-ounces, which is a little less than half a litre.
But its really quite ingenious – and works quite a lot like a coffee press. It comes in a variety of colours – but I’ve referenced mine for ease.
It has a grey screw on top that has a useful attachment point that later will double as a handle, no leaks so far!
Pulling upwards on the grey handle reveals that the Grayl is two separate tubes – the inner is clear and holds the orange filter (it’s worth noting two filter types are offered – we want the orange one which boasts the same 99.99% success as the Water-to-Go).
Now collect water (yep I used the lake) in the green outer to the marked line and then, having loosened the lid (to allow air to escape as you compress the filter), reinsert the inner and firmly push all the way down. The Grayl comes with instructions which I initially laughed at – but its actually quite hard work & their top tips were worth knowing, but the whole process from getting it out of my bag was still under a minute.
So now I have just under half a litre of fresh and safe water that I can either drink or pour into another container for, say, a group member. I use it for me in conjunction with a Salomon fold up 0.5ltr bladder.
If it’s just me and I’m using a walking sack with outside pockets, or I know I’ll pass lots of water then I take the Water-to-Go.
If it’s a client day – or water might be limited and I’ve got a climbing sack – then it’s the Grayl.
And sometimes…it’s both.
Water to Go – Price (can be bought from £19.99), Ease of Use, Cost of consumables (filters from £7.99)
Grayl – Ease of use, can be shared, doesn’t leak.
Water-to-go – Can’t be safely shared, can leak
Grayl – Cost (main unit can be bought from £45.00), cost of filters (£24.99)
And I’ve not been ill or dehydrated in a long while now….