Home > Gear, Skills, ultralight bicycle touring > Ultralight Water Filtering System

Ultralight Water Filtering System

Over many years of back-country travel and wilderness camping I’ve gone through three water-filtering systems.  An MSR SweetWater, a Katadyn Hiker and my current system, a clean handkerchief and chemical tablets.  Probably not as effective at preventing Giardia Infection as filtering, it is without a doubt the lightest alternative (next to boiling, which is impractical).

Finding clean drinking water is usually not a problem when bike touring, so a heavy filtering system may not be high on your packing list.  I carry Portable Aqua’s PA Plus, a two pill system which neutralizes the iodine aftertaste and color and weighs only a couple of ounces.  I was surprised to find it at Wal-Mart of all places.  Try finding replacement parts for your water filter at a small town department store.  I’ve used this system many times backpacking, but only a couple of times bike touring. 

Use the handkerchief to filter out the big chunks then add 2 tablets of iodine for every quart or liter of water.  Allow a small amount of leakage around the rim of your container to kill any creepy crawlies that may be waiting there for you to take your first sip.  Wait 30 minutes and add the neutralizer.  Wait a few more minutes for the neutralizer to do its thing and you’re done.

Thanks for reading, Jack

  1. arlen
    September 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

    check out msr new “micro filter” nice and lite and small…does the trick

  2. velohobo
    September 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I’ve checked it out (online) and it does look like a nice filter. If I were doing any serious third-worldish tour, I’d take it along. But I seldom feel the need to filter (now watch me get sick).

    Thanks for the comment, Jack

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  1. August 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

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