Water, weight and Filters

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Davidwd
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Water, weight and Filters

Postby Davidwd » 7 Feb 2017, 12:15pm

Just planning my big tour of Holland and then the EV1 France, Water is very heavy 1 litre = 1Kg. I have seen some pump filters which are very light where you pump river water through a ceramic filter for about £25 and weigh 119 g. Has anyone had experience of these? Do you think its worthwhile? Running out of water does worry me although I know I can get fresh water from all cemeteries in France.

pwa
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby pwa » 7 Feb 2017, 12:26pm

In France (and I presume in Holland) there are few places where access to fresh water, out of a tap, is not easy. In the more remote areas of Provence you might be best having three bottles as you venture into areas where taps may be few and far between, but that is about as bad as it gets. Every village has water, if you look for it. Sometimes, on the last climb of the day, I have ditched excess water that I have been carrying, knowing that it will not be needed before the end of the ride. But I'd rather carry a kg or so of excess weight than risk cycling for an hour with no water. And as for filtering river water, why not just keep things simple and carry enough tap water? Filtering would cost you time, if that is a concern, and the mossies might come out to play with you as you faffed by the roadside with your filters.

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meic
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby meic » 7 Feb 2017, 12:34pm

Water is a concern. However you are in Western Europe and on a bicycle. I tend to find that as a cyclist I can always find somewhere to get adequate water in the end because we have quite a good range on our water carrying capacity.

I have reached the point where I have resorted to boiling some stream water. This is so infrequent that the expense and weight of the fuel taken from the supply which is topped up frequently is less than that of carrying a filter for the whole of every trip.

In France I have also been known to extravagantly splash out and buy 2L of orangeade (10% pulpe) for a Euro in the supermarkets that didnt have a toilet tap for me to use.
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simonhill
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby simonhill » 7 Feb 2017, 2:19pm

I used to use a very small water filter. It had 2 chambers, one filter and one silver iodine. The filter took out all the big nasties and the silver killed the small stuff that gets through. But...... that was in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, etc. I definitely think it is overkill for The Netherlands and France.

My concern would be the water source which is unlikely to be a crystal flowing stream, but something full of agriculture run off or industrial waste. You need a good filter for that. Check the spec carefully as different filters do much more, or less filtering.

You may also find you do a lot of pumping for little result. Flow rates on small filters are very slow.

As I said, I think it is overkill. You will never be far from water and as a cyclist you never normally have a problem asking anyone who has a tap for a bottle of water. Much as water is important I doubt you would get seriously dehydrated in either of those countries unless you are pretty dumb. Start out well hydrated, ie not just a cup of coffee and keep yourself topped up, then if you run out you're unlikely to be in any danger for a few kms. (If hot, slow down, cover up, etc..)

If you are determined, then there are other options, eg steri pens and bottles, but a couple of iodine tablets for absolute emergency would probably suffice.

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Gattonero
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby Gattonero » 7 Feb 2017, 2:21pm

the Sawyer is your friend.

http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/bushcraft/PA104.html
Image

65gr and is very small (like two "C" batteries), and works! Add a Chlorine tablet and you're good to go.

Still, planning the places where to find water, and carrying one or two folding containers to fill every time you can, is the best choice!
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

rualexander
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby rualexander » 7 Feb 2017, 3:23pm

Gattonero wrote: Add a Chlorine tablet and you're good to go.


Sawyer is an amazingly small and light filter compared to the Katadyn I used to carry in some places, the flow rate with the Sawyer is better too.
But why would you filter the water and add a chlorine tablet as well?!
If you're adding chlorine then there's not much point in filtering it first.

pwa
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby pwa » 7 Feb 2017, 3:33pm

rualexander wrote:
Gattonero wrote: Add a Chlorine tablet and you're good to go.


Sawyer is an amazingly small and light filter compared to the Katadyn I used to carry in some places, the flow rate with the Sawyer is better too.
But why would you filter the water and add a chlorine tablet as well?!
If you're adding chlorine then there's not much point in filtering it first.


And how do these things cope with the potential pollutants from former industrial activity, such as lead and cadmium? Lots of apparently remote and unspoilt places in France have old abandoned mine workings upstream.

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foxyrider
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby foxyrider » 7 Feb 2017, 3:41pm

When I first started touring in Europe I had an 'in bottle' filter system - the idea was that I could safely refill from streams/troughs etc. In reality that happened about twice as finding safe water across northern Europe is as others have said, quite easy. I don't take the filter any more.

I do set off with about 1.5l each day, it's not often I run out as I drink during cafe/lunch stops and a cheap bottle of iced tea is more refreshing than plain water.

Filters have their place but they are superfluous in northern Europe.
Convention? what's that then?
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rualexander
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby rualexander » 7 Feb 2017, 4:01pm

pwa wrote:
And how do these things cope with the potential pollutants from former industrial activity, such as lead and cadmium? Lots of apparently remote and unspoilt places in France have old abandoned mine workings upstream.


They do nothing to cope with such pollutants. Unless they are attached to particulate matter that the filter will remove.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby Tangled Metal » 7 Feb 2017, 8:01pm

In the UK I would be cheeky and fill up in any pub, cafe or other eating establishment. Even toilet blocks if they look clean and well maintained. I've not toured in rest of Europe but most of northern Europe I'd expect something similar to apply. The only difference is i reckon France and Germany are less densely populated. There is a saying about Paris and the French desert which I reckon could still apply in some areas.

In upland areas of UK and when backpacking i used filters a lot. Steripen was my first sterilization method but batteries, weight and fragility (mine stopped working after 1 or 2 trips lasting more than two days and a handful of overnighters. Then tapsafe was used as an inline filter. I've lost that so got a Sawyer filter last year in Scotland. Never used it but we didn't tour for long distances each day. More of a short hop between coffee shops and campsites. I reckon cycling in Scotland it could be useful at times. Rig it inline with a collapsible bladder.

TBH plan your route and take flexible water bottles or bladders. I like source as a brand. They do a flexible bottle that stands up when it contains water but can roll up and squash when empty or partially full plus very light to carry if empty. The weight of water is something you can't change. Whether you fill a bottle and filter to reduce it or not you'll still carry the water once you've drunk it. Sweat etc will reduce it but you need to drink.

BTW carry rehydration tablets. Dioralyte or sports based isotonic powders in tablet form e.g. Nuun. I've known someone who came a cropper because he didn't drink little and often on a very long walk then realizing it and drinking a lot of plain water quickly. He collapsed.

Fortunately the B&B he stayed at was where he collapsed was run by keen runners. They gave him isotonic drinks and he recovered when the minerals were replaced. He did feel like a bad hangover overnight and into the morning. Funnily enough i felt the same in the morning. Think it was the tour of the pumps in the bar followed by a tour of too many of the excellent single malt collection the pub had. :oops:

BTW the Sawyer has actuated charcoal in it IIRC that can remove some chemicals including the taste taint from chlorine. However I'd avoid using chlorine with it. You will cause the filter life to be reduced i believe. It doesn't need pre-treatment for a lot of northern Europe. If you need chlorine then the Sawyer won't be right for you. It will need a more effective filter like msr purewater to kill virus'.

BTW a walking magazine tested a lot of popular wildcamping spots in the lakes. They found some nasty bugs including a few nasty virus'. Hepatitis was one IIRC. They were easily avoided by taking water from streams feeding into tarns not outflows.

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Gattonero
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby Gattonero » 8 Feb 2017, 8:48am

rualexander wrote:
Gattonero wrote: Add a Chlorine tablet and you're good to go.


Sawyer is an amazingly small and light filter compared to the Katadyn I used to carry in some places, the flow rate with the Sawyer is better too.
But why would you filter the water and add a chlorine tablet as well?!
If you're adding chlorine then there's not much point in filtering it first.


I use the Sawyer first, to remove all the big particles like mud/leafs/pollen/etc., to my knowledge, it does not remove bacteria and stuff like that. That's why the Chlorine tablet goes after this first stage treatment.
Still, I have, and will never, not used any water downstream from farms, land where sheep or cattle is grazing, or things like that. That is just asking for trouble.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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Gattonero
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby Gattonero » 8 Feb 2017, 8:51am

Tangled Metal wrote:...
BTW the Sawyer has actuated charcoal in it IIRC that can remove some chemicals including the taste taint from chlorine. However I'd avoid using chlorine with it. You will cause the filter life to be reduced i believe. It doesn't need pre-treatment for a lot of northern Europe. If you need chlorine then the Sawyer won't be right for you. It will need a more effective filter like msr purewater to kill virus'.

BTW a walking magazine tested a lot of popular wildcamping spots in the lakes. They found some nasty bugs including a few nasty virus'. Hepatitis was one IIRC. They were easily avoided by taking water from streams feeding into tarns not outflows.


To be fair, the same crap can be found in tap water that is regularly drinked.
It is very important to be careful, but personally I don't think I am supposed to live in a sterile chamber. The human body does actually need a few little bugs and things like that to acquire a decent immunization system?
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

hufty
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby hufty » 8 Feb 2017, 8:53am

pwa wrote:And how do these things cope with the potential pollutants from former industrial activity, such as lead and cadmium? Lots of apparently remote and unspoilt places in France have old abandoned mine workings upstream.

A variant of the "there could be a dead sheep lying in the beck higher up" line that someone always trots out whenever you announce that you drink from streams in the Lake District.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

pwa
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby pwa » 8 Feb 2017, 11:25am

hufty wrote:
pwa wrote:And how do these things cope with the potential pollutants from former industrial activity, such as lead and cadmium? Lots of apparently remote and unspoilt places in France have old abandoned mine workings upstream.

A variant of the "there could be a dead sheep lying in the beck higher up" line that someone always trots out whenever you announce that you drink from streams in the Lake District.


There are streams and rivers in the apparently unspoilt centre of Wales that have water that is unfit to drink because of the presence of toxic minerals from abandoned mine workings. Cwm Yswyth is one of the better known examples. The remote areas of France have a lot of abandoned mines. Some used to produce uranium! So it is not a myth. A bottle of apparently clean water could contain something really nasty. The dead sheep thing is easier to deal with. Just find a point where the water emerges from the ground. Never a river. Unless you are desperate.

I am very much in agreement with Gattonero, in that I think a little bit of dirt is good for you, so long as that dirt is only stuff that might give you a bad tummy for a couple of days.

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andrew_s
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Re: Water, weight and Filters

Postby andrew_s » 8 Feb 2017, 1:28pm

I've got a Katadyn Mini that I got when I did a chunk out of the middle of the US Continental Divide trail. I've taken it to Scotland when wild camping a couple of times, in case of giardia mostly, but in England/Wales/France/Spain/Belgium I've always relied on village water fountains etc, or asking for a fill up at any café/pub/bar I stop at.