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Thread: Desert Survival Pack hydrations system/supplies

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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    Default Desert Survival Pack hydrations system/supplies

    Attached is a video of what I currently carry in my survival/bugout/get home pack for getting and processing drinking water.

    I'd like to see some discussion on what others have a a "complete system" for dealing with hydration in an extended survival situation. Especially anyone who is in more arid desert country but any thoughts and discussion are welcome.

    I don't think I have my hydration system perfect yet but considering the scarcity of water, the weight of water, and the challenges of purification it is a tough problem to work out.

    Take a look at my video, give me some feedback (bad or good) and please post pics and or video of your system.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cWOsCRBNZg
    Last edited by backup1911; 11-30-2013 at 02:38 PM. Reason: update video link
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Well done video. You know your terrain and climate best. If your system works for you and you're comfortable with it then you should be fine. I guess things being too wet is not an issue you run across. You may want to look at (or maybe not) water filters that filter out both bacteria and viruses.


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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. I didn't even realize they had filters that took care of both. It would be nice to have something in my system that allowed me to filter water without the need for a fire. That Sawyer gravity filter in the link you posted looks great. I'm going to investigate that a little more!
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    Senior Member Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Nice video! Looks like you have a great handle on your environment. One thing I would suggest is that you might want to add some chlorine dioxide tablets. Very very light, very effective and good in cases where you can't boil (eg lack of wood being one). Apropos of nothing your camping trips must be different than mine if you avoid fire to prevent detection!

    I gather your luck with hydration bladders has been good? I don't have much experience with them, and I don't really trust them. However I have a Geigerrig that seems pretty bombproof; I plan to put it through its paces in the spring.

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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    Nice video! Looks like you have a great handle on your environment. One thing I would suggest is that you might want to add some chlorine dioxide tablets. Very very light, very effective and good in cases where you can't boil (eg lack of wood being one). Apropos of nothing your camping trips must be different than mine if you avoid fire to prevent detection!

    I gather your luck with hydration bladders has been good? I don't have much experience with them, and I don't really trust them. However I have a Geigerrig that seems pretty bombproof; I plan to put it through its paces in the spring.
    Thanks for the tip on on the chlorine dioxide tablets! You're absolutely right. There's no reason (at least that I can think of at the moment) that I couldn't throw a dozen of those in.

    As far as the bladder... No, I haven't always had good luck with them, and I am nervous about using one in my system ;-). Logic just seems to nag at me telling me that a bladder just won't have the same longevity as a rigid canteen. I have had several of those platypus water bags, and a camel back bladder fail on me. But I have been using a couple of these MSR dromedary bags for about 8 years now and I haven't had any issues yet. They seem to be really well designed. They are some kind of multilayer design with a really tough canvas type material on the outside. So I'm slowly beginning to trust them more and more.
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    That isn't a bad system. All your containers are the heavy models....but not too bad. I use a gatoraid/poweraid bottle, or 2, coupled with a platypus and a flexible nalgene canteen. Of course, that is for backpacking in the mountains with snow runoff and springs. If I am in the valleys of the high desert, usually I am in a vehicle, and carry two 5 gallon water jugs.

    If you ever get the sawyer .02 filter, make sure and pre-filter everything. Silt will clog that baby up fast. I know what you mean by water sources. I have seen some interesting ones here in the Utah high desert.
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    Senior Member Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Chemical treatments like cholorine dioxide are probably not the most economical/elegant solution for daily use but they're great for emergencies and when time is off the essence. Also good for when you're dog-tired and don't want to expend the energy and calories required to gather fuel for a cooking fire, especially in hot weather. I have a bunch of the Aquamira tablets but I also have a bunch of Israeli ones that I got off eBay. They seem to be just as good but they're a lot cheaper. IIRC they're made for civil defense and military. About a year ago I read about a guy that was lost for a few days in an boreal setting; he became dangerously dehydrate despite crossing many streams simply because he didn't have the time/energy/means to boil all his water. Of course, in a survival situation a smart person will drink the water anyways- better to get treated for a bug after rescue than to die of dehydration. But I mention it to point out that boiling all your water can be time consuming and exhausting, the last thing you need in a survival situation.

    I'm not a big fan of water bladders but I think my Geiggerrig might pan out. It seems to be a lot more robust than a Camelback, plus it has a novel closure that allows you to run it through the dishwasher. No grubby nasty bladder. The video by the company shows it being run over and thrown out of a truck with no failure. We shall see!

    Mostly I'm a water bottle guy, specifically stainless steel. Must have 15 or so bottles from 32-40 oz.

    Great video! I live on the plains of SD and most of my trips are to forests (either pine or hardwood). We have some desert areas and of many places on the plains where there's little water, so I find the subject informative.

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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    I just did a short trip this past weekend and was reminded of another issue with water. The temps are dropping down to -10. And with the cold temps come a different kind of problem. Keeping your water from freezing! Depending on how cold it is, sometimes I will move my water to the interior of my pack during the day when I am moving. This will keep usually keep them from freezing solid. Through the night is another issue.

    The other thing to remember is if they are too full and they freeze solid, they can damage the water bottle. I've had a stainless steel bottle bulge and force the cap off which ruined the threads in the process.

    The good news is that most of the time when the temperatures are that cold, there is some snow and ice available to replenish my water supply with so I can keep my containers partially filled to allow room for expansion if they freeze. But not always.

    Any tips and tricks for keeping your water supply from freezing in sub zero temps?
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    Senior Member Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Man, you're hardcore, backup1911! I'm not sure I'd want to take a trip when it's that cold. Tonite it's supposed to be -21 F within the next hour and you can bet I ain't leaving the house unless it's on fire!

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backup1911 View Post
    Any tips and tricks for keeping your water supply from freezing in sub zero temps?
    Not an issue for me anymore, but when I did backpack and camp in cold weather I would carry at least one of my canteens under my coat (this was before the hydration bladders became popular). If there was snow - when I stopped for the night I would turn one upside down and cover with snow to insulate it and keep the other in my sleeping bag.
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    The problem with chlorine dioxide is you have a 4 hour wait time. The use of Titratable Iodine reduces that wait to 35 minutes. It's just another option if you aren't allergic to iodine. Look at Potable Aqua tablets. If you don't like the taste you can add something like Tang to the water after it is treated. The taste doesn't bother me. Either way I always have water treatment pills with me in case I have a problem with the filter and have had to resort to them in the past. As Phaedrus said, great in an emergency.

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    Senior Member RandyRhoads's Avatar
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    I'd never heard of this gieggerig before today and I've seen it mentioned on two different sites, is it new?

    Speaking of needing a filter that filters bacteria and viruses...

    Is that really important? What are some water borne viruses you could catch from drinking?

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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    The problem with chlorine dioxide is you have a 4 hour wait time. The use of Titratable Iodine reduces that wait to 35 minutes. It's just another option if you aren't allergic to iodine. Look at Potable Aqua tablets. If you don't like the taste you can add something like Tang to the water after it is treated. The taste doesn't bother me. Either way I always have water treatment pills with me in case I have a problem with the filter and have had to resort to them in the past. As Phaedrus said, great in an emergency.
    I like a 35 minute wait much better than 4+ hours. I went to my local Sportsmans Warehouse to pick up some of those chlorine tabs. When I read the directions and saw the 4 hour wait time I decided not to get them. The main reason for carrying them is as a backup or emergency method for making water potable.

    For me the most likely emergency is that I am out of water, I have found some water to re supply and hydrate, but for some reason I can't build a fire to boil it. This being the case, the thought of waiting another 4 hours isn't real appealing.

    Are the Iodine tabs as effective at rendering water relatively safe? As compared to the chlorine ones.

    I don't really care about the taste. I'f I'm using those water treatment tabs it's because my body needs water. At that point the taste is kind of irrelevant.
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    Senior Member Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Jeebus though that Iodine tastes ghastly! I'll wait on the chlorine before I drink the other stuff. Of course you don't care about taste you can also use potassium permanganate, with the upshot being you can start a fire with it.

    I'm not sure how long the Geigerrig has been out. I have a Geigerrig Rig 1200, with a 100 oz bladder and 1200 cubic inch pack. Haven't used it on the trail yet but I will when things get nice again.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyRhoads View Post
    I'd never heard of this gieggerig before today and I've seen it mentioned on two different sites, is it new?

    Speaking of needing a filter that filters bacteria and viruses...

    Is that really important? What are some water borne viruses you could catch from drinking?
    RR - Here are two pretty good write ups on the subject.

    http://backcountrywater.com/water-co...ruses/viruses/

    http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/water/publi...%20Viruses.pdf
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    Senior Member RandyRhoads's Avatar
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    Thanks Crash. Although there are more than I thought it sounds to me like someone would have to defecate upstream from you to even have a chance of getting it. I know lots of thru hikers use the Sayer Squeeze and I didn't hear any of them having a problem. Although when I attempted the JMT Hantavirus was running wild... I don't know what the chances of caching that from water would be.

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    Nice vid

    It seems like you have similar obstacles to deal with like we have during the summer months here in Greece.
    Come September pretty much all the natural springs have dried up so you really have to either plan the route to go by a lake or scrounge up what you can where you can.

    I tend to carry around 6 litres for a 2 day trip unless i can guarantee a water source.

    Been using bladders for what must be getting on for 20 years now.
    Had some pretty large impacts on them while mountain biking and although a few have had drip leaks i've not had one dramatically fail yet.
    To balance it out i have had more bottles fail during that time, be that from impact or crossed threads, also had one roll off the side of a mountain one time.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems.
    Water bottles allow you to see/feel how much is left in the bottle so you can judge your consumption more accurately.
    Generally they're tougher
    On the downside they're generally bulky, weigh more and are more difficult to access than a straw based bladder system.

    Bladders are soft so conform to pockets and spaces in a pack better.
    They're lighter
    If a straw is used they're extremely easy to access.

    For me personally the last one is the clincher.
    I find i tend to take a few drops every 10 mins or so with the bladder/straw system, and have yet to have a hike, ride or run where i've felt the effects of dehydration.
    With the water bottles i tend to go longer between using it and then tend to take gulps

    Reliability wise i'm really not concerned about a bladder busting, i tend to hike, bike or run at least 5 days a week and use a bladder for nearly all those trips out, i've crashed the MTB landing on the bladder, i've sat on the rucksack by accident numerous times, the rucksack has been thrown in the car, in suitcases on planes and i've yet to have a dramatic failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    The problem with chlorine dioxide is you have a 4 hour wait time. The use of Titratable Iodine reduces that wait to 35 minutes. It's just another option if you aren't allergic to iodine. Look at Potable Aqua tablets. If you don't like the taste you can add something like Tang to the water after it is treated. The taste doesn't bother me. Either way I always have water treatment pills with me in case I have a problem with the filter and have had to resort to them in the past. As Phaedrus said, great in an emergency.
    Might be worth looking into this brand Rick
    http://www.lifesystems.co.uk/product...e-tablets.html

    10min to 30mins depending on how many tablets are used.

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    Junior Member backup1911's Avatar
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    Great info. Thanks for the links to the information on the typical water borne bacteria and viruses. And it's good hearing the experiences of others with respect to the bladders vs. bottles. I think I've kind of split the difference by having a little of both in my system. But I'm always adjusting and improving my system. This kind of information is really helpful. What I mean by that is the kind of information that actually comes from other peoples experience. As opposed to the theoretical kind :-)
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