Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsOut ThereOut ThereJungle Survival Training in Peru (Part 4)Jungle Survival Training in Peru (Part 4)
Previous
 
Next
New Post
4/12/2014 11:38 PM
 

 Potable water was of course our constant necessity.  The heat and humidity required us to stay well ahead of the dehydration deficit.  The water had to be filtered and treated, at the very least.  In my mind, I wanted to be just a bit safer, so I used an actual purifier.  All of our students had Katadyn Micropur tabs, which are the only EPA certified tablets to purify water...against cryptosporidia, giardia, bacteria, and viruses.  Some also had Camelbak UV "purifiers"...which I do not trust.  In fact, a couple of the folks who used them for their water later came down with cases of the dreaded "butt-rumblies".  Coincidence?  Hmmm.  

A couple of our guys also used the Katadyn filter pump system.  They found that it became very hard to pump after only a short while, even with following the directions and cleaning it.  These were brand new filter pumps!  For such an expensive system, I must say I find them unsatisfactory for user-friendliness and for travel to environs where virus is a concern...and since they are only filters and not purifiers, especially so.    Water-bourne viruses are becoming more prevalent worldwide.  The Katadyn Micropur tabs worked fine, but had the chlorine taste...not always palatable.

So...most folks in our group wanted to use my First Need XLE Elite Purifier.  This will purify 188 gallons before needing the cartridge replaced, as long as care is taken to clean it and back purge the debris every so often.  Water produced from this device was crystal clear and tasted just fine.  I was a bit concerned about the Rio Mazamari as a water source, as that three different water-bourne viruses exist in the area.  Also, the river runs right through the small town of Mazamari, as well as several other towns in Satipo province.  The sewage system and sanitary habits of the area are...let's say.....um.....crappy.

There were a few small tributary streams coming out of the mountain we were on within hiking distance, but thankfully the local jungle farmer allowed us to use the spring he had behind his family compound.  It, too, was coming from a mountain stream.  Not potable, but less worrisome than the river.  It was an easy walk to resupply water and my First Need system never let us down.  Well worth every single penny....I'll never carry another type of pump, weight and bulk be damned.  

We also made use of a couple rain catch systems.  One improvised from plastic and the other from funnels fixed to rainfly guy points, with a bladder attached.  Viable means for water collection, as long as the water can be kept clean.

We did end up using the river to show the students how a sleeping pad and orange bag could be used as a signal, in a scenario where the only open swath to the sky might be in the middle of a river, with jungle canopy on both sides.  A strobe or even a waterproofed PLB could also be lashed to the pad.  I rigged a hand line down the steep, muddy slope for students to get down and up from the river.

 

The Rio Mazamari.

Joe with the First Need XLE Elite Purifier.  Piece of mind, well and truly.

A liter of water can be filled in about 30 seconds, as long as the source is fairly free of sediment and debris.  It pumps water on both the up and the down stroke, and is easy to clean and purge.

Improvised rain catch.

Joe's rain funnel and catch system rigged to his hammock.  Pretty neat.

Sturdy static rope used for a necessary handline down the steep slope to the river.  I used a lightweight Grivel ice axe I had along to dig out under deep roots as primary and intermediate anchor points.  It also came in handy for steep earth climbing!

One of our students moving down to the river.

Improvised Klymit sleeping pad and orange dry bag signal in the middle of the river.  I tethered it off with spare static rope.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/13/2014 10:56 AM
 

alpendrms wrote

Some also had Camelbak UV "purifiers"...which I do not trust.  In fact, a couple of the folks who used them for their water later came down with cases of the dreaded "butt-rumblies".  Coincidence?  Hmmm.  

Interesting that the Camelbak shares the same technology as the Steripens, which have been proven in laboratory testing not to render water safe to drink either. Until proven otherwise, I wouldn't trust any UV based field purification method. Particularly not when there are methods that we know work.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
New Post
4/13/2014 12:30 PM
 

 Another UV-based method that's been used for decades, mostly in Arabic desert countries, is SODIS (Solar Disinfection).  It's kind of a Pastuerization process where the unclean water is placed in a clear bottle, with the bottom painted black or dark to attract sunlight and heat.  It must reach a sustained level of heat (~165 Degrees Fahrenheit) for a period of 6 hours.  This effectively kills microorganisms and contaminants.  The water is then safe to drink.  It doesn't remain that way for a long time, as that bacteria can re-form if it's left to sit.  The whole process seems counterintuitive, but it has worked for many people living in those environments.  I haven't used that method personally, and it is obviously not a viable method for other parts of the world.

After this last trip to the jungle, I will not be using any UV-based purification method any time soon.

My choices are in this priority:

1) First Need XLE Elite...faster than any other method, and I can have a drink of water straight away.  That's rather important if you are already running a quart or two low.

2) Boiling....if practical.  Using my Trangia alcohol stove or similar, I can get water to a rolling boil in about 10 minutes and rehydrate as soon as it cools.  The Trangia was a big hit with the Sinchis, BTW....Joe ended up gifting his to the head Sinchi, and he plans to include it in the Sinchi Instructor Course he teaches.

3) Katadyn Micropur tabs....if the First Need goes down, and boiling is not an option.  The downside here is that one must wait four hours for a drink if the water source is fairly dirty.  One hour can be a good working time if the source is fairly clean, cold, and fast moving.  These are, however, EPA certified as purification tablets, which hits the bar for my needs OCONUS, or anywhere the water source is suspected of harboring virus.

4) Household bleach....3-5 drops per quart, 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per gallon.  This creates the correct numeric parts per million solution for purified water.  The downside with bleach is that it can become rather hard on the human gut if used for prolonged periods.  Obviously, more bleach added to the vessel most definitely is not better. 

I do also have an MSR Hyperflow ultralight filter, whch is viable for quick trips in the USA where the backcountry water sources are decent.  In addition, I have a couple Frontier Pro Survival Straws.  Bart Combs includes these in the HPG/SOLKOA Contingency Go-Bag that we in the PR Unit developed with him, along with the Hill brothers.  I have a couple NDuR Survival Straws, as well.  Edit:  The Frontier Pro is actually only a filter and must be backed up with tablets such as Aqua Mira or Katadyn. The NDuR straw is classified as a purifier....safe for treating virus as well as other contaminants.  Where the NDuR is helpful is to be able to get a drink from a source straight away, which then allows one to be able to wait the four hours necessary for tabs like the Katadyn Micropurs to do their work in a canteen.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/13/2014 1:25 PM
 

 Ken,

 

Glad you made it back safe! Awesome write up on all accounts. I'm pretty jealous right now to tell the truth. 

 

 

 
New Post
4/13/2014 2:33 PM
 

Ken,

Do you have any experience with the Sawyer Point Zero Two series? 

I am interested in the First Need pump you used.  Aside from a spare filter, do you recommend any maintenance parts, supplies or specialized tools for the field? 

 
New Post
4/13/2014 4:07 PM
 

 Shrew....thanks much!  

Strop....no experience with the Sawyer, but I'll ask my colleagues.  I think one of them may have used it before.  No spare parts needed for the First Need.  About $119 & change at REI and the like.  I do have a spare cartridge for mine, and they are I think around $50.00.  The gravity feed method that can be accomplished with the bag it comes in has a plastic bag inside it that is meant for the untreated water to go in.  It can be replaced as needed with any standard ziplock or similar bag...a 1 gallon size would work fine.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/13/2014 8:38 PM
 

alpendrms wrote

 

3) Katadyn Micropur tabs....if the First Need goes down, and boiling is not an option.  The downside here is that one must wait four hours for a drink if the water source is fairly dirty.  One hour can be a good working time if the source is fairly clean, cold, and fast moving.  These are, however, EPA certified as purification tablets, which hits the bar for my needs OCONUS, or anywhere the water source is suspected of harboring virus.

 

The only reason for the 4hr wait is Protozoan cysts, IE Crytosporidium and Giardia.  The former gets a  lot of press but is, IMO, overblown, MILLIONS of 1st world folks are assymptomatic carriers.  Giardia however, will ruin your party.

Most UL hikers have had good luck with Aqua Mira.  They mix parts A&B together in an opaque bottle for the day as Dave C wrote about in another thread.  The problem with AM is it won't touch the Protists.  Enter the Frontier Pro filter.  It is a TWO micron (NOT 0.2 micron) AND ONLY FILTERS PROTISTS.  It is meant to be used in conjunction with Aqua-Mira or another chemical based system.  This eliminates the need for the prolonged wait as bleach, AM, and the Katadyn tabs work on bacteria and virused PDQ.

I jumped into Bavaria the week after Chernobyl blew on a Flintlock FTX.  I used a First Need filter for my ODA.  The only folks who got the trots were the 18B's who drank straight from the creek.  I always said I was going to find a geiger counter to see if that used filter would make that thing growl.

 
New Post
4/14/2014 6:06 AM
 

Take-a-knee wrote

 alpendrms wrote

 

 

3) Katadyn Micropur tabs....if the First Need goes down, and boiling is not an option.  The downside here is that one must wait four hours for a drink if the water source is fairly dirty.  One hour can be a good working time if the source is fairly clean, cold, and fast moving.  These are, however, EPA certified as purification tablets, which hits the bar for my needs OCONUS, or anywhere the water source is suspected of harboring virus.

 

 

The only reason for the 4hr wait is Protozoan cysts, IE Crytosporidium and Giardia.  The former gets a  lot of press but is, IMO, overblown, MILLIONS of 1st world folks are assymptomatic carriers.  Giardia however, will ruin your party.

Most UL hikers have had good luck with Aqua Mira.  They mix parts A&B together in an opaque bottle for the day as Dave C wrote about in another thread.  The problem with AM is it won't touch the Protists.  Enter the Frontier Pro filter.  It is a TWO micron (NOT 0.2 micron) AND ONLY FILTERS PROTISTS.  It is meant to be used in conjunction with Aqua-Mira or another chemical based system.  This eliminates the need for the prolonged wait as bleach, AM, and the Katadyn tabs work on bacteria and virused PDQ.

I jumped into Bavaria the week after Chernobyl blew on a Flintlock FTX.  I used a First Need filter for my ODA.  The only folks who got the trots were the 18B's who drank straight from the creek.  I always said I was going to find a geiger counter to see if that used filter would make that thing growl.

TAK...just double-checked that about the Frontier Pro.  We have one down here in our team box for this trip, but didn't use it.  You are absolutely right.....it is only a filter and must be used in conjunction with tabs to remove bacteria and protect against virus.

The NDuR straw (which I also have down here and carried as a back-up in a survival kit, but didn't need it) is classified as a purifier.  Here's the data on that device, which I pulled from their website:

When you’re travelling in areas where water quality is suspect, this unique water filtration device makes life easy. It gives you a convenient and low-cost alternative to boiling, purification drops and bottled water, and is suitable for travel throughout the world. Simply place the straw into any tap, stream, river or lake – even in third world countries – and enjoy safe, clean drinking water straight away.

The NDūR Survival Straw contains an advanced filter designed and tested by Seychelle Research Laboratories – one of the most sophisticated portable water purification devices in the world. Not only does it remove up to 99.99% of chemicals and other contaminants, it also protects you against viruses and bacteria to 99.9999% in water that other filters cannot remove. In addition it removes harmful heavy metals like mercury, lead, aluminum. This Survival Straw is made from BPA-free plastic, so it’s 100% safe.

With the NDūR Survival Straw, you’ll have instant access to safe drinking water anywhere in the world. Plus you’ll save money on bottled water, and reduce your plastic footprint by keeping hundreds of plastic bottles out of landfill.

Features:

  • Made from BPA-free plastic
  • Filter Life: up to 25 Gallons or more, depending upon the quality of the source water
  • When filter life is up, water cannot be drawn through the straw.
  • Ideal for those traveling abroad

    Removes up to 99.9999% of:
  • Virus
  • Bacteria
  • E-Coli

    Removes up to 99.99% of:
  • Chromium 6
  • Chlorine
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadium
  • Aluminum
  • Copper

    Removes up to 99.9% of:
  • Micro-organisms, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium

    Radiological Survival Straw Removes 100% of:
  • Gross Beta
  • Uranium
  • Plutonium
  • Radon
  • Radium
  • Cesium
  • Strontium
  • Radioactive Iodine

Good info, TAK....based on this, I will be contacting Bart at SOLKOA to see about getting the Frontier Pro removed from the Contingency Go-Bags and replacing them with a stand-alone straw system like the NDuR.  The Contingency Go-Bag (CGB) already comes with plenty of Katadyn tabs, but I want to ensure that it has a straw type purifier system that will work OCONUS in water sources where virus is a concern.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/15/2014 4:10 PM
 

 Just ran a colored dye test on my First Need system in my hotel room, using MRE drink powder as the dye.  It pumped clear water back out and the cartridge remains intact.....so still good to go.  

Not sure how many gallons total were pumped through the purifier while we were in the jungle, but I wanted to ensure that the device would be ready for the next time I use it.  Once I get home I'll run a bleach solution through it for storage until the next time I need it, as per the manufacturer's instructions.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/15/2014 4:15 PM
 

Strop wrote

Ken,

Do you have any experience with the Sawyer Point Zero Two series? 

I asked my one colleague that has the Sawyer system....he hasn't used it yet, so I'm not able to provide you any additional info on that system, yet.  He'll likely give it some use in the coming weeks/months, so I'll get back to you on it.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
4/26/2014 5:28 PM
 

Awesome trip report.  Thanks for sharing all of the work that you guys were doing.  The Sinchi's look awful serious in some of those shots!

 

I study water quality among other things, so the water purification discussion always peaks my interest.  Here's a little info from my perspective.  Hope it might be of use to somebody...

 

It looks like the Katadyn filters are 0.3 micron, so that would explain why they would get gummed up & be slow compared to the Frontier Pro.  We filter water samples from relatively clean streams in the midwest US with 0.7 micron filters that plug up pretty quickly as well.

Take-a-knee wrote

Enter the Frontier Pro filter.  It is a TWO micron (NOT 0.2 micron) AND ONLY FILTERS PROTISTS.  It is meant to be used in conjunction with Aqua-Mira or another chemical based system.  This eliminates the need for the prolonged wait as bleach, AM, and the Katadyn tabs work on bacteria and virused PDQ.

 

 For info on relative sizes of organisms, here's the best chart I can find at the moment.  1 um = 1 micron.  1 nm = 0.001 microns.  Eukaryotes would be your protists (eg Giardia) and prokaryotes would be your bacteria (eg E coli).  As a point of reference, the human eye can see particles down to about 500 micron (half a mm), and most suspended silt and clay particles are in the .1 to 50 micron range (which is why prefilters or settling are great if you have the option).

 

 

Based just on size ranges, you'd need a filter roughly 0.03 micron or smaller to physically filter out the smallest viruses.  

 

 

Here's another size ref I just found.

 

 
New Post
4/27/2014 11:18 AM
 

 I like the chart but a little confusing for me. I currently have the .1 Sawyer but looking to swap it out for the .02 Sawyer to cover virus too. 

 
New Post
4/27/2014 12:12 PM
 

There is no such thing as a portable hand-held filter that will remove viruses.   EPA rated purifiers most often use an iodine resin matrix post filter to kill (not filter) viruses.  There are laboratory grade filters that will but they are not something you can carry around.  Viruses are typically not much of a problem in the mountains.  Only if you are operating in an environment downstream from human habitation are they likely to cause problems.

 
New Post
4/27/2014 1:00 PM
 

 The environment you discussed (downstream from humans) is exactly the kind of area Ken and I have to deal with overseas. We are looking at portable purifiers. There aren't many good options as you mentioned. 

 
New Post
4/27/2014 2:45 PM
 

 Has anyone had a chance to look at the Grayl cup www.thegrayl.com/#rebirth-of-water ?

They offer an optional purifier filter that is rated to remove viruses http://www.thegrayl.com/buy-grayl/grayl-single-purifier

Interesting looking product for a personal water supply system. You would have to get creative if a small trickle was your only water source though.

 
New Post
4/27/2014 6:50 PM
 

Joe, I'd stick with the Frontier Pro filter, set up in a gravity system, IE clean and dirty bladders like a Platypus or MSR, along with the Katadyn tabs.  That covers all the bases.  For basecamp type camps, Chlor-floc might just be the ticket.  You need a clean and dirty 5-gal bucket for this to be practical.

 
New Post
4/27/2014 7:53 PM
 

 Both the Sawyer system Joe has on hand, the other Sawyer point zero two, and the First Need XLE system I carry can all be set up as gravity feed systems.  My first need used in pump mode or in gravity mode will handle virus, as will the Sayer that Joe plans to get.  The reason we are probably going to switch out the Frontier Pro survival straws in our Contingency Go Bag is that it will not take care of viruses.  The NDur survival straw will, which is something important for our OCONUS austere environment uses.  We wanted to have a system in the bag that would allow the user to be able to get a drink of water straight away from a source during an Isolating Event and not have to wait four hours for the Katadyn tabs to do their work.  If they are able to use a survival straw that will take care of virus as well as any other offending organisms, then they can rehydrate right away, which gives them plenty of time to add Katadyn tabs to their canteens and wait the necessary time period to render that water safe for consumption.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
New Post
5/3/2014 11:40 AM
 

Take-a-knee wrote

There is no such thing as a portable hand-held filter that will remove viruses.   EPA rated purifiers most often use an iodine resin matrix post filter to kill (not filter) viruses.  There are laboratory grade filters that will but they are not something you can carry around.  Viruses are typically not much of a problem in the mountains.  Only if you are operating in an environment downstream from human habitation are they likely to cause problems.

I've seen exactly one white paper on hiker-portable filter/resin design.  For this particular design the flow rate/dissolution of iodine was not controlled.  Treatment time estimation wasn't directly considered, and there are additional factors of iodine mass changes over long-term use.

How familiar are you with the Sawyer Point Zero Two products, design and claims?

 
New Post
5/10/2014 8:39 PM
 

How familiar are you with the Sawyer Point Zero Two products, design and claims?

 

Not at all until I looked it up.  I'm quite curious as to how long it will last.  I'm assuming it is the same "hollow-rod" technology.  If so, that seems mighty easy to clog.  Time will tell.

 
New Post
8/6/2014 8:23 PM
 
Great information and discussion!
Thanks to all for sharing.
 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsOut ThereOut ThereJungle Survival Training in Peru (Part 4)Jungle Survival Training in Peru (Part 4)