huts wrote:I like to encourage a water carrier because so many of the lake and stream side camps in the Sierra are beaten to death.
On a recent trip every other member of the group was pleased to have the use of my water carrier right in camp even though the stream was not far away.
I totally agree about over-impacted camping areas near water. Other advantages of not sleeping near water: fewer mosquitoes, better solitude. OTOH, once a popular area is established and beaten down to compacted dirt, you might actually get better LNT by camping there than by pioneering a less previously impacted area farther from water.
One possibility that some people advocate is to make a habit of eating dinner in the afternoon, then hiking some more before stopping for the night. One advantage is that your dinner odors will not lure nuisance animals to the same place where you're sleeping. But an additional advantage is that you can have dinner near a convenient water source, while getting the advantages of not sleeping near water. It eliminates the need to carry large amounts of water for cooking.
huts wrote:I filter my water (yes, I know, the filter is not "ultralite" but I CAN'T STAND the taste of treated water and I can't risk a parasite infection) so only filtered water goes in my bottles. So "rounding up" the water bottles is not an answer for me.
One thing I'm still not clear on is what advantage a special-purpose water carrier would have over a collection of water bottles thrown into a stuff sack. Does this have something to do with the logistics of using a filter? I've never used a filter, so I'm not familiar with the practical issues of how you really use one.
The risk of getting giardia from drinking water in the Sierra is an urban folktale. More info here: http://www.lightandmatter.com/article/hiking_water.html
(I still treat my water when it comes from a relatively untrustworthy source in the Sierra, such as a lake, simply because treating it is cheap and easy, and there are conceivable risks from a variety of other microorganisms besides giardia.) Hand-to-mouth contamination is the significant cause of backpacker's diarrhea, including backpacker's diarrhea resulting from giardia.
I hope my comments about pack weight didn't come off as smug or mean-spirited. It's just a matter of style, and everybody hikes their own hike. For anyone who feels that their pack weight is too high and wants to cut down, what I would recommend is to post a list of your weighed gear on backpackinglight.com in the gear section and ask for comments. Some of the suggestions you get may be ones that you don't want to use, but I can almost guarantee you that you'll get some that will make you say, "Wow, I wish I'd known about this before." Personally, I find it really liberating to have a 13-lb base weight. Going up hills feels like flying, and while I'm hiking I have my attention on the natural beauty around me rather than on the pain inflicted by a heavy pack. I remember how I used to put my pack back on after a lunch break and feel the pain from my sore hips when I cinched the belly band back up. I just thought that was the way backpacking had to be. With an ultralight pack, I no longer experience any of that.