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Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

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Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby Hetchy » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:19 pm

I am not one to filter water.. anywhere. But on occasion I have felt the need over the years.
But the upcoming thru-hike as well as my memory of living in the high desert of Socal warrants a filter for at least that section.
Not being particularly fond of those pump contraptions, I have settled on my trusty Jardine special. A single open filter element(Mine was a Timberline.. looks like an automotive fuel filter) set in a ziplock freezer bag full of stink water.. the poly-tubing routed up and out of the bag then down 2 feet or so.
The result is a siphon of "pure" water to fill the gatorade bottles upon demand.. sans effort.
My addition to this rudimentary plan.. is further indolence.
Instead of poking a hole in the receptacle (which then becomes a leak point) I simply route the hose up and out over the top of the ziplock then down to my waiting vessel being sure to allow a small "j" bend to elimites the odd drip from running, unfiltered, on the outer surface of the tubing, and into my "pure"cache.
I have found It a simple and cheap matter to purchase these "open" style filter elements from the nearby army surplus retail store(to add to my resupplies) and that standard aquarium tubing fits over the outlet of said filter with little effort.
The real boon to my latest re-design, and the reason for this post, is that I use Zip lock FREEZER bags for the purpose of holding the water. Just sinking the filter element with the tubing attatched, into the full bag, and with one draw the siphon begins to draw pure water with no effort, little expense, and in 18 years, one replacement of the filter element (paranoia being what it is I have purchased several replacement elements, though my 18 year old element still functions flawlessly!).
Of course, I cannot say how effective this arrangement truly is at eliminating nasties such as giardia, except to say that, as of yet, I have not taken ill (far as I know) from Gardy, or any other water bourne bretheren.
The whole setup weighs 1 lb when wet and 11 ounces(including tubing and ziplock) after being dried by hanging from the sock loops of my pack for a while.
Not saying this is THE holy grail or anything.
But it IS a simple and cheap ($14 bucks an element) and durable (many years per element) solution to filtering suspicious water that requires(no moving parts).. NO effort other than to hang a freezer bag of water by a string from a tree branch or set it upon a rock top and point the tubing into the awaiting bottle.
Water wants to fall.. let it fall in your favor. Hetchy :)
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby copeg » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:36 am

I used a similar set-up last summer to filter water and it did the trick. I made one from some left over sil-nylon. I remember making it and wondering how well it would hold up, especially after trimming a hole in the bottom. Worked like a charm, but I did have a few zip-locks handy just in case. I wasn't fond of the thought of using a ziplock because I thought it'd be a pain to position while I was filtering and its depth didn't seem to accommodate my filter cartridge very well, of course your mileage may vary - but it is an attractive set-up to use zip-locks, esp if it springs a hole, you can just easily replace the bag. After a few years of using chemical treatment, it was very nice to have some non-blah tasting filtered water on a trip, and doing so with a nice semi-lightweight filter.
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby dave54 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:32 pm

That sounds similar to a method taught to 3rd world villagers by various aid and church workers. Cheap, simple, and parts readily available.
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby hikerduane » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:12 pm

My First Need filter weights a pound, but was $50 something over twenty years ago. There are lighter setups out there for us getting to be ultralighters then what you mention. I think Anti Gravity Gear has a filter you can rig up, but you are going in the right direction.
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby Hetchy » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:52 pm

Thanks All. :) :) :)
Hey Hiker duane, It is good you mentioned AntiGravity Gear. I had never heard of them before. I mean I have read the name here and there online but did not realized people were talking about an actual website! And a funky one at that! I like their Style! :)
Anyways, I went to their site and checked out that filter setup.
To my surprise I already posses every element of it: My Platypus water bag couples to a Aqua Mira frontier pro, pop the bite valve off and attatch tubing (a 1 inch long but large diameter piece of aquarium tubing fits over the filter output and the smaller siphon tube fits inside that) and Voila! I have a super light filter system.
Of course Aqua Mira rates the frontier pro at 50 gallon life span. But since I don't intend to filter every source, this could do the trick for the So-Cal section at least. The frontier Pro weighs (on kitchen scale) about 5 ounces, the tubing is 4 ounces, and the Platypus(2 liter) is 4 ounces. That makes the whole setup 13 ounces(jardine system is 11 ounces dry and 16 ounces wet (stays wet for several hours even in bright sunshine/wind)).. a minor savings in weight but a MAJOR savings in bulk!
The main objection I had to the Jardine setup was I found it very difficult to stow the open element and water bag compactly.. thus I switched to a Freezer ziplock. The Jardine filter also soaks up a lot more water weight when wet (5 ounces!) than the Fontier Pro(1 ounce heavier since I bought it but unchanged since 2 gallons through already). I am currently eyeballing the weights of my tubing and the use of my Platypus bladder(pretty hard to beat the effectiveness Platypus though).. Hmm.. maybe some thinner aquarium tubing.. I am thinking I can get the Antigravity setup down to 11 ounces possibly.
The advantage of the Jardine is an unknown, but certainly greater lifespan(Gallons).
But I am also willing to bet the Frontier Pro will last a good deal longer than it's rated 50 gallons and particularly if I pay extra attention to the cotton prefilter replacements.
Hey if the little thing craps out I can always boil water if need be till I get to my next resupply.
I am thinking now I am going to leave Campo with the AntiGravity setup but keep the Jardine rig in my bounce box.
That way there is no need to buy anything else at the present time and I can filter all the water I want... Uhg.. I still can't believe I am actually going to filter my water. But cowpatty H2O probably will change my mind soon enough! Thanks Again, Hetchy
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby hikerduane » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:41 pm

Check out Jason Klass's blog. He has a rigged up setup over on Thelightweightbackpacker, under Make Your Own Gear. If you haven't heard of him, quite a guy, tinkers quite a bit with gear and homemade stuff. Enjoy yourself, don't go crazy with all the stuff he does.
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby Hetchy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:04 pm

I checked out that Jason Klass Blog.. Wow a 9 minute video from You Tube.. on dial up! That guy must be related to me 'cause he is ALMOST as hyper as I am! (No offense Jason! People accuse me of being on drugs too! But it's natural!)
I really liked the big black XXX he put on the "Dirty water" Platypus bag.. scary, but I was just thinking to do that to my system before I saw the video! (Hey ,is Jason Cornish and Swedish? We might be bro's!)
I have to admit I did not consider filling a second platypus with the filtered water.. After I read Yogi's PCT guide, I came to the conclusion I would use 1 liter soda/water bottles for my filtered water and just the 2 liter platy for the "dirty water". Mainly cause (I remember from living there as well) the So-Cal desert had some pretty atrocious weeds and thorny plants.. I figure I can keep the filter bag safe enough(repair it with duct tape) but the actual drink bottles would need to be tough and/or disposable (in town of course!).
Odd that he states his total weight as sub-five ounces, cause no matter how I weigh my Aqua Mira Fronteir Pro I still get five ounces for the filter, alone(wet). Thats not counting the siphon tubing, "dirty" platy, or receptacle bottle. My scale is a ACE hardware analog kitchen scale, admittedly not exactly accurate, but still the disparity is perplexing.. I might have to blog my hyperactive twin about this.
The addition of purifaction pills to me seems excessive though and I totally reject that. I mean, the entire purpose of carrying a filter, to me is; You don't add a crappy tasting substance to the water to purify it.. else I would just carry Polar Pure and call it all good.
The really wierd part of my "personal drama" on this subject, is that since moving up here to the mountains I have lived on well water(180' down 58 degrees pure except for abundant calcium).. yet at every chance when downtown, at customers houses(I am/was a plumber), I drink and love the chlorinated taste of the city water.
I know.. I am truly sick. I should be put in the HST stockade for admitting: I miss the chlorine taste of syphilization.. yet simultaneously extol the virtues of High Sierra Springs. It is difficult to be me.. Indeed, others find it equally difficult to understand me. Anyways, were talkin' Water filters.
I want to thank y'all again. You would think a guy with no TV and nothing but Radio,Books, and Internet would find this stuff out for himself but rest assured, These websites were new to me. Dang I am feeling like a curmudgeon these days. Somehow I think that when I get on that there PCT, my trail name will be "Grandpa".. and I am only 40(I got a lot of grey hair for my age)! Thanks Again Y'all, Hetchy :)
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby hikerduane » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:25 pm

You are part Swede too? That does it dude, I'm outta here:)

I have 26k dialup, so I don't view any blogs or video stuff.

I'm on a well also, only down about 117', I was there with my driller when we stopped. Lots of cold water, he could not bale it dry when he checked for gpm. I don't care for city water.
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Water wells and pre-hike rambings

Postby Hetchy » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:46 am

That's funny, your a swede too! That's what makes us some stubborn trail hiking stock! My Dad does'nt hike though.. he tried it once, and a bear stepped on his foot while he was asleep and later chewed up his boots! To this day I keep my hiking shoes close to me at night! HA! :D
Anyways the water well ramblings:
Our well was tested lasted last spring when the property changed hands. (Kinda weird cause I am a renter.. I just walked down to the new owners house and said "Hi, I am your tenant.. heres some rent!) Anyways, the well tester measured the total depth of the well(lead weight) and then the height(float) of the water in the well and found it full to 56 feet below ground level.
He then ran the well pump wide open onto the hillside for 30 minutes.
Rechecking the level he found it at 57 feet!
This was quite shocking because every other property in our rural community has to truck water in all summer due to their wells running low. The well guy said we must by tapped into an underground stream! I have tried to impress on the new owner just how lucky they are.. but I don't think they really get it sometimes.
Good thing they have so much water... horses drink alot!
The other weird thing is that The water goes from the well directly into their 10,000 gallon poly tank. From there it is pumped by their house pump uphill to my converted grain silo 5000 gallon tank(has a plastic liner). Their water smells and looks bad but my water is crystal clear.. I can look into my tank and count the rivets around the bottom through the water while I cannot see through the water in their tank even will a 1 million candle power spotlight!
I have no explaination for this other than the poly tank somehow grows organic matter in it that somehow does not reach my tank even though they have the same source. They refuse to drink the water yet I have drunk this water for 7 years unfiltered.. and Has done me no harm... (Some might dispute the latter fact!)
I think my taste for chlorine comes from being raise in suburban Santa Clara and my memories of drinking from the garden hose while playing outside all summer long. (Yes, I am a country convert. I was a city boy, valley, whatever.)
Here comes the rambling part :)
I have to admit I could never live in the city again though.. I have been spoiled being able to walk out the front door onto the dirt road and down the dirt horse path amid the redwood forest. A short scramble off the trail and I can have as much solitude as I please. Aside from the abundant water. This had been the greatest gift to come out of living here.. Oh Yea and munching down on all the miner's lettuce we get around this time. Making Madrone tea, The Deer,squirrels,rabbits,Quail, Stellar Jays, Hawks, Owls, Racoons, Bobcats, and Banana Slugs while sitting on the porch at too bad eigther! And yet everyone that visits asks me why I have no TV!
Whatever happens after I return from the PCT.. will happen.
I have had a good 7 years here sipping the spring water and watching the critters.
No doubt the water and those critters will get along without me and I feel the time has come to let go for awhile. If it is here for me when I return, thats great. If not.. I am pretty sure there is somewhere else in the woods I can live. The PCT Bound - Hetchy :)
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby hikerduane » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:24 pm

I have a pressurized system, using a tank with a bladder. The water in my well is down maybe 10', when the pump turns on, it draws it right down, but comes back when the pump kicks off. In spring, I can dig down in some areas and hit ground water within a few feet of the surface, not nice when trying to set a post. Except for when I had to rent after being out of school, I have always drank well water. In Nevada ,where we moved in the mid '60's, the water in the summer time smelled real strong of alkali, you get used to it and as teens, we just loved the cold water.

I imagine you have fox, coyotes and mountain lions there also, just like here. We don't get enough rain to have banana slugs. I did see a slug on a trip to the Marble Mt. Wilderness my second trip there.
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Banana Slug Factoids and funny story

Postby Hetchy » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:59 pm

Okay, I am at this party in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Imagine what goes on there.. Well A friend says the Indians used the defensive slime a Banana slug produces to numb wounds.
Nobody believes it. So a slug is found and presented to the party.
And of course, "yours truly" volunteers to try the indian technique.
I touched the slug to my lips and Lo and behold! My lips are numbed! No Joke, this actually works! It is similar in effect to the topical product Dentists use to numb an area before an injection is made(I think it's called hurricane). Nobody believed me until some other crazy did the same with the same result.
Banana Slugs, or rather their slime, make a good topical anastetic.(No Banana Slugs were harmed during this experiment) :)

Factoid: Banana Slugs LOVE Dog Food.
If you put kibble out for them, they mob it.
You can actually hear them munching on the stuff.
Of course I have probably angered the animal rights people at having aided in a Banana Slugs deviant desire for Dog kibble... I might have spawned a new generation of slugs...
Just imagine.. Hordes of man habituated Banana slugs knocking down front doors and mauling pet dogs to get at their Kibbles and Bits! :D

Then there is the sale of the horse ranch.
The previous owner had a singular sense of humor.
While on a tour of the 25 acre property with the real estate agent and two prospective buyers they happened upon a Banana Slug in the middle of the horse trail.
The Owner shouted, "Look Out! Don't get near it!"
The buyers(east coast folks) jumped back. One of the buyers timidly asked, "Is there an issue here?"
To which the owner replied," No, but it might chase you down and bite you!"
The real estate agent rolled her eyes and stepped over the slug.
The buyers CAREFULLY stepped around the slug as if it were a rattlesnake...
The owner just smiled, very much satisfied with himself! :D

Those same clients came up to my house on the ranch and asked what the big metal tank was for. I told them it was to hold water for the house.
They truly had no idea what I was talking about even after I explained in detail how the water was pumped up from the ground, into the tank, and then pressurized through a line to the house. I still don't think the guy really believed me.
I am absolutely certain they did no get that the only way to heat the house was the wood burning stove.. which does not chop wood for itself!
Needless to say they went away and did not purchase the property. They are probably telling the story to their friends now about those crazy Californians with their backwards ways, and Viciuos Banana Slugs! :D
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Re: Super Cheap Water Filter Setup ala Ray Jardine

Postby hikerduane » Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:47 am

:) I had a flatlander neighbor who rented next to me for a year or so. She kept getting stuck in her 4X4 in the snow, until someone asked her if she was locking in the hubs. What hubs?
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