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Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

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Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

I am considering one of these options for my upcoming EBC trip in addition to Water Purification tablets from Katadyn. Wanted to know how these options worked for fellow trekkers who used them on their trip.

Thank you!

12 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

I have used a Sawyer Squeeze for backpacking, but not in Nepal. Both of these are hollow fiver filters and have many very favorable features, but their biggest problem is they can't be relied upon if exposed to freezing temperatures. So if I were using one, I would be sure to keep it from freezing, which at high altitudes could be a pain. I would keep the Sawyer in my pocket during the day and in my sleeping bag at night. Another limitation (compared to chemical and UV treatments) is that they do not remove viruses although I do not know how important this is on an EBC trek.

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2. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Hi

I have used a filter in Nepal but not those ones. Personally, I would prefer protection from viruses. Have you bought it yet? f not, consider a UV light e.g. steripen. The CDC has a lot of good info:

https:/…water-disinfection-for-travelers

scoodly

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3. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Hi

As mentioned already I wouldn’t use a Saywer squeeze as they fail if they have been frozen. Personally I rely on Aqua Mira drops and have never had a problem with them.

Eric

My Nepal pages http://wanderingeric.org

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4. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Water treatment options for Nepal

Each Trekker needs to decide what is the most practical, affordable and effective water treatment method they are comfortable with using. But try not to worry excessively about this so that it affects the enjoyment of the trek. All of the methods are effective on the main water bugs with varying degrees on the more difficult ones ranging from some to no effect on viruses, chemical resistant giardia and cryptosporidium.

1. Boiled water is 100% effective for all microbes if properly done and you know the history of where it came from. Lodges will usually have boiled water flasks that you can ask to fill the water bottle if you are able to be several hours near a lodge when you need it. As a backup carry one other method of water treatment such as option 3 below.

2. UV radiation device (Steripen and similar products) kills all water microbes 100% very quickly if the water quality allows the radiation to reach the microbes. Large particles and cloudy water can reduce its effectiveness. Large particles in typical water sources from streams and pipes is common whereas cloudiness is less common. A clear water bottle is recommended to see the water quality before deciding to treat. Combined with filtration it can remove particles but not cloudiness that is uncommon.

3. Chlorine dioxide tablets or liquid drops can kill all microbes including the resistant giardia and cryptosporidium parasites. Under field conditions and in practice however it can take 4 hours for it to work most effectively on such resistant microbes so is not practically effective on a trek if you are concerned about that and you will need the water faster.

4. Iodine based tablets or liquid disinfectant droplets has no effectiveness against cryptosporidium and some effectiveness against giardia so it is slightly better than chlorine only products. It has some taste issues and addition of ascorbic acid or vitamin C tablet may be needed 30 minutes after to reduce the taste.

5. Chlorine tablets or liquid droplets like the cheap Nepal local brand Piyush is less effective against giardia and cryptosporidium at standard dosage and concentrations. It is very practical and compact to carry and found easily in Local shops.

6. Filtering devices can remove all large microbes but not tiny virus like Hepatitis A and norovirus gastroenteritis causing illness so chemical treatment is still needed to supplement the method.

Probably the most practical, cheap and effective method that is less mechanical failure prone is to have a clear water bottle with a built-in filter, that one can treat with cheap Piyush chlorine droplets. This gives three levels of control in a two step easy to use process in two packages (filtered bottle to drink from and add chlorine droplets with a 30 minute treatment time.

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5. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Chlorine is not effective against giardia or Cryptosporidium. But combining good filter with chlorine is fine.

On our many treks using Steripen, we have never needed to try to treat "cloudy" water, and only rarely have had water with particles. When present, we double treated water with particulate matter (after getting the water spinning, which allows UV to "see" all sides of particles).

Edited: 14 April 2018, 19:21
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6. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

This table might be a useful overview:

https:/…Backcountry_Water_Treatment.pdf

It indicates chlorine and iodine are not effective against crypto.

scoodly

Edited: 14 April 2018, 20:56
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7. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

The CDC information says chlorine and iodine have a + to ++ effectiveness against giardia whereas boiling is ++++ the highest so it has an effect but not as affective. It goes on to say that if you increase the chlorine and iodine dosage it can have greater effect. Other articles say that these chemicals are very affected by water temperature so at lower temperatures it takes longer to disinfect. There might be a need to increase the dosage per litre when the weather gets colder often with higher altitude and reduced water bottle temperature.

In my recent Langtang and Gosainkund lakes trek my clear water bottle often showed 20-50 black particles about 1-3mm size in the bottom 10% of the bottle and on two occasions there was slightly cloudy water. Many people don’t use clear bottles so dont even realise that. If some of those particles are big enough and fully surround some bugs it’s possible that it can protect them from UV and chemical treatment. This is mentioned in the CDC information as well. It should be a less common occurrence but from now on I will change my drinking habits on treks by not drinking the last 10% of my water bottle if I can avoid it.

Edited: 14 April 2018, 23:19
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8. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

But it is crypto not giardia that iodine and chlorine are ineffective against.

scoodly

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9. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Over the last 30 years of on and off travelling and trekking I got very giardia like illnesses at least 6 times, half of them while trekking and was able to self treat very easily and recovered the next day. So it’s something that can be easily managed on the trek if you get it.

Also, apparently 30% of people who get giardia don’t show the symptoms and it passes through in 6 weeks so Trekkers reporting no illnesses could be some of those lucky ones, unfortunately not me. In my treks I have only used iodine or chlorine so that is Likely the problem, but one can also pick up bugs from other sources like food and hands.

I think the way to go is have a clear water bottle, some kind of quick gravity filter at the top of the bottle and use either UV or chemical. That way all bases are covered and very easy and less errors and malfunctions. So visual inspection first, particles and giardia/crypto get filtered and then UV or chemicals can kill at the virus that pass through the filter. Chemicals are probably slightly more reliable than UV device due to potential for battery failure in cold temperatures and more compact. If the taste issues bother one then go with UV.

Edited: 15 April 2018, 10:27
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10. Re: Has Any1 Used Katadyn BeFree or Sawyer Squeeze on EBC Trek?

Except for the one pack of bad batteries purchased in Kathmandu, we have not had a problem with cold with our Steripen. Then again, before using, we first keep the Steripen in a warm inner pocket. Also, 90+% of our use of the Steripen was at lodges (ie we rarely ran out of water before reaching a lodge for tea/lunch/eve). Finally, of course we bring spare batteries and chemical backup.

A "quick" gravity filter is not likely to have small enough pores to remove giardia, amoeba, or Cryptosporidium. Good for particles though.

The colder the water, the longer the wait for chemicals to work (WHEN they work...).

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