Clean water is important to have when you’re cycling, hiking or climbing in summer but the issue is that it is heavy. When I go cycling I go with just one flask and I fill up the water bottle when I get to fountains that are marked as safe to drink from. When I go hiking or climbing I usually do not go with more than one and a half litres of water although I have gone with up to three litres for a hot summer day’s activities when the temperature is above 32°c.
In Switzerland, France and Italy you theoretically do not need to walk with that much water because you cross streams, fountains, rivers and lakes. If you had a water filtration system you could theoretically purify the water from these sources and continue hiking. Yesterday I came across Katadyn and two solutions for water filtration.
The Katadyn BeFree is a collapsible water bottle system that you fill from unfiltered water and then filter as you drink. This system also allows you to refill clean water containers within a very short lapse of time. It takes very little space in your bag and it’s light. It’s easy to have this with you at all time. It would be practical for cycling and climbing. You leave home with clean tap water and when you run out of clean water you fill this system and squeeze clean water in to your clean water bottle and continue the day’s activities. I have seen this system for 45 CHF in Switzerland.
Katadyn Hiker Pro
The Katadyn Hiker Pro is a slightly more expensive but portable solution. It allows you to filter water straight from a river, stream or lake to a clean water recipient. It has a first filter on the hose that goes from the water source to the pump. The pump has a pre-filter to get rid of any sediment still suspended in water and the third filter filters out almost all bacteria. Clean water then flows from the pump to the clean water container. If you’re climbing near a river or exploring a via ferrata near a waterfall then the need to carry water is reduced.
SteriPen Water purifiers
According to this article you can go a step further to stay safe. Almost every article and review mentions that the two systems above are not designed to kill viruses. If you want to go that extra step then you have the Steripen Aqua UV Water purifier. It is meant to kill almost all bacteria and viruses. The link is to the cheapest model. The second option is to boil water.
“Boiling can be used as a pathogen reduction method that should kill all pathogens. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute. At altitudes greater than 6,562 feet (greater than 2000 meters), you should boil water for 3 minutes.Apr 10, 2009” source:
Water Quality maps
If you’re going to drink river or lake water in Switzerland this document from March, 2017 provides maps with water quality information. In some areas waters may be contaminated with chemicals or pesticides and it is good to check that cattle are not upstream of your water source.
For a more recent article: How To choose A Water Purifier or Filter for Backpacking.