Mountain climbing has it’s fair share of encumbrances, it is uncomfortable and there are a lot of issues in terms of health, life and safety but water is every mountaineers’ constant concern.
If you are on a three-day climb, it is impossible and impractical to carry all the water you need for the duration of the climb. So, we all end up relying on spring water that is naturally filtered by the earth, sand or rocks but who knows what locals or fellow mountaineers have left near the source which could have contaminated it. And when your tummy – big or small, is a little sensitive to spring water – contaminated or not, this could pose a huge problem.
(Why do you climb mountains, find it here)
Aside from the muscle pain, adding stomach trouble would ultimately destroy the joy of the climb. And well, it is a hassle to dig up a hole every ten minutes in the middle of the night while the night trolls are watching. I can’t barely imagine if it hits you while you are in the middle of climbing a ridge or crossing a knife-edge, geez! let’s scratch that vision.
Let me introduce you to a product that worked on me (and some of my friends), it may work on you, too.
I received so much from Robbie, he had once been a stranger who made me see kindness in a different spectrum. I am indebted to him for risking his life to, well in a way, save mine. And I know I have not thanked him enough for it and for changing my perspective on selfless kindness. For all the gifts I received from him, he gave me another, Sawyer’s Mini Filter, a gift of health.
I was in no rush to use it because I, who grew up drinking spring water from the mountains of the Cordilleras, am sure I have a tougher stomach than anyone else. But it doesn’t hurt to be careful, right?
I tested it during my recent trek of Mount Manalmon. After hiking for an hour on Mount Gola in the middle of the day in the middle of summer, me and my companions had almost drunk all our water.
When we descended on Madlum river, our guide showed us a waterhole a few meters away from the main spring. Upstream, I can hear laughter and a splash from fellow climbers who are enjoying the coolness of the water. Me and my companion (pretty girls who’d been drinking mineral water all their lives) looked at each other.
However, with the assurance of the gift giver that it is a product he had tried and tested albeit different model and since I do believe him, I threw all cautions in the summer air.
Next thing, we were gulping on the cool filtered water and was also re-filling our water containers ready for the Mount Manalmon challenge. So, that is how I was able to first use it. I bet you are curious how we fared?
On my part, I slept like a log and woke up with sore muscles the next day. No stomach pain waking me up in the middle of the night BUT that could be because I have a tougher tummy.
I instantly messaged my companions to know if anyone had experienced stomach pain. No reply, they must be cursing me while they’re sitting on the white throne right now, I thought.
It turned out they overslept due to muscle pain which explains the very, very late reply. To my relief, both of their stomach is in good condition.
Enough then of my ‘tried-and-tested’ monologue and let’s delve into the technicalities of the product.
I love it because it fits perfectly on my palm, it is lightweight and comes in handy. According to the label on the packaging, it claims to filter out bacteria, protozoa, e.coli, giardia, vibrio cholera and salmonella typhi to an almost 99.99999% (not really sure of this though).
When you buy it, the kit includes the Water Filter with Tip Cap, 16 oz Reusable Squeeze Pouch, 7″ Drinking Straw, Cleaning Plunger (Syringe) and Cleaning and Maintenance Instructions.
The flow rate of the filter itself is not quick but maybe this is due to the compact filtration system inside – understandable and tolerable. It said that the filter can be attached to a standard bottle but we tried and it didn’t fit but I’ll try again with a different bottle next time.
One can always use the collapsible pouch or the straw to directly drink from a water source.
When I travel, I usually carry with me the filter, pouch and the straw while I leave the syringe at home since the filter does not require to be back washed or cleaned every after use. I haven’t tried cleaning it yet since it’s still new but the cleaning and maintenance manual that comes with it, is customer friendly.
For the full technical specifications of the product, please do visit Saywer’s site here.
Note that this is not only for mountaineers use, on a flood prone country like ours where you can be stranded on a place with no supply of potable water for days, this can be of great help. According to the Sawyer site, this can be used on non-potable water, any water source not suitable for drinking, that maybe a swamp or a stagnant body of water.
Unfortunately, I am not sure if it is available in the Philippines (someone said it is thru Urban Wilderness) but you can check out amazon here or you can check out our local online gear shops, I am sure they can arrange something for you with a small mark-up.
Over all I am a happy climber and this ‘gear’ is something that had worked for me (and my medyo maarteng friends), it might work on you, too.
This is a tribute to Robbie Dumlao who redefined kindness and changed my perspective of it. May that kind heart touch a lot of lives as it did mine, as you navigate the world of your dreams. My gratitude always for being a gift to me, my angel w/o wings.
(Read also my Calaguas experience with the Extreme Team here)