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ThinAir
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ThinAir
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PostSun Jan 29, 2023 1:29 pm 
I have been using a Katadyn Vario for water filtration for several years. I plan on buying a BeFree to make things easier and lighter. I was reading that the BeFree doesn’t filter out minerals and chemicals and such, but the Vario does. This got me wondering what the implications are when backpacking through areas where undesirable minerals or chemicals might exist either naturally or due to mining history. I know people have been using the BeFree and the Sawyer filters for years “with no problems” but I know that there are some very knowledgeable people on the site and was hoping to get some input on the topic.

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InFlight
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Location: Seattle area
InFlight
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PostFri Feb 03, 2023 1:05 am 
It really depends on where you’re hiking and the water sources. High Mountain Streams in cascades sawyer/Befree are ideal. Silty glacier sourced water is problematic as it clogs just about anything. Definitely need a disposal pre-filter in this situation. There are pre-filter that can be added to the Be-free. Pump filters (MSR and others) often a coffee filter can be rubber-banded to dip hose. Some coastal areas in Olympics have tannins in the water. I generally would go with a filter with carbon to address the taste. The MSR ceramic filter is a common one (and heavy). Pesticides and chemicals are not typically found in mountain streams. For international travel with unknown water quality, I’d suggest the Grayl filter.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...” ― Henry David Thoreau
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ThinAir
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PostWed Feb 08, 2023 9:59 pm 
I know for the most part it is not a problem, but there are a lot of old gold mines throughout the Cascades and arsenic, cyanide, mercury, lead, and more potentially hazardous chemicals, elements, and heavy metals are often associated with these mines. Monte Cristo is a good example. There is still dirt near the concentrator that is toxic enough for there to be signs basically saying not to touch anything or disturb the dirt and to wash your hands when you leave the area. And it's next to the south fork of the Sauk River. Every time it rains or snow melts those things are washed into the river. I wouldn't want to take water from directly downstream without a filter that would deal with those things. I'm just curious if anybody has thought about these things before and what they came up with.

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InFlight
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Joined: 20 May 2015
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Location: Seattle area
InFlight
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PostThu Feb 09, 2023 11:01 am 
Filters with Activated Carbon (Grayl, MSR pump) can remove heavy metals. Issue is replacing the filter at a suitable interval before the activated carbon is consumed. For someone transiently hiking a through an area a one time exposure to elevated metal levels in one stream is not a serious health threat. If it’s an area you regularly visit then one of these activated carbon filters is a better option. It’s really the people with well water near these water sheds that will need some really good equipment. Washington State has listings of water quality by source on a scale is 1 to 5 (worst). You can search by county and contaminate(s)

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...” ― Henry David Thoreau
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