The MicroFilter & the Travel BugSeptember 27, 2013
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund.
THE TRAVEL BUG
Many westerners travel the world in search of wondrous adventure and new cultural experiences, but quite often get more than what they bargained for… for no less than two or three days. Sure as scheiße, I’m talking about diarrhea.
Every world traveler I know has at least one story about that time they had a bad experience with some street tacos in Mexico, or was it that fruit stand in Thailand? It could’ve been the meat in Morocco, the veggies in Vietnam or even the coca tea in Peru. Perhaps the bacalhau in Brazil or from swimming downstream in the Dominican… The scary truth is you never really know for sure!
One thing is certain, however, and that is a lot of the common causes often boil down to good ol’ H2O. Our day to day lives are replete with the consumption of water and that doesn’t change when we’re abroad. We ingest it directly, make other drinks out of it, wash our fruits and vegetables with it, we do the dishes, we shower, we brush our teeth with it… The list goes on.
When you travel to far off places or even into local wilderness areas, you’re simply not immune as the natives are to the bugs that may be lurking. I’ve always been a little weary of tap water, so when I first started venturing away from home, the paranoia was slightly unsettling. I went down to Mexico and stocked up on bottled water, brushing my teeth with it and all. Even when I moved to England, I was looking at how much it rained and all the sheep roaming around, wondering where the tap water came from.
I then calculated what it would cost to keep hydrated on bottled water in Europe for a year. Ouch. Around that time, I also stayed in fairly large “Botel” in Amsterdam and refused to drink the water straight from the tap. How could they possibly provide that much clean water for that many people on a freaking boat? I filtered it through my old backpacking purifier, which was gigantic and time consuming. Well, that was 10 years ago and this is now…
VAPUR MICROFILTER TAKE OVER!
In the quest to keep well-hydrated in the wilderness, I’d been resisting the urge to follow my colleagues in purchasing other brands touting a water bottle with a built-in filter. The main reason– the flow seemed so incredibly restricted and slow that I would actually get out of breath trying to suck the water through. This seemed counter productive. You were on a long hike, in a thirsty climate and fatigued from the simple task of trying to get a drink of water!
Or it SHOULD be a simple task, I should say. The process of filtering water has been complicating backpacking and travel for years, causing many people I know to go back to chemical treatments. I am not of that camp, as I think it’s a little gross to have to filter silty water through a sweaty bandanna and I just don’t like the idea of voluntarily ingesting more chemicals in life than I need to.
THE MICROFILTER ABROAD AND OUTBOUND
Earlier this summer, my friend Michelle Jung and I went to Spain for a climbing trip/birthday bash. We had plans to go to the Balearic Islands and then spend some time up in the mountains near the French border, so I took the Vapur MicroFilter along. Mid-June is a time when the snow melt is still in full swing in the Spanish Pyrenees, which lends to some pretty radical cascading waterfall action and plenty of chilled, fresh water to drink.
Michelle is a well-traveled, 5.12 climber. She has spent countless hours both abroad and in backcountry environments, and has a lot of experience with different types of gear, so I was a little surprised by her unbiased excitement at the MicroFilter:
“This is simplicity at its best!”
She recently took that same MicroFilter with her on the John Muir Trail, where she broke the women’s unsupported, uncached speed record by 47 minutes. The entire hike from the top of the highest peak in the continental US, through the Sierra Nevadas up to Yosemite (215 miles) in 6 days, 6 hours and 5 minutes, all on her own for food and water (umm… I was busy that week). That’s covering almost 40 miles a day at high elevation, all necessary supplies on your back for a week, using the Vapur MicroFilter all the way. Notice how it didn’t slow her down one bit.
This MicroFilter packs a mega punch! Oh yeah, and Michelle’s pretty awesome too.
Flying with the MicroFilter
In preparing for Spain, I had this grandiose plan to pack super minimalist and light for once. This trip was going to be pretty gear and travel intensive. I had to pack climbing gear for one, and two, also had to keep in mind that I was going to be on a boat for 9 days in the Virgin Islands on the way back, with a day in New York City in between. An overweight pack on my 110-lb, newly 30-year-old frame just wasn’t going to be an option.
I was simply going to pack the filter separate of the bottle and take an extra SuperCap to use when I didn’t need filtration. Let’s just say I found bringing one Anti-Bottle vs. two a negligible difference in weight and pack space, and so afforded myself the luxury of also having the .7 L size with me; my favorite for daily use, plane travel and harness jewelry. Ultimately, if the bottles weren’t so darn light and compressible, I might have been disciplined enough to stick with my plan. Thanks for encouraging my gluttonous packing habit, Vapur. Gosh.