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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 5:43 am 
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Hey everyone.

Going in for the fourth trip this summer (I'm new, first summer with my own canoe) and we're definitely over slogging the big water jug with us, especially over the serpentine or the cloudy lake portages.

My question for those experienced in this park is what is the best lake/source for drinking water (To be run through a filtration system and/ or boiled.) We're doing the lower lakes this weekend (Turtle, mountain, vixen, etc) and I see a lot of beaver dams in this part of the park. I'm hoping to take in all the scenery and none of the giardia.

Any advice or where to source the water or lakes to specifically avoid would be helpful.

As always thanks to all the positive and helpful contributors on this forum!


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 7:52 am 
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I've been using these for years. Never ever had a problem, literally from the Miramichi to the Rockies. Just pick water which is not yucky murky or full of debris. I carry a collapsible almost-no-weight 5 L. container - fill it, put in 5 tablets and get clean water in about 30 minutes - free of giardia as well. :)

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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 8:05 am 
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I recently purchased a gravity water filter. Filters 4 liters in just a few minutes without pumping and the clean water bag can be sealed to carry with you. Previously I used what was once called the Hiker, from Pur. I think Pur was bought out by the same folks who made those pills. It was reasonably priced and lasted a long time, but it has to be pumped. Fifty strokes per liter.

If you're asking about the actual source of the water, it is recommended to use a spot where there is a current or paddle out into the lake a bit to avoid weedy or murky water.


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 8:19 am 
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Thanks for both responses. I'm leaning towards the platypus 4L gravity filter as a long term solution but I think I may try the tablets that Sk8r posted as the reviews lead me to believe the taste isn't as much of a factor as other tabs (Hope that doesn't mean they're less effective). I'll look for a better deal on the platypus system in the off season for next year when I step our game up to some longer trips.

I was hoping for some locals who know this park well that could recommend some good locations, especially in the lower lakes where I'm going that seem to have a lot of beaver dams along the chain. My plan was to source the water from the middle of the lakes on our way in, just wondering if any of the lakes in this park were a known problem.

You'll have to forgive my naivety, I grew up on lake ontario and the concept of drinking lake water, even filtered, is going against 30 years of conditioning and seems to be a bit of a mental hurdle for us.

Thanks again for all the help, there are some awesome people on this forum!!!


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 9:06 am 
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I recommend the MSR filter over platypus. The Bag is more durable. I alos recommend getting an MSR dromedary as the bottom, you can attach directly to a nalgene bottle but the bag works better.

In the deep water you are fairly safe but its never 100% without treatment or filtration.


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 11:11 am 
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Yes I also recommend MSR. I just did a video review of mine last weekend on a trip - it was a huge improvement in our tripping. Our Scout troop has used the MSR pumps and MSR gravity filter throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec for about 10 years now and have never had a single issue. Wikipedia tells me that Giardia is a protozoan, and the MEC website tells me that the MSR filters remove protozoa.

As above we also just take water that appears to be clean. This can be from right next to shore depending on where you are. Though we do avoid really small lakes altogether when possible. i.e. avoid sourcing water there.

In this video I am filling Nalgene bottles but I also have dromedary bags as per above.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whwC_d6jP6w


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PostPosted: September 12th, 2018, 12:18 pm 
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I expected you to be asking more about human related contamination of surface water - as an example potentially related to outboards on the lakes you might be travelling.

For standard drinking water treatment we use Pristine.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 9:28 am 
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Do the tabs provide more all-around protection that filtration systems like the gravity works or the platypus?

Splake - I was only planning on sourcing from lakes in KHL that are non-motorized and a couple portages deep, looks like triangle or turtle are my best bets based on my route (Long - Loucks - Cox - Triangle - Turtle - Stoplog - Mountain - Buzzard - Long).

Thanks again for all the help, it's really appreciated!


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 1:03 pm 
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The best practice answer is to filter and chemically treat. That's what the MNR specifies for staff in their workplace safety training.

In practice, filtering is fine for everything but viruses and viruses are not considered a risk factor in Canada. Filtering with a pump can be a pain and whether you use a pump or a gravity filter then the more silt or tannin (ie: dark) in the water then the more quickly the filter will clog and need to be cleaned. Various pre-filters for different pumps can help, and cleaning the filter is a normal part of operation regardless of how clear the water is to start with. We use a filter at the cottage, which is on a motorized lake, and have been doing so for probably 15 years now. I have the luxury of electricity and running water there. As the summer progresses, the filter needs cleaning more frequently as there is relatively more stuff growing in the water (ie: algae or plankton) as the summer goes on than there is in the early spring.

The chemical treatments won't filter out silt but will handle biological contamination including viruses. Be sure to read the instructions as the default dose may need to be increased to ensure effective treatment of cysts such as giardia. We have stuck with Pristine for back country water treatment because I'm lazy and don't want to pump by hand. A gravity filter would get you out of pumping, just hasn't made it to the top of my wish list yet.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 1:39 pm 
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The chemical treatment mentioned in a post above requires a four hour set time. I have used them on solo trips but I don't have good enough planning skills to wait four hours especially at dinner time.. So I have rushed the wait time to 60 minutes and not died ( and this was on the Current River which is crisscrossed with horse trails) but the taste is a little funky

I now use a MSR gravity system and am aware it does not protect against viruses.. If you require that level of protection you should do both..

I found that since being really anal about using hand disinfectant I can pretty much stay illness free.. Humans carry giardia too.


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 1:58 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
The chemical treatment mentioned in a post above requires a four hour set time. I have used them on solo trips but I don't have good enough planning skills to wait four hours especially at dinner time.. So I have rushed the wait time to 60 minutes and not died ( and this was on the Current River which is crisscrossed with horse trails) but the taste is a little funky



Are you talking about Pristine? The instructions on the packaging have always been 5 minutes for the 2 parts to combine then 15 minutes to wait after treating the water. I did find some info on their website that talks about hours, but but then the product info ( https://www.pristine.ca/Products ) still talks about 15 minute wait time.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 2:46 pm 
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No Micropur


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2018, 2:55 pm 
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what are thoughts on Camelback AllClear? I used it on my last trip into Little Margaret Lake in Haliburton Highlands Water Trail.


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PostPosted: September 15th, 2018, 8:39 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON
Splake wrote:
In practice, filtering is fine for everything but viruses and viruses are not considered a risk factor in Canada.
Why is this not a risk?
Do not they have humans with hepatitis hiking/canoeing and pooping up there?


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PostPosted: September 15th, 2018, 5:51 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
The chemical treatment mentioned in a post above requires a four hour set time.....



That is an absolutely worst-case scenario. I have never used water so murky & "dirty" that I have needed anything like 4 hours. Nowhere near.


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