I was about to embark on an over-nighter in the local mountains. It was winter, and thanks to a small storm, snow was covering the trail. Over the years my friends made fun of me for always looking for ways to cut weight in my backpack. In an effort (and it was stupid and this time I deserved to be made fun of) to shed a few ounces of my backpack, I thought traveling without a water filter would be a great idea. I figured that I could just boil snow and enjoy some fresh and crisp mountain water for all my needs. After all, boiling water takes care of killing off those pests that can get one sick, so why wouldn't it work?!
I got to my camp just as the water in my Camelbak had ran out. I wasn't worried about having run out of water as there was fresh snow all around me. I set up camp, filled up my small camping pot with snow and placed it on top of my stove. My dad always said, "a watched pot never boils", he was so right. After what seemed like forever and a day, the snow finally started melting and turning into what I expected to be that fresh, crisp, and clean mountain water. I was wrong. All of the small pieces of dirt, fragments of twigs, and random "floaties" at the top my freshly boiled water indicated that snow is actually pretty nasty.
I used the water for my food, which sucked cause I felt like every few bites was crunchy with nature's elements. I made myself some coffee which was more like tasting hot dirt mixed with coffee grounds. I really wished I had brought my water filter.
Water filters don't just take away the pesky risk of illnesses, they also filter out the dirt, elements, and particles that come along with snow and water. I learned of a trick that can help you if you really want to travel without a water filter, but don't want those wonderful pieces of dirt and twigs in your coffee. Ready for it? A coffee filter.
A coffee filter weighs next to nothing and will filter out those nasty twigs, dirt, and other fragments while allowing your water to travel through into your cup, meal, or water bottle. Be sure to boil your water or snow, then pour the freshly boiled water through the filter and into your container. This will ensure that you have clean water without the crunchy elements of nature. If you're brave and or crazy enough to travel without a water filter, don't go without a coffee filter.
- Chris Duarte