One of the easiest ways to lighten your pack weight is by reducing the amount of water you carry. If you’re carrying a lot of water for a whole day, but passing sources and not using them, you’re wasting an opportunity to save weight, travel faster, and move more comfortably. If you prefer to filter your mountain water, the MSR Trail Shot water filter is going to quickly get the job done, and weighs only 142 grams vs. a 1 gram/ML of water. Simple math reveals that if you stay on top of your water filtering, you will be carrying a much lighter pack.
Unless you’re in a desert or some very dry mountains, water sources are pretty readily available. In the Alps, water is generally abundant, so why carry 1-2 liters of water on your back if you can be filling up along the way? Of course it takes knowing an area and being confident that you’ll have water available, but this is typically the case and can be checked before your trip with maps.
My strategy, whether it be trail running or hiking, is to take into consideration my options and then only carry so much water capacity for the maximum distances/time between sources. That might mean launching out on a 25km mountain run with only a 500ML soft flask and the Trail Shot filter. In this scenario, I’m carrying 650 grams of weight for my water, vs. 1 liter (1 kilogram). And, I have the option to get more water than 1 liter should I require more. Since you’ll be drinking along the way, your total water weight at any one time is probably going to be less that than that 650 gram number. You’re going to have a light pack for a long day. To speed things up at water sources, keep your soft flask and filter easily accessible, you’ll be topped off in a minute.
We’ve even used the Trail Shot in the Himalaya where we encountered very silty water – with zero problems. The filter is a small, palm sized hand pump that you simply squeeze like a ball. Water flow is rapid and clean from the spout, either directly into your mouth or a bottle. It couldn’t be easier to use. Nothing but goodness to report – consider one if it suits your needs.
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