One of the items you MUST have when hiking any distance is a water collection/filtration device. On our AT hike last year we looked at various systems like MSR, Katadyn, Sawyer, and Platypus. On the internet there are hundreds of opinions, and we all know that opinions are like A$$H0les, and here is just one more. Hopefully our choice will help you make informed decision and make your hike more enjoyable.
What did we decide on? To answer this requires a short story. After finishing my research, I thought, I opened up my trusty laptop to purchase a three liter, 3L, Platypus bladder to go with the custom cutoff plastic bottle bottom (high tech… I don’t think so) when I ran across something called a CNOC Vecto bladder. I was immediately wowed by the large opening on the top and the vision of filling ease and being able to chuck the cup. I jumped on Amazon, found the CNOC and a Platypus coupler that was a perfect fit that was almost free, hit the purchase button and waited for the UPS truck like the little kid in the movie Music Man … Oh the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin’ down the street, Oh please let it be for me… Check out the video to see how the CNOC worked on the “kitchen sink test” and you’ll see why I decided it would not be my “In-Pack” water bladder.
That being said it did come with me on the AT and will again this year. Why? Well, simply put, I found the perfect way to use it, for me/us. I use the WIDE opening for a quick fill at a good water source and found it fills pretty quickly even at those supposed streams that look more like a trickle you find on the trail in New Jersey and New York. After filling I use the Platypus coupler and connect to my clean water bladder the using a velcro strap I have for keeping my filtration system together (I can also use it for emergencies… love dual purpose items that weight almost nothing). Then I hang on a tree or nail at the shelter and let the water flow through my Sawyer Squeeze Filter. The great thing is the coupler can be used with a Smart Water (or similar) bottle for a quick refill. I’ll add links for the system we put together in our “Gear” section to help you if you want to try it out (goes to Amazon and if you buy I make a penny – yeah). Good Hiking and thanks for joining our adventure.