Alright so reading this title will probably give away the fact that there is a reason that we are sharing this post. While many times as interior campers we are striving to reduce how much we are required to carry, there are certain things that we feel it is important to have a backup plan for.
To provide a little context we will share with you our story. We had done a very good job packing for our trip to the Steel River and thought it might have been the best packing we had ever done. We are getting better at finding ways to eliminate enough gear that it is easy to carry, while still ensuring that we have everything that we need.
Our plan for filtering water was to use a Miniworks pump made by MSR that we have used for most of our trips this season. This pump has already had some issues with pumping water as it seems to get plugged up pretty often requiring constant cleaning of the filter on the inside. When you do not clean the inside of it, you would be pumping for an hour before you could fill a 1L Nalgene bottle...
While I was filling our bottles on route to our next site, I took the pump apart to clean it and one of the "O-Rings" that keeps the pressure inside the unit, fell into the water and sunk to the bottom faster than I could even realize what had just happened. Without this in place there was not enough pressure inside the unit to properly filter the water.
Luckily Noah had brought some chemicals with him for backup. The chemicals we have used in the past have been by a company named Pristine. It comes with 2 bottles that you are required to mix together to allow the chemicals to react, and then add to the water to make it eligible for drinking. These do not really pose as a quicker solution for water purification as they do still require time to react and clean the water.
Our issue occured when we lost Noah's day pack while paddling under a tree, losing the 2 chemicals and a variety of other items as well. At this point we were just over halfway on the trip, with the only way to get drinking water being to boil the lake water. This became a new task for us to complete when arriving at a new site to ensure that we had enough water for the next day. On top of this issue we were running low on our fuel for our stove which we primarily used for boiling our morning water for oatmeal and coffee. This meant that not only were we going to have to boil all of our water, but also that we were going to have to boil the water over the fire..
Although this isn't a trip ending scenario, it was one that really did add extra work to our days. When you have long paddling days you need all the time you can get, and also all the water you can drink! This was also a rare circumstance where we went through both water options leaving us with only one option left.
Some of the other areas we feel are important to bring extra materials would be a flame source (either both matches and lighters or just multiple lighters), as well as food and warm clothes. Having backup plans in each of these areas will help to ensure a successful trip in the woods