Travel lite vs reuse
I have my annual week long summer trip to New England coming and I think I may try to not check any bags this time and just go carry on. To accomplish this I will need to keep the contents of my Aeronaut pretty limited.
One thing that haunts me is packing reusable bottles like the one from Sigg or Nalgene. I use a water bottle and a Thermos for coffee everyday. It's to the point now where I cringe when I see a plastic water bottle and can't get myself to buy one at the store. But I'm not sure I should pack my Sigg with me because they do take up a good chunk of room. However I do like to drink water on the flight and we will probably do some hiking so water will be needed.
So, when you travel lite, do you try and make room for your reusable bottles or do you bite the bullet and buy bottled water during the trip?
I definitely make room for my SIGG bottle. I basically never leave home without it now. I think the filtered water I put in my SIGG tastes better than bottled water that comes in plastic bottles. (On long trips that involve hiking I bring a water filter.)
Hi Darcy, what water filter would you recommend? There are times when I opt to drive to California rather than fly, and I always keep in the trunk an older Tom Bihn Super Musette stuffed with emergency supplies, a set of clothes, thin thermal blanket and bottled water. I think packing a water filter is an excellent addition for one of those "just in case" moments.
Originally Posted by Darcy
I don't think you need to leave your sigg bottle at home in order to make it with only carry-on. Even packed full, you'll find there's lots of room in the sides of the Aeronaut; particularly if you use the packing cubes. I took a good size umbrella to Europe on a four-week trip and it easily fit on the size, beside the packing cubes. I took my water bottle in a second smaller bag, which I used as a personal item but could have easily fit it in my Aeronaut...
I'm not Darcy, but here's my recommendations on water filters that I use.
For tap water anywhere in a Western Europe/US/Canada/Australian city: Brita Travel filter. This comes in either a squeeze bottle called the Brita Fill & Go with a mini carbon filter or a hard plastic mini filter with the same size carbon filter as the home fridge pitcher filters. It's only carbon, but if the water's safe, it kills the taste enough to drink it - and I hate city water. The hard plastic travel filter unit is about as big around as a 1-liter, and perhaps 8" high. I always make room for it. I hate buying any bottled water, but if I must it's always Ice Age - Canadian - and it's not available in most places. Unfortunately, both of these Brita units are no longer made. I see the hard plastic one at thrift stores and garage/tag sales all the time. If you see one, nab it. The filters run 3 to a box for about $10-$15 and each are good for about 200 fills in the travel filter.
If you want to take a look at the travel filter, there's one on eBay right now. Auction #140250988241, only up until 7/26/08. This seller's calling it a personal size filter, but they are out there. Find more than one? Get them and keep them. It pays for itself on a weeklong trip, let alone mine, which are going on 14 years. I have 3. There's always one in my car.
For wilderness water not in the third world? I use a Hiker. Here's the thing: it used to be called the Pur Hiker, and is now called the Katadyn Hiker. The only thing changed is the name; don't pay more for the Pro model if you don't need the waterbladder attachments. If you decide you want those, they're on eBay all the time. If you want the extra plastic mesh on your filter, just buy the Pur Hiker Pro refill filter cartridge when you need to swap the original out. You can pick up great deals on one if you search for (pur hiker) on eBay. Many people don't know it's the same, and the Pur models often go for much less.
For nasty water (think Nepal or the back of beyond, here) you can't trust at all? I've used a combo of a Steripen Classic and then the Brita, but the Steripen seems to have escalating quality control issues. Many people are stating the pens don't work in hot, humid climates, such as most of Asia. Make sure you get it from somewhere like REI which has one of the best return policies if the Steripen dies in the field. Many sellers only allow returns for 30 days, and if yours dies on a trip during that time, it's often SOL. It's worth it to pay a few dollars more and get it from a really good seller. (You don't have to use REI, but they've always gone the extra mile for me when I've had an equipment meltdown, and even online prices, after shipping, vary by such a small amount the customer service provided is worth it.)
There are other Steripen models, and yes, the Classic is the heaviest, but it's also the one using AA batteries. Since I use Eneloop rechargeables, and AAs are in everything I carry (or AAA), I couldn't see getting a slightly smaller model which used CR 123 batteries. If I bought the rechargeable CRs, and then the charger, that would end up heavier than the Classic pen and the AA batts/charger I was already toting!
Just my .02, but I'll also add this: I don't use my Sigg in hot climates. It seems to keep even cold water HOT - even with a sleeve. Otherwise, I love it. If you're going to a desert, try a Nalgene or other durable Lexan bottle.
I think my real question was "should I feel guilty about not taking a reusable bottle" and the answer appears to be "yes". The problem with trying to travel light is you end up looking to make cuts in everything you pack. Anything that is optional or can be replaced rarely makes it. I could make room for my Sigg but it would be something I could do without.
I didn't think of a travel water purifier. I won't be going anyplace harsh but I may look into getting one just to take the edge off the tap water. We use one as part of our refridgerator but I never bought one like the Britta stuff, which don't add as much to the landfill as bottled water, still end up adding when you switch filters.
You could always use a carabiner to secure the SIGG bottle to the OUTSIDE of your bag so you don't have to stuff it INTO your bag.
That said, I didn't bring mine last trip because of the reason you listed above: "Anything that is optional or can be replaced rarely makes it."
I don't think you should feel guilty about not taking a reusable bottle. IMO, for most folks, guilt is a lame motivator and has more to do with a sense of purity than practicality and true impact. While I'm aware of the environmental impact that plastic bottles make and the possible health risks associated with them, my primary reasons for using my SIGG are:
Originally Posted by pretzelb
1) I like how the water tastes like....water. (I don't think water tastes as good in plastic bottles.) I do wash my SIGG bottle out with soap and water every 2 days and use one of the SIGG cleaning tablets every week.
2) It's less expensive to bring my own water. That's not because I'm thrifty: I'd just rather spend my money on what, IMO, is more fun stuff. :)
3) Since I've gotten into the habit of bringing my own water, I drink more water because it's always there, and I feel better because of it.
That's an excellent tip.
Originally Posted by Just
aiethabell's filter advice is excellent! I use a Pur Hiker too. :)
Here's a question.....when car camping, what should one use as a reusable water container for the gallon or two of water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing face, etc? Right now, I buy two of those Crystral Geyser 1-gallon plastic water jugs, reuse them for the entire trip, and recycle them when I get home.
I have the same Crystal Geyser bottles as part of my earthquake supplies - I just rotate the water in them to keep them fresh.
However, when I'm out traveling by car, I keep one Geyser bottle in the car for water machines (out West they're at every grocery store, .15 to .35 a gallon, BYOB). If I need more water I use Cascade Designs' Platypus bags - the old design, the clear-bag ones with the separate caps, not the bluish ones with the permanently attached hoses. The blue ones are horrible - don't buy one. I found they had a taste and the hose is literally impossible to clean! The company changed the design, though. If you like drink mixes for flavor, the Big Zips are the easiest to clean, and the hardest to find. Oh well.
You can boil them, freeze them, get a shower attachment for them, and slap them into your daybag for a hike. I've had mine since the early 90's and they've never leaked and still look new. Make a great hot-water bottle for sore backs, a great cold one for swollen feet, and a great way to make sure you don't get dehydrated and start buying pricey stuff 'just because.'
Why these bags? Unlike the Geyser bottles, or even ye olde canteens or Nalgenes, they ROLL UP when empty and take up less space than the bandana you've probably packed in your car somewhere. You can put six empty 3-liter bags in a shoebox and still have room! The clear ones are also taste-free and really durable. If you're hard on your gear they do make Platy Patches for punctures. The bags are pricey but last a very long time.
The little 8-ounce one is great for sneaking into museums and other places with draconian no-outside-food/water rules, too. It literally rolls up to something smaller than many tubes of toothpaste. I keep one in my travel watercolor kit, too. Cascade Designs is down the road from Tom Bihn; you could do both places in the same day. :) If you can't find any of the clear ones in the Seattle area, try Sportco in Fife (call first this time of year).
For those who buy the Hiker filter, there's a Platypus filter attachment for no-spill, no-fuss filtering, too.....
(no wonder I have to do laundry every 4 days on the road, I have too many toys)
I don't have a filter to hand, but I believe the plastic might be one of the recyclables. What's in it is activated carbon. Have a garden? Look up your plants in a garden book, then break open used, old Britas and feed the charcoal to the plants liking such a thing. I used to 'feed' my compost pile my old fish-filter activated carbon with no trouble at all.
Originally Posted by pretzelb
Still, check out your individual plants before you start digging it into the roots willy-nilly. As far as feeling guilty for not using a reusable bottle while traveling if you can't fit it in: don't. You at least are conscious of the term 'reusable.' There are many places one can travel in this world which have piles of plastic bottles used by people who will never know, nor care, about reusing anything at all.
And I'll bet your luggage uses much less fuel to get where you're going than Sam or Sally Overpacker's humongous steamer-trunk sized rolling behemoth! Maybe, more than one of them. So, even if you don't get a Sigg or Nalgene or Camelbak bottle, you're already making an impact. No guilt for you!
I like this idea but it won't work for me. I must be different but I can't stand to have stuff hanging off me, even a shoulder style bag. Given the option I prefer it cling to me just because I'm always afraid that I'll turn quickly and it will fly off me or hit someone. I guess it's because I am clumsy that way. Then again, when I walk the dogs sometimes I take a fanny pack and I won't even have the dog waste bags hanging off by a carabiner because I don't like the "feel" of it swinging around, not that it could hurt anyone.
Originally Posted by Just
Having said that, the gadget freak in me loves carabiners.