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Using Gourd Canteens

The American Hiking Society (  has under their Water Purification section says: “Luckily, there are now many simple and convenient ways to purify water obtained along the trail when you’re out for a nice hike. You can choose from chemical treatment (iodine or chlorine), filtration, ultraviolet light, or boiling. Each of these methods is very effective when used properly. You don’t need to use all four, just choose one that’s easy for you to use and stick with it faithfully.”


I excerpted from the write-up and added comments (italicized) concerning using these methods with the gourd canteen –


• Ultraviolet (UV) Light. This modern system looks like a small flashlight that you simply swish around in the water for about a minute to kill protozoa, bacteria, and viruses. Advantages: extremely lightweight and simple to use. [This sounds like the best overall method; you may even be able to fit it into a water-filled gourd.]

• Water filter. Good water filters will remove protozoa and bacteria such as Giardia, cryptosporidium, and salmonella. Carbon removes chemicals and bad tastes, and iodine-coated screens add virus protection. Advantages: After treating, no delay before drinking, removes dirt, and water tastes clean. [Sounds good, simply pour in gourd]

• Bring to a rolling boil for one minute. Advantage: foolproof. Drawbacks: uses a lot of fuel, is inconvenient in mid-hike, and on a sweltering summer day, hot water does not satisfy like crisp, cool spring water.  [Do not add HOT water to a gourd canteen.]

• Iodine solution, tablets, crystals. Iodine is relatively convenient and comes in a number of forms and it kills bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, except Cryptosporidium. Advantages: lightweight, easy to use. Drawbacks: 20- to 30-minute delay before drinking, and some tablets leave a strong aftertaste that some people dislike… [The strong aftertaste may remain?]

• Chlorine drops. Kills bacteria. Advantages: lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to find since it is just household bleach. Drawbacks: 20- to 30-minute delay before drinking, requires counting many drops if treating several bottles as it is very poisonous. Similar to iodine. [Need to test, not sure if it would leave taste.]


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