We’re lucky in the Pacific Northwest to be near plentiful water sources on so many good adventures. Whether it’s alpine lakes, waterfalls, creeks, or rivers, I can usually get away with just carrying all the water I’ll need on an outing – or, ideally, less than I need with a filter. The MSR TrailShot™ Pocket-Sized Water Filter is a good option to throw in the bottom of your pack for those “just in case” days.
It’s lightweight (just 5 ounces) and easy to use. Just hold it in your hand, place the hose end into the water source and one-hand squeeze the TrailShot to drink straight from the top (or fill your bottles / bladders).
I found it took just over a minute to fill approximately a liter (as they claimed it would) so you’re not spending a ton of time waiting on a gravity filter or purification tablets. It also doesn’t require even a full body of water, as the small tube did an admirable job for even some smaller water spots.
According to the info from MSR, the filter uses “hollow-fiber technology” that will effectively remove common backcountry bacteria and lasts for about 2,000 liters.
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One of my favorite race memories is crossing the finish line, being ushered into a tent where my post-race clothes were, getting undressed, and then being told the showers were across the picnic area. I had a beach towel with me, but walking through the food area wearing only a towel was…an experience.
I recently got a PackTowel and think back on that finish line moment with a “well this would have been handy”. The PackTowl is a microfiber towel but folds up infinitely smaller than a behemoth beach towel. A regular sized PackTowl folds up and takes up a fraction of the space and is relatively light weight. It claims to be able to soak up to 5x its weight in water, with the ability to wring out and dry much faster than cotton options.
Luckily I haven’t had to confirm that, but it does dry well and washes nicely. I also love a towel in my car for a post-run wipe off, putting down on my seat to keep the moisture / mud off my seats, or for wrapping up gross clothes or shoes and throwing it all in the washer together. Additionally, it’ll be in my backpacking pack for those alpine lake soaks for next summer, for sure.
Though I’m not a ‘shower at the gym’ person and typically just run around as a dirtbag, a fellow Run Oregon blogger has a PackTowel to use at the gym and also touts it’s fast drying time, portability, and the corner loop for hanging on hooks in the locker room to make sure it’s secure / avoiding falling onto the slimy wet floors.