Drinking Water On Trip PNW

Hi All!

  Long time canoe tripper currently living in Seattle, WA. I started canoeing in 2009 in the greater Temagami area of Northern Ontario and have only ever tripped in that area and further north ontario. I have done multiple 1100 mile trips in extremely isolated areas in Ontario and have not done anything in the Pacific Northwest. I am wanting to start doing some shorter trips out here and I am curious if anyone can give me some advice on water filtration or if there are areas in BC or anywhere in the PNW for that matter that have clean drinking water. The areas I have tripped in Ontario we never had to filter water, just stop and dunk your nalgene into the water. So any advice I can get from experienced trippers in the PNW/West Coast would be awesome. Also, if anyone is doing any trips out here feel free to reach out! Cheers!

The PNW has great water compared to lots of other parts of the country. But outdoor rec is popular. Get a good filter and use it for drinking water. Problem solved.

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  Appreciate the quick response. It is good to hear that regarding water quality. Having lived here all my life I had that feeling but reassuring to hear it from you. Was planning on bringing a filter out with me as well as getting a good water tester. Obvious and straightforward, but this is uncharted territory for me haha. 

 Thanks again for the advice. I've been looking into some trip routes on here, but if you have any experience/recs on any rivers that are good to paddle in September in the area would love to hear about it. Cheers!

There are some good guide books for WA. Most of the mountain rivers are swift. The lower Skagit R is good with lots of eagles. The Methow R has some good parts. The lower Yakima R. Potholes Reservoir.

Many of the west side rivers have some canoeable sections in their lower reaches like the Cowlitz, Kalama, and Stillaguamish. I have always wanted to paddle the Columbia River in places where there are islands like near the town of Kalama.

To echo what #ppine said, I filter everything. It is just too easy. I am sure you could get by in mountain wilderness areas.

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I filter all of my water. Lots of folks don’t.

In 1985 we paddled the Boundary Waters and put a cup over the side out in the big lakes.

Giardiasis is a common cause of waterborne disease in humans. Giardiasis is sometimes called “beaver fever” after an outbreak in which hikers at Banff National Park became ill from drinking stream water contaminated with Giardia from beavers. Not something I’d want to get on a long kayak or canoe trip. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are not limited to settled areas.

You might get away with drinking unfiltered water 99% of the time, but it only takes once. Over 7 million people contract water borne diseases in the US every year. There are plenty of portable water filters that are compact, easy to use and maintain, and not that expensive.