14 September 2008

Water problem fixed

Well, now that I'm "back to school" and things are getting back "to normal," I've finally found the time to write about how my water problem during my last trip finally got fixed.

As many know, it was a tiny piece of rubber about the size of a dime, called an "umbrella valve" that ended my Booth Lake trip prematurely back in early August, and that as of my last posting I was awaiting a replacement part from MSR.  Well, about 10 days after my posting I received the part, along with a spare that I will be religiously carrying with me from now on.  The people at MSR were very helpful, and with no "proof of purchase" required, listened to my predicament, and volunteered to send me the needed part free of charge, sending me a spare as a way of apologizing for the inconvenience to my trip their product had caused me.

In hind-sight, it really wasn't my broken water filter that cut my trip short, for like any interior camper, I should have had a back up method in place, and now plan accordingly.  You see, when I set out, I had banked enough fuel for my normal cooking needs, which did not include boiling water; which has now changed, as I carry an extra fuel canister beyond what I am expecting to use, for the sole purpose of emergency water purification.  

In terms of the actual repair of my filter, for those interested, it took about 30 seconds to make the necessary repairs to my MSR MiniWorks Ex water filter.
I simply twisted off the pump head, gently pinched and pulled the broken umbrella valve off, rinsed the cap gently pressed in the new one in place and screwed the pump head back on.  Viola!  Problem solved. 
I did also followed the advice of the people at MSR and gave my unit a good cleaning.  You see, they explained that even small amounts of dirt in the unit (or any water filter for that matter) increases the interior pumping pressure which can shorten the life of the more fragile parts of a purifier; which likely lead to my valve breaking.  While I though I kept my filter clean, as I made a habit of cleaning it once the water flow through it decreased even slightly, they told me I should be "scrub cleaning" the filter, after every few liters of pumped water for optimal performance of the unit; something I will be doing from now on.

Lessons learned! 

Now, with all my gear back in peak performance, better back up plans in hand, and my schedule back to a more predictable pace, I can get back to the fun stuff, and get working on the planning of my next trip!

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