Dirtbag Day 13

Austin Haedicke bio photo By Austin Haedicke

Water - Simple and Essential

At most camping locations you can find a water spigot not too far off. However, in the event that you cannot there are still some options available which I’ll discuss here as that is currently my situation. A couple things to consider. First, if you’re a weekend warrior or just hitting the crag for an afternoon / day trip then it’s not difficult to pack all the water you’re willing to carry. For longer term situations it’s a different story. Secondly, I’m not talking surrvivor-man-style here. Although I’m an official dirtbag now, I’d like to make this life as comfortable as I can. Basically, you can’t practice survival skills and climb at optimal performance at the same time, they’re inherently contradictory. I’m also not talking about big wall trip either as that is a whole different animal.

Consumption:

How muh water do you use on a daily basis? Remember to inclue cooking and cleaning (though these can be kept pretty minimal). I began this test process with 8 gallons of bottled water (gallon jugs) that cost me $6.90 so even for a dirtbag, that’s worthy researh investment.

The Day: 80 - 85 `F, moderate humidity, mostly sunny, 1.5 hours of hiking, 2 - 3 hours of climbing.

Water Consumption: I drink a lot of water. So for me modest cooking, skimpy cleaning and drinking totalled about 3 gallons on the test day.

Notes: The weather conditions were pretty modest for summer in the south, so 4 gallons might be a liberal estimate for any given day, or perhaps requisite on a particularly hot and steamy day. On the other hand a conservative “make it stretch” mindset might work with 2 gallons with good weather. One should also be awawre of observer biases. I wasn’t being particularly conservative with my consumption as I wanted the estimate to be both accurate and indicative of a comfortable and well hydrated day (as I said above not trying to skimp by on the bare minimum).

Cost:

There are a few options available. I have a 7 gallon BPA free jug (< $15) which is optimal if there is a spigot, in my current location there is not (NOTE: I don’t know if it fits the refill station mentioned below).

Option 1: Individual Gallon Jugs

Cost < $1 / gallon (~$0.86 in my test)

Pros: You can get as much as you need at onece (i.e. several days’ worth)

Cons: Storage space and waste could be an issue.

Option 2: Large Office-Style Jug

$12.00 for the first gallon, $0.37 / gallon on refills

Pros: Refillable

Cons: Limited amount per fill

Conclusion:

I’ll spare you the maths and just say that the individual gallons are cheaper at the 10 gallon mark, but by the 20 gallon mark the office-jug is cheaper. However, there are some practical things to consider. The jugs will be reusable and for many different functions. Also, the office-jug is meant for one thing; meaning it wont be very convenient to hoist overhead when yo uonly want a few swigs or to wrestle around (since it doesn’t have a spout like the camping one I mentioned earlier) to fill other containers and cookware. For me the individual gallons win on logistics. Cheers!