By: Evan Wishloff 

Part 2 of 4. Click here to read Part 1.

 

It was day 1 of my bikepacking adventure. I was over 160 km in, and was, for the first time, having to resupply water from a stream as opposed to a general store at a small town along the route.

I reckon almost any other year, I would have had to bust out the water filter earlier, but I was lucky (or unlucky?) enough to be riding through the Okanagan during an unseasonably wet and cool summer. Lucky because I didn’t have to deal with riding in 30 degree heat (although that would come on another day…). Unlucky because the rain was coming down in buckets.

Bikepacking the Kettle Valley Rail TrailPictured above: just another sunny morning of paradise in the Okanagan. 

The puddles along the route were turning into much more than just puddles. I don't know what the technical requirements are to designate something as a lake, but I'd like to propose that there are a few ready to be named.

Not even close to the deepest 'puddle' crossing I encountered

 

I crossed through more than a few thigh-deep lakes in the first half of the adventure. No sunscreen needed - I started to question my Okanagan friends on their claims of “beautiful, amazing, perfect-for-beach-lounging summers.”

Anyways, back to rehydrating. I pulled off to the side of the trail near the sound of a stream, pulled the palm-sized MSR filter out of my pack, and opened up my hydration bladder.

The MSR TrailShot Water Filter

In my typical under-prepared fashion, I had yet to use the MSR TrailShot - although I had read through the directions, so I wasn’t flying totally blind. I took the elastic off the folded up intake hose, dipped it into the stream, did a few obligatory squeezes to get water flowing, then pointed the spout into my open hydration bladder, and started pumping.

As advertised, it was about as foolproof as you can get - the water was flowing out of the filter fast with each pump, and I was back on the trail in just a few minutes with plenty of water to get me to the next resupply point.

Amazing! I would have expected something so small and compact to be finicky, but even in my fatigued state, it was anything but. Watch it in action below.

Onward I rode, mentally ticking off each kilometre as I pedaled towards camp for the night, over 220 km in. Spending well over 12 hours in the saddle before tucking in for the night into a tent usually wouldn’t be something I’d be looking forward to, but I was lucky enough to have an ultralight set-up that I was genuinely excited to spend my nights in...

Stay tuned to find out why in the next post in this bikepacking series.