Gone Floatabout

Lucky to live on a boat!

Katadyn Group

NB: After careful research, we approached Katadyn  for sponsorship.  Not only would it be dishonest and unhelpful to endorse products we don’t believe in, but we wouldn’t want stuff on our boat that we can’t trust!  In short, we only work with companies whose products we would use regardless of sponsorship.



After four years of a shoestring circumnavigation, hefting buckets of water from shore and knowing our life raft wasn’t completely equipped, we’re thrilled to partner with Katadyn/Spectra!

Water is one of the few things humans can’t do without, and Katadyn/Spectra makes compact low-draw and manually-operated desalinators.

With the simplicity and reliability of the PowerSurvivor 40E Celeste can be truly self-sufficient – no longer reliant on shore water but still able to produce her own electricity with solar panels – and with the ManualSurvivor 06 in our life raft we’re prepared for emergencies.  Katadyn/Spectra is the only established manufacturer of hand-pump watermakers, developed at the request of the US Government for Navy and Coast Guard life rafts.  While Katadyn’s Swiss engineering (of course we believe in Swiss engineering—we lived in Switzerland for 6 years!) makes it a leader in desalinator technology, hikers know the company for its array of purifiers.  Purifying the water we take into our tanks from shore is also important, so we’re thrilled to have Katadyn on board for all our water solutions!

Check out our video of testing our PowerSurvivor desalinator at the edge of the polar pack ice!  

We were originally worried about having enough water for crossing oceans and remote regions aboard the lighter displacement Celeste (which carries 100 gallons: our previous boat carried 200), but the Katadyn PowerSurvivor was the answer, with its compactness, low power draw, and ruggedness. In the Alaskan Arctic we didn’t need to fill our tanks for 7 weeks despite taking showers, doing all our washing in fresh water, and, of course, drinking it.  We could have gone longer but happened to reach a port with a convenient hose. 🙂

Celeste in Sea Ice

The desalinator even worked in near-freezing temperatures! Watch our video!

We were especially excited to be the first boat to receive the new, updated motor drive!  We’ve already reaped the benefits of its improved engineering and reliability, as well as its efficiency, small (physical) footprint, and simplicity of maintenance and parts (40% fewer than its predecessor).

PS40 installed

PS40 installed

ManualSurvivor06Katadyn/Spectra is also the only established maker of manual desalinators, an essential piece of equipment in any boat’s ‘abandon ship bag’ (and something we didn’t have and really wanted on our circumnavigation!).  They make two sizes: the ManualSurvivor 35 and the ManualSurvivor 06, weighing only 2.5lbs, which we carry.  (The larger one is suitable as emergency equipment for larger crews, or even as a primary watermaker for a single-hander on a small boat.)  

When water is available from shore, we still fill up our tanks but we keep them clean and safe with Micropur tablets, originally the backpacker’s solution to clean water on the trail, but also the best way to ensure spotless tanks and good drinking water in places where one can’t be sure about water quality.  (We’ve used these tablets for years on our mountain treks.) 

Micropur tablets

Occasionally at the start of a season our tanks don’t smell too great, so we do a thorough cleaning with the Micropur Tank Care Line.

And for exploration on land, we bring our MyBottle Purifiers, an ingenious system where the purifying element—filtering out viruses, bacteria and protozoa—goes right in the bottle.  To be honest, though, these bottles get more use on board without the filter: because of the straw, water doesn’t slop over your face and clothes when the boat lurches!  Small comforts really keep up morale. 🙂



Provisioning Celeste for the open ocean and for wilderness coasts like the Arctic is a huge task, but thanks to AlpineAire we have plenty of easy to make and easy to store—yet tasty!—dehydrated meals.  They’re particularly good for rough weather when cooking becomes challenging and doing dishes isn’t much fun either.  On our circumnavigation we ate US military rations in weather too rough for cooking, but now we’re happy to have Katadyn’s company AlpineAire stocking Celeste with hearty meals ranging from minestrone soup to beef rotini to blueberry granola.  Since they’re dehydrated, they’re lightweight and easy to store as well as easy to cook.  They’re also made of natural ingredients rather than E-5-million or god knows what.  And you just add boiling water—which makes them ideal for when we’re feeling seasick and no one wants to cook or clean up. 

AlpineAire in the Arctic

Rough weather chow!

These meals are also awesome the rest of the year on our backpacking and ski-touring adventures 🙂

AlpineAire in Switzerland



Hot food is essential to our happiness on a cold weather voyage—or really any voyage—so we’re pleased to have an Optimus Outdoor Stove as a back-up should anything happen to our main ship’s stove.  It uses a variety of fuels, so we’ll still be able to cook if for some reason we can no longer use propane.

We carry an Optimus Nova+, which has a quick-priming, self-cleaning burner and a windshield.  It boils a liter of water in only 3.5 minutes and it weighs 15 ounces. Nova+It uses a wide range of fuels, including diesel (which we obviously have aboard for our engine) and kerosene, which our cabin heater uses.

Just like our MyBottle Purifiers, our Optimus stove is a huge asset on the mountain treks we make when we’re not aboard Celeste. (I’ve been a fan since backpacking with my parents as a kid.)

Optimus has also provided us with some fun small things: long titanium spoons (no rust!) to reach into the AlpineAire meals and insulated pouches to keep those meals warm in the cold weather.  Those came in super handy in the Arctic, and also kept our hands toasty as we ate! It’s the little things that keep up morale!

Warm hands

Since we’ve long wished for a desalinator, tasty rough weather meals, and a high-end camping stove, we’re stoked to have the chance to equip Celeste with all of this. To learn more about these products and more, visit http://www.katadyn.com.

 Articles and blog posts that have to do with Katadyn in some way or another (in chronological order):