is it because of tannins from leaf decay? if so you may not be able to filter it out totally. it's like a natural dye (we call it Allagash tea!) in the water, but harmless to drink.
you can try coffee filters and a pint-sized funnel. this is a very cheap & lightweight way to prefilter river water into a container for treatment. try to find the clearest place you can to take water from, preferably where there's some current. then add your purification tablets and let it sit for the specified treatment time. some people are sensitive to iodine (either the taste, or it can cause mild stomach upset; should also be avoided by those taking thyroid meds). I prefer chlorine-dioxide tablets, they add no taste to the water and will actually make it taste better.
I "dumped the pump" and switched to the Sawyer squeeze filter system that weighs only 3 oz, perfect for backpacking. But I still carry ClO2 tablets as you always want more than one method for treating water, especially on an extended trip. For 2+ people I would get their gravity system. A reliable filter is pricy but worth it when you consider the nasty illnesses it is protecting you from!
Keep in mind if you are boiling the water (coffee/tea, dehydrated foods, pasta, rice, etc.) you usually don't need to bother filtering the water first.
Touring Kayak Paddles
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