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Dominic Reitman
(dreitman) - F
My MIOX experience on 03/11/2008 20:50:35 MDT Print View

I received my MIOX purifier as a birthday gift about three years ago and have used it almost exclusively for all my backpacking trips. Here are my comments on the device

I'll agree that the taste is sometimes not the best but it does not bother me. I usually drink through a blatter which I noticed is better than dinking from a nalgene bottle.

After going through the original pack of test strips I no longer carry them. I also bought a lifetime supply of rock salt from the grocery store (Morton Ice Cream Salt $2). This leaves batteries as the only ongoing cost.

I have had to replace the batteries twice in three years. The batteries are not cheap, I usualy buy Energizer Lithium size 123. One set of batteries can easily last a weeklong outing for a small group of hikers (4 to 6 people). Note that you can usually get a few days of usage even after receiving the low battery signal.

As far as what to take when hiking:
Extra set of batteries and salt. Even though you can fill the salt chamber and purify what seems to be and endless amount of water... time does kill all... and after a day or so the residual moisture will desolve a lot of the salt.

My MIOX was very popular on a boyscout backpacking trip last summer. It purified water for 14 people for three days.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
MIOX on 07/26/2009 12:33:46 MDT Print View

I've had a Miox for over 2 years now and I've generally been happy with it.

The battery life is excellent. As long as my batteries are relatively new, I have no worries about going on a weeklong trip with 2-3 people with it. I leave the test strips at home and just bring the actual gadget plus a small bag of salt. You certainly don't need nearly the whole baggie of salt that comes with the Miox.

I haven't had any troubles with inserting the batteries like BPL did.

The taste is acceptable in my opinion and my wife's. I find you can smell it pretty clearly, but there isn't much actual taste. If you do find taste to be a problem you can leave the lid off your water container for 30 min once the treatment period is over to let the chlorine evaporate off.

I don't wait longer than 30 minutes to drink mine. I'm not sure why BPL felt the need to wait 4 hours, since most other treatment methods don't even kill crypto in the first place. Just forget about the crypto and wait 30 minutes. Also, 4 hours is the time at which you have a 99.99% (or something like this) chance of killing all crypto. After 30 minutes you've probably got a 98% chance that any crypto is dead. Considering how rare crypto is, those are pretty darn good odds even after 30 min.

What's not to like? It can be a bit finicky to get enough salt in the water. If you don't shake it enough, you get the low salt light. If you remember to pre-wet the salt and also don't overfill the salt chamber then it's easier to use.

Also, the whole unit is a bit heavy compared to the drops and pills on the market. I'm at work so I don't have the weight spec on mine, but it's a lot heavier than carrying a few droppers of chemicals (ie. repackaged Aquamira).

If I do stop using the Miox one day, it will be because of the weight. The smell/taste and potential for unit failure are not significant concerns for me. I find that most other people do not complain about the taste. When I've been camping with large groups, people often ask me to treat their water too and everyone loves it. The Miox is really cool to see working.

Two weeks ago my wife and I were camping with another couple that were using a microfilter pump. Initially they said they preferred pumping their water for the fresh spring water taste, but by the second day in bug infested conditions they were much happier to use the Miox and not have to spend 5 minutes down at the stream pumping water. When time is tight, weather conditions are adverse or the bugs are really bad then the Miox shines. I carry mine in my hip belt pocket and I can fill up my Platypus 1L, treat it and be on my way in well under a minute.

The reason I'm writing this review is because last night I mentioned to my wife I might sell the MIOX and use drops instead to save weight. She was really surprised and asked me to keep the MIOX because it is her favorite piece of gear. I had no idea...it is pretty darn cool...and fast....and safe.

I think I'll keep the Miox until someone comes out with drops that work as well the Miox without the 5 minute waiting period that Aquamira has. Waiting sucks when it's pouring rain.

Now that I think about it, how many water stops do you do in a full day of hiking? 4 or 5? If the Miox saves you 4 minutes per stop (1 min vs. 5 min) then that's 16-20 minutes per day. Shaving a few ounces off your pack isn't going to make that back so the MIOX hiker should be faster than the Aquamira hiker.

Update:
I weighed my MIOX to see how it all adds up. Here's the results:

99.8g - MIOX wand loaded with batteries and salt (all you need for 1-2 nights)
62.5g - MIOX wand without batteries and salt
16.5g - One CR123 Lithium Battery. The MIOX uses 2.
31.7g - MSR Salt Bag filled with Salt. This is a LOT.
10g - The amount of salt I'd bring for a 2 person 7 day trip
13g - My test strip container about 1/3 full of strips. A full container is likely around 20g.
15g - Supplied Bag

For trips that are 1 or 2 nights, I would just bring the wand loaded with fresh batteries and salt (99.8g). For trips up to a week, I would bring about 10g of extra salt. For trips longer than a week I would bring 2 spare batteries (33g) and more salt. So a MIOX setup would weigh between 100g - 150g depending on weather you are going for a few nights or a few weeks. If you wanted to bring the bag and test strips you'd be adding another 50g or so.

Edited by dandydan on 07/31/2009 20:13:39 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: MIOX on 08/01/2009 00:57:58 MDT Print View

Without negating the above, my big problem with MIOX -- as compared to Steripen or similar UV devices -- is that if I feel I need to treat my water at all, then I would rather spend 45-90 seconds treating my water and knowing that it is safe to drink -- versus treating it with MIOX and then having to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours! for the chemicals to kill protozoa (e.g. crypto, giardia, etc.).

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
MIOX vs. Steripen Adventurer on 08/02/2009 01:08:05 MDT Print View

The Steripen is an interesting competitor. It takes marginally longer to do, but then you can drink right away and then is no chemical smell or taste. The price and weight are very similar. On the face of it, that sounds like a compelling case.

There are a few areas where the MIOX would shine though. One is battery life. The Steripen is rated at 50L per set of CR123 batteries whereas the MIOX is rated over 200L on the same set of CR123. This means lower operating costs in the long term (not really a big deal) and it means more weight on some trips. I wouldn't take spare batteries on a week long trip with 2 people for the MIOX (or even 2 weeks), but you'd probably want them for the Steripen. Since the MIOX uses about 1/4 the batteries, this could be significant on a longer trip or a trip with lots of people.

Secondly, the MIOX can crank out a lot more water. The Steripen works good for individual use, but it would make water stops long if you have 4 people who all need to make a litre or two of water. If everyone brings their own, that would obviously add a lot of weight. The MIOX can crank out a batch of MIOX in about 10-20 seconds and that batch can do up to 4 litres of water.

Thirdly, I believe the MIOX works better with turbid water but I'm unsure about this.

For solo hiking the Steripen is probably the way to go since you aren't making much water and battery life likely won't be an issue. For longer trips or larger groups the MIOX becomes increasingly advantageous.

Edited by dandydan on 08/02/2009 01:09:18 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: MIOX vs. Steripen Adventurer on 08/02/2009 06:49:28 MDT Print View

Dan:

I totally agree -- in terms of treating water for a large group -- it would be seriously tedious to treat with Steripen. I would use something else -- but STILL NOT MIOX.

Again, convenience is one thing, but effectiveness is the critical factor here. My big hang up is the 30 minutes to 4 hours wait time to treat protozoa -- which can have both long and serious effects! Overnight treatment aside, waiting up to 4 hours for water (say in the middle of the day) is just too impractical. Compared to this major shortcoming -- the benefits of longer battery usage, etc. are tiny as to be almost meaningless.

Not saying that Steripen is "the" answer (it may or may not be depending on circumstances) -- but saying that MIOX falls short in terms of high initial cost, slightly tedious usage (as compared to chlorine dioxide tablets for example) -- but most of all for the overly long treatment time required to protect against protozoa.

Edited by ben2world on 08/02/2009 06:52:44 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Crypto? on 08/02/2009 11:28:07 MDT Print View

Does Steripen kill crypto?

My understanding is that crypto is so rare in North American waters that it's not worth worrying about. I could be wrong though. I normally wait only 30 min, which is a lot longer than Steripen but it's not that annoying.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Crypto? on 08/02/2009 11:35:31 MDT Print View

My understanding is UVC inactivates both giardia and crypto cysts, of course with no time lag like chemical treatment.

Cheers,

Rick