Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Efficiency with water tablets


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Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Efficiency with water tablets on 04/07/2010 17:41:41 MDT Print View

I used some Micropur tabs for the first time the other day on a 35 mile hike and have to admit, I found the whole process pretty inefficient, even moreso than using a filter. The weight savings is awesome, but when I'm trying to make a certain number of miles in a set period of time, they seem inconvenient.

People on this site love them, so what am I doing wrong?

The main problem is that I'm using platypus bottles, which I've never tried to fill without a filter before. I can't believe how difficult they are to fill by dunking them underwater, even when I've got 8-10 inches of depth to work with. Gatorade bottles would work better, but I'd like to continue using a water bladder for my speed hikes. Any tips here?

The tablets have to be kept in their individual wrappers because they're activated by light, right? Is there any way around this? Having to cut open and dispose of a wrapper for each individual wrapper seems pretty inefficient. I know this is a minor gripe, but all of this time adds up.

The only reason I'm asking about this is because I'm sure some of you have this down to a science. I'd love any and all tips!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Efficiency with water tablets on 04/07/2010 17:52:14 MDT Print View

When I used Plattys I took one that I had cut in half to use as a scoop. I also had an "open cap" with 3 layers of mosquito mesh to serve as a "debris" getter.

Now I use a solid 32 ounce bottle, which really speeds things up. I still carry the half-platty in case I encounter a shallow stream. I pull and "holster" my bottle without any effort or contortions while hiking.

Tablets will absorb water, but more of an issue is their oxidizing effect on your hands, eyes, and other tender parts. IMHO, they should stay safely wrapped. I have a small scissor that is in my tablet package, a snack size ziplock. I fill a bottle or two, snip (just enough to get the tablet out but keep it attached to minimize "pieces" in my kit), dump the tablet in - without touching it, and repeat. I can be in and out of a stream in about 3 minutes.

I'm usually on a rotation so each bottle gets a hour our so to kill time before I drink.

Edited by greg23 on 04/07/2010 17:55:22 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Efficiency with water tablets on 04/07/2010 17:54:32 MDT Print View

Nate:

I would leave the tablets in their individual bubble wrappings because they crumble easily. But it's so easy to tear open a bubble -- there is simply no need to "cut them open"!!

And yes, scooping water with a narrow-mouth platypus at a shallow water source is annoying. That's why I use THIS .

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Efficiency with water tablets on 04/07/2010 17:56:50 MDT Print View

Nate,
Obviously YMMV, but I have Never been able to tear open a MicroPure foil. Guess I need more strength training and then lessons from Ben.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
"Efficiency with water tablets" on 04/07/2010 18:18:30 MDT Print View

I'm with you, Greg--can't figure out how to tear them open with my fingers. So I pin the edge down on a log with my knife and lift the foil packet against the blade to open it. Easy enough.

So now Ben's the "foil packet enabler?" We should have him fly to CO (at his own expense, sadly...) and throw a symposium on his technic. We could maybe toss in a couple free beers.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Huh? on 04/07/2010 18:44:41 MDT Print View

Not to make anyone feel bad or anything, but after getting water from a creek, it's usually tearing open the bubble wraps with wet fingers -- and still never a problem. :)

Maybe I can get Jason Klass to do a "survivorman video"?

But in the meantime...

1. Hold bubble wrap with two hands -- between your two thumbs and two fore fingers.

2. Don't hold and tear the bubble wrap by pressing with the balls of your thumbs and fingers.

3. Instead, press down on the bubble wrap edge with the nail edge of your thumbs.

4. Tear in such a way that the nails of your thumbs are actually cutting into the foil to make for an easy tear.

Give it a try?

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Tearing open micropur tabs on 04/07/2010 19:20:02 MDT Print View

Yeah, I couldn't do it either. Maybe it's because my fingers were all wet? Also, my nails were pretty short.

Are Aqua Mira tabs easier to tear than Micropur?

Anyway, thanks for everyone's tips. Much appreciated! I read about taking a half platy before, but hated the idea of wasting one. But if it works, it definitely makes for a lighter solution than a filter.

ross erickson
(themaestro) - F

Locale: colorado
its not that hard. on 04/07/2010 20:53:23 MDT Print View

micropur tabs are the only thing i use. ill keep the tablet packs in a ziploc baggie and use it to scoop the water if the water is to shallow for my 32oz platypus. use your bandanna to filter out the floaters. i keep the the tablets in there full sheets and cut out individual tablets by cutting slits on three sides. that way i have one empty, tightly folded sheet to through away instead of 20 little wrappers.
peace
.maestro.

Edited by themaestro on 04/07/2010 20:55:00 MDT.

Kent C.
(kent) - M

Locale: High Sierra
Efficiency with water tablets...or... on 04/07/2010 21:49:09 MDT Print View

-Nate:

If you don't find a satisfactory solution for the tablets you may want to try a mini dropper bottle of bleach (very fast to apply, no trash left over, very lightweight.)

Please keep in mind that I'm not intending to start a +/- "argument" over alternatives. Just thinking about your desire for speed & ease. You may not want the taste though...

.02

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Efficiency with water tablets...or... on 04/07/2010 21:54:02 MDT Print View

Kent:

Focusing just on chemicals... chlorine or household bleach is ineffective against certain protozoa cysts (crypto, giardia, etc.).

It should be noted, however, that even though Micropur or AquaMira tablets can kill protozoa cysts -- it takes a lot of time to do that: from 30 minutes for water at room temp all the way to 4 hours for water just above freezing.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Efficiency with water tablets on 04/08/2010 01:02:28 MDT Print View

Thanks, Nate, now I have something to fret about :)

I never even tried to tear them open. I just slit them with a razor, or if I am carry my Vic Classic, use the knife blade or the scissors. Usually when I stop to fill bottles, I take a little break anyway.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Nice idea on 04/08/2010 05:26:35 MDT Print View

It never occurred to me to use the ziploc baggie to help fill the platypus bottles. I'll have to give that a try.

I've thought about taking a dropper bottle of bleach but have to say that I don't fully trust it.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Hmmm on 04/08/2010 06:59:34 MDT Print View

As for filling your platy bag, the secret is to find a little pouroff and just stick the opening right there. If you're filling from a pond or something, sweep the bag back and forth so you're forcing the water into the opening.

And I've never had a problem opening the foil on the micropur tabs with my fingers. Is it really that hard for y'all?

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Filling soft sided bottles on 04/08/2010 10:11:16 MDT Print View

filling a soft sided bottle can be more difficult but can also be easier than filling a hard sided one, sometimes you can bend and force the soft one under a little trickle in a hollow where a hard sided one wouldn't fit. If it's really impractical or just not possible to fill directly, I use the pot as a scoop. In practice, I hardly ever need to use the pot.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Hmmm on 04/08/2010 10:31:15 MDT Print View

"And I've never had a problem opening the foil on the micropur tabs with my fingers. Is it really that hard for y'all?"

Yeah, I was asking that question myself. What gives?

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Foil packets on 04/08/2010 11:02:52 MDT Print View

Some of us are just foil packet weenies, it's as simple as that. I even tried following your directions this morning, Ben. It made me grumpy, so I blew it off and am now working on a titanium foil windscreen for my stove instead.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Foil packets on 04/08/2010 11:07:13 MDT Print View

Maybe Foil Guru should come to Colorado for a demo. :)

In any case, making a titanium foil windscreen seems more fun and productive anyway...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Foil packets on 04/08/2010 12:40:43 MDT Print View

I'll bet they wouldn't have any problem with the foil covering on those tablets if it was titanium foil.

--B.G.--

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Stove on 04/08/2010 12:42:06 MDT Print View

Depends on how accessible your stove is, but I use my Heiny Keg can to fill the platy if need be.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
solutions on 04/08/2010 13:54:35 MDT Print View

Use small scissors to cut open
use platy bag cut at diagonal as scoop to fill w/ funnel if you like
store cut open foil packets in trash ziplock, away from everythine else