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Best Potable Water
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jeremy wo
(jwucd) - F
Best Potable Water on 04/09/2005 04:11:23 MDT Print View

I was told water purified with MSR Miox solution is significantly better tasting than water purified with Aquamira. I've tried Aquamira, but not Miox. Has anyone compared them? How does the better of the two compare to a traditional pump? Either of them is light enough for me--I'm concerned with taste and any other factors you thing are relevant.


Patrick Baker
(WildMan) - F
FS: Miox on 04/09/2005 05:04:04 MDT Print View

There is an excellent condition Miox for sale as of yesterday for an asking price of $75 in the Buy & Sell Gear forum here:

Registration required.

Buy it, try it and then let us know !

Edited by WildMan on 04/09/2005 11:05:55 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Miox/AM/filter on 04/09/2005 11:59:37 MDT Print View

Strictly from an aesthetic standpoint, a filter generally yields better tasting water because it's removing, not adding anything. If it has a carbon component, it can remove certain organics and improve the taste.

I find that both the Miox and Aqua Mira leave some detectable chlorinish remnant in the water that's more evident in very clear water. I can't say that one does this more than the other, as I've never done a side-by-side comparison, only note that they both do, to my palate.

I like the Miox for its ease of use and gadget appeal, AM for its simplicity and compactness, and filtering for yielding the best-tasting water.

Which might be best for your purposes has to begin with a consideration of the quality and variability of your source water.

jeremy wo
(jwucd) - F
miox v. aquamira, and overkill on 04/09/2005 16:34:08 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input.

To clarify the original post, I'm just asking about taste here. I know how filters work, chemicals work, and the efficacy of diferent methods. I was told Miox tasts much better. If that's true it might be worth the money.

The question may be moot since I usually use a Camelbak now, which I think gives water a little bit of a plastic taste.

NEW QUESTION: It seems like a lot of discussion I've read on this site and other places recently focuses on multiple methods for killing and removing everything. I think Ray Jardine's book talks about not filtering or purifying, but instead just picking good sites to drink from. Is this multiple method trend irrational? This is anecdotal, but I grew up in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and my friends and I must have drunk a hundred gallons of water without a case of giardia or crypto. I knew one person--an older local guy who hiked and camped his entire life--who got giardia. And I've been told it's a high risk area (especially the Merced river around Yosemite).

What do you all think? Marketing induced paranoia? Excuse to buy lots of gear? Significant concern?

Thanks again.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
untreated water tastes the best on 04/09/2005 17:38:26 MDT Print View

I think there is a pernicious combination of land manager's liability fears, media hype, and the willingness of the Gear Industry to sell people what they think they want. It isn't really a "conspiracy" in the sense that it isn't actively planned, but our culture as a whole and most individuals within it have a ridiculous sense of personal risk. I find it wildly humorous to live in a culture that tolerates a fairly large number of deaths in auto accidents every year, but we completely freak out about West Nile virus.

My own philosophy is that if you are of the "why take a chance?" mentality it is hard to justify getting out of bed, until you worry about bedsores :).

I hardly ever treat the water on journeys in North America. I hardly ever get sick, and in no case could it be correlated to bad water. It has been bad restaurant food or sharing food with other people that has caught me. Since about a third of the population has ghiardia and has no outward symtpoms, sharing a bag of gorp or a water bottle with someone (it isn't that you don't know where there hands have been -- you do know, you just can't be sure they washed their hands afterwards) who is a carrier can infect you, and infection by that path seems (to me) to be far, far more likely than infection from contaminated water sources.

I know of two surveys of backcountry water quality out west, one in the Sierra Nevada and one in the Cascades. In both cases (well, both surveys actually looked at hundreds of individual water sources), they found all of the usual contaminants (e.g. ghiardia, crypto...) in backcountry water sources. What they also found was that those contaminants were present in concentrations lower than in treated tap water, and in no case were they found in concentrations that were likely infect an otherwise healthy person.

That's my $0.02. I don't care if others treat their water, but the water generally tastes best straight from the waterfall.

Victor Karpenko
(Viktor) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Backcountry water on 04/09/2005 21:23:49 MDT Print View

Backpacker magazine published an article on the above subject and had the same conclusions. The water in Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which supplies the water to San Francisco and the East Bay, contained pathogens at levels too low to infect healthy individuals. The water source for Hetch Hetchy comes right out of fairly popular area in Yosemite.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Bugs on 04/10/2005 13:44:46 MDT Print View

Hepatitis is probably my biggest fear: while admittedly it's very uncommon, the consequences can be dire, as your account bears out.

Lucky indeed is the hiker who's not had a drink from water that appears completely safe, only to discover later that there's a very large, very dead, very decomposed animal upstream, or notices from breaks in the melting snowcover reveal a vast meadow of cow pies.

To my knowledge, I've never been sick from drinking water in the woods--treated, filtered, or untreated/filtered. While I once drink with imagined impunity, I now assume water is contaminated unless I feel can reasonably establish it's not.

Everyone has to make their own set of rules; my suggestion is that prudence never hurts, even at the cost of a little time and effort.

jeremy wo
(jwucd) - F
rational and irrational fear on 04/10/2005 18:41:10 MDT Print View

Re David's post: I've thought the same thing many times. I've seen stories on aluminum related Alzheimer’s and fear of flying.

And it's not that concern about hairdryer-in-bathtub related electrocution is irrational (for people who use both), but that it shouldn't be disproportionate. I don't think the fact that my chance of being seriously injured while driving to the trail is far greater than my chance of being seriously injured while on the trail should affect my decision to treat (or not treat) water. (i.e., just beacuse I'll probably die of cancer or heart attack doesn't mean I'm not going to cook food thoroughly.) The cost (of safety)/benifit of safety (i.e., severity and probability of harm) analysis is independent. At least, mostly.

Does anyone have a link for any of those articles/studies? I've tried, but without luck. Thanks.

Edited by jwucd on 04/10/2005 18:46:27 MDT.

Frank Ramos
(frprovis) - F
treating water on 04/10/2005 18:44:43 MDT Print View

There are excellent vaccines for Hepatatis A. If you haven't been vaccinated, then this is very important, regardless of whether you go camping or not. Hep A is fecal transmitted, which means also transmitted by hands of people who don't wash after defecating. Hep A is endemic in Mexico and Central America and much of our fresh fruit and vegetables comes from there, as well as from farms in the US using immigrants from Mexico/Central America. Obviously, workers in the fields on these farms seldom have the opportunity to wash up after defecating. Bottom line, you can get Hep A just by touching a piece of fresh fruit in the supermarket and then eating something later without washing your hands first, even something other than the fruit, since the germs from merely touching the fruit would still be on your hands.

I don't know why your sister got so sick from Hep A. I thought it only lasted a month or so. Hep B is much more serious. It is common to be knocked down for a year with that. And if you get the aggravated form of Hep B (namely, Hep D) then you'll likely die. Hep C is also bad knews. Hep B is blood born--mainly drug addicts, homosexuals and health workers are at risk. There is an excellent vaccine available. Hep C is poorly understood. Mainly drug addicts and criminals get it. Probably blood borne for people with weak immune system. No vaccine avail. Kills you after about 20 years without symptoms.

I've been drinking untreated water from highland streams for years, even when I knew there were animals (sheep, cows, horses, goats plus all the wild beast) crapping in the water upstream. The main danger here is strains of e.coli, since I couldn't care less about giardia or crypto. Humans will eventually adapt to most of these strains of e.coli, as I understand, but the initial shock could kill someone with a weak immune system. That is why keeping the immune system strong is vital, especially for long-distance hikers. DON'T PUSH YOURSELF TOO HARD!!!! And take a daily Vitamin supplement and eat some boiled or fresh nettles daily if you can find them.

The main thing that worries me about untreated water is liver flukes. I read about somewhere that these are common in in lowland streams. People who eat watercress salads, for example, are prone to getting liver flukes. I would never drink directly from lowland streams.

Water from the surface of quiet mountain tarns in the mid-summer is usually pure, since the intense ultraviolet light at high altitudes is a strong germicide.

jeremy wo
(jwucd) - F
aquamira, crypto, and time on 04/11/2005 03:31:25 MDT Print View

I just noticed the miox says it takes much longer to kill crypto and giardia-4 hours for crypto. Aquamira's instructions just say to double the dose and give it 30 minutes if crypto is "suspected." What do you think?

Edited by jwucd on 04/11/2005 03:50:56 MDT.

Kim Skaarup
(skaarup) - F

Locale: Cold, wet and windy Scandinavia
Re: Hepatitis A and vaccine on 04/11/2005 06:27:40 MDT Print View

Havrix is an effektive vaccine aginst Hepatitis A.

I was vaccinated in 1993 when it first was introduced. (the Danish Army paided :-) They then said it would work for 10 years. When I last year asked for revaccine they said that now they know it will work for at least 20-25 years, maybe for a lifetime. So I didnt need a revaccine.!

The gammaglobine only last a few month.

Anyway, take the Havrix vaccine aginst Hepatistis A when you have the chance.

Btw. I was also told that children are not affected by the Hepatitis A, and they dont recommend or demand them to be vaccinated.

So if you bulke up and use your seatbelt in the car - for safety - do treat your water. Better safe than sorry. On the other hand if you live at the edge - try drink raw water.

Edited by skaarup on 04/11/2005 06:32:49 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Cyst Deactivation on 04/11/2005 14:46:40 MDT Print View

From what I've read (and I'm no expert!) deactivating cysts is a challenge to all chemical treatments, especially in cold, turbid water. The treatments have to be rated based on worst-case scenarios, and I suspect that's where the four-hour time comes from.

I note also that Aqua Mira and Pristine (the identical stuff) are now both flogging filteration bottles as an adjunct to chemical treatment, implying that they're best used in tandem. Finally, neither has yet been registered with the Calif. EPA.

andrew mitchell
(brocc7) - F
water on 04/13/2005 14:34:05 MDT Print View

I am an Emergency doctor with extensive mddical and hiking experience and I agree water spread disease is rare in wildernes areas. The onlt hepatitis spread by water is hepatitis A which is now rare, lasts 1-2 months, and almost never fatal. Anyone can Email me at with other medical questions.

HEV on 04/13/2005 15:21:41 MDT Print View

Dr. M,

Just curious. What about HEV? Aren't there documented cases that HEV can also be water borne - at least in foreign countries?

Kim Skaarup
(skaarup) - F

Locale: Cold, wet and windy Scandinavia
Untreated water & stools gun on 04/13/2005 15:29:33 MDT Print View

I always treat my water and let my tell you why.

Nearly 26 years ago, on a tour in a deserted part of Sweden, I had been drinking untreated water for 5 days with no problems what so ever.

Then I drank from a small lake where it turned out that upstream there was a small derelict farming unit.

Later that night I woke up with a lot of pressure in my stomack and 1 minute later I was forced to leave the sleeping bag and just pull down my pants. It left like a gun. The stools landed 15-20 feet away. The sight at the camp next morning was very awful.

The rest of the tour was destroyed. I could only drink a little CocaCola, boiled water and eat some thin oatsoup with a little sugar for 2-3 days. It took me over a week to recover and I was marked the rest of that summer of ´79

I think that I just drank some E-Coli bacterias. You never know when you encounter some "*BEEP*"

Do treat your water and with several stages.! Its possible for a few Oz to have water as good or better that municipal water.

Edited by skaarup on 04/13/2005 15:30:44 MDT.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
references on water-borne disease and hiking... on 04/13/2005 17:50:55 MDT Print View

Googling for "yosemite giardia" brought this page up (in fact, it was at the top of the list):

Read it and draw your own conclusions.

Another source is Chapter 13 of _Long-Distance Hiking_ by Roland Mueser.

Still gladly drinking from free-flowing streams.

jeremy wo
(jwucd) - F
(lack of) giardia in Sierras on 04/13/2005 19:55:50 MDT Print View

Great find. See:

Of course, it's just about giardia, not other nasties. Brief excerpts:
This paper is the result of a critical distillation of relevant articles, retaining only those from scholarly, peer-reviewed, or otherwise professional and trustworthy sources...

One conclusion of this paper is that you can indeed contract giardiasis on visits to the Sierra Nevada, but it won’t be from the water. So drink freely and confidently: Proper personal hygiene is far more important in avoiding giardiasis than treating the water...

So it seems like we should worry much, much, much more about getting giardia from a salad or swimming pool than from sierra water.

p.s. I'm still treating my water. :-)

Edited by jwucd on 04/13/2005 19:59:21 MDT.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
Just got an aquastar on 04/28/2005 16:35:20 MDT Print View

I'll be using it primarily for a while, so I'll try to post feedback.

I was using chlorine tabs, but they either didn't work well recently, or the chlorine was still active and killed good bacteria, or I got coincidentally sick after a recent 3 day trip to Henry Coe State Park in Ca.

Anyway, it seems like a good system and I got a good deal ($76 on ebay from the manufacturer) - looking forward to worryfree water for a while.