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Quick Water Question
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Kevin Stephens
(KyKevin) - F

Locale: Land of Arches
Quick Water Question on 06/19/2007 09:06:33 MDT Print View

What would you suggest for purification of water on a budget? From all I read the Aqua Mira seems to be the best deal.

Cooking water shouldn't have to be purified as long as you boil it before adding food correct?

I plan on backpacking the next 10 or 12 weekends at the Red River Gorge. Thanks for all the help.

Gabriel August
(gaugust) - F

Locale: Penn's Woods
Re: Quick Water Question on 06/19/2007 10:00:24 MDT Print View

I've always used aqua-mira. simple, no-nonsense, lightweight. BPL actually has a chlorine dioxide mixture that doesn't requiring two separate liquids for sale in the shop that i would like to try.

Stephen Eggleston
(happycamper) - F

Locale: South Bayish
Re: Quick Water Question on 06/19/2007 10:30:17 MDT Print View

I suggest purifying water before cooking with it. To kill micro-organisms a full boil is required and I believe there is some variation on the amount of time required at altitude vs sea level. This is too much for me to think about while backpacking and especially when hungry!! I prefer to purify water and then cook with it.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Quick Water Question on 06/19/2007 11:50:35 MDT Print View

If using chlorine dioxide, Micropur tablets (one tablet per quart or liter) is a much better choice than Aqua Mira (AM). A few points to consider:

1. Solid Micropur has about 4 times the chlorine dioxide than liquid AM. (*) Micropur is allowed to state on its label that it can treat all three classes of baddies: viruses, bacteria, and the harder-to-kill protozoa cysts (e.g. cryptosporidium). Treatment time is 15 minutes for the first two, and 30 minutes for the third. HOWEVER, if water is near freezing, treating the third baddy can take up to 4 hours.

2. In contrast, liquid AM is less concentrated, and is NOT allowed to state anything about protozoa. If you read the AM label, all it says is 30 minutes treatment time to kill bacteria -- that's it. Now, both AM and Micropur use the same ingredients, just different concentration. You can achieve the same efficacy with AM by quadrupling the number of drops used -- but that's both expensive and tedious.

3. With Micropur, you just drop in a tablet per quart or liter, and wait 30 minutes. With AM, you have to carry two separate bottles of liquid, count the number of drops, mix the two liquids, wait 5 minutes for oxidation to occur -- then pour the mixture into your drinking bottle/bladder -- and only then does the 30 minute countdown begin.

If one has already purchased AM, then continue using it by all means, but if starting fresh or replenishing, I would recommend Micropur over AM.

Finally, BPL sells a liquid chlorine dioxide that eliminates mixing. However, once opened, it has a shelf life of just 6 months, and BPL recommends refrigerating the bottle in-between uses. If I remember correctly, both AM (unmixed) and Micropur tablets have a 5-year shelf life.

(*) - According to a recent post on forum -- written after the poster had talked with an McNett AM rep, comparing specifically between AM and Micropur.

Edited by ben2world on 06/19/2007 14:00:26 MDT.

Kevin Stephens
(KyKevin) - F

Locale: Land of Arches
.. on 06/19/2007 12:14:16 MDT Print View

Thanks, hadn't really read alot about the tablets by Micropur, will have to check into those...sounds like the way to go bad after taste is there?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Bad Taste on 06/19/2007 12:37:16 MDT Print View


Taste is subjective, and this one really goes all across the board! I have read that:

1. AM is tasteless
2. AM actually improves water taste
3. AM is foul tasting
4. Ditto all three for Micropur!

My own experience is that I dislike the taste of both! Buy you may feel differently. I recommend that you give Micropur a try first -- start with the simple option and go from there.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Bad Taste on 06/19/2007 13:04:38 MDT Print View

I use Micropur. I feel really good about the level of protection after 30 minutes. I can't taste it when the water is cold. I can taste something when it gets warmer, but that could just as easily be the Aquafina bottle that I put it in. In either case, it's not bad enough to warrant switching to heavier or less convenient methods.

If taste is a concern, use a carbon filter like the Katadyn Hiker (not UL!).

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Micropur vs Klearwater ? on 06/19/2007 17:04:07 MDT Print View

I have been using Klearwater for a while now and I really like how easy it is. Just one one bottle to carry, fill the little cap per Liter, if its yellow its active- wait and done. I just ordered 2 more bottles.
By the way my Klearwater has lasted longer than 6 months open. I just keeped it in the frige. Actually I had a bottle in the fridge for about 5-6 months then I though it must be going bad by now so I put it in the bathroom cabnit to use as mouth wash as it whent bad, but I kind of forgot about it for a few months and when I checked again it was still as yellow (active) as it was when new!
As for Micropur it seems the easiest and lightest solution. But I thought it was not supposed to be as good with biofilms? On this web site BPL recomends Micropur as an overnight solution more than for on-the-go- so whats the deal?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Micropur vs Klearwater ? on 06/19/2007 18:03:12 MDT Print View

I wouldn't even pretend to be a water/biofilm expert -- so folks who know, please chime in.

My understanding is that biofilm is basically bacteria "clumping together" to form a barrier for added protection from the surrounding environment. This makes them harder to kill -- as compared to "free floating" bacteria.

To compensate for biofilm, the instructions of Aqua Mira and Klearwater both state higher dosage and longer treatment times than what is normally needed. As for Micropur, each tablet incorporate more chlorine dioxide than is normally needed as well. So they all have "built in" buffers when used as directed. If slimey water is all that's available, it's an easy thing to manually up the dosage and treatment time as well -- within reason.

Given that chlorine dioxide can require up to 4 hours treatment time when water is at near-freezing temps -- then for all practical purpose, it's no longer an "on the go" option for treating really cold water, but something more for camp use instead -- when one can afford to wait for hours on end or even overnight.

Finally, I recently read that biofilms occur not just in rivers and streams, but inside the human body as well! Doctors have long been baffled why antibiotics seem to work miraculously in a patient -- only to have the same bacteria coming back with a vengeance! In some cases, the antibiotics kill off the free floating bacteria but not the ones cocooned within the biofilm. Once the anitbiotics are gone, the bacteria re-emerge from the biofilm and multiply again. Repeat this enough times, and the successive bacteria can well acquire immunity from the anitbiotics used! That's why doctors always urge patients to consume the full dosage of antibiotics -- even if halfway through, they feel like they have recovered already. I suppose the same can be said with water treatment -- don't skimp on chemicals and don't cut short the required treatment time.

Edited by ben2world on 06/19/2007 18:14:49 MDT.

Kevin Stephens
(KyKevin) - F

Locale: Land of Arches
... on 06/19/2007 18:48:03 MDT Print View

Would it be possible to boil each days water in advance the night before? I know it would be fuel intnsive, but for a long weekend fuel really isnt an issue for me.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
BOILING.. on 06/19/2007 18:55:52 MDT Print View

Yes of coarse, but you will have to carry a whole days water supply! I remember I meet a hiker who did that, he carried like a gallon of water with him even though water was easy to find. I only carry 1-2 liters at most at a time but water is easy to find where I hike. I guess if you have to carry the days water with you boiling would make sense.
Remember you also have to wait for the water to cool down before you can drink it, warm water on a hot day is not pleasnt.

I think the problem with Micropur is that it doesnt dissolve as well in "dirty" water, therefore the liquid being better for biofilms. But as you said I think that can be compensated for by upping the dose... somthing you might do with the others in dirty water anyway.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 06/19/2007 19:05:40 MDT.

Jaiden .
(jaiden) - F
Re: ... on 06/19/2007 19:38:29 MDT Print View

Also remember this significantly increases the amount of fuel you will need to carry. But as you've seen there is no one right answer for this, and water treatment is practically a religious debate! I expect a lot of people use different methods depending on the expected conditions. For example, you're melting snow for water, you might as well boil for purification. In the winter you might want to filter rather than wait. In the summer in places where water is plentiful, you might treat and carry relatively little water with you. In the end, it's a very personal decision.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
aqua mira vs micropur on 06/19/2007 20:20:43 MDT Print View

I use micropur. It is simple to use, and never seems to expire. I have heard aqua mira will expire slowly; how slowly is a subjeect of debate. I emailed the company and they said 'one hiking season' at least (9 months?), but leaving the bottle(s) open too long spoils (oxidizes?) it more quickly..
I would rather not worry about that uncertainty.
Another consideration is the compactness of micropur. I can leave one foil wrapped tab in my wallet, one in my survival pouch, the rest in my kitchen bag; I would never be without its capability.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Quick Water Question on 06/19/2007 22:37:08 MDT Print View

If you bring water to a boil it kills everything--even at elevation. Cooking water doesn't need to be treated except by boiling.

Iodine is the cheapest but tastes bad--unless you add powdered Vitamin C which neutralizes it or disguise it with drink mix.

Concentrated laundry bleach (7 drops per qt) works well, but less well on Giardia/Crypto and tastes OK.

Aqua Mira/chlorine dioxide products taste the best and are probably a little better with cysts.

You can buy fairly inexpensive pumps but these generally don't remove viruses (though some have bound iodine which will kill them). Viruses are generally not a problem in US mountains but are a big problem in the "third world".

Rob Blazoff
(Genetic) - F

Locale: Out back, brewing beer in BPA.
iodine on 06/20/2007 20:15:06 MDT Print View

I'm pretty sure that the iodine models no longer exist due to a lack of sourcing and quality control of the charcoal (in the cap). Katadyn (formerly Pur ourdoor) hasn't had the Voyager or the Scout for about 7 years now, if those are the models that you speak of.