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Seeking a better way to purify water


newkid

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Hey Guys, 

I'm wondering how you guys handle the water situation when you are camping/hiking. I am looking to start hiking soon but have a few questions. Do you guys just use iodine tablets on springs? Are there any alternatives to that? Thank You very much for helping out a newbie :D

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I'm sure Trailgroove has had a few articles if you search. This is a goot write-up:  http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacking-Water-Filter-Reviews/Buying-Advice

My experience is the Katadyn Hiker is the most foolproof, reliable, and easy filter.

I have a Sawyer Squeeze Mini that never leaves my garage. Some people love them if they make some modifications (it's hard to fill the tiny bag and takes forever to filter a quart).

I use a Steripen in the Sierra Nevada because every water source is crystal clear.

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I started backpacking in the late 60s and didn't start treating water until the mid 80s. I've never gotten sick from drinking backcountry water.

When I did start treating water, I used filter and pump systems.  Every one of these failed in the field at some point - either a housing or a handle broke, or the filter became too clogged to use. I hate the taste of bleach and iodine, so when chlorine dioxide drops (AquaMira) became available a decade or so ago I switched to them - no bad taste after half an hour. And chlorine dioxide is better at neutralizing the taste of cow or sheep #$^%&^# in water than filters are, in my experience.

The drops can fail too - you can lose the cap or forget to tighten it or get a hole in the bottle etc.  But there are far fewer failure modes for chlorine dioxide than for any other water treatment method.

But mostly, I still don't treat water in the high country unless I think cows or people are upstream.

IMG_0544.JPG

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I'm a filter guy and also previously used the PUR / Katadyn Hiker that @toejam suggested and the First Need XL. More recently I've moved to inline and gravity filters like the Sawyer SP122 (review) and my current system - the Platypus GravityWorks (review). I try to avoid chemicals, but they work well for a lot of hikers. I filter or boil everything; I've seen too much even that at first glance looks like pristine mountain water that I'd never want to drink, and of course that's just what I could see. But obviously comfort / peace of mind levels vary. :) 

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Ditto on the Platypus GravityWorks, it filters while I set up camp and I have the 4 liter version, so there's plenty to share with a hiking partner. Used it for a group of five in the boundary waters in July and we were never in want of water. Other than that, I just boil water. In cold temps I boil it before I go to bed, dump it into a Nalgene and throw it in the bottom of my sleeping bag. Keeps me warm through the night, and I have clean water in the morning.

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Hmmm . . . . I've been using Aquatabs to treat my water for the last few years but on double-checking the package, I find that the tablets don't kill cryptosporidium or giardia :o.

Checking online, I find that Katadyn Micropur tablets DO kill all the nasties in the water that I'm concerned about so I will be switching to them. 

Edited by PaulGS
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Chlorine dioxide - Aqua Mira - most certainly kills Giardia cysts. Used as directed, it will attain a concentration of 4 ppm, enough to reduce viable Giardia by about 1000-fold in 5 minutes. ClO2 has been used since the 50s in municipal water purification systems  

The FDA may not allow AM to make purification claims without running a clinical trial and performing analytical studies to support a PMA or 510k submission. But that does not change the chemistry.  

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32 minutes ago, HappyHour said:

Chlorine dioxide - Aqua Mira - most certainly kills Giardia cysts. Used as directed, it will attain a concentration of 4 ppm, enough to reduce viable Giardia by about 1000-fold in 5 minutes. ClO2 has been used since the 50s in municipal water purification systems  

Thanks for the info HappyHour. I was mistaken, Aquatabs do protect me from giardia. How about cryptosporidium though, do you think it worthwhile to treat that too? 

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Treating water for me begins in my selection of how and where I capture water from and  ascertaining  regional/localized/personal  risks. Beyond that only  about 20% of the time do I treat with AM two part drops in N. America where I do much of my hiking. Treating so rarely seems to anger many people who attempt to staunchly argue it's only because I've been so lucky. BS. I hike an avg of 2500 miles per yr/100+ bag nights per yr   which has fallen off from a high of 3500 avg a few yrs ago. I've been medically tested three times through stool samples. Always negative.    

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On 1/20/2017 at 11:53 PM, PaulGS said:

Thanks for the info HappyHour. I was mistaken, Aquatabs do protect me from giardia. How about cryptosporidium though, do you think it worthwhile to treat that too? 

Chlorine dioxide is not great for inactivating cryptosporidium. At the recommended concentration of 0.22 mg/L, you would have to wait about a thousand minutes to get >95% inactivation of crypto.  See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24797292

For a fast and simple comparison of water treatment methods, this CDC summary is useful:Backcountry_Water_Treatment.jpg

see https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html

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