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#243928 - 03/28/12 03:18 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: bacpacjac]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Backpacjac,

Filtration is probably the best for most of North America. I use an old Katadyn pocket filter the most. Crypto is a common problem, virus much, much less so. Some of the new Sawyer filters appear to remove the virus component also. Overseas you are going to need both. None of the chlorine based products will.touch crypto. Chlorine Dioxide (and the miox from MSR) will do it, but only with extended contact time (four hours is common). The Steripen is nice, I have and use one, but it has limits too. The biggest problem is cross contamination, particularly if you use their recommended procedures. It also only does one liter at a time, not much if you want a meal for a group, or to clean up. In canoe country, working from a base camp, I use the MIOX for a large bladder at camp (fill before leaving/bed) and the Steripen for drinking water in the field.

Respectfully,

Jerry

P.s. Boiling is best, I use it in preference to the others when it is practical. The Wilderness Medical Society recommendations (from lots of experimental data) is only to a rolling boil.


Edited by JerryFountain (03/28/12 03:22 PM)
Edit Reason: add p.s.

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#243941 - 03/28/12 08:34 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: Teslinhiker]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
For years I have extensively and exclusively used Aquatabs.

These tablets are used around the world by .gov organizations, ngo's etc and have a very good track record. The tablets have a 30 minute water contact time and like any other similar products, the cleaner the water to start with, the better.

What I like about these tablets is that they are cheap enough ($8.75 per 50/ strip pack) and have a 5 year shelf life which means there is no reason not to carry these not only for wilderness use, but also having a partial strip pack of 10 or so in the urban PSK only makes prudent sense.
Aquatabs sound like a great idea. However, after a quick check, I can't seem to find anyone selling them in the US.

Does anyone know of a US source for Aquatabs? Or, alternatively, does anyone know of a Canadian distributer who would ship to a US address for a reasonable price?

If all else fails, I get down to Seattle frequently, and while there I occaisionally go up to Victoria or Vancouver. I suppose I can get a supply that way.
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#243958 - 03/29/12 01:40 AM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: AKSAR]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1314
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
For years I have extensively and exclusively used Aquatabs.

These tablets are used around the world by .gov organizations, ngo's etc and have a very good track record. The tablets have a 30 minute water contact time and like any other similar products, the cleaner the water to start with, the better.

What I like about these tablets is that they are cheap enough ($8.75 per 50/ strip pack) and have a 5 year shelf life which means there is no reason not to carry these not only for wilderness use, but also having a partial strip pack of 10 or so in the urban PSK only makes prudent sense.
Aquatabs sound like a great idea. However, after a quick check, I can't seem to find anyone selling them in the US.

Does anyone know of a US source for Aquatabs? Or, alternatively, does anyone know of a Canadian distributer who would ship to a US address for a reasonable price?

If all else fails, I get down to Seattle frequently, and while there I occaisionally go up to Victoria or Vancouver. I suppose I can get a supply that way.


Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec.ca) sells Aquatabs and they do mail order to the USA. I am not sure if you have to be a member for online ordering or not, but a lifetime membership is only $5.00.
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#243959 - 03/29/12 02:35 AM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: bacpacjac]
wileycoyote Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 268
Loc: eastern oregon

here's a round-up article you might find helpful as a starting point that i wrote a couple years ago called:

Water Contamination Solutions

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#243969 - 03/29/12 06:13 AM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: Teslinhiker]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Mountain Equipment Co-op (mec.ca) sells Aquatabs and they do mail order to the USA. I am not sure if you have to be a member for online ordering or not, but a lifetime membership is only $5.00.
Thanks, Teslinhiker. I will probably take out a membership and order some. I understand the MEC is the REI of Canada. We stopped in their shop and looked around when we were in Victoria last fall. Looks like a good outfit.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#243973 - 03/29/12 12:05 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: bacpacjac]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3572
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the article Wileycoyote. It's clear as mud now! LOL! This is more complicated than I expected. It looks like BYOW remains the best strategy, with boiling the most secure back-up? Failing the ability to boil, it sounds like a combo of fitlering and chemically treating is best.
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#243988 - 03/29/12 03:51 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: bacpacjac]
Denis Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
The big drawback for me with chemicals is the time involved to treat the water. I know ideal situations say the water is good to go in 30 minutes, but realistically the water is probably a bit colder and dirtier than the ideal so I would have the tendency to allow the chemicals to work for closer to 4 hours (the time needed for the 4 degree C, dirty water).

I know people that exclusively use chemicals for their water treatment and the best method seems to be to start treating the water before you need it. This assumes you have multiple water containers and as you empty one, you fill it with local water and throw the chemicals in. Then, by the time you need it the water is good to go.

With regards to boiling, the big drawback for me is that typically you want cold (or at least less than lukewarm) water to drink and cooling down the water after boiling it isn't a quick task.

When I was researching a backcountry water treatment solution for myself, I decided that full purification was what I wanted; I wasn't comfortable relying on filtering alone. I know viruses are a lower risk in North America, but I wanted a solution that could handle both bacteria and viruses.

Ultimately I decided to make my primary water purification system a SteriPen Journey with a pre-filter. This allows me to clean a litre of water in under 2 minutes which is good enough for me. For backup I also have MicroPur tablets and, when backpacking at least, boiling.

And, as Mark M mentioned, this method (perhaps more than others) does necessitate a backup. I ended up getting a defective SteriPen unit which failed in the backcountry. Backups kicked in and it was all good.

Even after getting a replacement SteriPen, they are definitely more sensitive to cold than I'd like so while I am still going to give it a shot this year as my primary purifier, I won't be without backups!
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Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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#256901 - 02/25/13 04:43 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: bacpacjac]
Alonzo Offline
Stranger

Registered: 02/22/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Chemical treatments have the key benefits of being very light-weight and very effective at working with viruses and dangerous bacteria, but they will not remove air compound matter, may not remove all the dangerous parasites present in the water.
So i always keep traditional hiker's water filter is the bottle filter.Lightweight and easy to use.
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#256904 - 02/25/13 09:41 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: Denis]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5998
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Denis


With regards to boiling, the big drawback for me is that typically you want cold (or at least less than lukewarm) water to drink and cooling down the water after boiling it isn't a quick task.

Speaking from an Arizona/desert perspective, (I note that you are well to the north) the temperature of the water is quite irrelevant if you are truly thirsty.
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#256905 - 02/25/13 10:28 PM Re: Water Treatment: Chem or Filter? [Re: ]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
I guess for drinking water the straw is Ok but it is not especially useful for other things like cooking or washing, or mixing with flavorings.
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Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile

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