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  1. #1
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    Default Water purification tablets

    I have a Sawyer water bladder filter that I've used before and had no issues with. Now I'm debating on continuing with that, or switching to the purification tablets.

    What are the pros and cons with the tablets compared with the Sawyer filter setup?

    I'm trying to decide so it saves space and maybe a few ounces and if it is worth it.

  2. #2
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    You are far better investigating Aquamira. It does its thing and then breaks down.

  3. #3

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    I have often carried Micropure as a backup for a filter. Only complaint I have is you are supposed to let it set for 30 minutes before drinking.That can be a long time if you are thirsty. Otherwise no problem.

  4. #4
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    Default Aqua Tabs

    When I began backpacking 51 years ago, like most others of that era I purified using iodine tablets. I kept doing so even after some filters became less heavy, cheaper, and very popular. Then, for several years I instead used Aqua Mira drops, a form of chlorine dioxide. When using those drops you mix liquid from two separate bottles and then wait a few minutes for that purifying liquid to change colors. Then, after you have added the concoction to your collected water, you wait at least 20 or 30 minutes for the purification to take place. Playing streamside with Aqua Mira Drops evoked within me childhood memories of experimenting with a toy chemistry set.

    Then, about five years ago Aqua Mira drops temporarily vanished from store shelves. So, my local outfitter instead sold me a different chlorine dioxide-based purifying agent called Aqua Tabs. I have been very pleased using those, so I'll provide some details about them.

    Aqua Tabs (not to be confused with Aqua Mira Drops and Aqua Mira Tablets which apparently are made by a competing company) are very small and come packaged within strips of paper. To keep them dry, I transport those tiny, paper covered tablets within a snack-sized zip lock bag. So, the weight of my 'purification method' is effectively zero, even less than it was years ago when I instead carried with me either little glass bottles containing iodine tablets or vials of Aqua Mira Drops.

    The manufacturers of Aqua Tabs assert that used properly they kill all harmful bacteria, all viruses, and soft-bodied protozoa such as giardia. But Agua Tabs, and apparently all other chemical treatments, are not as effective against the hard-shelled protozoa called cryptosporidium. I am not personally concerned about cryptosporidium, for reasons that I'll explain below in separate post.

    Perhaps because I have done so for many years, I am OK waiting at least half an hour for treated water to become safe to drink. Typically, I chemically treat water just once a day, while setting up camp. Often an hour or more passes between the time that I put Aqua Tabs into newly collected water and when I began to drink it.

    Aqua Tabs apparently were developed originally to serve people whose municipal water supplies had become compromised. For such situations the manufacturer recommends using one tiny tablet per two liters/quarts of water. But, for treating water from natural sources such as lakes or streams, they instead recommend using one tablet for each liter/quart of water. So, for backpacking I use that recommended one tablet per liter dosage.

    Unfortunately, using Aqua Tabs is not cheap. Each tablet currently costs approximately 50 U.S. cents. So, to purify four liters, generally enough for me for a 24-hour period, I spend $2 U.S. Paying that much is OK for me because typically I don't backpack more than a couple of weeks per year. But if I were planning to instead spend months thru hiking a lengthy trail, I might economize by using a lightweight filter, perhaps Sawyier's.
    Last edited by Siestita; 05-26-2024 at 00:53.

  5. #5
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Why I Don't Worry about Cryptosporidium

    Instructions with the Aqua Tabs that I use to purify water acknowledge that using it as recommended, with just 20 or 30 minutes of purification time, does not kill all cryptosporidium, if by chance that protozoa is present. I purify with Aqua Tabs but don't worry about crypto because much of the water that I drink has had much longer purification times than the minimum of 20 to 30 minutes. And, possessing a fairly healthy immune system, I am not likely to become ill from crypto unless a high concentration of it is present in water that I consume. Cryptosporidium has an interesting history.

    Cryptosporidium was first discovered about a century ago. Although present in many water sources, crypto was considered to be harmless for decades. Then, in the 1990s hundreds of residents of several U.S. cities became ill from crypto. A few of them, people who additionally had other serious health problems, died. Apparently, the AIDS epidemic, which had surged during the 1980s, had increased the number of people with severely compromised immune systems that could not resist crypto. So, there was a human host population whose bodies held higher concentrations of crypto than people had had previously. Those high concentrations of crypto were transferred to lakes and streams via sewage systems. In response to the cryptosporidium illness outbreaks, methods of killing that protozoan were implemented in municipal water treatment plants. Simultaneously drugs were developed to keep HIV-infected people healthier.

    So, while cryptosporidium could pose health risks to otherwise healthy backpackers, these days those risks are probably small, especially when crypto concentrations are reduced using water purification chemicals.
    Last edited by Siestita; 05-26-2024 at 23:44.

  6. #6

  7. #7

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    For me, the Aqua tabs are great for backup in case one of my aqua mira bottles leaks or, in the case of a filter, it gets damaged or clogs and I can't fix it in the field. I don't use them as a primary treatment type, though for a 1-2 night trip, no reason you couldn't.

    I've used every filter type out there, but mainly use Aqua Mira. I premix it in a 3rd container at night for the entire next day which shortens the wait time. You just need to store the pre-mix bottle out of the sun (say a hipbelt pocket). As long as it looks yellowish, it's still good. I used it for most of the PCT, the entire CDT, and part of the AT when I gave up on UV devices. I use it for most trips except when I know there will be particularly nasty water that needs filtering out crap. I find it's lighter, and just less hassle than filters.

    Pros:
    • Less Weight
    • No need to squeeze, pump, or suck hard
    • No worry about damaging it due to freezing
    • Takes less space
    • No need to clean or backflush
    • No need to worry about treating it to prevent bacteria growth when storing it after a trip
    • Aqua Mira doesn't leave a noticeable aftertaste that other chemical types can.


    Cons:
    • You have to wait 15-20 minutes for it to work before drinking (why I normally take breaks when getting water or carry a bit more and drink it away from the water source). At least with a filter, after you do the work (defeats resting for a short time), you can immediately drink.
    • Stock Aqua Mira bottles can develop a tiny leak on rare occasions (usually the A bottle for me), so I keep them in a ziplock and do check for unexplained moisture so I can replace in next town or transfer to another container).

  8. #8

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    I've been using Oasis water purification tablets for the past 20-25 years. Haven't gotten sick (I don't carry a filter, just these tabs)
    You can find them on ebay. I believe they are a German product (I learned about them when hiking in Europe 25 years ago)
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/22598731094...Bk9SR-j_i_32Yw
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the info! That was one of the reasons I was debating was the wait time, but even with the Sawyer filter, you still got to wait until all the water runs through. Might just stick with my Sawyer.

    Even considered boiling if I'm down for the night, but that's just a waste of my fuel, unless I got a campfire going.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmptySmile View Post
    Thanks for all the info! That was one of the reasons I was debating was the wait time, but even with the Sawyer filter, you still got to wait until all the water runs through. Might just stick with my Sawyer.

    Even considered boiling if I'm down for the night, but that's just a waste of my fuel, unless I got a campfire going.
    Aqua Tabs + 1L BeFree. Because sometimes you just need to drink NOW.

  11. #11
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    On thing I remember about the older style tablets was that once the package was opened, they had a short shelf life.

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