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  1. #1

    Default What are the downsides of Potable Aqua?

    For several years, I've only used Colman's Potable aqua tablets for water purification on my section hikes (~5 days).

    I have found them easy to use and I don't mind the taste, and much lighter than a filter setup, they are commonly available, yet I never see them mentioned on WB.net.

    Is there something I am missing. What is the catch to using them? Why don't more whiteblazers use them?

  2. #2

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    There are better , more effective, faster, more appealing options is the reason.

    That said, if your happy with it, use it.

    99% of time, nothing is needed.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    There are better , more effective, faster, more appealing options is the reason.

    That said, if your happy with it, use it.

    99% of time, nothing is needed.
    Agree with above. Chemicals appear to be lighter but in most cases that is an illusion. During the day, you have to carry the water while the chemical is working. Water weighs about 2lbs per liter. A filter or steripen is just about instant which allows you to treat water and drink immediately. With frequent water sources on the AT is allow you to carry very little water.

    i don't treat water often but if I did then I would likely use a steripen. Upside is quick and light and no chemical taste. Downside is it's a gadget and uses batteries. Like most things there isn't a best, it a series of trade offs.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  4. #4

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    Such as? Genuinely Curious. Normally when I visit the US and go on a section hike, all I have is *mart, and all they have is potable aqua. Is there something else I can get shipped from Amazon or REI?

  5. #5

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    potable aqua only takes 30 min at most, I suspect in the warm summer it acts even quicker. Never been a problem for me, I load up with water, walk a mile or two, and have a big drink...

    I'm not here to defend it, I'm just asking for better alternatives.

    Anyone got good data on how contaminated trail water is? Any one thru hiked without sterilising the water and not getting sick?

  6. #6

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    There is nothing wrong with your system.

    I find a Sawyer Squeeze is more convenient, filtering, using as a drinking straw if I had to. I like the gravity-feed system best, using my backpack or, especially, overnight.

    I am purchasing the bottle adapter set, at Amazon, for my upcomming long section hike. I like to make my own gravity-fed system. I have been using the Pur water bottle cap. The kit will let me use just about any container commonly available.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004QM...7C4WAJQFTA1MT9

  7. #7

    Default

    BTW, at home (Ireland) I always drink straight from the source when hiking. Never been a problem. But when reading about AT hiking, there is always a warning about treating the water...

  8. #8

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    Maybe you don't have giardia in Ireland? Inquire.

    It is a terrible affliction, the treatment involving a medication that attacks your own DNA.

    I look up stream for dead animals, and I like moving water best. I avoid lake water but I will take water from below the surface. The bad stuff is so lightweight, it is on or nearest the surface. I use a hiking pole to push the "dirty" water container down under the surface.

    For all that, I prefer the high mountains. I still look upstream.

    I use a Sawyer Squeeze to protect against giardia and cryptosporidium.
    Last edited by Connie; 06-05-2016 at 19:43.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenp View Post
    Such as? Genuinely Curious. Normally when I visit the US and go on a section hike, all I have is *mart, and all they have is potable aqua. Is there something else I can get shipped from Amazon or REI?
    Chlorine Dioxide sold under the brand name Aqua Mira is probably the most popular chemical treatment used on the A.T. in recent years. My understanding is that chlorine dioxide is more effective at killing Giardia and Cryptosporidium compared to iodine tablets iodine tablets.

    http://www.amazon.com/McNett-Aquamir.../dp/B00AFNYAI0

    To address your other question about drinking water playing in Ireland: In reality the vast majority of the water on the Appalachian Trail is likely safe to drink. Our obsession with purifying is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is rooted in valid health concerns. That said, I personally do treat my water.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  10. #10

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    Connie, I will look into Giardia. But luckily? in Ireland we have plenty of moving water due to the rain. I would never drink water without treatment from a still source or water which is possibly passed through a livestock area.

  11. #11

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    Here, if there isn't livestock, there is wildlife.

    In the high country, your chances are better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenp View Post
    potable aqua only takes 30 min at most, I suspect in the warm summer it acts even quicker. Never been a problem for me, I load up with water, walk a mile or two, and have a big drink...

    I'm not here to defend it, I'm just asking for better alternatives.

    Anyone got good data on how contaminated trail water is? Any one thru hiked without sterilising the water and not getting sick?
    Google such terms as water purification or water treatment and backpacking light, and look for backpacking light discussions about it. You will find all the comparison data on efficacy , etc you want.

    Most people that get sick, dont actually get sick from water. Other fecal oral vectors that are more probably in most cases. Few cases are likely giardia, most simply ecoli.

    Yes, lots have thru hiked without getting sick, and without treating. Not saying its a good idea, eventually you may need a pond source, which is much more risky than mountain top springs.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-05-2016 at 19:54.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kenp View Post
    Connie, I will look into Giardia. But luckily? in Ireland we have plenty of moving water due to the rain. I would never drink water without treatment from a still source or water which is possibly passed through a livestock area.
    From my readings, livestock and in particular beaver are major carriers of giardia. I too will drink from a high altitude source such as a spring. In lower elevations, you'll never know what's died upstream or pissed in it. I treat with Aqua Mira as solo hiker or a Sawyer mini filter hooked up to a gravity bag for groups. If I know there's up stream livestock or beaver, I will filter. Aqua Mira and I suspect Potable Aqua take a long time to kill Giardia, especially in cold or turbid water.

  14. #14
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    From reading backpacking light, 20 to 30% of the population in the US already has Giardia as a resident in their gut and humans are the most likely vector for giardia in backcountry water supplies. Humans infected beavers, not the other way around. Treat your water, if for nothing else, to prevent becoming a carrier of the disease yourself.

    The top two or three inches of water from lakes or ponds are usually sterilized from UV rays from the sun. If you are going to drink from still water, gather the water from the surface. It will be safe on a sunny day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    Agree with above. Chemicals appear to be lighter but in most cases that is an illusion. During the day, you have to carry the water while the chemical is working. Water weighs about 2lbs per liter. A filter or steripen is just about instant which allows you to treat water and drink immediately. With frequent water sources on the AT is allow you to carry very little water....
    Agree, if water sources are plentiful, as in the AT, chemical methods are heavier. The Steripen is great for encouraging small carrying quantities of water (1/2 L minus what you drink at the source before leaving), and is the lightest method of purification I know of.

  16. #16

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    I may be one of the few left defending AquaMira at this point. The entire set only weighs a couple of ounces, and with a premix bottle you can limit your water source stop time to less than a minute. Just dip your bottles and squirt in the required amount of mixed chemical. The two bottles should be enough to last several weeks on the trail at a minimum, so I don't really see the weight penalty.

    All of this written as I recover from a case of giardia inflicted by self stupidity (drinking untreated water from a poorly selected water source on a non-AT hike).

  17. #17

    Default

    I used AquaMira for the majority of my section hiking of the AT. I used to use Iodine (Polapure)which has fallen out favor due to aftertaste and side effects. The portable aqua pills have real short shelf life and filters weighed too much. One thing I do with AquaMira is carry a spare cap so that I can mix up two doses at once.

  18. #18

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    peakbagger,

    I like the idea. I am reluctant to carry liquid bleach (chlorine-dioxide would bleach fabric?) that could leak on my lovely UL gear.

    How about this for containers?

    http://www.arrowhead-equipment.com/s...op_Bottle.html
    Last edited by Connie; 06-06-2016 at 13:32.

  19. #19

    Default

    Aqua Mira basically comes with two real nice dropper bottles. The advantage to Aqua Mira is that the neither of the two components are that particularly nasty alone. I have seen no ill effects from spilling either one of the components but do carry it in ziplock bag. Its only when the components are mixed that the characteristic green color and odor of CLO2 forms. CLO2 is an unstable compound, it really doesn't like to stay together and rapidly decomposes. There was one firm that used to sell a CLO2 water treatment system where the hiker would premix a days quantity of CLO2 in the AM into a squeeze bottle and the hiker would use it all day but I expect the concentration also varied over the course of the day and therefore they had to run a higher dose to compensate. I personally don mind the 5 minute wait to mix it up. I usually carry a water bladder and couple of gatoraid bottles. I carry a spare mixing cap so I can either just fill the water bladder or mix two bottles.

    CLO2 is used a substitute for straight chlorine for industrial bleaching, but due to its habit of decomposing its hard to keep it at concentration compared to using chlorine.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Aqua Mira basically comes with two real nice dropper bottles. The advantage to Aqua Mira is that the neither of the two components are that particularly nasty alone. I have seen no ill effects from spilling either one of the components but do carry it in ziplock bag. Its only when the components are mixed that the characteristic green color and odor of CLO2 forms. CLO2 is an unstable compound, it really doesn't like to stay together and rapidly decomposes. There was one firm that used to sell a CLO2 water treatment system where the hiker would premix a days quantity of CLO2 in the AM into a squeeze bottle and the hiker would use it all day but I expect the concentration also varied over the course of the day and therefore they had to run a higher dose to compensate. I personally don mind the 5 minute wait to mix it up. I usually carry a water bladder and couple of gatoraid bottles. I carry a spare mixing cap so I can either just fill the water bladder or mix two bottles.

    CLO2 is used a substitute for straight chlorine for industrial bleaching, but due to its habit of decomposing its hard to keep it at concentration compared to using chlorine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Agree, if water sources are plentiful, as in the AT, chemical methods are heavier. The Steripen is great for encouraging small carrying quantities of water (1/2 L minus what you drink at the source before leaving), and is the lightest method of purification I know of.
    Baloney

    Am is the lightest possible treatment

    Unless you wanr to pretend other people never take breaks, and thats total BS

    Take your break when you get water, as most do.

    Now, whats the lightest?

    Or look at work done .
    Carrying 2 lbs for 15 min, 3 x per day id still less overall work than 4oz for 10 hrs per day. Do the math.

    As ive said many times, understanding am is key to efficient use. Virus and bacteria is dead in a minute. Giardia is deactivated 1000x in a few min. If you arent drinking sewage, you dont need to wait long. No one is worried about crypto either so forget the 4 hr .

    My 2 wk supply of am weighs 1.2 oz in its little bottles. My water bottles are 0.93 oz dasani.

    Someone who isnt going to carry water, isnt regardless of method. Someone that will, will. pretending otherwise is just pretending really. Just like pretending it has no weight cause it was drank instead of on back .

    Funny to hear these claims but never seemed to be passed by these people with filters and steripens. Maybe they use similar justification for everything in their pack, and it ends up hvy. 4 oz for steripen, 2 oz for backup batteries, 6 oz for wide mouth nalgene, several oz for chemical backup too. Etc etc. All the while argueing they have the lightest system.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 06-06-2016 at 15:28.

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