Dec 4, 2008 at 11:27 pm #1232421
Dennis ParkBPL Member
@dparkLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I've been reading about Aquamira drops. What do you guys think, drops or tablets or no difference? Seems like tablets have more accurate dosing.
Also what are good ideas to filter particles out of water other than a bandana?Dec 4, 2008 at 11:44 pm #1462264
Aquamira started off with liquids first — then added tablets later — to compete with Micropur. The active ingredient — chlorine dioxide — are identical.
I would definitely go with tablets over liquids. With tablets, you save the tedium of counting and mixing droplets from two different bottles — then waiting 5 minutes for the mixing to complete! With the tablets — you simply drop one tablet into each liter or quart of water and wait 20 minutes. Treatment time for bacteria and viruses is identical for liquids and tablets.
But there is one more difference. The ingredient is more concentrated in tablet form. Depending on water temp (the colder the longer time required — from 30 minutes to 4 hours) — tablets can treat protozoa cysts (giardia, crypto, etc.). Note that the liquid mentions treating bacteria only — and is completely silent about protozoa cysts!
Finally, both Aquamira tablets and Micropur tablets are made in Spain. I believe Aquamira simply purchased the tablets from the same factory and repackaged them to compete with Micropur. Tablets are better than liquids.Dec 4, 2008 at 11:51 pm #1462265
IMO, bandanas and paper coffee filters are suboptimal because they absorb water and makes for a slow filtering process.
For me, I sacrificed an old 1L Platypus collapsible bottle and cut off the bottom to create a collapsible UL water scoop. I then replaced the regular Platypus screw cap with a "push pull" screw cap. To filter out particulates, I cut a piece of metallic coffee filter (sold in Wal Mart and many supermarkets) — and inserted it into the push pull bottle cap. Once screwed on, the metallic filter piece is kept firmly in place.
After scooping up water, I pull open the cap and water drains quickly through the metallic coffee filter piece and into the receiving water bladder.Dec 5, 2008 at 1:59 am #1462269
D TBPL Member
@dealtoyoLocale: Mt Hood
Ben, have you tried this system with glacial run off (high silt content)? I've been looking for a solution to filter that gray water.Dec 5, 2008 at 2:37 am #1462272
Hey Ben… question for an aqua-mira user… I've used chlorine tablets before (many years ago) and hated them because they left the water with a distinct taste of… well, chlorine! Is aqua mira tasteless?
My preferred solution has always been iodine drops. No need for pre-mixing or dissolving, kills just about everything, and once you've added a tiny pinch of ascorbic acid powder it is completely tasteless.Dec 5, 2008 at 5:23 am #1462281
@angelazLocale: New England
I really like this and am going to give it a try!Dec 5, 2008 at 5:42 am #1462286
Ken T.BPL Member
I sewed up a piece on nanoseeum netting and 1/8" shock cord, .01oz prefilter that works great and is hands free. Check it out I use nalgene canteens and MSR dromlite bags, all with the large opening so I can use my steripen as well.Dec 5, 2008 at 6:46 am #1462292
Dennis ParkBPL Member
@dparkLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
thanks for the responses. I guess I have a new project for this weekend.Dec 5, 2008 at 6:53 am #1462294
Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Dennis, Three people, including me, tested the tablets for BackpackGearTest.org; see http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Water%20Treatment/Chemical%20Treatment/Aquamira%20Water%20Treatment%202007/
For individual use I think drops are better, because of the long gestation time for the tablets. For group use – treating large volumes all at once – it's a push. The tablets ought to be easier to use but their being individually wrapped makes it a genuine pain to extract them, more of a problem than counting the drops. Pristine drops (Canadian supplier of chlorine dioxide) give required volume (in ML and tsp) instead of drops, and also come in larger volumes.
I really like AquaMira, and since nearly all my hiking is near relatively clear water I don't mind occasionally having to pre-filter. I use a paper coffee filter for that purpose.Dec 5, 2008 at 8:25 am #1462320
There's been a constant confusion re. the "longer gestation period" of tablets over liquids. Not true.
1. If you read the liquid directions, you will note a 20 minute treatment period for bacteria. The Aquamira liquid instructions are completely silent re. viruses and protozoa cysts (giardia, crypto, etc.)! EPA regs forbid the mentioning of treating protozoa.
2. Tablets use the exact same active ingredients (chlorine dioxide) — BUT IN HIGHER CONCENTRATION. Treatment time for bacteria and viruses are the same as with liquids. However, here, EPA allows the mentioning of treating protozoa — although longer treatment time is required. The MAXIMUM treatment time — for frigid water that's just above freezing — is 4 hours.
I verified #1 and #2 by phone with an Aquamira rep.Dec 5, 2008 at 8:32 am #1462322
Personally, I can't stand the "swimming pool" taste of chlorine dioxide treated water — be it AM liquids or AM/Micropur tablets!
HOWEVER, the above is largely subjective. I've read many user feedback saying the taste is "barely perceptible". Some even insist that chlorine dioxide improves water taste! So the only way to know for sure is to give it a try.Dec 5, 2008 at 10:14 am #1462346
Start with two of the Backpacking Light MiniDrop Dropper Bottles. Fill one little bottle with A and and the other little bottle with the B part of the mix. Make sure to label the bottle, a permanent Sharpie is a good tool. I put the Black cap on the B part of the mix.
Actually, it doesn’t matter if these get mixed up, as long as you use equal drops of each. So, realistically they don’t need to be labeled, but I label ‘em anyway.
So, before I even leave the trail-head, I mix up equal drops in my even smaller dropper bottle. The Bozeman Mountain Works MicroDrop Dropper Bottle, the smallest size, and very cute. This will only take about 40 drops ( approx. 20 of A, and 20 of B).
Then when I get to a spot when I need to tank up the water bottle, I just use the pre mix.
HOW MANY DROPS?
The instructions say to use 7 drops of A and 7 drops of B for 1-liter of water. Before we proceed, those instructions were written by lawyers! So, let’s factor that into the equations.
Please be aware that drop sizes for any bottle are going to be dependent upon two factors: the viscosity of the fluid being dispensed and the design of the dropper tip.
Next: The BPL dropper bottles seem to have a different diameter opening than the Aqua-Mira dropper tip, so the drops are different sizes. The viscosity of the liquid may change slightly, and that would also effect the number of drops. Multiple variables, but here’s what I’ve found. If you put 14 drops (equal parts, A and B) into the tiny dropper bottle, you can only release 10 drops, then the bottle is empty. So, somewhere there is a discrepancy of the number of the drops.
That means – if you wanna follow the instructions exactly, adding 10 drops of the mix is correct, not 14. Got it?
But, remember, those rules were written by lawyers, and the instructions would allow you to treat raw sewage with confidence. If you get water from a running stream in the mountains, the need for following the exact instructions is ridiculous.
For me, I try and use as little as I feel necessary.
For a reliable water source, I won’t treat at all, I’ll just drink it un-treated.
But, for example, a lake in the Wind River Range that has a impacted campsite nearby, I’ll use 5 drops of the mix for about 2-liters of water. Approx. one quarter what the legal staff at Aqua-Mira recommends.
Maybe a little more, if there are multiple campsites, and a I’ll follow the instructions exactly if there are piles of sheep droppings all around the lake.
No good answer here, and if you get sick, don’t sue me!
But – fewer drops means less swimming pool taste.
HOW LONG WILL THE PRE-MIX LAST?
If it’s yellow, it is effective. The yellow will slowly disappear over time. ANd there are a lot of variables here, including temperature, light, oxygen. I’ve found if I make up a batch of mix, it’s used up in 24 hours. I’ve been told (by a representative of a certain company that makes a certain water treatment) that it’ll probably last a week, but 48 hours seems like a conservative amount of time to trust it’s effectiveness.
Again, no good answers.
Backpacking Light MiniDrop Dropper Bottles (2-pack)
Weight / 0.36 oz. (10.2 g) for set of 2
Capacity: 8 mL capacity (0.25 oz of water)
Bozeman Mountain Works MicroDrop PLUS Dropper Bottle (3-Pack)
Weight / 0.068 oz (1.9 g)
The MicroDrop PLUS Dropper Bottle performs one core function: to hold up to 130 or so drops of fluid (depending on fluid viscosity) in the smallest form factor possible, and tucks away neatly into one nostril.
Bozeman Mountain Works MicroDrop Dropper Bottle (3-Pack)
weight / 0.05 oz (1.4 g)
Capacity: 0.06 fl oz (1.7 g) of water, or about 40 dropsDec 5, 2008 at 11:06 am #1462351
Wow! And I thought my posts were long. :)Dec 5, 2008 at 12:26 pm #1462368
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
from the BPL gearshop – BPL Minidropper 5 pack
"Drop Size Comments: Please be aware that drop sizes for any bottle are going to be dependent upon two factors: the viscosity of the fluid being dispensed, and the design of the dropper tip. For example, when we evaluated the drop volumes of Aqua Mira dispensed from Aqua Mira bottles from 2005, we calculated that the drop size was 0.00200 oz (57 microliters) of solution "A". Our old style dropper bottles, shipped until May 2008, resulted in drop sizes of Aqua Mira that were about 50% larger than the drops dispensed from Aqua Mira stock bottles. We have not yet confirmed the drop sizes from the new bottles pictured here, and we do not have an availability date yet for this information. In the meantime, if you need to calculate the approximate ratio of drop sizes between these bottles, and stock Aqua Mira bottles, compare the number of drops required to fill a child's liquid prescription dispenser to 3 milliliters. For example, if 50 drops of liquid are required for 3 milliliters when dispensed out of an Aqua Mira stock bottle, and 60 drops of liquid are required for 3 milliliters when dispensed out of this bottle, then 8-9 drops of Aqua Mira dispensed out of this bottle are required to achieve the equivalent 7-drop dosing out of a stock Aqua Mira bottle (e.g., 7*60/50)."
I have the older BPL mindroppers so, using the 50% larger drop size, means…….
AquaMira = 7 drops per bottle (total 14) per liter
Minidropper = 7/1.5 = 4.7 = 5 (total 10) per literDec 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm #1462374
Bob – excellent info, further confusing an already confusing set of issues!
The way to deal would be to test your own dropper system. How many drops go IN the bottle need to be compared to how many come OUT of the same bottle.
Simply counting would be an easy solution.
I suspect it's the viscosity of the fluid instead of the size of the hole (no data, just my gut guessing).Dec 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm #1462376
Then why not just buy tablets? Easier, quicker and more effective.Dec 5, 2008 at 1:37 pm #1462381
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
and much more expensive per treated liter.
AM liquid = $12.99, treats 60-120 liters
at 60 liters, that 22 cents per liter
at 120 liters, that's 11 cents per liter
AM Tablets = 13.99 (24-pack)
Treats 24 liters; that's 58 cents per liter
Plus with the tablets, you have packaging to remove and carry out. On short hikes, you could probably do this at home and keep all the tablets together in a small container. I wouldn't want to try this for a multi-week trek.
BPL is curently out of stock on all Aquamira products, both liquid and tablets.Dec 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm #1462387
I'll add that the tablets are WAY overkill for most of the water encountered in the mountains. Like treating a mosquito with a cannon.
And the wait time is a LOT longer than drops.Dec 5, 2008 at 2:15 pm #1462389
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
What happened to Klear water? Has it gone the way of the dinosaurs?Dec 5, 2008 at 2:21 pm #1462392
Mike — Please see my response to Richard (post #10 from the top) regarding the confusion in treatment times.
1. Tablets are just as quick as liquids in treating bacteria.
2. Tablets can also treat viruses and protzoa (liquids are silent on this and the shorter treatment time in the directions applies ONLY to bacteria).Dec 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm #1462410
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Liquid drops will treat AT LEAST 5 times more water for the money, can easily be dosed according to water quality, temperature, and container size, and don't have me running to the store every time I'm going out- 3 oz. of Aqua Mira will keep you from having to go shopping for many, many trips. If there's one thing I can't stand (and have learned to avoid), it's making shopping lists/placing orders/or ending up wandering the isles of REI before a trip.Dec 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm #1462413
The dosage and timing directions on your AM liquids are only for treating bacteria. For the much harder-to-kill protozoa cysts, you need the higher chlorine dioxide concentration of AM tablets!
Per phone conversation with AM rep — you can use the liquid to emulate the solid in treating protozoa — by upping the dosage fourfold! Now, if protozoa is an issue for you and you increase the number of AM drops four times — then liquids are actually more expensive!
You can probably get away with using the standard AM droplets by quadrupling treatment time — but now you are talking up to 16 hours per treatment — which is pretty impractical. IMHO, even the tablets' max. 4 hour treatment time borders on the impractical.Dec 5, 2008 at 4:00 pm #1462418
Ben – maybe I'm thinking of a different tablet. The chlorine tablets I've used are for treating water over night.
Are you describing IODINE tablets? (I've used these a lot, and find them very simple).Dec 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm #1462422
For everybody reading this thread, I suggest reading this excellent BPL article!
Sipping the Waters: Techniques for Selecting Untreated Backcountry Water for Drinking
by Michael von Gortler, MD
Drinking untreated backcountry water can make you sick – but choosing your drinking spots intelligently can greatly reduce that risk. Here, a doctor shares the methods that have kept him healthily "sipping the waters" for the past 20 years.
I worry we are overly and unnecessarily cautious with our backcountry water, replacing gadgets, chemicals and worry with common sense (and good practices).Dec 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm #1462424
I was referring to chlorine dioxide tablets — such as Aquamira and Micropur brands. Chlorine or iodine tabs are ineffective against protozoa cysts.
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