Mar 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm #1256088
Getting ready to order my aquamira for the PCT this spring. How many 3oz packages should I order for the whole trip? Says each purify 30 gal, so I thought about 1gal/day time approx. 135 days I would need 5 of them, correct? Do most people drink 1 gal/day on the PCT? Also, seems like Zpacks is the cheapest place to get it at 10.95 each- anyone seen it for cheaper? Thanks so much!
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 9:58 pm #1582091
Get the tablets. They're a lot lighter — more potent — and they do away completely with the need to count drops, mix, and wait out the 5-min. before you even pour and treat. The tablet packages are easy to tear (no tools) and the tablets are easy to break into halves to treat 16oz water bottles (if need be).
Will you be relying exclusively on chemical treatment?Mar 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm #1582093
I also think the tablets are a lot easier but my math shows they are a lot more expensive too. Pretty tight on funds here. I thought the droppers would be a good compromise between the weight (not anything like a filter) and the price. I was planning on using mini dropper bottles for the solution, 5-7 days worth carry, and another little dropper to pre-mix some of the solution.
I was going to use chemicals as my main treatment option. I have used iodine extensively but this is probably healthier. Suggestions? I'll re-do the math on the tablets in a sec…
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm #1582097
Just redid the math. For a 5 month hike at 1gal/day the drops would cost 55 USD and the tablets would cost 350 USD. Yikes! I do see the weight savings however I could spend 180 USD and cut my pack weight from 47oz to 23oz or less, cheaper if I can find a good used pack for the PCT. Little rant there, sorry. What do you suggest for treatment in a budget?
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 10:09 pm #1582100
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
The only down size of the tablets is the 4 hour wait time– Were the liquid Aquamira takes only 20 minutes total– The tablets are liter but you have to wait longer– Who has 4 hrs to kill on a long hike.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm #1582101
Calculated the weight of the tablets and drops- if I take 6 days of tablets would be .7oz or a little over .1oz/day. 3oz of drops would last 30 days at 1gal/day or exactly .1oz/day. Seems to me that the weight savings would only be for a 1-2 day hike, no? If I would have to carry the tablets for 30 days or the aquamira for 30 days, or even the tablets for 6 and repackage the drops for 6 they would weight the same, correct?
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm #1582103
Seems like for the PCT the drops are the way to go- 6.36 times cheaper, 1/20th the wait time, and for equal or even lesser weight assuming amounts carried and/or repackaging?
Back to the original question…would 3oz really be good for 30 days on the PCT?Mar 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm #1582106
Evan and Jay:
Read the instructions of your seemingly cheaper and faster Aquamira drops. Notice that they mention ONLY treatment against bacteria. There's absolutely no mentioning of any protozoa (cysts, giardia, crypto. etc.)!!
Why? Because the chlorine dioxide concentration in liquid form is not sufficiently potent and the EPA forbids AQ from mentioning anything about protozoa!
A few years ago, Micropur came out with higher concentration chlorine dioxide in tablets. Those are allowed to mention treatment against protozoa:
o 15 minutes treatment against bacteria (same as liquids)
o 30 minutes to 4 hours for treatment against protozoa (longer for colder water)
IMO, if the water is near freezing — then the long treatment time is almost a false sense of security simply because few of us will wait that long (unless it's an overnight treatment). BUT, you should know that the liquid form doesn't even have this level of security — real or not!
I had personally talked about this with Aquamira rep. I was told that the liquid form could match the potency of the tablet form to treat protozoa as well — by quadrupling the dosage!! Now, do the math…
For me, I use a combination of UL filter and chemicals as follows:
1. First treat with chlorine to kill bacteria and viruses — 5 drops per quart — 20 minutes wait time.
2. Second, suck water through a light and compact AquaMira Frontier Pro filter (2oz weight) — to block the bigger and harder to kill protozoa — and also to clarify water and improve water taste (i.e. completely eliminate any chlorine taste).
And since I rely on the filter to block protozoa, all I need are the el cheapo household chlorine — and not the expensive chlorine dioxide tablets — which take too long to do their job anyway.
Finally, and you may already know this — AquaMira itself now sells chlorine dioxide in the more potent tablet form as well. If protozoa are a concern — and they are in more and more water sources — then the cheap/fast liquid form that's only good against bacteria is not the full answer — unless you quadruple the dosage per the AquaMira rep. I talked to.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm #1582109
Not that I don't trust your system or statements (I ask out of curiosity and lack of knowledge on the subject), but is 5 drops of chlorine (bleach?) per quart completely effective against bacteria and viruses? Does it depend on water clarity and/or temperature?
What do you do in camp when you need a few cups of clean water to heat up for rehydrating meals?Mar 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm #1582110
By "household chlorine" you mean household bleach.
–B.G.–Mar 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm #1582111
@dharmabumpkinLocale: San Gabriel Mtns
NVMMar 4, 2010 at 10:33 pm #1582112
Yup. I've checked different websites (Red Cross, etc.) and the ranges are 4-6 drops of household chlorine. That's it. As for wait times, I've read anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes. I usually wait 20 minutes — sometimes longer.
Chlorine will kill all bacteria and viruses — 20 to 30 minutes even in near-freezing water. But chlorine won't kill all protozoa — esp. not the bigger ones with 'hard' shells are impervious to chlorine (unless you up the dosage to "undrinkable") — and hard to kill even with chlorine dioxide — which explains the 30min. to 4 hr. wait time. And the colder the water temp, the longer it takes.
EDIT: Bob — yes, household chlorine such as unscented Clorox. Get a store brand at a 99Cent store and you can get a whole gallon for a buck — practically a lifetime's worth! Compare that to chlorine dioxide makes the latter super expensive!! Never mind the long wait time.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:35 pm #1582114
No, not true at all. Read your MSR Sweetwater drops instructions! The drops are not meant to work by themselves but need to be paired with the filter! Why?
Same as what I wrote up above — the chemical drops kill the small (easier to kill) stuff like bacteria and viruses. The filter is used to block the bigger (harder to kill) stuff — like protozoa!
EDIT: I see Brandon just removed the content of his post.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm #1582116
How's the flow rate when hooked up to say, a Platypus Hoser, and you're drinking on the go? I assume its lessened, but how much?Mar 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm #1582117
If I were out along the JMT, then I have a pretty good idea about the risks in raw water. Giardia lamblia is the primary risk that I am concerned about. Not bacteria. Not virus. Not tropical bugs. The kill temperature for Giardia is 175 F. Therefore, assuming that you are at some normal trail elevation, just getting the water hotter than 175 F will get the job done. Obviously, getting it to boiling is a little better. Heating all of this water consumes fuel, but you may be heating it anyway.
Now, if I moved into a new environment, I would have to study up on my water risks there. I might use my gravity filter, or iodine, or Aqua Mira, or some combination thereof.
–B.G.–Mar 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm #1582119
Using a Platy drinking tube, sucking straight versus sucking through the AquaMira Frontier Pro filter — the difference in sucking effort is only slightly noticeable! I had no trouble at all on my hike up Mt. Whitney.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm #1582120
"Giardia lamblia is the primary risk that I am concerned about. Not bacteria. Not virus. Not tropical bugs. "
Bob — given the above, I would use one of the two options below:
Option 1. If using chemicals only, then I would go for the AM tablets (ABSOLUTELY NOT the liquids) — and realistically wait out the treatment time.
Option 2. If combined with a filter — then I would not waste my money on Aquamira tablets at all. No need. Use household bleach to kill bacteria and viruses (if present) — and let the filter do its job blocking out the much bigger protozoa.
I prefer using chemicals first — then using filter to block protozoa and remove the traces and taste of the chemicals (chlorine).Mar 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm #1582122
Bob and Ben,
Thanks for the info! Now time to rethink things…..again…..Mar 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm #1582125
@dharmabumpkinLocale: San Gabriel Mtns
Just throwing it out there but..
According to this article the chances of a backpacker getting giardia are akin to a swimmer getting bitten by a shark.
According to this post, and from what I hear on the trail, aside from the overblown risk of getting giardia, many people can carry it without showing symptoms.
Just remember to use Purell!Mar 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm #1582128
Thanks for the info. I didnt know all that about aquamira! I will look up that 2oz filter you use too. Do you have to replace it occasionally? Ever have it fail? I have never used a filter before. Was just assuming that the tablets and drops have th same potency, thanks for enlightening me!
Continuing the research…
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm #1582130
People talk all the time about how low the risk is of getting Giardia setting up housekeeping in your intestines. Maybe. Maybe not.
Part of the problem is that I have been present when other hikers contracted this condition, and it got ugly in a hurry, like I cannot describe!
The symptoms vary, but normally it takes one to two weeks for the colony to lay eggs (in your gut), and that is when the symptoms show. In some individuals, it is a very slow onset over days, and in others it is most explosive! Some do not show the symptoms at all, and they might be silent carriers.
As a result of all of that variability, it becomes difficult to decide exactly when the little Giardia cysts were ingested. On one trip in Nepal, the first victim showed major symptoms one day, and the diagnosis was confirmed by a physician at a microscope. Over the course of the next week, almost everybody else on the trek showed different degrees of the same thing. Except me. Maybe I became the silent carrier. I don't know. Don't think so.
–B.G.–Mar 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm #1582133
You're welcome. According to AM website, the compact and light Frontier Pro should be changed out every 50 gallons. Not the best for long thru hikes. For me anyway, as enticing as chemicals are, I would not use them alone. I just know that I won't wait hours for my water — and then the chemicals (A.M.) become nothing but a false sense of security for me.
I don't know if viruses are a factor on the PCT, but if not, then I might just dispense with chemicals altogether (or just carry a small quantity as backup) and just rely on a quality pump filter (not the Frontier Pro though).
And if viruses are a factor, then I would:
(1) Pair the chlorine with a heavier but much longer-lasting filter — like the Pur Hiker Pro or MSR Sweetwater (11 oz) — or…
(2) Bite the bullet, add another 5 oz. and just get the 16oz. "do it all" First Need purifier. Works like a fast pump filter but will take care of everything.Mar 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm #1582135
Really looking to stay away from those filters. Heavy and not cheap either! Anyone know how long the bacteria/viruses can live in the water?
EvanMar 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm #1582136
I don't know that the Frontier Pro filter fails. I suppose it could if it developed some terrible leak, but I've never seen it happen. It can become partly clogged, so if you have been less than diligent about collecting your raw water, you might have little pine needles and stuff clog the filter. So, if you sense that it is working too slow, you take it apart to check it. There is a simple one-stage prefilter pad, and it might have caught the pine needles, so brush it off and rinse it with pre-treated water, then put it all back together. I suspect that if you get it into some really nasty stuff, you might clog it more permanently. I've seen some water filters get seriously screwed up from different nastiness in Yosemite. So, the smart thing to do is to arm yourself with different tools (filter, chemicals, boiling, etc.) and use one or the other or a combination, just depending on what is running through the hose.
I was on a Kilimanjaro trek, and the stupid mountain guides left the big water filter out one night. This was a very expensive ceramic Katadyne that was foot-pumped. Well, it froze that night, and in the morning they had about 150 little ceramic pieces of junk. Unfortunately, the stupid mountain guides had not brought along enough fuel for the stoves, so they didn't want to boil any more water than was necessary. Now what?
Ol' Bob pulled out his bottle of iodine crystals.
–B.G.–Mar 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm #1582137
There are some MYOG options for some filters that aren't too expensive and weigh under 6 ounces.
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