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water purification

3:10 p.m. on March 24, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi!

Can you recommend please how to get rid of a bad taste after water filtration? I have Sawyer complete water filtration system. I used the iodine + neutralizer tablets also but I hate the iodine taste.

thanks!

3:55 p.m. on March 24, 2010 (EDT)
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throw in some crystal lite lemonade packs! Or any other drink mix of your choice, there are quite a few to choose from. Just be sure you don't have to add sugar, too.

6:55 a.m. on March 25, 2010 (EDT)
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I think they stopped selling iodine in the UK because of long term health risk. There is a new type of water filter called "Travel Tap" in the UK, which is like a plastic water bottle with a carbon/ceramic (?) filter before the mouth piece, which you squeeze to filter.

I have read good reviews on it (lightweight, reusable, long lasting, simple, not too expensive etc) and will have one next week. I'm not sure if it covers all the bugs/aliens but using it in the UK, I am not bothered about those.

5:31 p.m. on March 26, 2010 (EDT)
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thank you for your replies! I will try crystal lite lemonade as the cheapest method firstly.

3:31 a.m. on March 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Stop by a nautical supply outfitter, they vend a chlorine/oxidizer system that disinfects water, and leaves no after taste. I have personally conducted taste tests to verify this. REI and other sporting goods stores sell a similar product, but it is rather pricey, compared to the marine water purification products.
Ed

7:24 a.m. on April 2, 2010 (EDT)
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filter plus liquid purifier. avoids the bad taste issue, unless the water was mucky to begin with.

8:32 p.m. on April 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Does anyone know about how to use sunlight correctly to purify water?

3:16 a.m. on April 4, 2010 (EDT)
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Hi,

Please look at an product that doesn't use iodine, like the Katadyn pocket, see http://www.katadyn.com/en/katadyn-products/products/katadynshopconnect/katadyn-wasserfilter-endurance-series-produkte/katadyn-pocket/

I just bought one, i like its specs, on ebay the are not expensive and the weight is 550 gram.

Robert

11:22 a.m. on April 5, 2010 (EDT)
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12:14 p.m. on April 16, 2010 (EDT)
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The problem with the Micropur tablets is the time it takes to purify. If I recall correctly, iodine, with room temp water takes about 30 minutes for a quart. When I was in Nepal, I used the Micropur tabs, and I noticed that the instructions recommended 4 hours for purification. This means, of course, pre-planning. I had to fill my water every night before bed, and let it purify over night.

Also, these tables are just bleach (or similar), I think, so you do get a bit of a chlorine taste. This taste may be no different than your municipal water supply.

8:34 p.m. on April 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Gary--Regarding using the sun to purify water, the following applies:

1.) Fill up a clear plastic water bottle--your standard 20oz. or gatorade (anything PET)--with the suspect water (filter it through a bandana if its really dirty)

2.) Put the bottle on a piece of reflective metal (foil, frying pan, metal roof) in full sun for six hours

3.) Drink water

This is by no means gonna work in every case. The water needs to be relatively clear to work at all. Remove all labeling for best results. The system is called SODIS; read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_water_disinfection

Pretty good survival technique, methinks.

Otherwise, get a First Need XL water filter and call it a day Jana. They are a bit heavy, but the filters cartridge comes with an activated charcoal element, so all viruses, bacteria, tastes, and odors are removed from the water. Fecal Coliform is also taken care of, a real issue in most of the world. I've sucked up some pretty questionable water through my First Need XL, and it's come out clean and tasty every time. Pumps on the push and pull stroke. And it was field tested by US Special Forces, so it's about as reinforced as water filters come.

11:54 a.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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The problem with the Micropur tablets is the time it takes to purify. If I recall correctly, iodine, with room temp water takes about 30 minutes for a quart. When I was in Nepal, I used the Micropur tabs, and I noticed that the instructions recommended 4 hours for purification. This means, of course, pre-planning. I had to fill my water every night before bed, and let it purify over night.

Also, these tables are just bleach (or similar), I think, so you do get a bit of a chlorine taste. This taste may be no different than your municipal water supply.

Just to clarify a bit, from what I understand Iodine tablets are not effective against Cryptosporidium. The 4 hour wait time for the MP tablets is to kill the Cryptosporidium. Otherwise, if your not concerned with Crypto it takes 15 mins to kill viruses and bacteria, then 30 mins to kill Giardia - similar to iodine. The 4 hours is just for the Crypto only - an added benefit over Iodine.

Ya I would agree with you in that the MP treated water tastes like city water, as its active ingredient (chlorine dioxide) is used for municipal water treatment. Reminds me of the tap water I had when I lived in Phoenix, AZ.

7:04 p.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
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Both Crypto & Giardia can be removed by filtration with a 0.3 micron filter like the Hiker Pro.

So by filtering first you cut way down on the wait time with chlorine dioxide, but you still have to take into account water clarity and temperature. Both turbidity (cloudiness) and cold temps increase wait time.

This is why some people filter & treat with chemical treatment, set that aside, and boil water if they need some water for immediate use.

12:29 a.m. on April 20, 2010 (EDT)
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I often boil water anyways just to throw in a platy and warm my sleeping bag; by morning it's a very drinkable temperature.

As far as taste goes, I like the 20oz.-individual Propel drink mix powder packs. Yes, they are all fake-sugared to the max, but, lets face it, sugar is heavy and bulky compared to the fakeys. The kool-aid sugarless packs are good too.

3:40 p.m. on April 25, 2010 (EDT)
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1. Katadyn Micropur tabs in your hydration at night

2. SteriPen Adventurer for your bike bottle when you need purified water right away.

This combination has worked well for me for 3 years.

Eric

12:47 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I have read that you only have to get water to 165 degrees for five minutes...something like that, to make it safe to drink. Anyway you don't have to boil to pasteurize the water, so if the container in the sun gets hot enough you would be alright.

For emergency situations where the water is loaded with suspended solids, then just boiling it won't really do. Here is a cool solution. If you don't mind drilling a hole in the lid of your pot, you can tap in a nipple to connect a hose to. Then carry a length of small coiled copper tubing, and connect it to the lid with a short piece of plastic tubing and bring the nasty water to a slow boil. Insert the other end of the coiled tube (with another short piece of plastic tube attached) into a water bottle, preferably a Kleen kanteen, (no aluminum or plastic). Now keep the coil cool with a moist cloth, and as the steam runs through the coil it condenses into the water bottle. Your pot will have gunk on the bottom, as the suspended solids will not transfer into the water bottle. You now have perfectly safe water to drink, and clear as a bell. That's why the wood burner stoves are a cool addition (or should I say hot) to you pack, as the fuel is plentiful. Well most of the time. You can make any water drinkable this way, and then as far as taste...just add the drink mix. Now don't go making whiskey out in the field...because yes...this is basically a still. Remember, just getting the water to a boil kills all the bugs, so you don't have to boil it for a long time. Try it yourself at home first, using some pond water, and when done take it in to have it tested. You will see that it has no contaminants. Unless you are using water from that nuclear waste pond. LOL

7:43 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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To add on to what several others have said. You only have to bring water to a boil (212F), as soon as it reaches a boil it's ready. It is true that bringing water to 165F for 5 minutes will kill alot of the nasties, but there are some that are more hardy, and it really only takes another minute or less on a stove to hit 212 if your already at 165.

As far as getting the taste out of the water you need to use some form of activated charcoal. This can be in the form of a filter or a homemade filter. Activated charcoal WILL NOT remove all bacteria etc from water. Activated charcoal WILL remove chemicals (pesticides etc), odors, and generally bad tastes from the water. I use a MSR miniworks which is a .3micron ceramic filter with an activated charcoal core. I have filtered some really nasty water, and it comes out tasty and crystal clear everytime.

I also have a homemade filter that I have used on some trips as an experiment. I took a metal can (any metal can will work) and drilled 4 1/8 holes in the bottom. placed a piece of wire mesh in the bottom of the can then filled the can up about 1/2 inch of sand, then about 3 inches of activated charcoal, then one more 1/2in or so of sand, I then trim a piece of wire mesh to fit inside the top portion of the can to help hold everything in. Then to filter you just pour water in and it will slowly drain out of the bottom. Will filter out any bad taste or chemical content the water had. Charcoal only gets some bacteria etc, so it is still advised to boil water if using charcoal only. Or add a treatment.

10:37 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I use a water filter and or a couple drops of bleach, Its not bad at all.

11:05 a.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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To add on to what several others have said. You only have to bring water to a boil (212F), as soon as it reaches a boil it's ready. It is true that bringing water to 165F for 5 minutes will kill alot of the nasties, but there are some that are more hardy, and it really only takes another minute or less on a stove to hit 212 if your already at 165.

Virtually all the bacteria that survive 155F (pasteurization temperature) will also survive boiling for even 15-30 minutes. Killing those requires pressurized steam temperatures, well above anything you can achieve in the field (think "autoclave"). Viruses are inactivated at 155F.

Also, remember that boiling water temperature decreases with altitude.

31 in. Hg: 214 °F or 101.1 °C (at approx -1000 ft or -305 m below sea level)
30 in. Hg: 212.15 °F or 100 °C (at approx sea level)
29 in. Hg: 210.3 °F or 99.06 °C (at approx 1000 ft or 305 m above sea level)
28 in. Hg: 208.44 °F or 98.02 °C (at approx 2000 ft or 610 m above sea level)
27 in. Hg: 206.59 °F or 96.99 °C (at approx 3000 ft or 914 m above sea level)
25 in. Hg: 202.89 °F or 94.94 °C (at approx 5000 ft or 1524 m above sea level)
23 in. Hg: 199.19 °F or 92.88 °C (at approx 7000 ft or 2134 m above sea level)
21 in. Hg: 195.48 °F or 90.82 °C (at approx 10,000 ft or 3048 m bove sea level)
19 in. Hg: 191.78 °F or 88.77 °C (at approx 12,000 ft or 3658 m above sea level)
17 in. Hg: 188.07 °F or 86.71 °C (at approx 15,000 ft or 4572 m above sea level)
10 in. Hg: 175.11 °F or 79.51 °C (at approx 27,000 ft or 8230 m above sea level)
5 in. Hg: 165.85 °F or 74.36 °C (at approx 42,000 ft 12,802 m above sea level)

4:02 p.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Ok, maybe I wasn't specific enough. But my point was that you don't have to boil water for 5 minutes like alot of sources say. Once it reaches a boil you can shut off the heat source because boiling any longer wont do any good and you are just wasting fuel. IF there is bacteria in the water that is resistant to temperature (not normally found in typical hiking water sources, unless you are getting water out of a volcanic vent) then you are out of luck because you can't kill it without being able to pressurise and raise temps like in an autoclave or pressure cooker.

So I guess what I am trying to say is filter or chemically treat your water, but if you go the bandanna and boil type of method then just bring the water to a boil then shut off your stove. Chances are you wont get sick doing it that way, but if your lucky enough to get the right bacteria then it's just your time to get sick. I have probally drank over 1000 liters of water that was just run through a bandanna and brought to a boil and I havn't gotten sick. And that was water from the desert, to mountain streams, to jungle streams full of who knows what.

Treatment in some form or fashion is better than no treatment!

11:37 p.m. on June 30, 2010 (EDT)
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So, according to Bill's chart, we are still (generally) safe bringing water to a boil at 42,000 feet because the temperature is above the 155F pasteurization temperature. That'll make me feel better next time I'm up that high! :-)

12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Just make sure you take a full oxygen bottle with you, Jim!

Well, I just discovered a glitch in my plans for the Easter Island trip. They warn you to only drink bottled water, even for brushing your teeth in the hotels. So, even though Barb and I have never reacted to the water even in places like Tanzania and rural Mexico, we planned to take our SteriPen. However, I was reminded when I was getting ready to pack, that the SteriPen's rechargeable batteries are Lithium-Ion. Now, international air regulations allow lithium batteries (both the rechargeables and the AA and AAA non-rechargeables) installed in the devices (your camera, laptop, SteriPen, flashlight, watch, etc), which may be in checked or carry-on luggage, plus 2 spares per person which must be in your carry-on luggage. The worry is that they might accidentally cause a fire or explode. Non-lithiums are ok - alkalines, NiCd, NiMH, etc. Since the cameras are the top priority for the eclipse, all the spare lithiums are accounted for by camera batteries. So no spares for the SteriPen. I do have the solar recharger, but that's slow. I will have the AC charger, so I can get a day's worth of use out of that. Boiling is out - the hotel won't allow a stove in the room (even if the airline were to allow the stove in the luggage, which it won't). Well, there is always the filter or the pills - it would sure be strange to be pumping a pisco sour through the Hiker Pro - no wait, the pisco sour is high enough in alcohol to kill the critters, but how do you filter ice cubes? I guess all drinks will be sin hielo. Then again, like I said, we haven't reacted to the tap water in any country, including 3rd World.

2:44 a.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Just for the heck of it, what type of viruses that can be found in pond water (I am still referring to the worst case scenario) that would require an autoclave? In emergencies, where you need to take a chance with such water, I would think it would kill most normal stuff. My take on this was getting clear water from a mucky mess that is relatively safe although not a normal practice. Filtering through the shirt works, but the color is still nasty. MSR has a little pot where the handle folds over the top for storage, and the lid is domed. I was at REI tonight and even though it was only $16, I spent my dividend on a compass instead. That pot could make a good boiler, considering the lid would have the hole in it, as I spoke of earlier. Still...it could be a bit dicey to lock that lid shut...hot scalding water on my lap would not be fun. Try my solution sometime, especially if you are teaching a kid about emergency stuff. It is really cool to see the clear water after seeing the green stuff that you started with. Anyway...its like flying, you practice for the unexpected.

1:19 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Generally speaking you don't have to worry about viruses in water sources in the US, there are some areas yes. But generally speaking most water sources are safe from viruses. The exception to this is A)Stagnant water (which you should always avoid if at all possible) B) Water from a swamp or jungle type of atmosphere where there is lots of decay and animal waste/decay in the water and C) Water from a volcanic source (will usually have an orange color from the iron and sulpher content)

So if you are getting water from anywhere other than those types of places you will probally be ok no matter whether you are boiling, filtering, or chemically treating. If your really worried you can always capture the steam and recondense it as previously stated in other posts.

3:08 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Bill, couldn't you ship LithIon batteries to your hotel?

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