Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: don't remember, price was modest
Convenient, light, fast enough. But how antiseptic is it?
- Almost tasteless
- Color reaction
- Might not be antiseptic
- Two ingredients must stand for 35min before use.
I have used these drops for several years, and I have never gotten sick in the wild. But that does not prove they actually kill germs; I might simply have been lucky.
Knowing that, I'm worried about the absence of any claim by Aquamira that they are effective against germs —bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Before purchasing my second kit, I threw away the packaging from my first purchase. This time, I read the packaging carefully. There you will read no claims of efficacy or warnings of the opposite, only that the product removes odors. The active ingredient, chlorine dioxide, is a powerful oxidising agent and will destroy many chemicals, including those that have a strong odor. That doesn't necessarily mean it will kill harmful life forms.
It takes 30min to work. That's convenient, but why do other products with the same chemistry require 4 hrs? Does the difference in reactivity portend a difference in antiseptic efficiency?
Otherwise, they are convenient to use. Once the 2 ingredients are mixed (a miniature cup is included), it takes 5 min to activate. The mixture turns yellow and gives off a strong chlorine-like smell, which shows you the ingredients you have been using for the past 2 years behave as advertised. Treated water is ready to drink after standing for at least at least 30min.
I have found that allowing the treated water to vent, by placing the cap loosely on the water bottle instead of screwing it tight for example, removes all noticeable chemical taste. Boiling, of course, accomplishes the same thing.
Perhaps because I pack it with medicines, toothpaste, and first aid near the top of my pack, I have never had Aquamira leak in my pack.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $12
Great for lightweight with no taste.
- Lightest with no aftertaste
- A slight wait to drink time
I started using the pump filters and after many years went looking for something lighter and went to the Steripen which is great. That however you have to rely on batteries. Then it was the tablets for the absolute lightest thing out there, but ugh the taste was awful and you had a 30 minute wait time.
Then I found these drops and several of my hiking friends now use them. I carry 3-4 little pre-made (that morning) capsules that are ready to drop into my coke water bottle and have never had any leaks. Sure you need to wait 20 minutes, but the weight savings is well worth it. The next best thing to the weight savings has to be the no aftertaste to these drops.
Have now been using this method for over three years and still believe that they are the best thing you could be carrying for weight, easy to use, and effectiveness.
Price Paid: $13
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops is a great product: convenient, lightweight, has minimal to no taste, and is trouble free. The product comes in two 30 ml (1 fl oz) bottles. To activate chlorine dioxide, you mix Parts A and B 1:1 and wait 5 min. I usually perform this step before I get my water container(s) out of the backpack, chug the remaining water, and fill up at the water source. That way, by the time I return the 5 min are almost up.
After dumping the activated Aquamira into your water container, it takes 15 min to sterilize the water. The 15 min wait time is no problem if you stop for water before your water runs out, or you carry a second lightweight water container to fill up and carry for the 15 min (for example, Platypus Water Tank). Very convenient. The two 30 ml bottles are enough to purify 120 liters of water. Thus, 30 ml divided by 120 liters, or 0.25 ml of each Part A and B is enough for 1 liter (or 1 quart). I find that in the Sierra I use about 1 ml of each Part per day per person.
My trips are usually a week or shorter in duration. Thus, I transfer Aquamira to smaller dropper bottles, typically Nalgene 8 ml dropper bottles (the one for Part B is clear so you can see the level), and calibrate the number of drops necessary to dispense 0.25 ml. I also carry 2-3 small mixing cups. My old MSR filter weighed 18 oz. My Aquamira kit weighs 1 oz. An 18-fold weight savings. Very lightweight. If you notice an unpleasant taste with Aquamira then you either have a highly developed sense of taste or you may be using too much Aquamira, even if you use the original dropper bottles and the number of drops they recommend. In other words, their recommendation of 30 ml per 120 liters is more accurate than their recommended number of drops per liter. Very tasty.
Finally, my old MSR filter would clog regularly. That problem is gone with Aquamira. Also, the small Nalgene dropper bottles or eye dropper bottles don't leak. A small zip lock adds leak security and keeps all the parts together. Trouble free.
Disclaimer: This review is based on backpacking in the Sierra Nevada of California, where the water is typically clear. Where water purity is more questionable, then filter the water first to remove biofilm before treating with Aquamira. For an excellent article about Giardia in the Sierra by Robert L. Rockwell go to <a href="http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/Giardia.htm">www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/Giardia.htm </a> (Yosemite Association Sierra Nature Notes, Vol 2, January 2002).
Price Paid: $11
I've used Aquamira for a couple of years now. It works as advertised (well, I haven't gotten the nasties, anyway), though the lengthy mix-and-wait process is cumbersome. Also, beware of leaky bottles; the chemicals ate right through one of my silnylon stuff sacks and ruined it. Thankfully, it didn't get on my pack. It's fine if you're going for maximum weight/space savings, but overall I prefer a filter for convenience.
Update: June 27, 2007
Overall, this is a good product with a couple of drawbacks. It's a decent solution for gram-counting solo backpackers but is not really suited to large groups. My biggest gripe is the caustic nature of the unmixed chemicals, combined with leaky bottles. I have already lost two stuff sacks as a result; thankfully my pack was not damaged as well.
PROS: Small, compact, lightweight, treats a lot of water considering its size. No funny iodine taste.
CONS: Takes a few minutes for both mixes to react to create the purifier solution, THEN 30 minutes or longer to actually purify the water. Must use relatively clean water source. Chemicals from a leaky bottle will destroy nylon and possibly other fabrics.
I would rate this product a bit higher if McNett would put it in leak-proof containers.
Price Paid: $8
Pros- light, easy, simple, can't break. pair of droppers lasts 25 days in the field. best chemical treatment I've seen- slight chlorine taste is still waaay better than most city tap water.
Cons- well, one- the chemicals can be nasty if spilled- mixed or unmixed. which really takes careless effort to do. Aqua Mira would suck if you're downstream from a large farm or factory- but if that's a problem, well, I'd recommend finding a locale for tripping anyhow. as far as gritty water- well, minerals are good for ya, and i don't mind crunchy water once in a while.
go buy some- it never hurts to have it just in case.