Chemical Water Treatments
Need help getting started? Read our four-part guide to backcountry water treatment:
Part 1: Proper Hydration
Part 2: Keeping Your Water Supply Safe
Part 3: What’s in Backcountry Water?
Part 4: Methods for Making Water Safe
The best chemical water treatments, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.
In order to show you the most useful information, we have omitted some unreviewed products.
Recent Chemical Water Treatment Reviews
Funny, used to always boil water, iodine, then got a pump and replaced with another pump, and got turned on to this by a Triple Crowner. Been using for the last ten years and no problems, which I consider not just luck. Buy a new set each year. Makes a lot of potable water for its size. I wish we had this product when I was in the army, often had to drink some really nasty stuff in the jungles, we were issued iodine tabs back then and I've seen several really sick troops after a few weeks in the… Full review
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Aquamira drops have been my go-to for water treatment for a few years now. I've used a Katadyn Basecamp gravity filter, which worked well until it just stopped one day. Pretty big and heavy in retrospect anyway. I've also used a gravity filter that I rigged up with a Platypus Big-Zip and a Sawyer Mini that worked brilliantly until it just stopped working one day no matter how hard I back-flushed… Full review
I just got back from a 4-day backpacking trip with a new cycling friend who brought this product call Aquamira. It's two small bottles of liquids that when mixed together in about 7 drops each makes a tasteless way to purify water in the back country. I just looked it up online at: http://www.aquamira.com/products/aquamira-water-treatment-drops/ Comes in two small bottle weighing just around an ounce. Mixes in the white cap of Part B above, turns yellow after a 5 minute wait, then added to water… Full review
No added taste, never inconvenient, very light, and best of all, it doesn't break. I've been using these for years with great success. I've been using the Aquamira drops for a few years, ever since Andrew Skurka (Ultimate Hiker's Guide) suggested them, and I've never looked back. Most people who I've spent any time with on the trails, who were using some filter system, pretty much converted after experiencing this stuff. What could be easier? Here is how it works. You find a water source and you're… Full review
Although designed primarily for river runners, this chemical treatment product works equally well for hikers and campers who need to settle the dirt and sediment out of water before filtering it or treating it for drinking. Follow the directions by adding the appropriate number of drops of the Water Wizard solution to muddy water, stir briskly, and within a minute or two the result is clean, clear water. The Water Wizard solution is actually polyaluminum chloride which has been in standard use for… Full review
Convenient, light, fast enough. But how antiseptic is it? 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… Full review
Great for lightweight with no taste. 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… Full review
Light, safe, easy to use Stable, easy-to-use water treatment option that purifies using chlorine dioxide. Effective against viruses, bacteria, giardia, and cryptosporidium. Not much of an aftertaste at all. Some slight chlorine odor when chemicals are working on contaminants, but hardly noticeable in clean water. Dwell times range from 1/2 to 4 hours depending on water temperature. I carry two x 1 litre jugs and switch from one to the other as needed, leaving one to work while I'm drinking the other. Full review
Way back when I hiked in the White Mountains I didn't treat the water at all. These days I wouldn't think of not treating and I haven't felt like putting out the $75+ dollars for a water filter. I always carry these tablets, even on day hikes. They weigh nothing and are an easy safety net in case I get stranded. On backpacks nowadays I am always with a larger group so, should I not be able to wait for the four hours, I could always borrow someone's filter. Haven't had to do that yet. I don't… Full review