Hiking Water Treatment
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Chemical Water Purification Systems
The most common chemical water treatments used by hikers and backpackers for drinking water purification are some form of chlorine, iodine, or oxidizing agents. All of these chemical water purification options require time for the chemicals to do their job. As a general rule you should wait at least 20 minutes after adding the chemical treatment - longer for colder water since the chemicals work more slowly in colder temperatures. Remember to loosen the cap on your water container and slosh some of the treated water onto the threads of the cap and bottle to eliminate contaminates that may be trapped there.
Having to wait is probably the biggest drawback to this type of water purification. With a filter of some type you can arrive at a water source, filter, and drink immediately. With chemical water treatment when you arrive at a water source you first have to fill your container, add the treatment, wait 20 or more minutes - then you can drink. But because it is such a light weight solution to the almost universal problem of water purification, even if it is not used as the primary means of water treatment, carrying some form of chemical water purifier as a back up to a filter is a good idea for extra safety. A good item to carry on day hikes too even when you think you're carrying plenty of water just in case you end up staying out longer or get thirstier than you expected.
Probably the least effective, chlorine is somewhat unstable, adds some taste to the water, and leaves behind some chemical residue now associated with a small cancer risk.
Household Liquid Bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypo chlorite can be used. Do not use scented, color-safe, or bleaches with added cleaners. Add about 3 to 6 drops of bleach per quart of water, mix thoroughly and allow to sit for approximately 20 minutes.
More effective than chlorine, but deteriorates when exposed to sunlight, and leaves behind an unpleasant taste, iodine is another option. It may not be suitable for people with certain types of thyroid conditions. The unpleasant taste of iodine can be countered by adding ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to the treated water, but this should only be added after having waited the recommended amount of time for treatment because it neutralizes the effectiveness of the iodine as well as the taste.
There has been some concern about possible adverse effects from using iodine over prolonged periods, but medical studies including one where prisoners used iodine over a period of several years has not proven this to be the case.
Liquid Tincture of Iodine sold in pharmacies is one possible source. Add several drops per quart of water mix thoroughly and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. More convenient for hikers are iodine tablets sold specifically for water treatment.
Possibly the fastest acting chemical water purification option, oxidizers adds the least taste, and produce the least undesirable chemical residues, but they also generally more expensive than chlorine or iodine. This is the type of water treatment used by many municipal city water systems.
Hiking & Backpacking
The Katadyn Pocket Filter is the most rugged, longest lasting microfilter available. This robust water filter made of heavy duty materials is ideal for long lasting continuous use even under extreme circumstances. The silver impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa. The Katadyn Pocket is the only water filter with a 20 year warranty.
|TRK Drip Ceradyn Filter||$317.95|
The Katadyn Combi combines a silver impregnated ceramic element and a refillable, activated carbon cartridge. It is effective against bacteria and protozoa and also reduces chemicals and bad taste. With the optional Faucet Mount Adapter (sold separately) the Combi can be connected to a water faucet for multifunctional use in campers, cottages or boats. Includes: Prefilter, bottle adaptor and carry bag
|Aquatabs - 12 Pack||$139.95|
From the high mountain passes to high-traffic wilderness areas closer to home, Aquatabs water purification tablets from MSR quickly and reliably purify drinking water on-demand. Theyre effective against viruses, bacteria and Giardia cysts, providing safe drinking water in just 30 minutes. Ideal for ultralight backcountry travel, theyre also great for international travel and domestic emergency use. And because theyre individually packaged, they travel well, making the ideal emergency back-up to any microfilter.
|Freedom Solar Bundle Water Purifier Kit||$127.46|
Enjoy the freedom to go anywhere with SteriPENs smallest, lightest and first rechargeable UV water purifier, the Freedom. In 48 seconds, the germicidal UV light destroys over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Paired with solar recharging capabilities, this unit allows you to purify more and carry less. A single charge delivers up to 20 liters of purified water -- that's around a week's worth of water for an active adult!
|AutoFlow Gravity Water Filter||$109.95|
The MSR HyperFlow features: The latest Hollow Fiber Technology in a package so small and so easy to use it will change the way you travel in the backcountry.Also included is a Quick Connect Bottle Adapter allowing direct connection to all MSR hydration products and a variety of other "wide mouth" containers and an advanced prefilter to prolong the life of your filter.
|Freedom Water Purifier||$101.96|
|SweetWater Purifier System||$99.95|
Get added viral protection in popular wilderness areas and developing countries with this combination purifier system. The SweetWater Microfilter removes waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites, and the chlorine-based SweetWater Purifier Solution effectively inactivates viruses. This system meets U.S. EPA requirements for microbiological water purifiers.
|Sidewinder Water Purifier System||$84.96|
Always ready, the SteriPEN Sidewinder is a long-life, storable water purifier that destroys waterborne microbes that could make you sick. The Sidewinder is the first portable UV water purifier to require no batteries; the device purifies 8,000 liters of water 1 liter at a time; cranking 90 seconds for each. The long lasting Sidewinder purification system includes a one-liter Tritan BPA-free bottle and SteriPEN Pre-Filter for use prior to treatment if the water contains particulates. With the Sidewinder, you can crank up safe drinking water anywhere, anytime.