BWCA Potable Aqua or Aquamira? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Potable Aqua or Aquamira?     

Author

Text

OldTripper
distinguished member (240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/06/2023 05:47PM  
At the end of the first day of a 10 day solo I discovered my gravity filter was clogged. Even with the syringe I was unable to back flush it. (I know, my fault for not checking it before the trip.) Luckily I had some Potable Aqua tablets with me that I used for the balance of the trip. It worked well enough but I did have times where the first tablets took a long time (well over the 30 min the directions say) to completely dissolve so that I could add the second tablets. And the second tablets seemed to take a long time (again, well over the 30 min per the directions) to dissolve as well. I would shake the water bottles to speed up the process. The trip continued and ended well but left me wanting to try something different. Since I did just fine without the gravity filter I'm thinking of ditching it and using strictly chemical treatment.

As a curiosity question, I'm wondering how many of you use only a chemical treatment of some kind? If so, what are you using?

I'm thinking of using Aquamira since it is a liquid that mixes with the water immediately and you only have to wait the designated amount of time versus waiting for the tablets to dissolve completely.
For those of you who have used Aquamira, what are your thoughts? I'd like to hear the pro's and con's of both Aquamira and Potable Aqua that you may have.
Thanks in advance for your input.
OT

Edit: I should clarify by saying I was using the Potable Aqua PA+Plus product with the two different bottles of tables.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
04/06/2023 07:01PM  
We've carried Potable Aqua Plus on several trips, and once had a clogged filter, requiring the chemical use. PA-Plus has a second tablet that neutralizes the iodine taste. At the time we were carrying three 1-liter water bottles, so would start treatment of a liter of water as soon as we had only two bottles full. Worked very smoothly, and the treatment time, even with neutralization, was never a factor. The filter plugged, however, early in a 10-day trip, and my wife had facial puffiness that we suspect might have been caused by the iodine. (DISCLAIMER: I know correlation does not equal causation, but the puffiness started with water treatment and got more serious as the trip progressed.)

TZ
 
Tomcat
distinguished member(708)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/06/2023 07:10PM  
I used bleach to treat the water on a 14 day river trip but prefer modern filters so that I am consuming less of the sediments in the water.
 
04/06/2023 07:20PM  
I think you're most likely referring to the potable aqua iodine-based tablets with the taste neutralizer? If so I've used it before and it's not too bad as a backup, but there is a bit of a wait to it and it still has a bit of an iodine taste even with the neutralizer in my experience.

Both potable aqua and aquamira also make chlorine dioxide tablets and chlorine dioxide 2-part liquid treatment. Chlorine dioxide if I recall is more effective than iodine-based treatments.

I have used the aquamira drops quite a bit on backpacking trips and can't complain at all except for the minor inconvenience and short wait when mixing
the two parts. Just make sure you don't lose the mixing caps or use a container that has a cap you can use for mixing. Of all these options I find the chlorine dioxide drops/liquid to be almost tasteless as long as you wait until it's finished.

I also tried the chlorine dioxide tablets and for some reason they seem to have a stronger taste that lingers which I don't care for. I was a bit disappointed with this as the tablets would be more convenient than the liquid.

As far as tablets are concerned if you're looking for a good solution that's quick and economical I highly recommend aquatabs. They're cheap, quick, and convenient. I used these quite a bit in the BW over the last couple years. Only complaint is each tablet treats 750ml which is a bit of an oddity given most water bottles these days are 1 quart or 1 liter. They also have just a slight chlorine taste. Like iodine they don't treat Cryptosporidium, but that shouldn't really be much of a concern in the BWCA. I've developed a habit of shoving packs of these in all of my backpacks, tackle boxes, water bottle sleeves, etc just in case I need them. They're so small you don't even notice they're there.
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/06/2023 08:13PM  
TrailZen: "We've carried Potable Aqua Plus on several trips, and once had a clogged filter, requiring the chemical use. PA-Plus has a second tablet that neutralizes the iodine taste. At the time we were carrying three 1-liter water bottles, so would start treatment of a liter of water as soon as we had only two bottles full. Worked very smoothly, and the treatment time, even with neutralization, was never a factor. The filter plugged, however, early in a 10-day trip, and my wife had facial puffiness that we suspect might have been caused by the iodine. (DISCLAIMER: I know correlation does not equal causation, but the puffiness started with water treatment and got more serious as the trip progressed.)
TZ"

I should clarify by saying I was also using the Potable Aqua PA+Plus product with the two different bottles of tables. I didn't specifically state it but was using two different tables.
I also finished my trip like you did. I had (2) 1 liter bottles. As soon as one was empty I refilled it and began treating it while drinking out of the already treated bottle.
Thanks for your comments TZ
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/06/2023 08:35PM  
keth0601: "I think you're most likely referring to the potable aqua iodine-based tablets with the taste neutralizer? If so I've used it before and it's not too bad as a backup, but there is a bit of a wait to it and it still has a bit of an iodine taste even with the neutralizer in my experience.


Both potable aqua and aquamira also make chlorine dioxide tablets and chlorine dioxide 2-part liquid treatment. Chlorine dioxide if I recall is more effective than iodine-based treatments.


I have used the aquamira drops quite a bit on backpacking trips and can't complain at all except for the minor inconvenience and short wait when mixing
the two parts. Just make sure you don't lose the mixing caps or use a container that has a cap you can use for mixing. Of all these options I find the chlorine dioxide drops/liquid to be almost tasteless as long as you wait until it's finished.

I also tried the chlorine dioxide tablets and for some reason they seem to have a stronger taste that lingers which I don't care for. I was a bit disappointed with this as the tablets would be more convenient than the liquid.

As far as tablets are concerned if you're looking for a good solution that's quick and economical I highly recommend aquatabs. They're cheap, quick, and convenient. I used these quite a bit in the BW over the last couple years. Only complaint is each tablet treats 750ml which is a bit of an oddity given most water bottles these days are 1 quart or 1 liter. They also have just a slight chlorine taste. Like iodine they don't treat Cryptosporidium, but that shouldn't really be much of a concern in the BWCA. I've developed a habit of shoving packs of these in all of my backpacks, tackle boxes, water bottle sleeves, etc just in case I need them. They're so small you don't even notice they're there."


keth, yes, I am using the Potable Aqua PA+Plus two tablet set but failed to make that clear in my first post. I appreciate hearing your positive comments on the Aquamira. I did see in the videos that there is a 5 minute wait between mixing the two parts and adding the mixture to the water. Thanks for your comments.
 
OCDave
distinguished member(721)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/06/2023 08:46PM  
I have a small bottle of Potable-Aqua tabs in my first aid kit that are likely 20 years old. Never actually used them.

I have also experienced the "filter failure" described. It isn't a clog but rather the filter media requiring a resoaking or rehydrating after storage. With my Sawyer filter this was so common it got permanently retired. I have the problem much less frequently with my Platypus gravity filter. It might be simply because I soak it prior to my first trip of the year. It stays functional all season and I dry it out for several days before storing it over the winter.

Prepping my filter is far less bothersome than trying to chemically decontaminate my water even on just on 1 trip. That said, I probable should consider replacing my 20 year old supply of Potable-Aqua tabs.
 
andym
distinguished member(5360)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
04/07/2023 03:31AM  
As a backup to our filter, I carry Polar Pure iodine crystals. Because they are pure crystals they will never expire and will do a huge amount of water. We used to use them as our primary treatment but switched to a gravity system. Before the gravity system we did try a UV system but it died on us and we did switch to the iodine. Sort of a pain to use and I hope to never use them again but a very convenient backup.

Some people are allergic to iodine and so probably good to test that at home.

I’ve had tons of it as both an oral and IV imaging contrast for CT scans. So I know I’m ok with it. We just got tired of the taste.
 
Sparkeh
distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/07/2023 05:47AM  
I like aquamira as my backup.
Just a heads up. Many filters membranes can dry up over winter and need to be soaked for a day to open up the element. That is my guess as to what happened to yours since this has happened to mine during a couple spring trips.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
distinguished member (396)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/07/2023 06:35AM  
Sparkeh: "I like aquamira as my backup.
Just a heads up. Many filters membranes can dry up over winter and need to be soaked for a day to open up the element. That is my guess as to what happened to yours since this has happened to mine during a couple spring trips. "


Agree with this, just looked at mine the other day and both were pretty crusty.

Curious if in the field warm water would help backflush better? Heat up a bit with stove or fire then backflush? Seems like it would work better than just using cold water. Maybe I will test the theory this Spring.
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/07/2023 07:18AM  
OCDave & Sparkeh, thank you for your comments.
I'm learning things. It was in fact a Sawyer filter that I was using. I tried desperately to get water thru it to backflush but was unable. I assumed it wasn't dry enough before storage and it had molded shut so I tossed it when I got home. Lesson learned. I have since bought a replacement but haven't used it yet. I will definitely be prepping it at home to make sure it will pass water before a trip.

andym, you bring up another good point of possibly being allergic to the chemicals. I know I can use the iodine, but if I take the Aquamira I'll definitely try it at home before I take it on the trip.

All good information to know.
Thanks for all of your comments.
 
04/07/2023 10:34AM  
Aquamira drops have been my preferred choice for years. When I first mix it I can smell a little chlorine but it seems to dissipate quickly and I don’t taste it. I make a point of mixing a fresh batch as soon as I finish drinking the first, this way the 15-20 wait time isn’t an issue. I did just buy a gravity filter, mainly to use in a group setting.
These two tiny bottles weigh nothing and take up no space and can treat tons of water, I take them along all my trips.
 
04/07/2023 02:37PM  
I bring a converted eye drop bottle of bleach as a dish sanitizer and emergency water purifier. After dinner and dishes, I refill my pots with fresh water and put them on the evening campfire to boil so I have fresh water in the AM for drinking, tooth brushing and face washing.
 
04/07/2023 04:30PM  
I have not used chemical treatment in over 30 years. Don't even carry them with me. I have used pumps then gravity filters with great success, though sometimes they get a bit slow. If they break, I would rely on boiling or just dip water from the center of a clean lake.
 
flytyer
distinguished member (219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/10/2023 04:54PM  
Your source for Polar Pure. I used it a long time ago and liked it but have been unable to find it.
 
andym
distinguished member(5360)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
  
04/10/2023 09:19PM  
I haven’t bought any Polar Pure for a long time. It never goes bad so lasts a long, long time as a backup. But when I google search it, a few places seem to have it. Not sure if they really do or not.
 
Hammertime
distinguished member (278)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/10/2023 11:27PM  
I have carried some purifying tablets in case of emergency for several years, but they are probably expired at this point.

I would strongly recommend carrying a second filter as a backup. Relatively cheap and light insurance when you are looking at the prospect of using tablets/boiling for a week or more.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
04/14/2023 08:26PM  
We have a three step system. Platypus gravity filters for in camp. Lifestraw filter bottles when under way. I also bring some individual Lifestraws as a backup. In 15 years of BWCA trips with 3 camps each year and 10-20 men split between camps, we have never had a Platypus system go bad, as long as you back flush it several times during the trip
 
04/15/2023 09:25PM  
I have used the iodine pills for over 30 years. Over time I guess they break down, so renew them every so often.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next