Wandering through the desert can leave you without safe water reserves and you will have to use what nature offers: water from streams, rivers, lakes, etc. As much as it sounds great (you’ll be drinking water directly from nature!), It brings dangers to germs, viruses, bacteria and other impurities. Soon you will realize that drinking directly from the river may not be a good idea. You can use a source of fire or heat to boil the water and thus kill the bacteria, but that may not be true about some viruses.
It is true that boiling water has been used for centuries to disinfect water, but today there are other methods to achieve the same effect. Many of them are harmless in the long term and some of them are purification and filtration systems, chemical solutions, water distillation systems, etc.
In this article we will focus on water purification tablets, used by many survivors, campers and hikers. They give you the option of placing a tablet in the water container and waiting a while for it to work. After about 30 minutes you will have clean water, safe to drink.
Methods of water purification using chemical tablets.
There are several popular methods for cleaning water using specific chemical tablets.
Iodine is often used in combination with other chemicals. There are tablets that contain tetraglycine hydroiodide. This helps kill most of the pathogens and protozoa in the water, but it is not perfect. It is also true that it helps to reduce radioactive iodine in the human body, therefore, it is good for situations of nuclear disaster when there is a maximum warning of radioactivity in the contaminated area.
It is also advisable that after allowing the iodine tablet to work, you can place a vitamin C tablet to neutralize the taste of the water. It is important to keep in mind that you should not do it shortly after using an iodine tablet.
Basically, let it work for about 30 minutes (in warm, relatively clean water) or more (for cold, dirty water). After that, you can use an effervescent tablet of vitamin C to make the taste more attractive.
Another variation of iodine to the above is the use of iodine crystals. You can use approximately 7 grams (0.25 ounces) of crystals in a small bottle (approximately 1 ounce) and then shake well to help the crystals dissolve and work. If the water is relatively hot (around 25 degrees C / 77 degrees F), the water will be safe to drink within 15 to 20 minutes. In case the water is cooler, allow it to stay a little longer: 30 minutes.
In cold water, you may have to realize that some cysts may not be eliminated (such as Giardia cysts), so it is highly recommended to preheat the water before using the iodine crystals. Of course, do not consume these crystals in undissolved form, as they can be deadly. Otherwise, unlike tetraglycine hydrideiodide, iodine crystals have an almost infinite shelf life as long as they are not exposed to air. They must be carefully sealed and protected from the air in glass bottles.
Keep in mind that storing them in a plastic bottle will allow iodine vapors to escape from the plastic barrier and can damage nearby steel materials, spoons, kitchen utensils, cooking utensils, etc. When the bottle is opened, it should be used within 3 months. If it does not open, your life can be practically infinite.
Another way to purify water through the use of tablets is with the halazone tablets. They are based on chlorine. Since chlorine is much more effective against E.coli bacteria, it is also widely used in low hygienic areas and populations. Iodine tablets can not successfully fight E. coli. The only drawback of chlorine-based tablets is that when they are opened, they should be used within days (maximum 3 days). Later technology is sodium dichloroisocyanurate, and can almost completely replace the use of halazone tablets.
Chlorine bleach tablets are also widely used as a good alternative to the previous ones. They should be used sparingly and are good for long-term use. Use a 5% solution (without perfume) and 2 drops per liter would work. Let it run for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
And a final note on these various methods is the recent invention of silver ions, chloride-based tablets. They can be very effective against Giardia and Cryptosporidum, but the only disadvantage of these tablets is that silver can accumulate in certain tissues of the body and cause argyria (changing the regular color of some parts of the body to gray). If you ever decide to use silver ion tablets, do it rarely and only if you can not use anything else. In addition, you may have to wait longer for the water to be ready to drink (up to 4 hours).
Purifying water products in the form of tablets.
Online and stationary stores offer a wide variety of products to purify water. You may be confused as to which ones are better than those and how to buy the one that suits your needs. To avoid confusion and help you make a decision, we will analyze some of the most popular and valued products in the online market.
This product uses iodine crystals (crystalline iodine as an active ingredient). The product aims to kill viruses, bacteria and protozoa. It also ensures that when the iodine does its job there will be no unpleasant aftertaste, as with some other products. Polar Pure products also last a long time. Some users claim that their crystals, even after 10 years or more, are actually usable and work well.
Keep in mind that these purifying tablets do not clean or filter the sediments and particles in the water, so if you purify the water that contains too much dirt, it is advisable to also use a filtering system. This will further cleanse the water and filter what remains after using the iodine crystal tablets.
In addition, the product of Polar Pure offers a liquid solution inside, which lasts much longer than the shape of the tablet. The bottle has a blockage of particles, which prevents the interior crystals from falling into the water. Otherwise, the bottle has a liquid solution and crystals for better purification. It also has a thermostat to measure the temperature, which customers find very useful.
The whole bottle can generally treat 2000 liters of water (about 1892.70 liters), while the entire bottle is only 5 ounces (141.75 grams). Therefore, to treat a liter of water (about a quarter of a gallon) you should not use more than 0.07 grams. This is around 2 drops per liter. If you are not sure of the amount you should use, you can check the bottle for the proper dose.
If you like this product, you can find it and buy it on Amazon.
Drinkable Aqua Tablets
This is another popular manufacturer and is trusted among the customers. This product offers two bottles: one purifies the water with iodine tablets (tetraglycine hydroiodide) and the other bottle of PA + Plus eliminates the iodine aftertaste. Therefore, if you do not like the taste of iodine, use the PA bottle. PA + Plus tablets are actually based on ascorbic acid (vitamin C), so they are harmless.
Neutralize the effect of iodine and make the chemical useless. All within about 3 minutes. This is why you should use PA tablets only after 30-35 minutes of use for the solution to work. For each iodine tablet, one PA tablet is sufficient. Each bottle offers 50 tablets and all can purify 25 liters / liters of water.
Some customers believe that the price is slightly higher for the amount offered by the product, but everyone is satisfied with the purifying properties of these tablets. Otherwise, the quality of the product is also high and most customers strongly recommend the purchase of Potable Aqua tablets.
You can pop a tablet and in 35 minutes your water will be ready to drink. Of course, it is recommended not to use these tablets on a regular basis. After all, it is a chemical solution and should be used only on rare occasions, when going camping or hiking.
If you like this product you can find and check its price here.
Katadyn Micropur tablets
Katadyn is a trusted brand among hikers and campers. They produce not only tablets, but also other filtering and purification systems, and they are among the best brands in the market.
One tablet of this product effectively treats 1 liter of water. It is effective against germs, viruses, harmful bacteria, etc. It should also work about 30 minutes after placing a tablet in the water. In case the water is much dirtier than the normal water of a river, you may have to leave the tablets to work for a maximum of 4 hours. The product leaves no unpleasant aftertaste. It is also officially registered in the EPA as an effective antimicrobial purifier.
The active ingredient in this product is chlorine dioxide. Treat the cysts of Giadria and Cryptosporidium, but keep in mind that to treat either of these two, the tablets need to work a different amount of time.
For Giadria let the tablets work for 30 minutes. On the other hand, Cryptosporidium cysts are much more difficult to kill, so the tablets should work up to 4 hours. Carefully plan your camping area / hiking trail and conduct research on water sources in these areas. If they contain Cryptosporidium, plan that and always treat the water with these Katadyn tablets, even if you do not plan to drink the water immediately.
If you like this product you can find it and buy it here.
AquaMira Millitary tablets
AquaMira is also a notable brand among other competitors in the field of tablet purification and solutions. This product is also registered with the EPA and kills Giadria and Cryptosporidium as the product of Katadyn. It also takes 4 hours for the Cryptosporidium to be eliminated and for the water to be ready to drink, which is a bit negative, according to the clients’ opinions.
Otherwise, if you plan ahead, you can be sure to drink perfectly safe water after 4 hours.
The active ingredients are sodium chlorite and sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate. This will make the chlorine dioxide, which is a very powerful oxidant and ensures that the environment for bacteria, E.coli, etc. It is practically impossible to survive. Chlorine dioxide is also much more powerful than other solutions (eg, iodine) in that it eliminates the colorations, odor and unpleasant taste of the treated water.
In addition, each tablet is sealed in its own compartment so you do not have to worry about the expiration date after opening the package (a problem if the tablets are in a bottle).
If you like this product, you can find and check its price on Amazon.
Another similar product, again by AquaMira are the AquaMira chlorine dioxide tablets. They also use chlorine dioxide as the active ingredient in the purification process, so you can also consider this as part of the contents of your backpack. Prepare one tablet per liter.
The tablets are packaged again individually, so do not worry when it comes to the expiration date. Each unopened tablet has a shelf life of up to 3-4 years. These are also registered with the EPA. The guidelines state that cold water should be left for treatment up to 4 hours (for cysts), while if water is hot (approximately 21 degrees C), cysts can be neutralized much faster (for 30 minutes).
Aquatabs water purification tablets
These tablets are much more effective when it comes to the amount of water that a tablet can purify. Then, a tablet is used for up to 2 liters of water, which is one of the best sides of Aquatabs. Not only that, but they also destroy all the germs, bacteria and viruses mentioned above. These tablets are also used in the field by NATO, the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and many other international health organizations.
In addition to the above, they have a useful life of approximately 1 year as indicated in the package. The water does not have a bad taste or smell after being treated with Aquatabs. The water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. These tablets are also able to eliminate impurities, which iodine tablets can not. Many people who travel to mountain expeditions to other continents use Aquatabs and are satisfied with the result, since they did not contract any unpleasant diseases, did not have diarrhea or other stomach problems.
Aquatabs cautions, however, that if the water is too dirty and visibly cloudy, these tablets may not be as effective. Since bacteria and protozoa and # 8216; They hide inside dirt particles and organic matter, it is strongly recommended to filter the water. If you do not have a filtering system, you can use a shirt or other cloth to filter the impurities. Then, you are sure to use the tablets. As long as there is not too much organic matter in the water, the tablets should work as directed.
If you like this product, you can find it and buy it on Amazon.
Advice on the use of combined water purification systems.
Some experienced and survival professionals recommend filtering the water before treating it with any tablet, since some organisms or bacteria live inside the impurities, organic particles, etc. and this natural dirt protects them against chemicals.
Therefore, if you filter the water for the first time, you will be sure to leave the water free of particles and it would be much quicker to purify it further by using tablets. In addition, most tablets eliminate and neutralize metals and other minerals.
If you combine the boiling water with the previous treatment, you will have an even cleaner water. It is not necessary to keep the water boiling during the recommended 10 minutes. Only a minute would be enough. In addition, this will raise the temperature of the water and the purifying tablets will work faster.
After boiling the water, filter with a filtration or purification system and then drop a purifying tablet. This combination will make the water ideal for drinking, as there will be no dirt, viruses or other contaminants. And it will work as fast as 30 minutes. As mentioned earlier, Cryptosporidium cysts take longer to neutralize, but they can be eliminated in 30 minutes if the water is above 20 degrees C. Then, if the water boils before any treatment, it will be sure to increase the process of purification. Drastically reduce waiting times.
Finally, when you treat your water with these tablets, keep in mind that most of them within 40 hours will have a compromised effect. This means that if you use a tablet now and let the water stay for more than 40 hours, after that, the water can be contaminated again, since some bacteria will have the opportunity to reproduce.
Therefore, it is recommended to use the tablets properly within a reasonable period of time. Drink the treated water no later than 24 hours.
In addition, the chlorine, on prolonged contact with UV light, dissipates and, therefore, the purity of the water is compromised. You may think that you can treat the water now and leave it for later use, but with professional advice against this method. Do not delay the consumption of the treated water, even if that means waiting 4 hours for it to be purified.