This and tablets like the and Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are the lightest and smallest treatment options we know of. Unlike Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets, chlorine dioxide is effective against Cryptosporidium cysts if you are willing to wait fur hours before drinking. And unlike most pump style filters, it eliminates viruses. Other than having to wait a bit before being able to drink water, the main downside to this method, for some people, is you're adding chemicals to water. For virus protection without the chlorine, see the MSR Guardian Purifier. These tablets are inexpensive for a single package, which is nice for the wallet at the outset, but over the long term the price adds up.
Katadyn Micropur Purification Review
Cons: Long incubation time, adding chemicals to water.
Our Analysis and Test Results
A chemical water treatment method, Katadyn's Micropur tablets are the pill form of chlorine dioxide, such as Aquamira, which comes in drop form. This chemical treatment does eliminate Cryptosporidium (after a long wait period), which iodine does not do, and it leaves the water tasting a little fresher than iodine.
The active ingredient in these tablets is chlorine dioxide (think bleach, but with less harmful effects) and it kills bacteria, cysts, and viruses, which is more than most filters. They also have the added benefit of killing Cryptosporidium if you wait for four hours, which iodine tablets do not do.
These tablets come individually wrapped, so unlike the Potable Aqua Iodine tablets, you can bring just a few with you instead of a whole bottle. They are by far the lightest, smallest method of water purification that you can bring with you, and is ideal to have in case of an emergency.
Time Before Drinking
These tablets require either 15 minutes for most pathogens or a four-hour incubation time to eliminate Cryptosporidium. Four hours is so ridiculously long that it makes this method useless to hikers. Hikers need to refill their water on the go throughout the day; waiting for hours is not an option. Many hikers who choose this method, which is lightweight and convenient, only wait 15 minutes before drinking and risk the Cryptosporidium. These tablets also make an excellent backup source to carry in case your primary purification method fails.
Ease of Use
These tablets could not be simpler to use: the instructions say to drop one tablet in for every liter of water, wait, and drink.
Of the experienced outdoor enthusiasts we polled for this review, we checked in with some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. Chlorine Dioxide is the most popular form of water treatment among this weight-conscious crowd, who feel that filters are too bulky and heavy. However, Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are usually the preferred method.
Durability/Uses Before Maintenance
No maintenance required, this method is simple and effective.
Chlorine dioxide adds a faint pool-like flavor to the water, but it tastes sterile. In the case of really gross water, this is an improvement. If you are sensitive to chemicals, you may not like the taste at all.
The tablets do not filter out particulate like all of the pumps, so if there are floaters in the water they will remain there for you to swallow.
If you are settled in at a campsite for a few days, Katadyn Micropur would be perfect. You could fill up a seven-gallon water jug, drop in a few tablets, and let it clean itself while you spend the day fishing. Who wants to pump seven gallons of water? Also, these tablets are great for throwing in your pack in case of emergencies. The individually wrapped packages are so light that the weight is completely inconsequential, and it would protect you in a pinch if you have to drink from a questionable source. Or, if you are thru-hiking a long trail, this would be an ideal solution since the tablets are so light and take up such little space.
These are one of the cheaper items in the short run. However, if you are filtering a lot of water, this quickly become the most expensive option.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 30, 2015
0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
"Four hours is so ridiculously long that it makes this method useless to hikers."
I used to use, and occasionally still use, iodine tablets where IIRC the instructions said that if the water was cold, turbid, or suspected of containing giardia to wait two hours before drinking.
It was no biggie. We'd drop the pills in some bottles of water in the evening and in the morning they'd be ready to go.
If that wasn't enough water to last the whole day, then at some point late in the morning we'd get some more water and drop a pill or two in. A few hours later it'd be ready to drink; in the meantime we'd be drinking from our other bottle of water.
Brought these along as emergency backup, but after a hot day in the Sierras pumping ten quarts, I decided for number 11 I would just fill from the stream and use one of my tabs.
Cut to 12 hours later, when I'm convinced I have Giardiasis - insane gut sounds, diarrhea, cramps, the works. Turns out to just be due to the chlorine dioxide.
I work in a chemistry lab, so I brought a tab in and had our chemist do a free chlorine analysis. After half an hour, the concentration was still 6 ppm - which is something like 6 times safe drinking levels! At 6 ppm, your gut flora are ALL going to die sad little deaths. After four hours - exposed to the air, not bottled up - the level fell to 2 ppm.
Moral of the story: Use only in a true emergency, and if the water is running clear, use a half or even quarter tab if you're going to be drinking right away. Or use an eye-dropper based system instead like Aquamira which allows a much finer fractioning of dosage.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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