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  1. #1
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    "Purifying" water with iodine......

    So, I'm trying to lighten the load of my pack..........Anybody use iodine tablets to make the Pisgah stream water safe? Any bad gastro-tales despite using iodine? Experience, advice, and opinions are welcome........
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  2. #2
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    worst military experience EVER. you'll be fine, but it'll taste like garbage.

  3. #3
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    I use iodine all the time. Not the tablets but just regular iodine. It works great and I can hardly taste it. Ingesting too much iodine is not good for you so I alternate with bleach but for pmbar and occasional Pisgah rides it is fine. Do a google search and read about it.
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    Bombay Sapphire Gin. Worked in the tropics...
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  5. #5
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    I've been riding Pisgah on bleach purified water for as long as I've been here. No
    problems so far. It won't get the crypto, but I try to pull from sensible sources.
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  6. #6
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    I've used iodine tablets on week long wilderness trips. Not the best tasting but had no issues.

  7. #7
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    I keep Iodine as a backup when I am backpacking in the backcountry. I'd just get a steripen, pretty lightweight and compact, and works great.

  8. #8
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    You can take the taste away from the iodine by adding ascorbic acid... basically vit c. I just crush up some vit C tabs and keep them in a little baggie. Just make sure you wait 30 minutes and let the iodine do it's thing.
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  9. #9
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    Ive been using Aqua Mira for years and it works great.

  10. #10
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    There are spring heads everywhere, you don't need iodine.

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    I'll 2nd the aquamira...only drawback is that it takes 15 minutes or so to be safe to drink so factor that in.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WickedGood
    You can take the taste away from the iodine by adding ascorbic acid... basically vit c. I just crush up some vit C tabs and keep them in a little baggie. Just make sure you wait 30 minutes and let the iodine do it's thing.
    +1 for this ^^.

    Sweet tarts work really well also. I have some iodine tablets now that came with neutralizing tablets that do the same thing but take up less space. Iodine make a great water treatment backup, but I wouldn't use it very regularly.
    I'm enjoying my childhood way too much to ever give it up.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker
    There are spring heads everywhere, you don't need iodine.
    And you need to have some local skills to know which are OK... yes there is a lot of water in Pisgah but you need to see it come out of the ground to be reasonably sure it's OK to drink. A PMBAR racer might cross water 50 times during the day but I'd say the water in at least of few of those spots would make some people sick.
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  14. #14
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    Aside from $h!tt!ng a lot to begin with, iodine is fine. Add a little drink mix and you'll be fine. Your bottles will get discolored though. So I just spray-paint the inside of them black to begin with.
    "You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."

  15. #15
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    http://www.lifesaverusaonline.com/li...ottle4000.aspx

    Worth every cent. Simply snap into your bottle carrier, and done!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR. 313

    Worth every cent. Simply snap into your bottle carrier, and done!
    Or you could buy a bottle of bleach and five cases of Natural Light....
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  17. #17
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    Besides all the funny bits from you jokers, there's some good tips in here. thanks for this thread!
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
    T.S. Eliot

  18. #18
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    Drinking out of the abundant springs is really your best bet. I always enjoy dipping a bottle in the spring at the intersection of Black and Turkey Pen (it is there, look for the muddy puddle) and Turkey Spring on Laurel is so good I've considered trying to bottle and sell it. Is there a market for muddy Pisgah spring water?

    I always skip any springs that are piped, like the one at Ivestor or Deep Gap. No telling what those pipes might have been used for before.
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  19. #19
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    I prefer bleach because it taste much better than iodine. If you buy an eye drop and empty it and refill with bleach this will give you all you need for a long time. Two drops will treat 1 quart of water. Always wait 20-30 mins to let it work.

    I did a thru hike on the AT and used this for 5 months with no issues. We saw first hand from others what happens from not treating your water even at spring heads. It is not pretty. The problem with spring heads is the water coming from the ground is good but the animals, dogs and people that are around them become the issue.

    Everyone has their on taste so try each before you go out and see which one works best for you.

  20. #20
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    Snotrotter and I tried bleach last weekend as a test-run, though we'll have iodine this weekend (as required by PMBAR law). Now I can't say for certain, since it's Cinco de Mayo week (which requires me eating low-grade, greasy, beefy Mexican every night), but I think my attempt at jettisoning excess weight via what amounts to a colon-cleansing is working. Just saying.

  21. #21
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    I absolutely don't wanna have toilet paper issues, so I'll suck it up on the added ounces...........filter it is. Thanks for the insights!
    "Roll your own..........." http://smokebikes.com/

  22. #22
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    Steri Pen

    My co-worker performed a little experiment in his lab with this Steripen.

    His message about the results of his informal test is pasted below. Based on what he wrote, I'm hoping to buy one when I can justify spending the money. Would help us avoid the not-so-desireable aspects of iodine.

    "I grew E. coli bacteria to its maximum density; diluted it 1:1000 in distilled water; treated a 1 liter beaker of water with the "Steri-Pen", and left another untreated. I'm confident this is a higher density of E. coli than you'd ever find in a drinking water source. The treatment takes about 15 seconds. I then plated 0.4 mL. No bacteria grew on the plate with UV treated water. At least 200 grew on the control. This tells me the UV pen killed at LEAST 99% of the E. coli. So it seems to be quite useful. Of course, this doesn't mean it will kill other bacteria or pathogens. It's NOT TRIVIAL to figure out how to work this thing. You've got to follow the instructions; and it's only working if a bright purple light comes out of it. but if you use it correctly, it seems to do a good job."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Along For The Ride
    We saw first hand from others what happens from not treating your water even at spring heads. It is not pretty. The problem with spring heads is the water coming from the ground is good but the animals, dogs and people that are around them become the issue.
    Having gotten the runs from a spring in the Rockies on top of a 10k ft pass and from a spring at 5k ft just below the top of Mt Lafayette in the Whites, I second this. Just because its a spring doesn't mean its clean.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Merlin
    My co-worker performed a little experiment in his lab with this Steripen.

    His message about the results of his informal test is pasted below. Based on what he wrote, I'm hoping to buy one when I can justify spending the money. Would help us avoid the not-so-desireable aspects of iodine.

    "I grew E. coli bacteria to its maximum density; diluted it 1:1000 in distilled water; treated a 1 liter beaker of water with the "Steri-Pen", and left another untreated. I'm confident this is a higher density of E. coli than you'd ever find in a drinking water source. The treatment takes about 15 seconds. I then plated 0.4 mL. No bacteria grew on the plate with UV treated water. At least 200 grew on the control. This tells me the UV pen killed at LEAST 99% of the E. coli. So it seems to be quite useful. Of course, this doesn't mean it will kill other bacteria or pathogens. It's NOT TRIVIAL to figure out how to work this thing. You've got to follow the instructions; and it's only working if a bright purple light comes out of it. but if you use it correctly, it seems to do a good job."
    Steri-Pens rock! They aren't so hard to use once you've done it a few times. The treatment is supposed to be 30 sec. for 500ml and 60 sec. for 1L. I always use 60 sec. for a water bottle. Pisgah is perfect for a steri-pen because we have clear/clean water that just needs to have the bugs cleaned out of it. It won't do anything to/with particulates so just grab water from a place where it runs clear.
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  25. #25
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    The best ultra light option IMHO.
    http://www.rei.com/product/695229/ka...-package-of-30
    The Katadyn tablets rock.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by spankye
    I'll 2nd the aquamira...only drawback is that it takes 15 minutes or so to be safe to drink so factor that in.
    I thought Aqua Mira Tablets were 4 hours......so I have steered clear of them. Are there different types?

  27. #27
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    Ditto on the SteriPen. I have used one for a couple of years and an quite happy with it. Main thing to keep in mind is it is 100 percent effective only in clear water. Sediment in the water can shield those little bad guys that make us sick from the ultraviolet rays of the device. If you use one, take along a coffee filter and strain water through it and into your bottle. The fact that a bottle is required for sterilizing the water is a downside for mountainbikers who use only a hydration bladder but I think the convenience plus the fact that use of the SteriPen does not effect the taste of the water makes carrying a bottle worthwhile.

    http://www.steripen.com/

    As someone already mentioned, purification tablets from Aqua Mira and Katadyn Micropur also work and unlike iodine and bleach they do not effect the taste of water. On the negative side, neither zaps the bad guys as quickly as iodine or bleach although the Aqua Mira drops are quicker acting than the tablets. It all boils down to tradeoffs.

    Pump-style water filters are quite good and some weigh mere ounces. I carry one made by MSR when bikepacking the boonies for several days. I have rigged mine so I can refill my hydration bladder without going into my pack. A good one will refill a 3-liter bladder in only a few minutes and the water is instantly ready to drink with no change in taste. I prefer a unit with a ceramic filter as opposed to filters made of other materials.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...=0CIIBEPICMAM#

    Another option is a dip-and-sip bottle such as the Katadyn MyBottle Purifier. It is a squeeze-type plastic bottle containing not only a filter but an iodine cylinder that kills critters as small as virus and bacteria. Last year I used one in Alaska and it worked great. It is practical only in areas where lakes and streams are encountered often enough for refills as needed.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVJcNNsWz_Q

    Here's to safe drinking on the trail

  28. #28
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    I'm a big fan of my Katadyn Hiker Pro pump filter -- especially so since it comes equipped with "quick-release" fittings that allow me to set it up and break it down quickly, and to interface with my hydration bladders without any muss or fuss. Heartily recommended!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokebikes
    I absolutely don't wanna have toilet paper issues, so I'll suck it up on the added ounces...........filter it is. Thanks for the insights!
    Post PMBAR.......the filter sucked. Next time I will use bleach and hope for the best. I bet I spent at least an hour for the 13 hour day pumping and filtering water.
    "Roll your own..........." http://smokebikes.com/

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokebikes
    Post PMBAR.......the filter sucked. Next time I will use bleach and hope for the best. I bet I spent at least an hour for the 13 hour day pumping and filtering water.
    All PMBARS go by Mills river campground and you could get clean/cold water from the sink.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossboy
    I'm a big fan of my Katadyn Hiker Pro pump filter -- especially so since it comes equipped with "quick-release" fittings that allow me to set it up and break it down quickly, and to interface with my hydration bladders without any muss or fuss. Heartily recommended!
    I used iodine or bleach in Pisgah but now that I'm riding the hi country of Colorado I always use the Katadyn Hiker Pro. Its a great light weight filter that does its job well.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokebikes
    Post PMBAR.......the filter sucked. Next time I will use bleach and hope for the best. I bet I spent at least an hour for the 13 hour day pumping and filtering water.
    My MSR filter will fill my 3-liter hydration bladder in about four minutes and as I mentioned in my previous post, I have rigged it with a quick-connect on the hose that eliminates having to open the bladder.

    The filtration unit of any pump-style filter will eventually become clogged with sediment from streams, making it slow to use. If it has a ceramic filter it can be cleaned in the woods in about a minute. If not, the filter has to be replaced.

  33. #33
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    Not trying to be a "forum ho" here. Just messing on the webz. When you fill your filter device - catch it from the down stream direction in moving water. Less contaminants.

    (mb65 gets a.30 credit for me posting too much in six hours)
    Now you're cast of steel and cast aside. Broken dreams maybe, but you haven't died

  34. #34
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    Be very careful. A good filtration system would be best. Had a friend almost die from Giardia, also know as "beaver fever" because it is spread by beaver droppings and NC has beavers in almost every county.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedarbranchbiker1
    Be very careful. A good filtration system would be best. Had a friend almost die from Giardia, also know as "beaver fever" because it is spread by beaver droppings and NC has beavers in almost every county.
    Water filters are effective against Giardia but NOT against viruses. Chemical or ultraviolet treatment should also be used when using a filter. Water filters also clog and break so if you are going to be away from potable water for any length of time make sure you have a back up. Be very careful indeed.

    Iodine is effective against Giardia but Chlorine is slightly better. You have to wait long enough for either chemical to work.

    Personally I would rely on chemical treatment and would wait 30 minutes before drinking after treating.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portabl...r_purification
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  36. #36
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    Viruses Schmiruses...

    My Sweetwater has an attachable virus guard. The key to epic rides in Pisgah is a good filter. Then you can filter and drink your own urine (or a friend's, if they're "into that") and not have to rely on finding a water source to plan your race route by!

    P.S. - Urine collection device needed

    P.P.S. - Using the viral guard does slow down the filter

    P.P.P.S. - 99 cents/gallon bleach is also a good option

  37. #37
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    I think steri pen + coffee filter is the best option. Otherwise, I use bleach because i prefer the taste to iodine. You need to have multiple bottles, though, because it takes 20 min to be affective.

  38. #38
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    Iodine takes longer. the tablets only take 15 min or so. When im hiking/camping I just bring a purifier pump. If im treking or mountainbiking long distances ill bring iodine and a nalgene. Pisgah stream ftw!! neone go to brevard college by chance in 04-05?

  39. #39
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    http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drin...treatment.html

    Iodine will NOT kill cryptosporidium, and is only moderately effective at killing giardia.

    Chlorine dioxide tablets are more effective water purification, and don't taste as bad. The long wait times only apply to cold water. Even if you can't wait as long, it will still be as effective as iodine.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedemon105
    http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drin...treatment.html

    Iodine will NOT kill cryptosporidium, and is only moderately effective at killing giardia.

    Chlorine dioxide tablets are more effective water purification, and don't taste as bad. The long wait times only apply to cold water. Even if you can't wait as long, it will still be as effective as iodine.

    Hell with it. Here on out, I'm drinking straight bleach.
    Yeah, it's strange. But oh well.

  41. #41
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    Steripens work great but as others have mentioned are not effective in water bladders. Filters are a good solution as viruses are not a concern in our back-country. This micro filter from MSR is pretty cool http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water-...filter/product

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    Steripens work great but as others have mentioned are not effective in water bladders. Filters are a good solution as viruses are not a concern in our back-country. This micro filter from MSR is pretty cool http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/water-...filter/product
    That's the filter we used at PMBAR and it was great. It filled two bladders and three bottles very quickly and it's pretty small and light. Supposedly they can be bad about needing to be back flushed fairly often but most everywhere I filter from would be considered a pretty "clean" source.

    Driftwood makes a good point. Things break and since tablets weigh nothing, I'll always have some of those stashed just in case.

  43. #43
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    You can give the Aquamira Frontier Pro filter a shot. Its small, light and cheap compared to most filter systems. Do your own research of course but the risk of virus contamination of natural water sources in North America is slim to none. There's a good video of the system here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...ro_filter.html

    You don't have to wait for the gravity feed if you don't want. When I use this filter I fill up a Platypus bladder, hook it to the filter and squeeze it through to my clean water bladder. You can filter a liter of water very quickly that way with minimal hassle. Have fun!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    Water filters are effective against Giardia but NOT against viruses. Chemical or ultraviolet treatment should also be used when using a filter. Water filters also clog and break so if you are going to be away from potable water for any length of time make sure you have a back up. Be very careful indeed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portabl...r_purification
    According to the CDC link that was posted, filtration is not at all effective at removing viruses, but the chemical methods are very efficient at it. At least according to the CDC, chlorine dioxide is going to be the best method to kill the widest variety of nasties. It does that it does not work well against Crypto, though. I guess there really is no one solution that is going to catch it all aside from boiling but who has time for that?
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  45. #45
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    I have to agree with th Steripen..very lightweight and effective!

  46. #46
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    I'd take the weight of a small pump over iodine and pump it clean with no taste issues.

  47. #47
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    iodine isn't bad. I use it all the time in the field. It sucks, taste wise, but hey, its light and its water. Keep one canteen (bottle or what not) full and use one tablet per quart and let mix for 45 min then just use your other bottle till that one is purified. You can taste it but you get used to it. Suck it up and save weight.

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