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Portable Potable Aqua

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Water, you can never get enough of it. It surrounds us but most of it will make you violently ill if you try to drink it.  Luckily we’ve been able to come up with some pretty ingenious ways to purify it and make it safe for consumption.

The easiest and most basic way is of course the tried and true method of boiling.  But fire isn’t always an option. I went through one of the premade GoBags that I have bought and decided to test out one of the water purification tablets by Potable Aqua.  It’s been a few days and no stomach issues, so it looks like they work.

Pros:

-Small and light can fit just about anywhere
– 50 tablets per container means 25 or roughly 6 gallons of clean drinking water. That much water can mean the difference between life and death
– 4 year shelf life (if the tablets turn green it’s time to toss them)

Cons:

-Takes a half hour to purify the water (not really a con but if I am thirsty I’d hate to have to wait for it)
– Bottle and tablets would be hard to use when you lose the dexterity in your fingers (as in during extreme cold weather.
– Regardless of what the site says, the tablets do leave a chemical taste to the water

Bottom Line:

At roughly $5.00 I think these Potable Aqua tablets should be added into every survival kit, provided that it is done alongside several other water purification methods. In a survival situation redundancy can save your life.

As a tip, carry some crystal light or Emergen C packets with you to help with any harsh chemical taste and replace any lost electrolytes.

Only add these in AFTER the water has been disinfected. If you put the flavoring in beforehand the tablets may not be fully effective.

Also, be sure to pre filter any water through a coffee filter, handkerchief or even a sock. This will help remove any sediment that would increase the turbidity of the water, allowing the bacteria ample places to hide and may make the tablet ineffective as well.  In a survival situation you cannot afford to take chances when it comes to water.

What else would you suggest to help with water purification?

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16 Comments

  • Kurt Petersen says:
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    Hi you can always put the water into a clear plasic bottle and let it sit in the sunlight to efffect a cleansing of the water although it is not a quick fix-takes 4-6 hrs-make sure you wash any impurities out first-also if you use a small container bottle the cleasing time will be less for each container-use multiple containers and as you said use coffee filter to strain before hand–check it out

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    • Mustang75 says:
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      I hope your purification idea really works, because during Desert Storm we emptied thousands of 2 liter bottles because the provider sent instructions which stated that after a few hours of direct sunlight, the plastic bottles would give off pathogens which make the water NON-potable.

      Do you have a reliable source to confirm your practice?

      For me this is quite a conundrum.

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  • Al McLennan says:
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    Do not use iodine to treat water that will be consumed by anyone with thyroid problems. The New England Journal of Medicine published research from China that looks at the relationship between iodine intake and thyroid disease. Reporting in the June of 2006 issue, the researchers concluded that “more than adequate or excessive iodine intake may lead to hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis.” My wife’s doctor told her to stay away from products containing iodine, because of her thyroid problems.

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  • James NZ says:
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    had a jar of these tablets arrive with some NZ army surplus gear, can’t be too bad if they are using them

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    • Mustang75 says:
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      The military issue purification tablets have, during my 35 yrs of service, contained high levels of iodine…and truly, they taste like…well, like iodine.

      I retired in 2007, so I have no idea if the recipe has been changed.

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  • Evangeline Williams says:
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    Where do we get the portable Aqua tablets?

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    • Dave Marshall says:
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      Tablets work except one needs to use an entire tablet (can’t adjust to water container size) and once bottle is opened shelf life is reduced to several months. Better option is the old school Polar Pure method.

      Although Polar Pure is currently unavailable one can purchase the crystals from Canada and carefully use the bottle they come in or improvise a Polar Pure style bottle.

      I have kept several old Polar Pure bottles and just refilled them with a small amount of crystals.

      Dosage can be adjusted to the water temperature and size of water container plus shelf life is unliited as long as crystals are not continually exposed to air.

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      • Joe Joe says:
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        Hey Dave,
        thanks for the comment, I am not actually familiar with Polar pure, can you give me a bit of insight on the product?

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    • Joe Joe says:
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      Hi Evangeline,

      The tablets can be bought on amazon by clicking here but if you don’t feel comfortable buying them online, you should be able to find them at Academy, REI, or even Wal-Mart. They may be a couple bucks more expensive but they should be readily available to grab off the shelf.

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      • Mustang75 says:
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        Amazon costs $6.49 for 50 tablets.
        Walmart costs $11.99 for 304 tablets.

        See ya’ at Walmart…I wonder if Sams would be cheaper?

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        • Joe Joe says:
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          Great catch, do they actually have them in stock? I’ve lost trust in walmarts shipping, ordered a few things that took forever to get. But if they keep them on the shelf that is a fantastic price. Can you link the tablets so that others can check them out?

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  • Dan says:
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    In addition to the tablets, some plain chlorine beach in an eye dropper bottle would help. Pre-filter with a coffee filter no matter what you use to prevent your filtration system from clogging. With the two units below adding the chlorine or processing the water using the tablet first then using the Berkey or Life Straw should remove the residual chlorine or chemical taste, but unless the water you are dealing with is really questionable you really don’t need to waste your pills and chlorine these units will do the job.

    These are two units I have:

    Berkey Sport filtration bottle:

    http://www.directive21.com/products/sport-berkey-water-bottle/

    Larger systems are available as well.

    Life Straw Filter (more compact than the Berkey Sport):

    http://www.vestergaard-frandsen.com/buy-lifestraw/lifestraw.html

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  • Richard says:
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    I purchased an aqua pale system recently at a survival expo. Love it ! I went to purchase a berkey system However nearly every exhibiter there was selling aqua pale. Out of over 300 exhibiters there was only one berkey seller.The pale sells for $40.00 The berkey was at about $250-300.00 Check them out for yourself. The aqua pale actually filtered many more pathogens.

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    • Joe Joe says:
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      I actually have an aqua pail myself, I have been to 4 expo’s this year and have had the pleasure of seeing James ( the creator of aqua pail) at all but one of them. He is a great guy, has a lot of knowledge, and is more than happy to speak at length with just about anyone.

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  • Mikeatskyline says:
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    I see no mention of Cabella’s in the comments above – Living near a Cabella store is like heaven. I never relied on the stocking up or preservation but in the last year my preparation is going in overdrive since the el-president has assumed dictatorial power – and what is next, war on the preppers. Cabella’s is probably a bit more expensive than the Amazon and other on-line options but I am rushing over there this weekend and get the Pale.
    Also, I checked out Tractor Supply for storage buckets – you know the 5-10 gallon type that just about everything comes in from paint to driveway sealer…anyway T-S is out of lids! I am guessing that a run on buckets and lids for long term food and bug out bags. My suggestion – thoroughly clean out a 5-10 gallon paint bucket and the lid and you should be good to go. The water base paint cleans off well with detergent and hot water (remember to wash the lid thoroughly)and you have yourself an instant storage container.
    Regarding #10 cans and pouch foods – I contacted Mountain House last week and talked to a really nice gal there and she serves their company well with a quick call back. She indicated that the #10 canned foods are good for 25-30 years and the pouches as well = for over 10 years. BUT where you store these items is essential, cool and dry, no rust on cans and keep the pouches away from any all moisture. You can use these items in any emergency. If the food is clumped – then don’t eat it. fluffy and powdered, OK.
    It is really a good idea to run through several dry runs and use your preparations in practice before the chaos hits. Example, I know how to use long guns and shot guns but last week I purchased a 9mm handgun for home and personal protection – however, I have never used a handgun for the purposes of protection. I have contacted a local expert to teach me how to use the new device. training takes some money and costs some time – but know how to prep before all you know what breaks loose. Thanks for the opportunity to comment here. All of the previous articles have been great – keep the comments coming. mike

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  • MARKWW says:
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    LOOK THIS UP EVERYONE

    Sawyer Mini Water Filter

    HERE IS SOMETHING I GOT AT AMAZON. It is a new water filter hand held says cleans 100,000 gallons of water. Here is the product info foe everyone, they are about 20 something i ordered 2.

    Product Description
    The new Sawyer Mini Water Filter. It’s Light/Compact; 2 oz and fits in the palm of your hand. Versatile; drink directly, attach to Sawyer Squeeze Pouches, use inline, or attach to bottled water, and Effective up to 100,000 gallons; the Mini uses the same 0.1 micron hollow fiber technology used in other Sawyer filters. Kit includes Mini Filter, Drink Tube, one 16 oz pouch and cleaning syringe.

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