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Got my MSR MIOX purifier today
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“Wouldn't worry about the by-products. The levels are so low they are Ok for everyday tap-water processing. Drink and enjoy.
Synopsis of my thoughts on purification methods:
Filters - heavy, break, clog, filter element must be protected from freezing or else it is trash
Iodine in any form (like Polar Pure) - leaves iodione taste, doesn't kill all the nasties, iodine tablets are only good for one year after opening, very lightweight, cheap to buy, a good backup method for an emergency kit
MIOX - kills all the nasties you'll encounter in North America, maybe everywhere (remember, it was developed for the US military), lightweight, can be stored as long as the battery will last, uses only common table salt, expensive to buy the unit
Aqua Mira (chlorine dioxide) - kills all the nasties, lightweight, can be stored for 5 years, no batteries needed, fairly cheap to buy
The last 2 are toss-ups for me for effectiveness and ease of use, although due to the cost of the MIOX unit and the need for the battery I am sticking with Aqua Mira.
Don't know much about the ultraviolet pen. Seen it online, never in person.”
battery life on the miox
This might help alleviate some concerns regarding the batteries. The Miox has a low battery indicator, that will light up when the battery is at around 30%. Since they last for approx 200 liters, this should give people enough time (50-60 liters) to get them replaced.
“Now thats a good design feature. I first looked at the MIOX when I thought about getting rid of my pump due to bulk and weight. The MIOX with the battery only saves about three ounces and you still have that time factor to weight through. Plus it's pretty expensive. I'll be interested to see what people think after they use it a little.”
“Rick: Exactly what "powerful oxides" are produced in the MIOX electrolysis?
The low battery indicator would alleviate my fear of that weak link - more than enough warning even if you are out for a week or two and it lights up on the first day out.”
“What size battery does the Miox take? It might be reasonable to carry another with you, just in case.”
“I was mulling over my own question while heating up lunch. Logically, combining NaCl and H20 (what you do in the MIOX) and then zapping it, I expect you would get some Cl02 (chlorine dioxide like Aqua Mira), H2 gas, and some free Na which would also be an effective agent. My chemistry skills are WAY rusty, so I can't complete the formula...
(?)NaCl + (?)H20 = (?)Cl02 + (?)H2 + (?)Na + ???
Didn't have time to look up the HTML function to make the cute "small" numbers.”
The mixed oxidants are primarily chlorine dioxide, but also ozone, and hydrogen peroxide.
The batteries are cr123 lithium, and weigh about 1/2 oz ea. It uses two.
“Not too heavy then. If you planned ahead, you would know when to take extra batteries as a backup.”
“So I was right! But also you get ozone and hydrogen peroxide... Getting more impressive in the germicidal dept.
I may need to get a new toy. Drat. More stuff for the gear ho.”
“rickklug, what about the tapeworm cyst issue? Will the MIOX solution kill those pests? That's a must for Isle Royale use.”
“Pekka, been trying to do some research to answer that question, I am curious too. The only place I found that comes close to discussing water treatment for tapeworm is the following link. Heavy stuff, good reading, but long enough that I couldn't find mention of what actually does kill tapeworm. Maybe you'll find it...
“Roam Around wrote: The MIOX with the battery only saves about three ounces
Sorry for the silly question, but what water treatment are you using that weighs in at 6.5oz? From what I\'ve read, the MIOX in field condition with batteries and salt is about 3.5oz.”
Our microbiologist was already looking into tapeworm efficacy, and she hasn't found an existing study yet. There is a group planning on studying this, and we will get the miox tested on this soonest. This is a serious health concern in that area, and we don't want to make any claims until we have tested on that cyst specifically. We would recommend filtration in the mean time, to be 100% safe. This hasn't hit the national news, and seems to be in and around MI. We understand that it requires human or pig fecal matter to be transmitted, so it's not a traditional backcountry type concern. If you want us to get back to you with more on this, send us an e-mail , and we can give you more details. firstname.lastname@example.org
“rick, actually, on Isle Royale the issue is wolves/moose/beaver as a cycle. Check the outstanding book "Wolves of Minong" for a wildlife biologist's discussion of the unique situation that has been created for thirsty Isle Royale hikers dipping water from the inland lakes. Or check with IRNP officials for the lowdown.
I haven't heard if moose tapeworm is a problem in other watersheds, such as Maine or Alaska, where there are higher concentrations of moose.”
I will forward your info to Lisa, and she will look into it. I'm guessing the existing studies are farm related, and we will find out more from this book. I'm seriously considering taking a trip out there. Diving & hiking. I generally filter anyway.
“"Roam Around wrote: The MIOX with the battery only saves about three ounces
Sorry for the silly question, but what water treatment are you using that weighs in at 6.5oz? From what I\'ve read, the MIOX in field condition with batteries and salt is about 3.5oz."
I was reading from a source on a web site that was selling the MIOX system and quoted it's weight at 3.5 oz, but then parenthetically said "8 oz with power source". Maybe it was wrong, or maybe I just looked at the thing wrong.
I use a PUR Hiker filter and it's supposed to weigh around 11 oz (but that's with the filter bone dry, I'm sure).
I have never actually weighed any of my stuff my self.
So how much DOES the MIOX really weigh with batts installed?”
“just occurred to me that the 8 oz weight I saw may have taken into account the bit of water that you load into it. That would account for the difference anyway.”
“okay, I ordered some of the aqua mira.”
“rick, let the northwoods TTers know if you do head out here. There's a few of us in Northern Wisconsin and at least one in the Copper Country of the U.P. Be happy to put you in contact with some local knowledge.
BTW, to quote from Jim DuFresne's guidebook, Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails and Water Routes, P. 47: "The tapeworm lives in a cycle that goes from the scat of the wolf to the water and then into the moose when the animal eats aquatic vegetation. The cycle is completed when wolves kill the moose and consume the eggs unknowingly.
"It is important to realize that bringing water just to a boil or using iodine or purification tablets will not destroy the eggs. Water must be boiled for at least two minutes before the eggs are killed.
"An easier alternative is to use a water filter with a screen that will trap particles 25 microns or smaller." (2nd Edition, The Mountaineers, C. 1991, fifth printing 1999)
While DuFresne says that giardia doesn't exist on IR, beaver are a mainstay of the aquatic ecosystem and, as you will find out in "Wolves of Minong," a suprising component of the wolves' diet. Considering that parvo managed to get on the island via boaters' pets coming ashore, there's always a chance that somehow someone will get giardia or crypto or other contaminants into IR waters.
Of course the giant ribbon leeches in the inland lakes on IR make dipping pots for water just a bit more fun, too. ;-)”
“So how much DOES the MIOX really weigh with batts installed?"
I'm going by a post over on backpacking.net from someone who bought one and has weighed the device. According to them, with batteries & rock salt installed, plus water residue from using it once, the weight is 3.25oz and the bottle with test strips is 0.25oz.
Link to post
As for me, I'm kind of in a wait-and-see mode on this thing. I'm pretty happy with my Miniworks, it works well with my Platypi (or is that Platypuses?) since I can plug the hose into the Miniworks.”
“Heck, if that weight is accurate it helps justify the cost. I might reconsider.”
“One more thought on filter vs. chemical/MIOX.
Lots of stove makers claim "boils water in 4 minutes...". Yet many people on this board and elsewhere have switched to homemade alcohol stoves. Why? They are way lighter and boil water, too. It may take 7 or 8 minutes and not 4, but really, who is in a hurry to boil their water 3 or 4 minutes faster in the backcountry? Sure, microwaves and real stoves are great for making a meal in 2-4 minutes at home when time is often an issue. I have never been in a hurry when I am backpacking - I'm in "get away from it all" mode, and I don't care about a few more minutes.
Same goes for water. Filters give you instant water and weigh around a pound. Aqua Mira and MIOX take 15-30 minutes and weight 3 or so ounces. Unless you are in a cross-country race or in the desert in the middle of the summer, I doubt waiting 30 minutes to drink is going to be a factor, especially if you still have some good water left over. Even if you are out of water, 30 minutes isn't going to hurt you.
My 2 cents on the "filters give you water right away" argument.”
“IMnsHO, the true way to compare weight for chemical vs. filter is one of whether the filter allows you to carry sufficiently less water to make up for the weight of the filter.
If using chemicals, do you carry extra water and/or chug that last half-liter before refilling and treating? Do you end up refilling sooner because of the wait-time for treatment? If so, consider how that "extra" water weight compares to the weight of a filter. If it is more, then you might actually be better off with a filter; If it isn't, then chemical treatment is probably best.
There's also the matter of water sources, where you're hiking, etc. Clean cold water right from the spring on the side of the mountain is one thing, silty/chunky water from a stream with spring runoff is another -- chemical treatment may make the latter safe, but it sure doesn't make it appetizing! :)
Anyway, chemical vs. filter arguments are silly since so much of it is a matter of personal preference and a matter of where you hike. Do what works best for ya and makes you the happiest.
Almost as silly are the "my filter is faster than yours" stuff. If a couple minutes one way or another to filter your water makes a difference, you need to relax a bit more. :)”
“techntrek, having almost always either boiled or filtered, I guess my comments on "right away" were in the context of those two options. On IR, for example, just bringing water to a boil isn't enough. While DuFresne says 2 minutes at boil will kill tapeworm, when I first went to IR the rangers said that 5 minutes was the necessary time.
Now for rehydrating freeze-dried meals, you are already going to be bringing water to a boil one way or the other. The question becomes how much fuel are you going to carry to handle the purification time at boil, rather than do I have the time to let it boil.
Again, not a big deal for the couple cups that go into the freeze-dried pouch. But boiling drinking water for 5 minutes a quart at a time (because that's the biggest pot I ever carry ) for a week-long hike for two hikers (it was me and my brother) can get rather fuel intensive. I relied until a couple years ago on a Peak 1 white gas stove. How effective a Pepsi-can alcohol stove is at sustained boiling, I don't know, but I'm sure it would really spike the amount of alcohol carried.
Even though the First Need weighs about a pound, it was less than the fuel we would have been carrying. And, should you come up short on water along the trail, it is a much simpler operation to pull out the filter at a pond or stream, pump your bottle full, and enjoy, rather than have to get the stove out, etc.
One other factor on the chem treatments -- isn't water temp a key factor in how long it takes for the treatment to be fully effective? 30 minutes is optimum, but for the chilly waters of the north country -- especially in spring and fall, I would guess the wait will be toward the longer end of the spectrum. As you said, with careful preplanning, such as getting the next day's water treated the night before, not a big deal.
Turbidity, though, requires some settling time, or some pre-filtering through a handkerchief or such, before chem treatment? Or increased time? Again, not a big deal if you have given yourself plenty of kickback time in camp. But life on the trail doesn't always work out that way.
I suppose that what is most critical in all this is to know what hazards you face in the water sources you will be using. If a certain chem treatment takes care of all the critters in your sources, and the timing works that you have no immediate need for clean water, then that's a wise choice.
Another thought: for the solo hiker who isn't sharing equipment with a partner or two, the scale tips some more toward the lightest water treatment available that will do the job.”
weight on a postal scale
“Here is one of my posts from two days ago on the "other" site:
I just pulled a miox off the shelf, and the total for everything including the miox pen, batteries, mesh bag, 200 liters worth of salt and test strips, instructions, added up to 7.6 oz. The unit loaded with 20 liters worth of salt is under 3.5 oz, and you can easily leave out the extra salt 1.7 oz, bag .7oz, and the extra test strips .7 oz. I cannot suggest leaving the instructions (1 oz) at home, but for weekend type trips, 4.5 oz is about the damage. The four hour wait time is a pain, but there isn't a chemical treament that does crypto faster. I'm a filter person, but there are many people willing to endure some of the drawbacks of chemicals(dwell time, some taste), to save 6-10 oz, avoid pumping, and deactivate viruses.
I will definately check in before making a trip out to the boundary waters. Probably a 2005 trip at this point.
“rick, hope you make it this direction. What with all the permits, etc., now's the time to plan for 2005 up in the BWCA. If you can make it over to IRNP, do so. It's not that far once you are already in Ely, MN, and it's a fantastic place.
BTW, my First Need takes care of viruses -- just got to pick the right filter (but don't let your boss know, lol).”
“Personally I filter because I like to have my water right away. I carry iodine as a backup, but I've never had to use it.
Filtering is a lot easier if you get a water bag. You just go collect the water, bring it back to camp, and filter straight out of it. If you need to, you can do an iodine treatment in the bag, then filter that, and you're protected against viruses and cyst-borne parasites.
I've only run into a couple of cases where the water bag didn't work. One was where the water source was a seep. If I had had a dipping cup, that would have worked better. Usually though, it's a snap, and a lot easier than trying to pump straight from the source.”
“I think that explains where I got my 8 oz number from.
“I was trying to give latitude for the special cases, and both of you expand on that much better than I did. Certainly on IR many people would opt for a water pump because of the special water situation there - you wouldn't need to carry extra fuel for extra boiling, and until the chemical treatments are proven effective, you can't use them anyway up there. I would take a filter, too. I was really talking about the other 95% of North America where most people on this board hike most of the time.
As for silty/cloudy water - no matter what treatment method, you should prefilter with your hankercheif or a coffee filter. Chemicals won't be effective w/o the silt removed and filters will clog right away. After prefiltering you will still have some color to the water, but Aqua Mira/MIOX will actually remove some of that color (the chlorine dioxide bleaches it). Any funny taste (like tannins if you draw water from a leaf-filled stagnant puddle, had to do that once) will also get removed by the ClO2.
On temperature - you are right, colder water takes more time. Might be up to an hour, I don't remember off hand.
On the point of time. Too many people tranfer their city life attitude of "faster is better" to their trail equipment, and I think that is a mistake in many cases. There is a careful balance between weight, functionality (time being one factor), and bulk when you are carrying it all on your back. Doesn't matter much at home - think of all the tons of machinery and pipe that are in place to give you clean water at home, whethor you are on city water or if you have a well on your property. Too many newbies come into backpacking wanting the same functionality (instant drinking water or fast boil) and end up carrying a 5000 ci pack that weighs 50 pounds. And never go on a trip again because of it.
"Do what works best for ya and makes you the happiest." Couldn't agree more. I live by the motto "hike your own hike". Just throwing some more data on the fire so others can draw their own conclusions.”
“I always use a coffee filter over my prefilter. Will the tannins make it through that? What stops them if not?”
“tannins won't hurt you - it just looks like your drinking piss.”
“techntrek, thanks for the continued discussion/thoughts.
Looking at the info on chlorine oxides, I got the impression that it might even make some of the dissolved minerals settle out. Not sure if my old chemistry understanding is being applied correctly there.
Somehow I had missed deeddawg's post back a ways (he posted while I was writing), and he did raise a good point about carrying water weight. That was the killer in the Badlands, where the water sources were extremely limited and the river water was unuseable even for filtering because of alkalinity mixed with extreme suspended solids (I was giving the rangers credit for warning me not to wreck my filter). Good lord, I hope I never have to hike with that much water in my pack again.
Here in the Upper Great Lakes region, rarely does one have to worry about finding water, so the ability to only carry small amounts and filter regularly is a distinct option.
Again, this is a good discussion to explore the various options.”
“Maybe the tannins won't hurt me, but they'll apparently clog my filter, which I'm not looking to do. So does any sort of prefilter get them out?”
“About suspended solids and such...
I have not tried this yet, as I just read about it, but does anyone have experience with using a little alum to precipated stuff out of water?”
“bit/roam: tannins = tea. If you have ever drank tea you are drinking the tannins from the tea leaf. The tannins in the wild won't hurt you, unless you luck into a puddle under poison ivy or...or...shoot, what is that poisonous bush the ancient guy drank to kill himself? Anyway, they are more like a dissolved dye than a solid, so they shouldn't clog a filter, don't worry about that.
pecka/deed: everything I have read about ClO2 used for treating city water indicated it does draw particulates out. May not mean much in an enclosed bladder or bottle on the trail, unless you take an extra step and carefully siphon the water into a new container. There shouldn't be many solids left anyway if you prefilter. "A little dirt won't hurt". Looks like alum is also used in the water purification industry to clear up drinking water, so you are right.”
I could have sworn someone said they'd had a filter clog from tannins in the water.”
“That's the dude, thanks.
The clog must have been from other particulates. Tannins wouldn't do it. However, all the dissolved dead leaf cells where the tannins came from would do the trick.”
“Perhaps that's what they meant. If so, the coffee-filter should take care of most of it. Thanks!”
“Concur, the coffe filter should keep you clog free”
“Looks like alum is also used in the water purification industry to clear up drinking water, so you are right.
I've also read that it is used in pickling to clarify the liquid. So I guess it can't be that bad for ya. Hmmm... may have to experiment sometime.”
“From what I can find it looks like alum is used for clarification and particulate removal. However, one site I read said that you can only use a small amount or else you get major digestive problems and it tastes bitter. 1/4 tsp per 1.2 L (1 qt) max.
“longlosthiker used the miox on Footballpalooza and reported he has had excellent results with it.
I think I am going to put it on my Christmas list.”
“I thought about getting one but decided that it was heavier than Aquamira and that Aquamira basically did the same thing. The "nifty factor" is much higher than the Miox I'll grant you that! Very cool.”
“Aqua Mira and MIOX produce the same oxidants, so save your money and just get AM.”
“Hmm, then I could use the extra money and get some more gear!
“Yeah, but you can't impress your friends with Aqua Mira, nor can't you have that nostalgiac feeling of being back in highschool chemistry class. :P”
“Also CP says theres no wait time for the MIOX. Correct me if I'm wrong.”
“I think it was OPIE who was telling me several months ago that they weren't ready for prime time. Have they changed? What do you do to filter particulate matter?”
“MIOX wait time...
Viruses, bacteria: 15 min.
Giardia: 30 min.
Cryptosporidium: 4 hrs.”
“Those times are about the same for AM. The oxidant needs time to come in contact with the organisms, doesn't matter what the source of the oxidant is.
To filter particulates, just use your hankerchief or a coffee filter.”
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