Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets
Size: 50 TabletsChange
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952 of 970 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 12, 2012
These do what they're supposed to do. Before I give a review, I'll quote the box on a few points.
1. For use only when drinking water is suspected or known to be bacteriologically substandard. Not to be used on a continuous basis. (Their website suggests a six-week limit.)
2. Unopened bottles should remain effective for four years. (Look at the bottom of this review for how to date your tablets.)
3. We recommend that you do not keep an opened bottle for more than one year.
4. 2 tablets make one quart of bacteriologically water suitable to drink.
5. Proven effective against Giarda Lamblia when used as directed.
6. Has not been shown to inactivate Cryptosporidium cysts.

In a nutshell, use according to the directions and you'll be just fine. The bottle contains 50 tablets; you use two per quart of water. In really murky water, I use three. The active ingredient is Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide 16.7% and each tablet contains 6.68% of Titratable Iodine. This is the same stuff that I used in the military, but just to be sure, I opened a bottle and got three quarts of water from the Ohio River. Murky stuff. The first quart was treated with just the Potable Aqua (2-1/2 tablets). The second quart was boiled for ten minutes. The third quart was boiled for ten minutes, then given two tablets of Potable Aqua. All water was filtered through an untreated handkerchief first to remove debris and sediment. I'll note that my measurements were three quarts before boiling, so I'm sure some of the water was lost in the last two quarts due to the boiling process. The results?

While none of the water was as good as tap water, I'm still alive. The first batch (just Potable Aqua) was okay. I remember Potable Aqua having a bad taste; so bad that they included a separate bottle of pills to add that made the taste more bearable. That other bottle is unnecessary here. The water definitely had a chemical taste, but I could drink the minimum of a gallon a day if I needed to.
The second batch (just boiling, no pills) tasted better, but smelled bad. I would be hesitant to drink any more than necessary.
The third batch (boiled, then treated with Potable Aqua) was obviously the best. Considering that boiling only took ten minutes and a metal water bottle, this is the best option. Remember that all of the water was filtered through a handkerchief first to get rid of any sediment, debris, bugs, etc.
I'll guess that if you filter the water, then boil, then use the tablets, you can use only one tablet. I'm not a doctor, dietician, or representative of the company, but I do have extensive training in SERE operations and I've been using these tablets for over fifteen years.

How can you find out when your pills were made? Each bottle has a series of numbers imprinted. For example: 403127. The first number is the month; in this case, the fourth month is April. The second and third numbers are the last two of the year; in this case, 2003. These pills were made in April of 2003. The last three numbers (127) indicate that this was the 127th batch made in that time frame. The code can be five or six numbers long; the first three numbers always denote the month and year; the last two or three always denote the batch number.
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533 of 547 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2010
The 5 most common ways backpackers/campers purify water are
1. Boil it. Obviously slow and cumbersome. If doing strenuous backpacking/canoeing each person will need to boil a big pot of water every night.
2. Natural sunlight - letting water sit in the sun for 6 hours works (need cloudless day, correct kind of clear plastic container). The World Health Organization published a study on this, but Amazon won't let me link to it.
3. Water pump - I have used MSR HyperFlow Microfilter, though there are cheaper options if you can accept it being slightly larger. In my opinion this is the best method.
4. Household chlorine bleach - the EPA and WHO give instructions on doing this. The EPA says this may not kill Cryptosporidium. I've never tried.
5. Iodine tablets (or other chemical treatments)-

Positives:
-Tablets are small/light for backpackers
-Only takes 30 minutes to have water ready
-No work required

Negatives:
-EPA says it is not 100% affective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium, especially if the water is cold while being treated.
-The taste is slightly bad ('metallic' is my best description).

I think a good attitude towards these tablets is "emergency use" (which is labeled on the side of the bottle, not visible in the Amazon image). No good backpacker doesn't have these, but I suggest a water pump as the planned primary method. Note: there are also iodine "neutralizer" tablets that are supposed to remove the bad taste (you drop them in after the 30 minutes is up and wait another 30 minutes). In my opinion they barely change the taste and are not worth it.

I'm only giving 4 stars since the EPA says it is not 100% effective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium. I'd give 5 stars if the product was named something like "EMERGENCY AQUA" instead of "POTABLE AQUA".
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107 of 116 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
UPDATE: As soon as I contacted the seller, they apologized and issued an immediate refund.
Comments: Received this product from Mario's Discount Deals. The packages looked really OLD. My product was manufactured April 1999 and it has a shelf life of 4 years which means it has been expired for 9+years now. See this website to determine if your product is EXPIRED. [...] This is what the website says.... What is the shelf life of Potable Aqua® Tablets?
Unopened bottles of Potable Aqua tablets, when maintained under controlled temperatures between 60 and 86 °F (15 to 30 °C), should remain effective up to four years. Exposure to heat, humidity, moisture, and air will reduce the effectiveness of the tablets. We recommend that an opened bottle not be kept for more than one year. Keep the cap tightly sealed.

Although this product is not required to have an expiration date, an explanation of the lot numbering system is provided for your convenience. This lot number is imprinted on the label of the bottle. Example:
4 03 27
The lot number is a five or six digit number. The first digit(s) represent the month of manufacture. The next two digits represent a two-digit year and the last digits represent a batch number for that month and year. Using the example above, the product was manufactured the 4th month of the year 2003 and was the 27th batch of product made. Under normal storage conditions, this product would be effective for at least four years for an unopened bottle and one year for an opened bottle.

If in the field, check the tablets appearance to determine if they are still effective. If the tablets are gray or dark brown in color, they are still likely to be effective. If they are light green or yellow, it means they are probably no longer effective. The tablets are very sensitive to moisture. Take care that moisture does not get inside the Potable Aqua bottle.
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143 of 158 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 14, 2009
These are great to have when camping and traveling, but it's important to have a basic plan for water beyond the iodine tablets. You're really only supposed to use them in emergencies. If you're backpacking and need to drink the local water, you should take a filtration system with you or boil the water. This is a good backup to boiling and filtration if you're short on time, or you have equipment problems. Drinking water purified with iodine also tastes foul which is a big issue in rehydrating foods.

Also note that once opened, the Portable Aqua has a limited shelf life.
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219 of 254 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2010
Save your money. You can find these exact tablets in Wal-Mart cheaper and there's no shipping. Amazon should figure a way to combine shipping costs better to sell the small things like this. Unless you live a hundred miles off the beaten path, go to a major retailer and get these. On the plus side, these are excellent in an emergency kit as anticeptic for cuts. Just take a couple of tablets and dilute them in a little water and you can sterilize minor wounds.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2009
When I hike in the wilderness I always carry an aluminium canteen & mug because then I can scoop up water and boil it to kill any micro-organisms that otherwise would create a party in my intestines. But when you're on the move you don't always have time to make a fire and boil water for 10 minutes, then wait for it to cool before drinking. These tablets can be dropped into any water container and voila, ten minutes later you have cool safe water to drink. A must-have anywhere in North America and they weigh practically nothing.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2013
Got two bottles in the mail and was very disappointed. Although they were packed in the vacuum plastic display card, both bottles had rust on the inside of the metal caps. My suspicion is that they've passed the expiration date for it's usefullness, although I'll never know 'cause there wasn't one on the bottle. For an item that's to be ingested I wasn't taking any chances and dumped them. I'd suggest not buying such items online for the safety of you and your loved ones, until they start using and observing expiration date labeling.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2013
The cap on the bottle was rusted. It looks like water was inside the bottle. The tablets look yellow-green which another poster says is bad.
It had orange cotton in the bottle. I wonder if it was white at one time. In any case it wasn't produced correctly.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
We bought these "Potable Aqua Water Tablets" to put in our hiking safety kit (which my wife and son have dubbed the "Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit"), and doubles as our car emergency kit as well. The small size, effectiveness, long shelf-life, and positive reviews were the main factors for my choice.

We always keep water in our trunk and pack a good amount in when we head into the woods (we live very near the Appalachian Trail), but it is important to always be able to make questionable water drinkable (potable) or usable for cleaning wounds.

Other iodine based tablets I have tried left a funny taste that was very noticeable, but tolerable. One tip I picked up from reading the reviews here is to carry a packet of Kool-Aid or two (doesn't take up much room) to mask the taste.

Recommended!

CFH
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
i ordered two of these and both the seals were broken even though the package was not tampered with. the items were ruined and seemed to have gone bad seeing as they were green
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