FR - McNett Aquamira Tablets - Lyon
- Will, Herewith my Field Report for the Tablets. HTML of entire test
report is in the Tests folder at http://tinyurl.com/2uwavt. Richard
August 7, 2007
Field Conditions. I have used the Tablets in the fields on two
trips. On an overnight car camping in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, in
early June I treated two two-liter (~2 qt) Platypus water containers
with the required two tablets each, just before going to bed.
Overnight temperatures were in the 60s F (16-21 C), and the water
came from the stream below the dam that holds the trout we came to
catch. This water was clear and cold, but of course untreated.
I reserved almost all of my allotment of the Tablets, however, for
my service trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness of Montana in late
July/early August. After an initial backpack to camp, our group of
nine volunteers spent a week performing trail maintenance, mostly
using crosscut saws to remove trees that had blown across the
Mineral Creek Trail. We had two 2.5 gallon (9.5 liter) and one 5
gallon (19 liter) collapsible plastic water cubes for group water,
used for cooking and from which each volunteer could fill his or her
personal water containers. We regularly filled the cubes just
before retiring to our tents at night, allowing overnight steeping,
and again just before setting off to work so the water would be
treated when we returned in the afternoon. My Tablets (about 60)
supplemented AquaMira drops that were our principal means of
treatment for group water. Our water source near camp was Lost Pony
Creek, a tiny tributary of the East Fork of the Blackfoot River.
The Blackfoot watershed is renowned for the clarity and purity of
its water, though in this particular corner of the drainage the
water had a relatively high metallic content, as evidenced by light
residue on cooking pots. Temperatures at night were about 65 F (19
C) at 10 pm and 50 F (10 C) at 6 am. During the day it often
reached 90 F (32 C).
Observations. Water treatment exemplifies the adage that no news is
good news. My fishing buddy and I in Oklahoma and all members of
our volunteer group suffered no gastro-intestinal disorders. Either
we were lucky or AquaMira does what it's supposed to do remove
bacteria and other disease-carrying microorganisms.
After overnight steeping the Tablets gave the treated water a pale
green cast that vanished after about an hour of exposure to
sunlight. I detected no taste from the Tablets; water treated with
them tasted the same as water filtered with a hand filter that we
sometimes used at our work site.
As noted in my Initial Report the Tablets are extremely easy to
pack. I simply placed the three packets inside a cooking pot for
packing in, and in camp placed unopened individual packets inside an
opened pouch until we exhausted our supply. Packaging and Tablets
added negligible weight to my pack, and used packaging was easily
disposed of into a trash bag without adding appreciable volume for
Wrapping individual Tablets greatly reduces what I believe could be
the Tablets' biggest advantage over liquid chlorine dioxide
treatment, ease of use. As noted, a knife or (preferably) scissors
are the preferred method for first separating the desired Tablets
from the sheets and then for opening an individual wrapper.
McNett's "childproof" is understatement; the packaging easily
merits "adult proof" or worse. In plain English, opening each
Tablet separately is a real nuisance. Even after scissoring open a
wrapper the Tablet tends to stick to the foil, requiring that I
squeeze the Tablet into the water container. Once or twice I tried
to separate individual packets without scissors and the pressure (or
perhaps my frustration) resulted in a Tablet's crumbling inside its
wrapper, requiring me to press powdery pieces into the water.
Popping a pill should be easier than counting drops and waiting five
minutes for the two parts to mix. Supplying the Tablets in a small
jar or plastic pillbox, without individual wrapping, would be a big
improvement, both in simplifying application and reducing overall
Because of my penchant for base camp backpacking the Tablets' four-
hour gestation time isn't a particular problem. Even when solo
backpacking I regularly treat water for tomorrow's use just before
bedtime. If they were easier to open the Tablets would be ideal for
treating larger water containers in this manner. Until the
gestation time is reduced, though, the Tablets can't be the only
water treatment method in my pack, as I can't use them for bottles
or water bladders refilled along the trail and needed posthaste.