Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Chlorine Dioxide Tablets are a convenient water purification method for treating backcountry water sources. They’re ideal for day hikes, overnights, or international travel to augment a water filter or as a standalone solution. I’ve been using them for close to 15 years and they’re incredibly convenient and fast-acting, neutralizing viruses and bacteria in 15 minutes, giardia in 30 minutes, and cryptosporidium in 4 hours.
Specs at a Glance
- Destroys viruses and bacteria in 15 min., Giardia in 30 min. and Cryptosporidium in 4 hrs.
- Use 1 tablet per quart of water
- Meets the US Environmental Protection Agency purification guidelines; active ingredient is chlorine dioxide
- Each tablet is individually wrapped and sealed. Available in 20 and 30 tablet boxes.
- Weights: three x 10 tablet sheets weigh 0.9 oz.
Chlorine Dioxide 101
Chlorine dioxide has been widely used by municipal water treatment plants to kill a variety of waterborne pathogens since the late 1940s but is iodine and chlorine-free. Chlorine dioxide is a significantly stronger oxidant than iodine, with greater pathogen killing power. Unlike iodine, chlorine dioxide does not discolor water, nor does it give water an unpleasant taste. It also doesn’t leave behind any by-products in treated water, unlike other purification agents like bleach or iodine.
Each Katadyn MicroPur MP1 tablet comes in its own waterproof foil compartment with 10 tablets per sheet and 20 or 30 per box depending on the quantity you purchase. You need one tablet per quart (liter) of water or about 5-6 a day if it’s the only method of water purification/filtration you carry. The tablets have a shelf life of 3 years.
The tablets will crumble if smashed, so I pack them carefully in my pack’s hip belt pocket because it’s easier to add the tablet to a bottle of water than powder, though the powder is no less effective. The foil-wrapped tablet compartments can be difficult to open by hand, so I open them with the small pair of scissors on my Swiss Army Classic knife. I try to avoid touching them directly if I can.
Some people complain that water treated with MicroPur tablets tastes or smells chlorinated. That makes sense because the concentration of chlorine in bottled water or municipal tap water is the same. I occasionally get a whiff of that smell myself but most of the time water purified with MicroPur tablets doesn’t smell or taste funny to me. If it bothers you, you can use a water filter with activated carbon to remove the chlorine smell and taste.
If I’m out on a day hike or backpacking trip, water is plentiful, and I don’t feel like stopping, I’ll scoop a liter of water from a stream, drop a Micropur MP1 tablet into it and keep walking, noting the time on my watch. If I’m using a hydration reservoir, I’ll refill it with untreated water and drop 1,2, or 3 tablets in depending on how many liters my hydration system holds. We don’t have cryptosporidium in the area of the country where I hike, so I only have to wait 30 minutes for the Chlorine Dioxide to neutralize any viruses, bacteria, or giardia in the water before I can consume it. If crypto was more common, I’d probably opt to use a filter instead.
If you’re out for a day hike, for example, it’s really convenient to quickly refill a bottle or reservoir, drop in a table, and then keep hiking, without having to stop to process water with a filter. This can be useful on group hikes, where frequent water refill/purification stops can be very time-consuming. If in the process of refilling a water bottle, I get “unpurified” water on the threads, I usually just wipe it off or rinse the threads with whatever purified water I already have left. It doesn’t take much.
Ther are also first-aid situations where having purified water on hand is a real plus. For example, if you need to irrigate an open wound to clean and disinfect it before bandaging, using purified water instead of untreated backcountry water is safer for the patient.
Comparable Water Purification Products
|Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets||Iodine||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Potable Aqua Iodine and PA+ Plus Tablets||Iodine||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Polar Pure Iodine Crystals||Iodine||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Potable Aqua CIO2 Tablets||Chlorine Dioxide||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Katdyn Micropur Tablets||Chlorine Dioxide||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Aquamira CIO2 Liquid||Chlorine Dioxide||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Aquamira CIO2 Tablets||Chlorine Dioxide||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
I can still remember the day when I discovered that I could purify water from backcountry streams if I ran out on a day hike. I quickly started taking longer day hikes which eventually turned into backpacking trips and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve used many different types of water filters and purifiers, Ultra-violet purification, and chemical water purifiers looking for the perfect water treatment system. Unfortunately, there is “best way” and each technique or device has its own pros and cons depending on water turbidity, water temperature, the amount you want to process each time, group size, known organisms in the water, level of effort, time consumed, and cost.
That said, Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Water Purification Tablets are a good water treatment option for day hikes or short overnights when you don’t want to hassle with a filter and don’t need to purify more than a few liters of water. They can also complement as a water filter, like the Sawyer Squeeze, to remove viruses that a filter can’t remove because they’re too small. I also carry a few as an emergency backup for a regular water filter, since I have had those fail on backpacking trips before.
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