Katadyn MicroPur MP1 Water Purification Tablets Review

Katadyn MicroPur Water Purification Tablets Review

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.

MicroPur Tablets

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.

Each tablet is really quite small.
Each tablet is really quite small.

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.

Taste/Smell

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.

Field Use

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.

Katadyn Micropur Chlorine Dioxide Tablets
Each sheet has 10 individually wrapped tablets. I simply slip a sheet into my hipbelt pocket when I pack my pack.

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

      
ProductActive IngredientVirusesBacteriaGiardiaCryptosporidium
Potable Aqua Iodine TabletsIodineYesYesNoNo
Potable Aqua Iodine and PA+ Plus TabletsIodineYesYesNoNo
Polar Pure Iodine CrystalsIodineYesYesNoNo
AquatabsNaDCCYesYesYesNo
Potable Aqua CIO2 TabletsChlorine DioxideYesYesYesYes
Katdyn Micropur TabletsChlorine DioxideYesYesYesYes
Aquamira CIO2 LiquidChlorine DioxideYesYesYesYes
Aquamira CIO2 TabletsChlorine DioxideYesYesYesYes

Recommendation

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.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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19 comments

  1. David and Moose

    I just clicked on the REI link and purchased a box of 20($16.97 with shipping), can’t wait to try them. Good backup to my Sawyer Mini or Squeeze.

  2. How do you tell if an area has cryptosporidium?

    • Call the local land manager. For example, the forest service, park service, state rangers, etc, if you want a definitive answer.

  3. David and Moose

    Phil,

    I’m a little confused about your answer about cryptosporidium.

    When you say, contact local land managers, do mean for individual states?

    Do we normally have cryptosporidium in NH? Or do some areas of NH have it and other areas don’t.

    • Not generally in NH. But I have an international audience. He didn’t say where.

    • You can get crypto from human waste. Call me paranoid, but with more and more inexperienced hikers not practicing proper hygiene and LNT, there’s more and more chance for crypto to enter mountain water.

  4. I do notice a slight aftertaste, but this discriminating palate likes anything burned (my brother in law once mailed me biscuits my sister had burned… and yes I ate them!) so any lingering savor from MicroPur is nothing for me to complain about.

    I keep some of these in my first aid kit, day pack and emergency kits. I make sure I always have them on hand even if I’m using my Sawyer.

  5. What is the shelf life of the tablets if they’re kept in the original packaging?

  6. When I cleverly left my water filter at home during a recent section hike, these tablets worked like a charm. I was interested to read on the package that keeping sunlight away from the water as it is being treated is required, which is easy enough to do. No particular taste problem; reminiscent of water out of the tap in a municipal water system. I second PW’s thumb’s up.

  7. I’m confused. What causes crypto to be a problem some places in the US and not others?

  8. They can be a hound to get out of packets, like aquatabs, and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the pesky things fall to the ground, so I cut them out at home and put them in a pill bottle with some silica gel and a lot easier to use
    But i also do this with any other tablets in foil/paper

    • Urgh, you should never them out of the sealed packaging like that! These contain some pretty powerful oxidisers and toxic chemicals that don’t play very with any contamination, unlike your vitamin pills! Is it so hard to just cut the little packets? They are sealed individually for a very solid reason! Please, people, don’t “play” around when you don’t understand what you are doing…

  9. FIY, many of these tablets are essentially the very same. I had a laugh when I read a review comparing these (not on your site!), giving the very same product (just in different packaging) a numerical score from 90 to 60 based on purely subjective taste criteria without any rigid protocol and water from different sources… Nice example of “brainwashed by branding”!

    Just look up EPA reg. 70060-22. As far as EPA database can be trusted (some of their public data on product/distributor names might be outdated), it’s all made by BASF and sold as:

    Potable aqua ClO2 tablets
    Potable aqua pa2 water purification tablets (changed name to above?)
    Katadyn Micropur mp1
    Sustain tablets (discont.?)
    Coleman ClO2 water purification tablets (discont.?)
    Aquamira water purifier tablets (although these seem to have changed to their own production and formula, it’s hard to tell from the public data as MSDSs are somewhat obfuscated).

    • I’m afraid you’ve conflated some iodine tablet with chloride dioxide in there, which is also definitely not the same.
      Whether you use tablets or liquid chlorine dioxide does make a difference in treatment times as well.

      • Hello Philip! Sorry, but no :) You might have confused it with “Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets With PA Plus”? That’s the one with iodine – the “Potable aqua pa2” I mention is a tablet generator (the name is confusingly similar), same as all the other ClO2 ones in my list (according to EPA). My list is directly from EPA website, but some names on that list might have already been discontinued or changed.

        BTW, there is no “liquid ClO2” – it’s a gas under normal conditions, and a very dangerous one at that! All the “liquid” ClO2 products of are two-part ClO2 generators, just like the tablets (subtle hint: two-part). You really don’t want to carry around any slightly concentrated ClO2 solution at all, it’s actually forbidden and would decompose pretty quickly.

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