How to Filter Water / Aquamira Water Treatment

There are a lot of different ways to treat water in the backcountry. This summer, I've been giving Aquamira my full attention and I want to share my thoughts on it because it's a really great system. 

Aquamira is very well-known in the ultralight (UL) backpacking community, but most folks don't know about it when they're first starting out. It's probably the most effective, smallest, ultralight water treatments out there. It's basically a two-part chemical that you mix and then drop into your water. Easy! Unlike a filter, you unfortunately can't drink your water right away. The chemicals need to do their magic, killing all of the water-borne diseases (for about 15-30 minutes). 

For some strange reason, I trusted Aquamira's effectiveness right away, unlike it's pill-form counterparts. I think there's something about seeing the chemical mix into the water right away that feels like it's at work, versus having to wait for (let's say) an iodine pill to dissolve. (Inside voice: "What if the pill doesn't mix thoroughly with ALL of the water?!") Plus, research always helps. 


THE PROS: Very effective, ultralight, tiny, affordable, easy, and water tastes pretty good compared to iodine treatment.
THE CONS: Chemicals are strong so you don't want to get it on your skin; the water does have a tiny sour taste (barely noticeable, but still worth noting); 15-30 minute wait time




  • Purchase small bottles to take only what you think you'll need on your trip. 
  • Drop about 20 drops of each A and B into the mix bottle in the morning. That way your Mix is ready for use all day.
  • Keep your Mix safe from heat and sun. If it's not bright yellow, it's probably compromised. Start over.
  • If you have a little left over at the end of the day, mine tended to evaporate.
  • Be careful not to get A, B, or Mix on your skin. You can smell the strength of the chlorine dioxide when you open the container. Definitely don't want to be getting that directly on your skin. 


Buy: Small bottles
Buy: Aquamira

Would you give Aquamira a try? Why or why not? 

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