Aquamira purification drops are a popular water treatment option among backpackers because they’re affordable, lightweight, and easy to use. They work similarly to most other chemical purification treatments, but we find they leave less chlorine taste behind. Like other chemical treatments, you’ll have to wait a bit for Aquamira to do its job. But we find that the peace of mind from knowing our water is completely safe to drink is worth the wait.
We occasionally use Aquamira as our main form of water treatment, but more often we carry it as a backup for really contaminated water or in case our filter fails.
WEIGHT: 3 oz. (treats 113 L)
ULTRALIGHT –Aquamira comes in two sizes – 113 treatments in two plastic dropper bottles or 226 treatments in two glass dropper bottles. We usually opt for the smaller plastic bottles since their total weight is about the same as carrying any of the top ultralight microfilters, like a Sawyer Squeeze or Katadyn BeFree.
AFFORDABLE– Aquamira is very affordable in the short term, but it’ll end up costing more than a filter or other purifier in the long run if used as your sole treatment. Still, the price for this method is relatively small when compared to a purifier like the Steripen Ultra or MSR Guardian. Furthermore, Katadyn Micropur Tabs, another popular chemical treatment, cost about $0.53 per liter whereas Aquamira costs about $0.13. If you’re curious to see how Micropur Tabs compare, you can check out our full review here.
DOESN’T LEAVE A CHEMICAL TASTE – Other chemical treatments, like Potable Aqua Iodine and – to a lesser extent – Micropur Tabs, leave a chemical taste behind. Aquamira left no distinguishable taste on our palates, but you could always use a hydration mix to mask any slight taste you may detect.
KILLS VIRUSES –Water filters, like the popular Sawyer Squeeze and Katadyn BeFree, will only remove bacteria and protozoa (giardia, cryptosporidium, etc.). Aquamira drops are one of the lightest water purification methods available, and they go beyond what a regular filter can do by removing viruses as well.
EASY TO USE – Simply mix a few drops from each of the plastic bottles in the cap of the Part B bottle, wait five minutes, then dump that into your water bottle. Give the solution 15 minutes, and boom – pure water! Katadyn Micropur Tabs are a bit easier to use since there’s no mixing involved, but Aquamira is still quite simple.
HIGHLY PACKABLE – Aquamira comes in two small dropper bottles that will fit in any pocket on your backpack or fanny pack. They’re not as compact as Micropur Tabs, but they take up far less room than any standard water filter.
HAVE TO WAIT A BIT FOR THEM TO WORK – The results aren’t immediate with Aquamira. Where cryptosporidium is present, you’ll need to wait a full four hours before your water is safe to drink. But crypto isn’t very common in most backcountry water you’ll encounter. Unless we’re in an area where water has been tainted by livestock, we typically only wait about 15 minutes since that’s the contact time required to eliminate the most common harmful stuff. We’ve never had any issues, but we recommend you use your own best judgment to decide how long you want to wait as it’s a matter of health. Colder water requires more time, and of course if you want to be 100% certain that your water is completely pure – you should wait the full four hours.
DOESN’T REMOVE DEBRIS – Because this is a chemical treatment, it won’t remove silt, leaves, or other floaties. But that can easily be fixed with a little bit of creativity. We use a small cut piece of pantyhose, a bandana, or a Packtowl placed over the mouth of our bottle to pre-filter debris.
NOT AS COST EFFECTIVE OVER TIME– We mentioned this a little earlier, but seeing as the drops aren’t reusable like a dedicated filter or purifier, they’ll end up costing you more in the (very) long run if you backpack a lot. That said, all filters and purifiers will eventually need to be replaced over time, and we’d still consider chemical treatments to be a worthwhile purchase.
Aquamira Drops are an easy and ultralight method of water purification. They don’t leave a weird taste in your water like other chemical treatments will, and they’re more affordable per treated liter. The process for using Aquamira is a little more involved than other chemical treatments since you have to mix the solution yourself, but it’s worth the added time if eliminating the chemical taste is important to you.
We hope this review helps you determine if Aquamira is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
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