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Water Purification Tablets For Tap Water?

Old 07-23-21, 10:09 AM
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Water Purification Tablets For Tap Water?

You more-serious touring cyclists will probably know this.

I am doing a three-day "credit card" tour, but I want to be able to refill my water bottles from a tap if I need to. Hotel water usually tastes horrible, so would it be worth it to buy some of those water purification tablets that campers use and use them to remove the taste and toxins from tap water?
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Old 07-23-21, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
You more-serious touring cyclists will probably know this.

I am doing a three-day "credit card" tour, but I want to be able to refill my water bottles from a tap if I need to. Hotel water usually tastes horrible, so would it be worth it to buy some of those water purification tablets that campers use and use them to remove the taste and toxins from tap water?
Probably not. Water purification tablets are for addressing biological problems by killing those organisms…you are drinking dead beasties! Ick! They usually accomplish this by adding chlorine compounds to the water the taste of which most people find objectionable.


A filter might improve the taste and remove toxins but only if the filter has a carbon function in it. Hollow filter filters won’t remove anything other than objects too large to pass through the pores of the filter. If water will pass through it, any toxic materials will pass through.
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Old 07-23-21, 11:11 AM
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On past tours if I wanted to add flavor or cover up a bad natural flavor, bought concentrated liquid flavor in a small bottle, only a couple drops can add a lot of flavor. In the grocery store, look on the shelf near the koolaid or lemonade mix.

This is the kind of stuff I am talking about.
https://www.amazon.com/Icee-Liquid-E.../dp/B00DHJZRNG

In Canada I bought something similar, labeled ZAZ.
https://www.compliments.ca/en/produc...-orange-48-ml/

There are several other brands.
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Old 07-23-21, 12:35 PM
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OK, looks like I'm gonna be buying $4 bottles of water for a few days! Thanks, all.
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Old 07-23-21, 01:11 PM
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Before spending $4 for bottles of water, try looking on the web in the localities you'll be passing through or staying at, and see if those communities issue water quality reports. That'll let you know what the level of 'stuff' is in the water. Water in public water supplies is treated mainly to remove disease-causing critters, and most of the taste left in it comes from harmless minerals dissolved in it (a very small percent of folks can have physiological conditions that require mineral-free water, but that's rare). I drink the the tap water here where I live, its considered 'hard' due to high calcium and magnesium levels and has something of a taste to it. I'd buy bottled water if I was out somewhere with no other sources around, but I stick with tap water. If water where you'll be going does taste bad (but is healthy otherwise) just put a little drink mix powder in it like was suggested above.

FWIW: If you think bottled water is better, try to find out what is in it. I'll be you there's no information available, and you'll just be relying on the slick advertising you've seen in the past that almost says its healthier (without actually saying it is).
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Old 07-23-21, 01:46 PM
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I'll drink tap water over bottled water almost everywhere I've been.

If you're staying in small mom 'n' pop places that don't get a lot of business, you can let the water run a few minutes to clear the pipes a bit. Alternatively, sometimes motel water just needs a bit of aeration -- pour some between water bottles or a clean coffee cup a few times. Worst case you can add a half a Nuun tablet to a water bottle -- fizzy and flavorful!
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Old 07-23-21, 02:46 PM
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A charcoal filter helps, but my experience has been that my other filters like we use for backpacking make water safe, but don't do much for the taste.

I will say that I have toured, backpacked, and otherwise traveled across the US pretty extensively and places with really unpalatable tap water were pretty rare. I have been place where individual wells were pretty bad, but any municipal water was generally okay. Some few towns small enough to be served with everyone having individual wells were pretty bad, but again definitely an exception.

I have also heard that many places were not allowing folks access to water taps and soda fountains public restrooms were closed due to covid 19 and folks were buying way more bottled water due to lack of access to a tap.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:35 PM
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Usually bad tap water taste is dissolved minerals, they are dissolved and are not particulates, thus you can't filter them out with a particulate filter. Generally a carbon filter is best at filtering out organic compounds, it is a molecular bonding adsorption process and generally inorganic minerals like iron do not readily adsorb to activated carbon very well.

Like I said above in post 3 there are a lot of ways to hide bad taste by adding a bit of flavor.

Or, you can buy the expensive bottled stuff. The one liter size Smart Water and one liter size Life WTR (in Canada, Life Water) bottles fit well in standard bottle cages, but they are tall bottles and your frame might limit how tall a bottle will fit. On tour, I use those bottles because of the large size and I refill them.
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Old 07-23-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
....Or, you can buy the expensive bottled stuff. The one liter size Smart Water and one liter size Life WTR (in Canada, Life Water) bottles fit well in standard bottle cages, but they are tall bottles and your frame might limit how tall a bottle will fit. On tour, I use those bottles because of the large size and I refill them.
I will just buy so-called "spring water" in big jugs and dump it in my Polar bottles. I hate paying for plastic-infused water, though.
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Old 07-23-21, 07:45 PM
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No, I would never use an additive on tap water. I've never noticed hotel tap water tasting any different than any other tap water. And that's all I drink, unless I can find a pure natural source, a good spring, or pumped well. In that case I'll dump my tap water and fill my bottles with natural water. I did that the other day above tree line up on Mt Evans, with fresh snowmelt a few steps off the road. In North Cascades NP I could reach small cascades at arm's length while still on the bike.
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Old 07-23-21, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

I have also heard that many places were not allowing folks access to water taps and soda fountains public restrooms were closed due to covid 19 and folks were buying way more bottled water due to lack of access to a tap.
Here in the Philly/New Jersey area, that has gladly come to an end. Wawa c-stores are a favorite stopping place when riding. Free, chilled water and ice from a bottle-friendly machine. It sucked when they shut down the dispensers.
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Old 07-23-21, 09:06 PM
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Just a side note, spring water does not assure that it is contaminant free, just as well water does not have any such assurance.
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Old 07-23-21, 09:27 PM
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Question is are you going for better taste or cleaner water. Kinda like Ft Hood water. Very safe but it will kill the bacteria in your colon it has so much chlorine in it.

A small portable Brita like filter may just do the trick. Oh... By the way... I am one of those guys who drinks wild water without fear, but then again I was trained at Ft Hood... Ha

As to the OP: No! Water purification tablets will not make your water taste better.
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Old 07-24-21, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I will just buy so-called "spring water" in big jugs and dump it in my Polar bottles. I hate paying for plastic-infused water, though.
If you are buying gallons, that means carrying more at a time than I want to with only the exception of the few places where there is no resupply for all day or longer. I don't recall the need to buy a full gallon of water and the water being bad enough that tap water wasn't okay ever simultaneously occurring when I was solo.

Like I said it has been rare that tap water wasn't okay. A few places it was obvious. In Jackson Hot Springs all the locals left the store with a cart filled with gallons of bottled water. That was a pretty good clue.

On the TA we did carry some gatoraid powder and when the water taste was a little off with a mineral taste we made a weak gatoraid mix (like half strength). We drank that until we got to the next water. We seldom needed to do that, maybe a couple times.

If you are travelling with a group or at least a partner it is easier to reach that threshold where a gallon starts to make sense, but it was even pretty rare for me when with a partner or group of three even in the dry American Southwest.

BTW, in the Sierras I did find a tiny filter worth carrying on the Sierra Cascades route. It was nice to filter ice cold mountain stream water for a quick cold drink when our bottles were hot. Most routes I didn't use it and usually don't carry one.
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Old 07-24-21, 10:20 AM
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Due to a medical issue, it is strongly suggested I do not drink water from any cities with less than 100k people. I am not saying smaller towns can not have safe water, but I don't want to do the research on it every day; I just do what my docs have told me to do. That basically means bottled purified water, ideally via reverse osmosis, the entire time for me as I don't tour much in metro areas. As a result, I always try to buy a gallon a water in a grocery store as it is around $1 versus $1+ for a pint. I typically buy it at the end of the day, take it to camp/hotel with me, use whatever amount overnight, fill my bike water bottles in the morning and then water plants with the rest. Of course, sometimes I have to buy the overpriced pint size bottles but that is not too often. The bigger pain is that I have to stop at a grocery store (or Dollar store) and buy water every day versus just use a tap.

I figure at $30-$40 a month, this is not a huge issue if it means I can not tour.

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Old 07-25-21, 10:29 AM
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Some of the tap water in smaller towns in the Canadian prairies tastes pretty bad and I might buy bottled water there, although I hate buying bottled water.
One of the Canadian brands, I forget which one, is Calgary tap water, filtered and bottled in a plant. Yet local people will buy it in preference to the tap water when it is the same thing!!

I like the idea of just adding something to change the taste a bit.

In Canada and the US, we are lucky that the vast majority of places has potable tap water. Most of the world is not so fortunate.
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Old 07-25-21, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
...
In Canada and the US, we are lucky that the vast majority of places has potable tap water. Most of the world is not so fortunate.
Fully agree. Disasters like Flint Michigan are an extreme rarity. Generally the water utilities follow the regulations and the regulations are generally appropriate.

A friend of mine was telling me that when he was in Russia, he would watch to see which brands of bottled water the locals were buying and he would only buy those brands.

In USA the regulations on municipal water are more stringent than on water bottling plants. If I buy bottled water, it is because I wanted a bottle of water to take with me. That said, I have bought bottled water because I wanted a one liter bottle that fit in my bottle cages. This is one of the brands that fits in standard bike cages.
https://www.target.com/p/lifewtr-pre...e/-/A-51955216
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Old 07-25-21, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
In Canada and the US, we are lucky that the vast majority of places has potable tap water. Most of the world is not so fortunate.
Agreed.

My approach to this outside US and particularly on extended travels has been:
1. In general, if the locals drink the water, I will also drink the water. For example, when traveling across Russia, before end of the day, would stop at nearby village and ask to be pointed to water. Sometimes it was a pump house, sometimes they would go into their house and return with our water bladder filled. Some used for cooking might be boiled but I would also drink it without boiling or treatment.
2. I have a water filter (Sawyer) that I use if I'm not sure if locals are drinking the water or if I've been given particular cautions about the water. Also the default if I get ground water from other source, e.g. creek or river.
3. I'll often have some purification tablets. Will use them sparingly but try to avoid using in sustained basis, e.g. weeks at a time.
4. For some special situations of water-borne diseases, e.g. I will have followed advice from a travel clinic such as cholera vaccine if that was recommended.

I've been fairly fortunate in those travels so far. Across Russia I had one occasion of something in GI tract that could have been water borne or food poisoning in a five month period. Somewhat ironically, I think I also had the reverse once returning from India back to the US. I had avoided meat, particularly beef in India [not because I am vegetarian, but more if the locals weren't eating much of it, I also get concerned on preparation]. I was fine in six weeks of travels through India but seemed to catch something in the GI tract shortly after returning to the US.

For shorter trips, I might go a bit more with buying water, but not as much on an extended trip.
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Old 07-25-21, 01:14 PM
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My travels have been limited to USA, Canada and Europe, thus I have always traveled where tap water was expected to be safe. I bought a Steripen (a UV treatment device) for one trip in case I needed to use creek water for a day or two, but never needed it.

Backpacking and canoeing, just in case my filter fails I have also carried a one ounce squirt bottle of chlorine bleach. That is only good for disinfection, not filtering. USEPA used to say 1 drop for a quart or liter, so I assumed 2 was better. But now they say 2 drops so I would probably do 4 drops per liter. More details here:
https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and...drinking-water

Originally Posted by mev View Post
Agreed.

My approach to this outside US and particularly on extended travels has been:
1. In general, if the locals drink the water, I will also drink the water. For example, when traveling across Russia, before end of the day, would stop at nearby village and ask to be pointed to water. Sometimes it was a pump house, sometimes they would go into their house and return with our water bladder filled. Some used for cooking might be boiled but I would also drink it without boiling or treatment.
2. I have a water filter (Sawyer) that I use if I'm not sure if locals are drinking the water or if I've been given particular cautions about the water. Also the default if I get ground water from other source, e.g. creek or river.
3. I'll often have some purification tablets. Will use them sparingly but try to avoid using in sustained basis, e.g. weeks at a time.
4. For some special situations of water-borne diseases, e.g. I will have followed advice from a travel clinic such as cholera vaccine if that was recommended.

I've been fairly fortunate in those travels so far. Across Russia I had one occasion of something in GI tract that could have been water borne or food poisoning in a five month period. Somewhat ironically, I think I also had the reverse once returning from India back to the US. I had avoided meat, particularly beef in India [not because I am vegetarian, but more if the locals weren't eating much of it, I also get concerned on preparation]. I was fine in six weeks of travels through India but seemed to catch something in the GI tract shortly after returning to the US.

For shorter trips, I might go a bit more with buying water, but not as much on an extended trip.
Good advice, thanks.
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Old 07-25-21, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Hotel water usually tastes horrible, so would it be worth it to buy some of those water purification tablets that campers use and use them to remove the taste and toxins from tap water?
I've never noticed that "hotel water" tastes any different from tap water anywhere else in a town, or that it tastes "horrible" simply becomes it comes out of a tap in a hotel. The entire premise of this thread makes no sense to me.
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Old 07-25-21, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
the entire premise of this thread makes no sense to me.
+1.
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Old 07-25-21, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I've never noticed that "hotel water" tastes any different from tap water anywhere else in a town, or that it tastes "horrible" simply becomes it comes out of a tap in a hotel. The entire premise of this thread makes no sense to me.
OK, thanks.
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Old 07-25-21, 07:53 PM
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Essentially all tap water in the USA is potable water, unless otherwise marked.

Better than mineral added water?

I like the idea of adding something like Koolaide to mask the flavor.

There are lots of camping filters available. Some may even be in the bottle filters.
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Old 07-25-21, 10:02 PM
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I can personally assure you all that "Potable Aqua" brand chlorine dioxide tablets will assure that your water is free of pathogens, and it will also mask the taste of "hotel tap water".

It will change the taste to "hotel swimming pool water".
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Old 07-25-21, 10:06 PM
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I've found hotel water can taste worse because depending on how busy the hotel is, and what floor you're on, the water could have been sitting in the pipes for a long time . I usually let the water flow for a long time until I can feel the temp drop.
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