The Potable Aqua PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier ($119.99) purifies untreated water by converting salt, water, and power from a rechargeable battery into a mixed oxidant disinfectant. This reaction kills the invisible fluvial zoo that is lake and river water.
How it really worked: Well, I used this to treat water from Kite Lake at the base of Colorado’s Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Bross over Labor Day weekend 2015. It’s now the end of October and I have yet to be admitted to the ER with “intestinal discomfort” from Giardia lamblia. So there’s that.
- A little brine goes a long way. Before leaving for my trip, I filled both salt chambers with salt (equivalent of two teaspoons). One salt chamber mixed with water created enough brine to fill the brine container. See video.
- To disinfect a 20-liter HydraPak collapsible bottle of lake water, I only needed 50 drops of brine from the brine container—and there was still plenty of brine left for the rest of my two-day trip.
- Residual disinfectant even protects water that you won’t drink right away (e.g. you want to fill a water bottle for night-time sipping or coffee the next morning).
- Fits in the palm of my hand and weighs in at a svelte 4 ounces.
- It will (allegedly) treat ~60,000 liters of water in its lifetime.
- Integrated flashlight.
- Uses solar power to charge.
- Simple to use once you’ve read through the manual and practiced at home several times.
- If you need to hydrate immediately, you’re screwed. The brine solution, once you mix it and disinfect the water and bottle, you have to wait 30 minutes.
- Treated water tastes like a swimming pool.
- Only treats infected water, it doesn’t filter like a Katahdyn or similar water filtration system. It doesn’t uncloud cloudy water or remove sediment. All that fish excrete from their bowels? Yep, you’ll be swishing it around your mouth (although it won’t harm you since it’s been disinfected.
Overall thoughts/final verdict
Yes, I think it’s worth the $119.99 cash outlay. Just Google the Intertron with “long-term effects of drinking untreated lake/river water”.
It’s a great system for ultralight backpacking or as a backup to your traditional water filtration device should it malfunction. But as I mentioned above, it has its limitations with the taste of chlorine and the inability to filter sediment. One thing I did learn was that adding a couple packets of Propel helped to disguise the chlorine taste.