The Wetfoot Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gear Review - Polar Pure


Since “waters so pure and fresh”—and safe for drinking without disinfecting—are as coveted as the Manito-wish experience, disinfecting your drinking water is imperative to reduce the risk of Giardia ruining a wilderness trip.

How do you ensure that your water is safe to drink? Humans have been boiling water to kill waterborne bacteria, protozoa, and viruses for centuries. Because you can’t build a campfire on the floor of your canoe or keep your white gas stove balanced on the deck of your kayak, you need a more convenient disinfection method.

Camp Manito-wish YMCA relies on Polar Equipment’s iodine-based Polar Pure for the majority of its wilderness trips.


THE ITEM:
Polar Pure is a small glass bottle containing about two-dozen iodine crystals. Fill an empty Polar Pure bottle with lake water, and after one hour you have a solution of microorganism-killing power. Read the detailed instructions printed on the side of the bottle and pour the appropriate amount of iodine solution into your water bottle. Wait for the iodine to do its job, and you will have safe drinking water in another 20 minutes!

WHY I LIKE IT:
Iodine is a safe, reliable method of disinfecting water. The noticeable taste of iodine will help you verify that your water has Polar Pure in it. You can disguise the taste of iodine by adding your favorite fruit-flavored powder, such as belly-wash, to your water bottle after the disinfection process is complete.

GRIPES:
The Polar Pure bottle is fragile. Camp Manito-wish solved this problem by making our own cozies. Since the entire disinfection process takes at least 80 minutes, you should anticipate your drinking water needs and regularly refill your Polar Pure bottle. However, if you fill the bottle absolutely, completely full and seal the cap, even a cozy won’t keep the bottle afloat.

BEST USES:
Wilderness trips, especially by canoe and kayak
Emergency preparedness kits


Another popular iodine treatment is Potable Aqua (PA) tablets. Typically, Potable Aqua is more readily available at local stores and costs half as much per bottle as Polar Pure. However, one bottle of Polar Pure can disinfect up to 2,000 liters of water (versus 60 liters with Potable Aqua). Polar Pure also boasts an indefinite shelf life when the bottle is filled and sealed tightly whereas PA must be trashed three months after the bottle is opened. The result is that you can save money on longer-lasting supplies and send fewer empty bottles to the landfill!

Happy hydrating,
Tim Collins

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