By far the best and most reliable way to purify water in the field or at home is to use disinfectant tablets. When preparing to survive a SHTF event, stocking up on these is an absolute must.
Disinfectant tablets can generally be divided into two categories: iodine-based and chlorine-based. Both have their pros and their cons and if possible, it’s worth having a supply of both.
Iodine-based tablets are typically cheaper, sometimes by a wide margin, and will usually only require a waiting time of about 35 minutes before the water is ready to drink. However, they also have a shorter shelf-life and can only be stored for up to 1 year.
If your supply is reaching its expiry date, it’s a good idea to use it up while practicing your survival skills.
Another major disadvantage of iodine-based disinfecting tablets is the iodine leaves a noticeable taste. This shouldn’t be a problem for most of us – after all, it’s better to deal with the taste than to risk dehydration. But children are notorious for refusing to drink water treated with an iodine-based disinfectant.
This – along with the value of not having money expire on your shelf and in your everyday emergency kit – is one of the reasons it’s well worth using your disinfectant tablets before they reach the end of their shelf life.
By doing so while camping and practicing the survival techniques you’ve learned, you can start getting a little more tolerant of the odd, unpleasant taste.
Iodine can also be toxic with extended exposure. This makes them an especially poor choice if you or any of your family members have thyroid issues, are pregnant, or have a shellfish allergy.
Chlorine-based alternatives, on the other hand, are the opposite. They cost more and take as long as four hours to be effective. However, this longer waiting time also ensures most of the chlorine dissipates by the time your treated water is ready to drink – and there’s no unusual flavoring effect or toxicity either.
As an added benefit, which might be enough to offset the higher cost, chlorine-based disinfectant tablets tend to last for at least two years, often longer.