RFI- Water Filter for Soldiers

My Light Infantry Battalion is scheduled to go to JRTC late summer of 2017.  I am looking to acquire a small (rucksack packable) water filter system for my Rifle SQDs, Scout Teams, Sniper Teams, and Mortars that provides them the capability to self-purify surface water.  This will be the "E" in my pace, used when resupply and caches are unavailable.  

Through my research I understand I need a system that provides protection from bacteria, viruses, Protozoa, and particulates.   Through communication with Polk they have told me units are authorized to use these systems in the box but they didn't have much to offer on specific systems.  

The MSR Guardian is on the top of my list but I want to make sure I am giving this due diligence since my men will be putting this water in their bodies.  

Any recommendations/ suggestions are appreciated.  

Original Post

There was a real good discussion a few years back.  Don't remember which one it was but here are a couple threads that might help you out.  Davehal9000 was pretty much the SME around here on that stuff.  Not sure if he still hangs out here.  

If you read through, this one might answer your question

http://www.lightfighter.net/to...ation-systems?page=1

http://www.lightfighter.net/to...427#2843236910362427

http://www.lightfighter.net/to...ation-and-camelbacks

"A pirate is not the sort of a man who generally cares to pay his bills...and after a time the work of endeavoring to collect debts from pirates was given up."

          -Frank R. Stockton

The box is nasty, I suggest a decent pump plus tablets. Reason being pumping for a squad will take awhile and will probably need to be conducted as a long halt or part of patrol base activities. also, you don't want some pfc poisoning the whole squad.

Another consideration could be packs of flocculant plus tablet purification. the crystal light in the mre's should help guys keep hydrated if they dislike the tablet taste. 

Also, Drip-Drop is a ors that has a nsn now so your med section could order it. actually tastes good so guys like it. Staying deep in the woods works well out there

If you have the ability consider the small UV systems. As long as the water isn't cloudy ie run through a shirt or rag first if it's brown water...the UV systems are the nuclear option. They kill everything.  But they do take power either solar or battery. That said they're fairly quick in use from what I've seen. Working at an REI I sent a few ppl off to India with the Camelbak bottle version and they raved about them.

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So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Have you reach out to NATICK labs in Boston to see if there is a Army system that fits your need. That they need testing?

I know labs are always willing to have people T&E kit. 

https://www.army.mil/info/orga...natick#org-resources

"Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide." - Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

 

Joined: 12/24/04    LOCATION : Moments away from BFG and DD

Fred1 posted:

My Light Infantry Battalion is scheduled to go to JRTC late summer of 2017.  I am looking to acquire a small (rucksack packable) water filter system

...

Any recommendations/ suggestions are appreciated.  

Kudos for thinking about training like you fight.

You may want to check with the Environmental Office at Fort Polk to see if anything non-filterable is in the water there.  Louisiana is well-known for its lack of enforcement of environmental protection laws and a lot of pesticides and chemicals get dumped.  You need to ask some specific questions.  Also recommend checking with sources outside of the Army such as the Louisiana EPA. 

Chances are that the gouge you have is right.

Are Milbanks Bags still around?

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

 

When violence is the local language, be fluent.

My 7-man section has a reasonable expectation to be without resupply for up to 72 hours, or worse if something goes wrong. Our water PACE plan is from that perspective. We've taken it upon ourselves to make this happen, as (so far) we haven't been provided filters. 

P - Platoon water - Where does the platoon get water?

A - Resupply by Company/Platoon - Platoon/Company brings water to us.

C - Section-level Gravity Filter - My section is using one personally purchased Sawyer MINI, and based on its performance we've requested 7 Sawyer Squeeze filters (possibly NSN 9330-17-924-8947) with 7 Inline Adapters (possibly NSN 4730-17-924-8946). It's an inline water filter attached to a hydration bladder tube. Can be used as an individual filter if everyone has one, can also be used as a gravity filter to fill other water sources if you take off the mouthpiece of a standard issue Hydramax and open the valve. The two possible downsides are A) the hydration tube has to be cut to install it, and B) once you fill your hydration bladder with contaminated water, it's safest to consider it a contaminated hydration bladder (ONLY using it with the purifier installed from that point forward). Realistically, neither of these have turned out to be issues.

E - Individual Lifestraw Filter - These emergency filters are small enough and cheap enough ($15) to provide to every soldier. If I was king for a day everyone would have one in their rucks.

 

Joined: 9/2/10                        Location: Northern Kentucky

Whootsinator posted:

My 7-man section has a reasonable expectation to be without resupply for up to 72 hours, or worse if something goes wrong. Our water PACE plan is from that perspective. We've taken it upon ourselves to make this happen, as (so far) we haven't been provided filters. 

P - Platoon water - Where does the platoon get water?

A - Resupply by Company/Platoon - Platoon/Company brings water to us.

C - Section-level Gravity Filter - My section is using one personally purchased Sawyer MINI, and based on its performance we've requested 7 Sawyer Squeeze filters (possibly NSN 9330-17-924-8947) with 7 Inline Adapters (possibly NSN 4730-17-924-8946). It's an inline water filter attached to a hydration bladder tube. Can be used as an individual filter if everyone has one, can also be used as a gravity filter to fill other water sources if you take off the mouthpiece of a standard issue Hydramax and open the valve. The two possible downsides are A) the hydration tube has to be cut to install it, and B) once you fill your hydration bladder with contaminated water, it's safest to consider it a contaminated hydration bladder (ONLY using it with the purifier installed from that point forward). Realistically, neither of these have turned out to be issues.

E - Individual Lifestraw Filter - These emergency filters are small enough and cheap enough ($15) to provide to every soldier. If I was king for a day everyone would have one in their rucks.

I think your E needs to be chemical. First, if your water has heavy or really fine clay like sediment (lots of the middle east) the life straw won't last long. Second, it ties you to the water source. Will you be able to resupply 6 liters per man from a life straw? 

Better to fill up on dirty water, bomb it with the tablets an keep moving, begin rehydrating 30 minutes later. 

Also, if you are in a situation to need this stuff, you should probably have some loperamide (immodium) and cipro from your 68W on standby in your E&E kits.

This is our current contingency plan for current conditions (CONUS training environment, JRTC). If we deploy our plan will have to change and your recommendations will definitely have merit.

Pre-filter sediment heavy water as best you can through whatever is available. The lifestraw is "cleaned" by blowing out after use, prolonging its life. The Sawyer comes with a syringe to do the same, on a less frequent basis. Not everyone would necessarily need to carry a cleaning syringe. Obviously that doesn't work forever, but it helps. You can fill up on dirty water and use the lifestraw to drink from whatever container you have on hand in an emergency, not necessarily just when you find a dirty source of water. The inline hydration bladder filter, used as a gravity filter, can be used to refill everyone when you have a water source. Or, if everyone is running the inlines individually, everyone can just fill up on dirty water as if it was clean. 

I'm ALL for adding chemical as "E2". More options more better.

Joined: 9/2/10                        Location: Northern Kentucky

The Sawyer PointONE  (0.10 Micron) Inline  Filter can be used as an inline water filter on Camelbak style hydration carriers, light weight and non-obtrusive.  It can also be installed on the canteen hydration tube kits, for the folks that like to use a 2qt canteen as a "Camelback/Source" substitute.   Another way to use it is to attache some tubing on each side of the filter, use some red tape & blue tape to mark the differing ends of the filter... use it like a survival straw on steroids (I've tried it, it works).

The SawyerPoint ZeroTWO  (0.02 Micron) Inline/Gravity  Purifier is a great option as well that offers nearly 100% purification of nearly all viruses and bacteria.  It can filter between  87gal - 127gal per day of clean water depending on several factors (such as the size/volume of the water container and altitude).  You can 3gal, 5gal, or even 55gal containers as the feeding source for the filter.

Or another way to use it is with a bag-to-bag gravity feed kit like this one:
https://sawyer.com/products/sa...ter-purifier-system/
which is net you 4 liters of drinkable water in 3-to-6 minutes (3min with PointOne, 6min with ZeroTWO).

The "ZeroTWO" has a more restrictive flow rate than the "PointOne" which is why I don't recommend using it "inline" with a canteen or hydration pack, same with using it like a "life straw".

As good as these products are I wouldn't only rely on just them as a group or individual water filtration plan.  Water filtration is something that requires layers of redundancy, so having some chem-tabs and charcoal filter pumps in addition to the Sawyer filter/purifier is wise... if your water Filter/purifier is damaged, broken, or becomes severally clogged you best have a backup plan or two.

 

 

 

Assume that all JRTC water is going to be "brown" or cloudy water, in addition to any potential non-filterables. In addition to the naturally occurring "swamp" water, another thing you will be dealing with is horse and hog shit contaminating almost any standing water source. Most of the flowing water sources are few and far between, and typically well off the beaten path, with a few exceptions. 

That stuff is nasty. Definitely an E on the PACE plan. We solely used bottled water, (I was OPFOR at JRTC for 3 years). We were at an advantage compared to RTU, simply because we were acclimated to the environment, and could work on a lot less water. 

It's the guardian filter and it also backwashes with a portion of the clean water each time. To keep the filter from clogging in water that has sediment in it. The pro price is $230. Iirc it's organial design premise was for .mil multiple person.  Basically any water anywhere is filter able. 

Two notes to add: First, let the crap settle out. Pre-filters and flushing are fine, but the best idea for really contaminated water is to put it in a bottle, and let the big chunks settle. Carry a transparent/translucent Nalegene (or something, a gatorade bottle...) for this if needed, and don't forget it's a contaminated bottle even when empty. Let the dirt settle (even 10 minutes is usually pretty good), pour off the clean to another one (carefully) or use the filter hose carefully. Extends the life of filters a lot.  

Second, get the right tablets! There are two types or tablets available on the market and in the supply chain. Iodine and chlorine dioxide. U.S. military or commercial iodine tablets are suitable for purification of bacteria and viruses but have no effect on Cryptosporidium and a low to moderate effect on Giardia so are not something I even permit people to carry for purification. 

Chlorine dioxide tablets are suitable for bacteria, viruses and has a low to moderate (slow) effect on Cryptosporidium and is highly effective on Giardia. You're most likely to find Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets available in the US. Aquamira tablets are NSN 6850-01-551-7850. 

Chlorine dioxide tablets come in individual foil blister packets and have a shelf life of 4 years. Do not use old tablets! Also, none of that taste worry with iodine so use them.

  • If you suspect the area you are in (proximity to livestock) has Cryptosporidium contact time is 30 minutes for clear water, 4 hours for turbid water. 
  • Remember that the colder/dirtier your water the longer any purification tablet will take to work. It won't become re-contaminated if you wait longer, so just wait longer if not sure, plan for purification before rest cycles so it's ready when you get up. 

 

And actually last: Read the instructions and follow them carefully. Practice and make sure everyone understands procedures. It's easy to mess up which hose or bottle has been where and contaminate your drinking water, or to do things like forget to flush the threads. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I just replaced a 15ish year old MSR waterworks filter with the Guardian Purifier. While I have not yet had the chance to use the Guardian in the field, it does filter (tap) water a whole lot faster than my old filter, even when I have a new filter element in it.

The auto back flush feature on the Guardian is what attracted me to the product, as I have in the past filtered water that would clog prior filters in <1L of water. Add in many years of reliable service from my old filter and it became an easy choice.

I also agree with having Aquamira tabs as an emergency plan, they have worked well for me in many environments.

After research and testing we have selected the MSR Guardian filter, working the NSR for purchase for enough to outfit each rifle squad, mortars, scouts, and snipers in the Battalion.  Developing a train the trainer program and SOP for employment.

I want to thank the LF community for your input and guidance; it has been an invaluable resource.  Hopefully the funds come through and I get this filter for my men, BDE is on board and wants to dovetail rest of Maneuver Battlions into req. 

Following completion of JRTC I will post an AAR here detailing employment, capabilities, and limitations to assist the next guy in solving the same problem.  

Thanks again. 

Notes from the rotation:  

Due to challenges sourcing filters we fielded a couple types across the Battalion.  Life straw and MSR Guardian Filter were the two main filters used.  

While the LifeStraw was issued out it was not really used enough for me to comment on it.   Our scouts used the MSR Guardian Filter throughout the rotation.  This Filter guards against bacteria, virus, and Protozoa.   

Polk in August creates major Sustainment challenges for a light Infantry Battalion.  Our scouts and snipers relied heavily on the MSR Guardian Filters often resupplying from local streams and even standing water at times.  

The MSR Guardian worked extremely well, it has the ability to quickly fill camelbacks in a matter of minutes.  These filters allowed our scouts to operate without resupply for extended periods of time.  

No faults or malfunctions in the box.   Filters were flushed with potable water between uses and carried in assault packs or rucks.  One filter is sufficient to sustain a squad sized element on patrol.  

The MSR Guardian was used most extensively, it is a solid piece of kit providing a no-shit "E" in your pace plan.  

 

 

Another big thumbs up for the Sawyer Mini here. I set mine up to be a gravity system with a kid's tornado tube toy I bought off amazon for a dollar or so. It was super easy. It packs down into nothing, and I would rather use it than a Life Straw any day.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

An important feature of any filter chosen for tactical use is rate of flow (ability to quickly filter higher volumes of water).

Why? Because watering holes are places that predators stake out (whether lions... or enemy troops). Limiting exposure time when conducting water party ops is good security practice. Less time in a heads- down mode drawing water and less time spent occupying a location where you might get zapped.

In this respect, the pricey MSR Guardian has most other filters handily beat. It filters/pumps water at very high volume. 2.5 liters per minute. That is Saturn V rocket performance for a handheld filter.

On the other end of the price scale, the inexpensive Sawyer models are affordable enough and light enough for every single troop to carry one. Easily the most popular water filter in use by recreational hikers today. But there's an important difference between the two most popular Sawyer models that is of importance to troops in a tactical environment:

The $30 Sawyer Squeeze pumps water much faster than the $20 Sawyer Mini. The newer Mini is a supposed improvement over the original Squeeze, being half the size and weight (and even less expensive). But the original Squeeze has three times the flow rate and (importantly) resists clogging much better than the Mini (which is fairly easy to clog with muddy, silty, or biologically soupy water):

https://www.rypdal.net/wordpre...i-vs-sawyer-squeeze/

Sawyer Mini: 1 minute 36 seconds per liter – 0.6 liters/minute

Sawyer Squeeze: 0 minutes 35 seconds per liter – 1.7 liters/minute

In other words, when your 7-man team needs to fill canteens, they can cut down their time spent filling, filtering, and pulling local security by carry the Squeeze version. Not just because that model pumps three times faster, but because they won't be screwing around, wasting additional time on site, trying to clear a clogged filter.

For infantry, the less exposed time spent procuring water... the better. Speed is security.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Astronomy posted:

An important feature of any filter chosen for tactical use is rate of flow (ability to quickly filter higher volumes of water).

Why? Because watering holes are places that predators stake out (whether lions... or enemy troops). Limiting exposure time when conducting water party ops is good security practice. Less time in a heads- down mode drawing water and less time spent occupying a location where you might get zapped...

If I never mentioned this, sorry: 

Even when non-tactical, watering holes are often cold, slippery, hard to work in, or otherwise terrible and dangerous. When planning for living off filtered water, I make a point that I/we carry a dirty water container. Usually some lightweight collapsible bag, with a large mouth for quick filling, and maybe something middling crappy you would never carry water long distances in. I've seen people simply go to the creek with several big Ziplocs, and a scrupulously empty daypack to carry them in. 

Then, go back to a happy place and pump or gravity filter as your own time. 

Though not this thread, when chemical treating, of course you can just fill the canteens directly but need a good way to keep the status clearly segregated or marked, and similarly should not just have every damned person go to the creek to fill their own bottles. Often, still good to get a big graywater bag and drain to individual bottles in a calm, organized environment. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Yeah, I'm speaking of patrol organization, where tactical watering parties are designated for the task. They collect, filter, and treat water for everyone else. Anyone who's been through Ranger School would be very familiar. Because you can't have most of your folks going "admin" when you occupy a watering point. Instead, most are on heightened security posture, while the few fill up for the many.

So you have an SOP that reflects your current filter/tablet/container posture. Everyone practices it because everyone gets their turn at bat doing it. 

Quickly collecting all the H2O and then moving it somewhere more secure is a technique. And a good one. But sometimes that's not an option. Best cover and concealment may be right at the water's edge.

I'm a life long believer in chemical treatment when tactical, specifically using tablets. The old USGI iodine tabs (Globaline)  in the little brown bottles worked pretty damn good. I used 'em for decades. Long before backpacking filters became common. Modern chlorine dioxide tabs work even better (Katdyn MicroPur and others). Tablets are brain-dead simple and consume less thought process or time than applying liquid solutions (2-part liquid chlorine dioxide, liquid iodine, bleach drops, etc.) .

I point out the use of tablets in a military context because they provide a fast and sure means of treating found water... all by themselves. No filter actually required. As a military leader, you don't have to filter water to accomplish the mission. Your guys won't die or be rendered hors de combat because they didn't run their water through filters. In the Army, we managed for many decades without portable filters. There weren't any filters in places like Ranger School or SFQC back in the 1970's or early 1980's. Or in line infantry units training in Korea, Germany, or Ft Bragg. We drank skanky & sketchy water. Water from swamps. Water from roadside puddles. Water from ditches. Water from nearly evaporated (and moccasin infested) gunk holes found up some bone-dry August erosion gullies in the pines. Tablets were the only thing used and everyone was just fine.

Even when SF started carrying issued Katadyn Pocket filters (another high end $250 model) back in the late 80's, we often skipped using them. If time was of the essence or security posture dictated, we simply dipped canteens, dropped a tablet into each one, and continued to move. Either using organized watering parties or conducting refills while in patrol order (treating the water source as a danger area with far side/flank security posted). Kind of a scroll-to-the-road movement with each buddy team filling as they crossed or patrolled past the water feature. Everyone else covering their sectors of fire.

In point of fact, we frequently did exactly that on my ODAs down at JRTC (both Ft Polk & Camp Shelby). 

Again... I'm talking grunts with guns... not recreational back country trips. Because time and exposure are against you when enemy ground forces, S2 map analysts, indirect fires, and ISR platforms are likely focused on potential water sources. Unless you happen to be operating in a swamp or land of a thousand lakes & ponds... likely water points are predictable by the opposition. Especially in deserts or semi-arid environments. or during high summer when many map blue features dry up. You can get your clock cleaned trying to fill the canteens and bladders of a small patrol or platoon.

Everything gets treated whether it gets filtered or not. Which means that you have someone in any tasked watering party designated to drop tablets into all containers. Or... your SOP is that each man treats his own water with tablets when handed back a filled bladder or canteen.  But it needs to be a methodical (not optional) SOP process. All water gets treated the same, each time, no matter who does the job.  Allow no room for individual assumptions... or you will  wind up with a patrol of deathly ill troops.

BTW: Another part of your inviolate Water SOP should be that treatment is never optional. That crystal clear spring or pristine mountain stream... isn't. School of hard knocks lesson. Trust me. That has to be explained to your troops as well. That a waterborne illness casualty is nearly as serious as a WIA with a gunshot wound. But easily preventable. If they get lazy, fail to treat or filter, then come down with Crypto, Giardia, or some virus like Cholera... they ain't making movement... and somebody else is going to wind up carrying their gear or even their ass. Hobbling the unit as sure as any other casualty situation. As a military small unit leader, be ruthless about this. Teach them why it's so damn important.

I own and use a number of filters. But I always, always, always carry tablets. If every man carries tablets (or USGI Chlor-Floc packets) and an inexpensive Sawyer... you're already at a 99% solution for most scenarios.

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

It's a sad commentary on the skills we have lost, but our life of communiting to work during parts of OIF/OEF stripped away a lot of knowledge in this area.  Even more regrettable, we lost the risk mitigation  skills to allow troops to live by their wits, and move fast and light.  Commands would rather saddle their forces with H2O weight penalties, than make smart calls about expeditionary water supplies.

I hope folks look at  the weight burden of batteries for all the newfangled gadgets, and realize that something has to change (or at least get back to the basics).

 Fred1, Thank you for the write up.  Learning has occurred, specifically some TTP.

When I read notes from members like Astronomy and Shoobe1 and everyone else, I look up the things they mention, like Globaline, which led to a couple of interesting articles from Natick and AMEDD.  Now I know more about using iodine than I thought possible.  

http://www.dtic*mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a234938.pdf

and

https://phc.amedd*army.mil/PHC...cation%20Devices.pdf

Now, where do I get Globaline or and equivalent?

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

 

When violence is the local language, be fluent.

Now, where do I get Globaline or and equivalent?

It's still widely available on commercial shelves or online. For just a few bucks at most outdoor retailers or big box stores. Including Walmart. Commercial sales of the same thing the military issued: NSN 6850-00-985-7166 WATER PURIFICATION TABLET, IODINE, 8 MG, 1 BT, 50s. MIL-W-283.

Just in slightly different bottles and with commercial labels...

Coghlans: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cog...s-50-Tablets/8586958

Potable Aqua: https://www.amazon.com/Potable...eywords=Potable+Aqua

It's all the same stuff...

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

How long are the tablets good for?

I have some from scouting forty years ago still wax-sealed with no expiration date.

_____________________________________________

 

Doug

If I mention Corona, I ain't talking about beer.

Keepers of the light. Healers of the night. OH1dmat.org

 

JOINED:  9/20/09     LOCATION:  Outside of KSA Finally!

That's simple. THOSE are bad   The new awesome ones in modern aluminize bags, in good temps and not crushed: 4 years. 

These should be treated like medical supplies. Keep track of the date code, check when you check your batteries and med stuff is checked. If there's a question, there's no question: ditch it. 

P.S. How DO you guys (e.g. Astronomy) setting up for your teams to have this, who is responsible for checking this? Whoever is responsible for IFAKs seems right but what do I know?  

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

@Astronomy - thank you.

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It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

The .45-70 is the only government I trust

"I was raised in a place called America...
It's gone now, I wish you could've seen it"
- Moustache_6 quoting a WWII vet

 

Joined: 1/30/06 3:34 PM - Location:MA

P.S. How DO you guys (e.g. Astronomy) setting up for your teams to have this, who is responsible for checking this? Whoever is responsible for IFAKs seems right but what do I know?  

Yeah, whoever does your IFAK re-stocking can be that guy.

On SF ODAs... it was usually a duty for the Detachment 18Ds (SF Medics). Just another pill... so it was their gig.  As simple as them walking around with a bag/box of tablet bottles and asking everyone if they needed any (along with other items like bug juice, foot powder, sunscreen, Ibuprofen, etc.)

In Infantry squads... just a basic leadership function when conducting PCIs (Pre Combat Inspections). Starting with each individual checking his own stash. Then being inspected by his Fire Team Leader. Then being re-checked by the Squad Leader. The platoon medic was usually the guy who distributed to all troops (after drawing the stuff in bulk from either Battalion  Medical Supply or Company Supply Sergeant). 2-6 bottles issued per man... one bottle for each carried canteen or other container.

In a nutshell, the individual was responsible for evaluating his own carried supply. First line Leaders inspected to be sure everyone had them and that they hadn't gone bad (visual check; if tablets appeared  iron gray in appearance and solid... good to go. If speckled with orange/rust  colored flecks or turned completely to that color and crumbling, they had been exposed to humidity and were expired). One person in each small unit designated to go fetch more from the designated supply source.

Iodine tabs react to water. If exposed to moisture or soaking... they activate (in the bottle) and then no longer work. Fortunately, the change is easily visible. The soft paraffin wax band on the bottle neck below the cap is specifically there to re-seal after screwing the cap shut. Just use finger and thumb to re-spread the wax around the bottom of the cap for a reusable watertight seal. If you don't... and wade into a river or a days long monsoon... you might find those tablets have gone bad. Or... you can just transfer them to some other waterproof container of your choice.

Good tablets (iron gray, solid & hard appearance):

Example of bad tablets (turned to rust color and starting to crumble):

According to the Defense Supply Center (Richmond, VA), the shelf life of Iodine Tablets is 36 months. Tetraglycine hydroperiodide maintains its effectiveness indefinitely before the container is opened. Once opened, the tablets can still last many months if kept dry and cap re-sealed. In actual practice down at squad level, you'd usually toss a bottle about 4-6 months after opening it. Sooner if you dripped water into it from your careless fingers while filling canteens. The color change is your indicator. As long as they appear grey... they're still good to use.

The little bottles were normally carried in those little 1 or 2 quart ALICE or MOLLE canteen pouch velcro pockets specifically designed for that function. Some nimrods would 100 mph tape a bottle to the plastic canteen cap keeper (although that meant you shouldn't submerge your canteen neck into a stream or pond).  In any event, less wasted motion by keeping the tablets with the individual canteen while also holding a rifle. Just to have them conveniently within reach on your LBE or vest. But you could carry them anywhere else convenient. Like in a clothing pocket or utility pouch. The big thing is to keep them dry after opening. Open, shake out the tablets you need... and tightly reseal. Then smear the wax back under the bottom lip of the metal cap creating an obturating band against water ingress. The caps were already pretty water tight. The wax just an added insurance measure.

(I've always wanted to use the phrase "obturating band" in a normal conversation. One that didn't involve cannon cockers or mortar maggots... )

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Edit timed out. In my post above are two apparently contradictory statements concerning shelf life. The 36 month reference is the recommended optimum "expiration date".  But as long as they visually appear grey... they are good. Hence the indefinite shelf life reference for unopened Tetraglycine hydroperiodide ("iodine tabs") stored dry and kept away from excessive heat or sunlight.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

I used to get horribly ill from the iodine tablets but the modern foil sealed chlorine dioxide tablets have never bothered me. Trying this shit out in garrison is important. When you are in the woods with 3 other people and there is no way to get water besides what you have with you isn't the best time to find out your body hates iodine. 

 

I run the Sawyer Mini for my personal bag of tricks now but I always keep at least 20 of the individually sealed chlorine dioxide tablets in the kit also. An easy trick I picked up along the way was to put the foil packs into a little plastic canister used for the icebreakers candy. You can also dump your tablets into the canister without the foil if you need to be a little more low profile and not look like you are overtly carrying survival or medical items. 

Running late, will update later, but I wanted to get the short version out quickly.

We were unprepared for the water conditions at JRTC. The PACE plan I listed above was wholly inadequate, and thankfully not how we survived. The MSR Guardian we personally purchased is amazing and I would accept nothing less. Chlorine dioxide tablets as emergency are a must.

 

Will update further.

Joined: 9/2/10                        Location: Northern Kentucky

Here's three overview articles worth reading:

https://www.rei.com/learn/expe...ent-backcountry.html

https://backpackers.com/ultral...ater-purifier-guide/

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com...water-filter/Compare

Filters are like handguns. It helps to understand the nuances. They all work, some better than others, some very much better than others. And some deliver specific advantage for certain scenarios better than others (like international travel to the third world... or grunt use). Different mechanisms, sizes, weights, prices, and capabilities. 

The first practical backpacker filters came to the market from companies like Swiss firm Katadyn in 1957. Followed by later offerings from General Ecology, Inc. (First Need filters) and MSR (Sweetwater Guardian filter) way back in the 1970's. Those three plus latecomer Sawyer (2000's) dominate today's world market for man-packable water filters. I trust the products of all three of those older firms the way I'd trust CZ, S&W, & HK semi-autos. Sawyer is the new kid on the block and they've essentially marketed the Glock family of water filters. I trust their stuff too. 

When it comes to high end (cost & performance) hand pump filters for individual or small party (fire team) use, two come to mind. Neither are inexpensive...

1. At the high end of performance (and price), the MSR Guardian is arguably the current king of the hill.  It's MSR's flagship filter.  Flow rate and level of filtration (including elimination of tiny viruses) is fantastic. Self cleaning back flow feature with every pump stroke. So no need to back flush. 17.3 ounces. 2.5 liters per minute flow rate. Medical-grade fibers in the Guardian block viruses—something most other hollow-fiber filters cannot do. 0.02 micron filter physically removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and particulates. Rugged construction is designed to withstand freezing,  withstands heat up to 160°F,  resists up to 300 lbs crush force, and survives drops up to 6 ft. Advertised 10,000 liter cartridge filter (when filtering already clear water). Closer to 600 liters per cartridge if filtering crappy water. 

Originally built for U.S. military squad use, the Guardian meets US military NSF Protocol P248, for removing viruses, bacteria and protozoa in water abundant with silt and particulates. 

But...mostly Plastic Fantastic construction. So maybe... perhaps... not so GI-proof. Time will tell. Recent introduction (less than 2 years ago) with a few internet noted seal leakage problems. In other words, a couple of factory lemons slipped out the door. The problem was merely episodic and is possibly solved by now. ~$350. 

2. The classic (since 1957) Katadyn Pocket is the recently displaced former high dollar champ, but still the go-to model for those that need bombproof durability (steel/aluminum construction). Like a USGI 1911A1, it's Old Reliable and pretty GI-proof. 19 ounces. 1 liter per minute output rate. Field cleanable silver impregnated (kills critters) ceramic filter good for a theoretical 50,000 liters (with occasional scrubbing of ceramic filter). 0.2 micron filter eliminates bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores and sediments (but not viruses). You still need to boil or chemically/UV treat if facing viral threats like Cholera or Ebola. 20-year guarantee.

The Katadyn Pocket was adopted by SOCOM units (including Army SF) back in the late 1980s. As far as I know, it is still in service with those units. Katadyn has been selling this same basic filter (with a few updates) 60 years. Because it works and doesn't break. Also ~$350.

The Guardian mostly beats the Katadyn for military use because it outperforms it on technical points. A much finer filter medium screens out viruses the Katadyn does not.  The MSR Guardian offers an ingenious mechanical self cleaning feature. It also has a much higher flow rate (the advantage of which I discussed up thread).

But to recap that point... the MSR could fill-up & filter a 5-man fire team's canteens and bladders (call it four quarts per man) in about 10+ minutes. The Katadyn would take at least 20+ minutes to accomplish the same. But a hell of a lot more forearm workout would be required. Which means pumping rate is going to slow down the longer your guys are at it. Meaning they'll have to rotate pumping duties. It might actually take longer than 20+ minutes. Half hour or more. More physical movement and time expended at the water source or patrol base halt. BTDT using that particular model of Katadyn.

Weight & price of both filters about the same.  But...

If you've got the kind of sleepy-eyed killers who could manage to break and impregnate a bowling ball... or you need something that doesn't require more frequent resupply of shorter lived  filter cartridges... or need something that is going to last forever after spending big bucks for it...the Katadyn Pocket is your pony.

Say I were equipping an 8-12 man deployable SF ODA to go out the door tomorrow to Afghanistan or desert Africa. For several months or a year. I'd equip each man with chlorine dioxide tablets and a Sawyer Squeeze personal filter. I'd further equip that team with 2-4 MSR Guardians (1 per split ground element or 1 per vehicle).  Now for the follow-on logistics:

I'd consider each MSR Guardian cartridge adequate for providing just one person about 150 man days worth of water cabbaged from dubious sources (at 4 quarts gathered per day). Or about five weeks use from one filter cartridge supporting four men. That's more $180 filter replacement cartridges that have to be carried or resupplied for an 8-12 man team across the long term. Cartridges that aren't heavy, but like radio batteries, you'd best not run out of them. Or lose them. Because, worst case, that 600 liter per MSR filter cartridge number is probably the correct planning factor when drinking out of muddy silty streams in the Hindu Kush or animal/human polluted water holes out in the deep Trans-Sahel. And you ain't finding those replacement cartridges down at the local indigenous shop or outdoor market.

The MSR advertised 10,000 liter figure means treating already relatively clear water at some inhabited location (like a rented safe house, third world hotel, or village well). You might make a filter work for several thousand of those liters before needing to replace a cartridge. Or you might not. For continuous field use, I'd bet on not.

Another thing to consider...

We just might find our infantry on a future battlefield where pallets of reliably delivered bottled water and well supported FOBs don't exist. For instance, one where US theater resupply is interdicted by PLA naval and air assets. Think Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir, or Corregidor instead of LSA Anaconda, Camp Lemonnier, or Bagram AFB.

If I were inserting that same SF team into an indefinite duration guerrilla warfare campaign with problematic resupply (like WWII Japanese occupied Philippines) ... I'd take Katadyn Pocket filters instead. 

For the shorter haul, the MSR is the better performing filter. Across the long haul, the Katadyn is more practically durable military choice. Might just be Ford vs. Chevy concerns, but... nuances.

Just my opinion. (And I've ordered an MSR Guardian for personal hiking use.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

I typo-ed a fact above (and the edit feature timed out). The Katadyn Pocket Filter is not $350; price range is more like $275 - $300

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

The Sawyer Mini filters and other filters would have been wholly inadequate. We lived the entire rotation on filtered water, with VERY little contact outside of our 5 guys and no option for resupply. Some of us have had excellent experiences with our Sawyer Minis, many others have had their flow turn to a trickle very quickly, and not be restored with backwashing. Squadron did finally provide MSR Miniworks filters. They filtered the water to the point it was safe to drink, but were far too slow for an entire squad's use and by the end of the rotation the users had scrubbed the filters well past the point of failing the supplied No-Go gauge. We personally purchased an MSR Guardian, and I couldn't possibly sing its praises enough. Much faster than the Miniworks, filters out everything including viruses,  cleans itself, doesn't have a rapidly consumable service-required filter, etc. Our Emergency was chlorine dioxide tablets, though we never had to use them.

Joined: 9/2/10                        Location: Northern Kentucky

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