Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Planning, Trip > Staying Healthy on the Road

Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Calendar Contest Voting is now CLOSED. Results to be posted shortly.

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE to YOUR choice of home hospital

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 24 Mar 2011
Posts: n/a
Iodine water purification

I have a friend who has recently travelled in and around india for a year and gave up on "time consuming" water filtration.
He relied on a couple of drops of Iodine in the water which he said, gave him no major hassles.

Madness??? or not?__________________________

Last edited by JohnAbelFrank; 27 Mar 2011 at 04:16.
Reply With Quote
Old 24 Mar 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Aussie expat in Switzerland half way RTW
Posts: 613
Originally Posted by JohnAbelFrank View Post
I have a friend who has recently travelled in and around india for a year and gave up on "time consuming" water filtration.
He relied on a couple of drops of Iodine in the water which he said, gave him no major hassles.

Madness??? or not?
Iodine only provides part sterilisation of water, it can't get rid of 100% or all parasites and spores, as for impurities only an actual filter can remove these.

It all depends on your needs and what water you are drinking.

There is a ready supply of bottled water all throughout India (and all of SEAsia) and we have travelled extensively only using bottled water and never had the need for our silver nitrate drops, chlorine drops or carbon filter. If in doubt boiling the water for 10mins will usually do the trick. But usually if you have bottled water no treatement is necessary.

However if you (or your friend) is drinking tap water or river water or water from pools on the side of the road with floating green sludge (I have a o/landing friend that was so thirsty he drank from a puddle no filtration or anything!!) then you may want to consider treatment more seriously.

I like silver nitrate as it is odourless, colourless and is effective within about 1-2 hours. It can also be used to preserve water ie. when kept bottled for days or weeks in humid conditions to prevent water from going stale or bad.

Put it another way, you are more likely to get ill ie. with Dehlly Belly from drinks with ice, mixed drinks, improperly cooked food, fruits that have been washed with dirty water or other baccteria that you come in contact with.

If you can't cook it or peel it, forget it.
TurboCharger + Francois (our BMW R1200gs) '07
www.riding2up.net, blog.riding2up.net
Reply With Quote
Old 24 Mar 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Boulder, CO, USA
Posts: 141
Originally Posted by JohnAbelFrank View Post
I have a friend who has recently travelled in and around india for a year and gave up on "time consuming" water filtration.
He relied on a couple of drops of Iodine in the water which he said, gave him no major hassles.

Madness??? or not?
I've used PolarPure iodine crystals for many years. It is a good solution for some circumstances but does have two major drawbacks: There are a few pathogens it will not kill. There are potential adverse health effects when used over an extended period (I was told every day for a month is fine, every day for a year could be risky). Taste: yes it is bad, but you will get used to it very fast.

I will carry a bottle of iodine crystals on my upcoming trip as an emergency purifier, but I wouldn't use it as my main source of potable water. I would rely first on bottled water when available, a filter other times.

As a side note, last I heard silver nitrate may cause problems if the silver builds up in your system. No clue the details though.
Traveling The World Since: June 2011
Bike: KLR 650
Reply With Quote
Old 24 Mar 2011
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,284
I don't know about the US, but you can't buy iodene tablets for water anymore. Some E.U. Safety law about long term effects etc

Anyway, the best I know of now are Chlorine Dioxcide tablets.. I used them all through Africa and never had bad guts or worms etc.

1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

BMW Dealer Technician

Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
South America 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
Reply With Quote
Old 30 Mar 2011
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 366

Filter, then heat or treat is a good plan.

No chemical will get totally inside a dirt particle, or spore, so if you plan to use chemicals of any sort then filter the bits out first!

3 months was the maximum for iodene I was told? Using it in crystal form is better for a reason I can't remember (doses more efficiently? Doesn't evaporate? One bottle lasts for ages????), but couldn't find any to buy in the UK. I have bought iodene tincture in a dropper bottle though. My Pre-Mac filter uses iodene in resin form, but has a carbon filter to take that as well as other things out before you drink it, so can be used permanently.

Katadyn Micro Forte is good stuff, although expensive long term in 1 tablet per litre form. I have it in powder form in a tub which lasts several years and does 50000litres! Over this time frame it becomes so cheap it goes in everything, but depends on how long you're going for and how you're travelling! The powder is so concentrated you can't realistically measure it accurately enough to dose just one jerrycan, let alone a water bottle. I mix it in a 1l nalgene, which is then sufficient for 1000l, so for 50l I add 50ml. The treatment is good for 6 months.

Edited to add Micro Forte contains silver as Turbocharger was suggesting, and if you search you'll find until recently the amount in USA tapwater was controlled and limited, but no more. It can turn you entirely and permanently blue if overexposed for a long period, google Paul Karason. He way overdid a home remedy for years though!
Iodene can make your body do bad things if it has too much as well as too little as a little googling will show, so don't overdo things!

Last edited by grizzly7; 31 Mar 2011 at 12:53.
Reply With Quote
Old 31 Mar 2011
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Belgium
Posts: 3
After doing a good deal of homework, I've just bought a SteriPEN device to replace a typical selection of nasty tasting tablets...

Water Purifier Portable Water Purification System - SteriPEN

I haven't used it yet, but it's going to be a permanent companion on my travels - even where there's bottled water available.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Apr 2011
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bedfordshire UK
Posts: 54
As it says on their website "SteriPEN is intended for use in clear water", so if the water you are trying to treat is cloudy or has bits in, as with chemicals (iodine, chlorine and silver) you will still need to filter it first.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
water purification Bill Holland Staying Healthy on the Road 9 30 May 2007 13:04
Water Purification danielsprague Equipment Reviews 4 4 Mar 2005 01:43
water purification systems - anyone assembled their own ? ianrichards121 4WD Overland Tech 7 4 Feb 2005 15:58
Iodine water purification Bevan Staying Healthy on the Road 3 26 Jun 2002 20:06
water supply Roy&Doede Sahara Travel Forum 8 31 May 2002 20:59


HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:02.