water purification tablets

A Comprehensive Guide to Water Purification Tablets for Hiking the Kokoda Track


Embarking on the challenging journey of trekking the Kokoda Track requires careful preparation, and one crucial aspect is ensuring a safe and reliable water supply. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of water purification tablets, exploring their effectiveness, brands, pricing, and other essential factors to consider for a successful and healthy trek.

Understanding the Importance of Water Purification

Why Purify Water on the Kokoda Track?

Trekking Kokoda involves traversing diverse terrains, encountering various water sources. While these water bodies may seem pristine, they can harbor harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Purifying your water is essential to prevent waterborne illnesses, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Exploring Water Purification Tablets

What Are Water Purification Tablets?

Water purification tablets are compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use tools designed to treat water in the outdoors. They are a popular choice among hikers on the Kokoda Track due to their convenience and effectiveness in neutralizing harmful microorganisms.

Brands and Reviews

When considering water purification tablets, it’s crucial to explore different brands and read reviews from fellow trekkers. Brands like Potable Aqua and Aqua Forte are well-regarded for their effectiveness in treating water. Reading reviews can provide insights into the real-world performance of these tablets in Kokoda’s conditions.

Factors Influencing Effectiveness

Dosage and Waiting Time

Understanding the dosage and waiting time is essential for effective water treatment. Different tablets may require varying dosages and waiting periods to neutralize contaminants. Generally, a tablet is added to a specified amount of water, and trekkers need to wait for the recommended duration before consuming.

Chemical Composition

Water purification tablets use chemicals like iodine or chlorine dioxide to kill or neutralize harmful microorganisms. It’s essential to choose a tablet with a composition suitable for the specific threats present in the water sources along the Kokoda Track.

Choosing the Right Water Purification Tablet on Your Hike

Factors to Consider

Weight and Size

For hikers aiming for an ultralight and compact gear setup, the weight and size of water purification tablets are crucial considerations. Some tablets are designed to be exceptionally lightweight and compact, making them ideal for backpackers who prioritize minimizing gear weight.

Cost and Affordability

The cost of water purification tablets can vary, and trekkers often consider the price per tablet. It’s important to strike a balance between affordability and effectiveness, ensuring that the chosen tablets fit within your budget while meeting safety standards.

Taste and Flavour

Some water purification tablets may impart a taste or odour to the treated water. Considering the taste factor is especially important for those who are sensitive to the flavour of chemically treated water. Reading reviews and getting recommendations can help in selecting tablets that leave minimal impact on the water’s taste.

Popular Brands in Australia

For trekkers based in Australia, sourcing water purification tablets locally is convenient. Popular brands like Aqua Forte and Potable Aqua are often available in outdoor gear stores across the country. Additionally, exploring local brands ensures compatibility with Australian outdoor conditions.

Best Practices for Using Water Purification Tablets

Proper Storage and Shelf Life

Water purification tablets come with a shelf life, and it’s crucial to check the expiration date before embarking on your Kokoda trek. Storing the tablets in their original packaging in a cool, dry place helps maintain their effectiveness over time.

Correct Dosage Calculation

To ensure the tablets effectively treat the water, accurately calculate the dosage based on the volume of water you intend to purify. Using too few tablets may leave contaminants untouched, while using too many can affect the taste and potentially be wasteful.

Waiting Time and Emergency Situations

In normal circumstances, trekkers can follow the recommended waiting time for the tablets to take effect. However, in emergency situations where immediate hydration is crucial, some tablets may offer rapid treatment options, allowing you to consume water within 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Conclusion – An Effective Water Purifier 

Selecting the right water purification tablets is a crucial aspect of preparing for the Kokoda Track trek. By considering factors such as brand reputation, dosage, waiting time, and taste, trekkers can make informed decisions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. Remember, the right water purification tablets can be your trusted companions on this challenging but rewarding journey. Stay hydrated, stay safe, and enjoy the beauty of the Kokoda Track.


Q: What are water purification tablets?

A: Water purification tablets are small, portable, and easy-to-use items that help in making water potable. They typically contain chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, which can kill harmful bacteria and viruses present in the water.

Q: How do water purification tablets work?

A: When added to water, water purification tablets release chemicals that disinfect the water, making it safe to drink. The active ingredients in these tablets work by neutralizing and killing harmful microorganisms, making the water safe for consumption.

Q: Can water purification tablets remove all contaminants from water?

A: Water purification tablets are designed to eliminate or neutralize a wide range of harmful microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses. However, they may not remove chemicals, heavy metals, or sediment from the water, so it’s important to use them in conjunction with other purification methods if such contaminants are a concern.

Q: How long does it take for water purification tablets to clean the water?

A: The time required for water purification tablets to effectively treat the water can vary based on the specific product and the level of contamination in the water. However, in general, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours for the tablets to fully purify the water.

Q: Do water purification tablets change the taste of water?

A: Some water purification tablets may alter the taste and odour of the water. Chlorine dioxide tablets, for example, are known for leaving a slight taste in the water. However, this taste is generally considered to be better than drinking potentially contaminated water.

Q: How should I store water purification tablets?

A: It’s important to store water purification tablets in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Keeping them in their original packaging and ensuring that the packaging is tightly sealed will help maintain their effectiveness.

Q: Can I use water purification tablets for backpacking and camping?

A: Yes, water purification tablets are a popular choice for backpacking and camping due to their portability and ease of use. They can be a convenient option when access to clean drinking water is limited during outdoor activities.

Q: Are water purification tablets safe to use for pregnant women and children?

A: Pregnant women and children should consult with a healthcare professional before using water purification tablets. While they are generally safe, it’s important to ensure that the specific product and dosage are suitable for these individuals.

Q: How many water purification tablets should I carry on a hiking trip?

A: The number of water purification tablets you should carry depends on the duration of your hiking trip and the amount of water you anticipate needing to purify. As a general guideline, it’s recommended to carry at least one tablet per litre of water to be treated.

Q: Can I use water purification tablets in combination with a water filter?

A: Yes, using water purification tablets in conjunction with a water filter can provide an additional layer of protection against waterborne contaminants, especially in situations where multiple purification methods are advisable. However, if using both methods, it’s important to follow the instructions for each product carefully to ensure their effectiveness.

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