When you’re out in the wilderness, it’s essential to know how to purify water. If you don’t take precautions, you could get sick from drinking contaminated water. This blog post will discuss nine ways to purify water while out in the wild!
Water purified by boiling is one of the most reliable methods for consuming water from natural sources. This is because germs present in natural water are killed by heating it to above 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Given that the boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level and about 200 degrees Fahrenheit at an altitude of around 14,000 feet, boiling water is an effective and safe way to disinfect it and remove any harmful microorganisms.
For drinking water to be safe, it should be brought to a rolling boil and kept at that temperature for at least 2 minutes.
- Tablets for sanitization
Purification tablets made from chemicals are often considered the most space-efficient option for backpackers, hikers, and campers looking to cut down on their water bottle weight. They’re as light as a feather and as compact as a stick of gum yet can purify up to 10 liters of water. Iodine and chlorine dioxide are the two most popular chemical treatments. Iodine and most other pills successfully eliminate water bacteria, viruses, and other germs. Still, they leave behind an unpleasant aftertaste and don’t kill the parasite Cryptosporidium, which is responsible for many water-borne illnesses.
Health risks from iodine exposure have been documented, especially for pregnant women and those with thyroid problems.
- Sterilization by ultraviolet light pens
Bacteria, protozoa, and viruses are all rendered harmless by ultraviolet light purifiers. Fill your water bottle (refer to top trekking water bottles) and swirl the water with your purifier pen for 1-2 minutes; after that, you’ll have clean, drinkable water. Before using a UV purification pen, you may also need to pre-filter your water to eliminate sediment. The pens operate on batteries, so you’ll need to remember to keep them charged.
- Filter with a sip or squeeze
A personal filtration device called a “straw filter” may effectively remove germs and protozoa using a filter with holes as small as 0.2 millimeters. These tools are portable, inexpensive, and helpful in drinking from any water source (even your water bottle’s tap). However, they are not a practical solution for purifying vast volumes of water since they do not destroy viruses.
- Filtering Pumps
Instead of sucking the water through the filter, you may pump it through a sip, squeeze, or straw water filter. As a result, they’re the best solution for treating significant volumes of water. Most filters, even pump-style types, are good at getting rid of bacteria and protozoa, but only the highest-end devices can deal with viruses. A pump filter’s sole drawbacks are its high list price, its size, and the frequency and difficulty of its maintenance.
- Inertial filters
Gravity filters are the way to go when camping as a group or at a base camp. They filter water from a huge storage tank into a smaller one using gravity, as the name implies. To top it all off, these filters can purify up to a liter of water every minute, all while you sit back and relax in your camping chair. Compared to UV pens, purification tablets, and straws, gravity filters are bulkier and may become ineffective if the water supply is contaminated by silt.
Solar water disinfection systems (SODIS) ensure drinking water is free of harmful bacteria and viruses. If you have a transparent water bottle and leave it out in the sun for about 12 hours (or 24 to 48 on overcast days), the UV rays from the sky will disinfect the water and destroy most (but not all) of the germs and microbes in it. Some experts recommend a full day of air exposure to ensure water is safe to drink. It’s up to you and your specific requirements. For this reason, or if you are in an area where the water is already safe, you should only use the UV approach if you are in immediate danger or using it as a last resort.
- UV devices
Many technologies exist that artificially generate UV light to kill germs and viruses. They range from those that need a hand crank to those that run on batteries. You should know that they are not filtering systems; thus, any bigger trash or particles floating in the water will remain. This is why pre-filtration of the water is recommended before employing the UV technique. These equipment, such as pumps and filters, are bulkier and heavier than specific alternatives.
- Create a hole in the ground and fill it with water to use as an evaporation trap
But what if you don’t have access to water or don’t want to carry it? All of those techniques assume you have access to some liquid refreshment. Water may be extracted from the ground by excavating a hole and placing a container at its bottom. Cover the hole with plastic and place a little weight (a rock, maybe) in the middle to create a dip to prevent moisture from escaping. Water condenses on the lid as it rises in the air and drops into the container as it cools.
This last option isn’t the quickest way to acquire drinkable water, but it’s still worth considering if you forget to pack some. However, keep this method in mind, along with a container and a plastic cover, in case of an emergency.
Purifying water is an essential skill for any outdoors person. Whether camping, hiking, or just out on a day trip, having the ability to cleanse your water can make all the difference in your comfort and safety. We hope this article has helped introduce you to some of the many ways to purify water when you’re away from civilization. Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below!