Water Purification Techniques to Use Camping or Hiking

When you participate in outdoor activities, having access to clean water is an absolute must. If you don’t drink water…Eventually you die. When you are in the wilderness, the water may seem fine to drink, but you can end up sick with giardia or dysentery. Water purification techniques are used to eliminate any particles, bacteria, microorganisms and parasites in the water and make it safe to drink. Listed below are some easy to use techniques to acquire clean water.

Boiling
One of the easiest and effective ways to purify water is by boiling. Boiling will kill most disease causing microorganisms that cause disease, but it won’t eliminate other contaminants such as chemicals or heavy metals. If the water is cloudy, filter it first and boil for one to three minutes.

Bleach
Another way to purify water is to use unscented chlorine bleach. First strain the water with a cloth or coffee filter to remove any visible particles. Nobody likes floaties in their drink. Next add the bleach and let stand for a minimum of one hour. The amount of bleach you need to add depends upon the amount of sodium hypochlorite in the bleach. For one gallon of water add six drops for 8% bleach or eight drops of 6% bleach.

Water Filters
Clean drinking water is the absolutely most important thing when you are hiking or backpacking. There are many different kinds of water filters including pumps, UV light purifiers, gravity filters, bottle filters, and straw filters like the LifeStraw. A high quality portable water filter is the easiest, most reliable and best tasting method to purify your water.

Water Purification Tablets
Another alternative method to purify water while on the go is to use water purification tablets. They are compact and light to carry and made from iodine, chlorine or chlorine dioxide. Water purification tablets are added to your water bottle, shaken for five to ten minutes and then let for half an hour before drinking. This is not the best tasting option and it gives your water an odd color…It’s like drinking a glass of tap water from a Mexican food stand in Chernobyl, Ukraine…Except the purification tablets won’t kill you.

When going into the outdoors, or any austere conditions, make sure you have clean water. Using these water purification methods could be the difference between life and death in the woods, desert, during a natural disaster, or if you find yourself in a post-Soviet nuclear waste dump.

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