Friday, 5 October 2018

4 Ways to Purify Water

Whether you have gone out for a good hike in the mountains, on a camping trip or have had to bug out during a SHTF situation, one key skill everyone should know is how to purify water.

Remember the Rule of 3's? You can only live 3 days without water, with this in mind, what ever your reason for taking to the hills, you should always know where you can get water and how to clean it.
Yeah, that fresh water stream might seem crystal clear and clean but you never know what's just up stream. There could be a sewerage outlet, a dead animal or a cow having a long wee just round the corner.

You should never assume that water is clean, even if the water looks clean, you should purify it anyway. It's better to be safe than sorry.

There are a number of ways that you can purify water, the easiest by far is to boil it.


The idea that the water should boil for 5-10 minutes to be sure is not true, if anything you're wasting water by boiling it away. As soon as the water is boiling happily, it is safe to drink though you might want to wait until it has cooled down again before you drink it, or throw anyway bag in.

Water purification Tablets.

You can buy water purification Tablets almost anywhere these days, on line, in a chemist, camping and outdoor shops. All you need to do is drop a tablet in your water bottle and shake it, let it stand for about half an hour and your good to go.

If you're using iodine tables or crystals it is said that you should hold your bottle upside down with the lid slightly unscrewed to let the iodine flow out.

Using iodine tablets, crystals or water purification tablet's do kill bacteria and viruses.  The down side to the tables are, they should not be used if you are pregnant and they can leave an aftertaste.

Bleach is easy to get hold of and can be carried in small containers so not to take up too much weight.
Use one to two drops per litre of water, leave for around half an hour. Once the smell of the bleach has gone the water is purified, making sure not to use too many drops as you can run the risk of poisoning yourself.

Filter systems.
There are lots of water filtration systems on the market these days. Some are hand operated, where you pump the water from a stream or even a puddle and the water is filtered into a container ready to drink.
Other filters such as the life straw pictured below, filter are a lot quicker, simply put one end in your mouth, with the other end in your water source and suck.

Now for the cons.
Boiling water does kill most of the bacteria present but it does not kill all bacteria. Boiling water does not get rid of chemical pollutants. It also does not get rid of the bad smell some water might have.
Any bits of debris, twigs, grit and anything else will still be there, so will require further filtering through a cloth or the like.

OK technically, if you use bleach to purify water, you are not purifying it, youre disinfecting it, keep in mind that any pathogen cryptosporium could be resistant to any halogen(In the case of bleach, chlorine) Source. Either way, if you follow the the guide above you will be able to make water safe to drink.
Again, if you have any bits and bobs floating round in your water, they will still be there once the water is disinfected.

Filter Systems.
The only real con to filtering your water in my opinion is expense and space taken up in your backpack (depending on the filter system you choose).
Most filter systems these days can filter out most pollutants and small bits of debris. Some, such as the life straw and other similar products can filter water right from source to your mouth, meaning you dont have to wait for any chemical reaction to take place or for the water to cool down.

To end, there are many more ways to purify and filter water, it is down to you which ones you choose to take with you, after a bit of research.
Me? At the moment I go for the boiling and purification tablet method, but thats only because I dont have the money to buy a couple of life straws.

Take care

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