There are many ways to purify water while camping outdoors like boiling, chlorine, iodine, UV, filter and pumps.
When we go camping and do not have enough water and have to choose the water from nearby rivers or lakes, we must take into account the germs and viruses that are responsible for many diseases that affect us, and in many cases, it is because of the contaminated water that we must drink.
Infographic by https://riderstrail.com/how-to-make-river-water-drinkable/
Purification by Boiling
When the water reaches boiling point, bacteria and impurities die or are neutralized, for this we boil the water a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes, although the most recommended is 20 minutes, in extreme situations where water is scarce or highly contaminated (i.e. seawater), any liquid can be purified and only the water it contains can be extracted.
To do this, the liquid must be boiled and then steam distilled into another container where we will obtain pure water, without danger of bacteria, salt concentration, or minerals dangerous to health.
Purify With Chlorine
Chlorine is one of the most effective disinfectants against bacteria, however, it does not have good results against the viruses that inhabit undrinkable water, so it is recommended to filter the water before chlorinating and after the application of chlorine should be mixed well and left to stand for 30 minutes for the chlorine to come into contact with microorganisms.
Ultraviolet Light (UV) Water Purifier
Ultraviolet purifiers neutralize bacteria, protozoa, and viruses with UV rays. Fill a bottle with wide-mouth water; insert the UV light purifier for 90 seconds and you will have purified water. Be sure to use a pre-filter for cloudy water and carry extra batteries for the UV purifier before using it.
Portable Suction / Pressure Filter
Portable suction filters offer a lightweight personal filtration solution. There are several popular options available, from tubes that allow you to drink water directly from a water source, or which include an optional compression bottle that connects to the filter so you can pressurize water into our containers, they can also be connected to the hydration bag that the filter carries.
Portable Filter Pump
Pump-type water filters are the same as suction and/or pressure filters, but with the addition of a connected pump mechanism, it allows large amounts of water to be filtered quickly. Pump-type filters can require maintenance and can also be somewhat more expensive. Most pump filters deal with bacteria and protozoa, but some higher-end models eliminate viruses by including iodine resin inside the filter.
Purify the Water with Iodine
Iodine is a very effective disinfectant to eliminate bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that we can find in the water, in general, 2 to 10 drops per liter are enough to purify clear water, here again, to increase effectiveness, it is preferable to filter the water before applying iodine, mix and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Water is a vital part of camping, it should not be depleted quickly, as it is a resource that is often scarce in the areas where we camp, always have an effective way to treat the water we can collect from the environment.
Diseases You Can Get From Contaminated Water
These diseases are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses found in contaminated water. They can appear after situations such as major storms, hurricanes, or others.
Where Are They Found?
You should not trust the appearance of the water, even in the purest looking water bacteria and diseases can be found, and with more and more human intervention in the waters of nature, the contamination is more and more severe, that is why in most cases it is advisable to purify the water when you go camping.
How to Avoid Contamination?
Those who are traveling can opt for some purification methods for the water they are going to consume or, a less ecological option, drink bottled water.
Adventure and risky routes might cause you an adrenaline rush, but looking for clean drinking water is something that you always have to ensure. There are methods of purifying water with natural elements, but it might not come handy if you are just a beginner. You should be equipped with some survival water filters so that you can purify water with ease, even during emergencies.
- LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
This water filter is a favorite of preppers as it assures complete safety. It can filter up to 4000 liters of wild waters and provides topnotch service even during an emergency. This filter does not need batteries to work, so you do not have to carry lots of cells to make it work. This filter also provides assured protection against bacteria and pathogens. It comes with a microfiber membrane that traps the microorganisms and passes only clear water for you to drink. It is light and easy to carry, so this does not overburden your bag.
However, this filter cannot remove salt from the water. So this might not be your best option to put it on your safety kit in the sea.
The LifeStraw is a widely known product that went viral in 2005. The LifeStraw intended to provide an affordable way to combat the serious threat of waterborne illnesses globally. Time Magazine recognized it as the best invention of 2005.
The LifeStraw can be purchased for under $20. Impressively the water filter is extremely light, about 2 ounces. They are personal water filters, so when possible one should be purchased for each expected group member. Extras can be bought and stored in common locations like in your car or at work, in case you are caught unaware by a disaster.
They also serve well for hikers because of their weight. On long-hikes, a hiker can significantly reduce their physical load with a LifeStraw and adequate nearby water sources.
The LifeStraw is constructed of BPA free plastic. It filters using a hollow fiber microfiltration membrane capable of filtering out debris and bacteria bigger than 0.2 microns. Expected use is about a year (2L/day) or 1,000 gallons, whatever comes first.
The LifeStraw does solve the dehydration issue very well, but it requires the user to physically be extremely close to the water source. It would be possible to store and move water to a campsite and then use the it to filter onsite as needed.
Like the packaging shows: removes 99.9 percent of bacteria, parasites, and microplastics.
- MSR MiniWorks EX Microfilter Water Filter
It is a water pumping device that has been in the market for a long time. Many preppers have used and loved it. The device might look complicated, but it is easy to use when you get the hang of it. It is equipped with ceramic or carbon filters to filter and purify water. The pump is made for heavy-duty use even in challenging conditions. It can pump up to 1 liter of water per minute. Such a speed is impressive indeed!
This filter is loved by hikers, campers, and adventure freaks. You can clean it easily and use it as many times as required. Light and portable, it can easily fit in your emergency bag. This filters muddy water and provides assured protection against germs, bacteria, and protozoa. After lots of use, you might see that the water is still not clear, that is when you know that the filters need scrubbing. It gives you clean, odorless water so that you stay healthy and fit on your adventure.
- Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
It is unique for its transparent quality. You can see for yourself how the water is being filtered. It is proven to last for many trips to the wild. The brand is trusted by hikers and preppers for its trustworthy service over the years. It filters the water with activated carbon. It ensures that the water is filtered without chemicals and remains odorless without compromising on its purity.
The Katadyn is known for its extreme durability and dependability. This water filter can last for years with moderate use, rating to at last 13,000 gallons. The company backs its product with a 20-year warranty. It is capable of outputting 1 liter of clean water per minute, excellent for dire situations.
The Katadyn is high-quality and as such doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay around $370, but can be found for lower when on sale. The filter weighs about a pound, which may deter backpackers from carrying it.
It is built from stainless steel, aluminum, silicon, and ceramic parts. The Katadyn filters bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants using a pump filter down to 0.2 microns.
The Kayadyn Pocket water filter isn’t intended for large groups. If preparing for a societal breakdown situation, if your family or group consists of more than 3 individuals, you may want to purchase multiple.
This product is highly functional and light and portable enough to be carried everywhere. The carbon cartridge is changeable, which increases its life to many more uses.
- Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
The strong fiber membrane helps to pump lots of water without succumbing to the flow. It allows the filter to work heavy duty. The filter consists of pores not larger than 0.1 microns. It helps to filter out harmful bacteria and protozoa and provide only clean potable water.
Sawyer products have been around in the survival market for decades. The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a second-generation product. Similar to the LifeStraw, the Sawyer Mini is only 2 ounces, made of plastic, and is very versatile.
The filter removes 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa, exceeding the EPA guidelines. The filter provides 0.1-micron filtration, better than the alternatives.
The Sawyer Mini also comes with a 16 oz drinking pouch and straw. This pouch can be attached to the water filter, connected to a hydration pack, or screwed onto a standard water bottle. This capability is an improvement over the LifeStraw by allowing for storing and transport of clean drinking water.
Amazingly the Sawyer Mini is rated for up to 100,000 gallons! That is years and years of water filtration for multiple people. And for a retail price of around $20, this is an excellent choice for budget-minded individuals, large groups, and hikers.
The filter comes with a drinking pouch and can be used in water bottles and hydration packs. You can also drink from the source without any fear of harming your health. Its compact size allows you to carry it easily in the emergency case.
- Miniwell Gravity Water Filter
The miniwell water filter is a great choice for campsites. It comes as a set of eight parts that will aid you to set up your water filtering station. It uses gravity to filter freshwater and purify it from harmful bacteria and germs. However, it cannot purify dissolved salts from the water but maintains the balance of minerals.
The product can filter 2000 liters of water at a rate of 600 ml/minute. It is convenient to carry around and easy to use.
Big Berkey water filtration system
The 3 water filters above are mostly personal water filters, easy to use for one person during survival situations or hiking. In the event of SHTF, a long-term larger water filtration system is ideal. The Berkey water filtration system is in use by the Red Cross, UNICEF, and the Peace Corp.
The Big Berkey is particularly well-suited for a family. It’s a stainless steel system that comes with 2 9-inch white ceramic filters, as well as 2 PF-4 fluoride filters. Currently, the Big Berkey is retailing for $278.00. The Big Berkey can store 2.1 gallons at a time and filter up to 170 gallons daily.
While the initial price is steep, this gravity-fed system can last for everyday life. Big Berkey promises to remove bacteria, chlorine, heavy metals, arsenic, fluoride, and more.
The reason the Big Berkey is such a good seller among preppers is the lifetime of the water filters. Each element can filter up to 3,000 gallons (6,000 between the two), meaning it can provide a family for years before needing to be replaced. This system also shines during camping trip.
Potable aqua germicidal water purification tablets.
Purwell water filter
Membrane solutions straw filter.
Wimolek water survival straw
Brita filtering water bottle
WakiWai personal filter
Survival water filters are getting quite popular nowadays. There are many methods to purify water in the wild, but these filters are the most dependable. You can also boil water if you have fire. These are all available at sporting good stores and online.
Clean drinking water is of vital importance during survival situations. In the worst conditions, you and your family could last weeks or even months without a steady food supply. Finding a clean water source during disasters can be difficult and you can only survive three days without water. Making securing a clean water source your first initial priority.
When buying equipment and supplies for an emergency preparedness kit, it is important to research and find reputable products. Nothing would be worse than banking on a product to clean your water only to find out it doesn’t work, causing you or a family member to fall ill. Additionally, make sure you thoroughly understand how the operate and clean the filter as needed.
Risks of Untreated Drinking Water
In the United States, the main waterborne illness is giardiasis. This protozoan can trigger severe cramping and diarrhea which is incredibly dangerous in a survival situation, especially if medical care is not accessible. Cryptosporidium is also somewhat common in the United States and causes similar digestive upset. Other common waterborne diseases throughout the world include cholera and dysentery.
Untreated water can also contain sediments including sand, silt, and even animal matter that you don’t want to ingest.
Algae blooms are becoming an increasing problem, particularly in cities where industrial waste may be dumped. Some of these blooms can be harmful to ingest. These water sources would also be prone to chemical contaminants like pesticides, paint, and heavy metal runoff, oil, and cleaning agents. 68 million pounds of the most toxic industrial chemicals are dumped into drinking water sources in America yearly, so even in a developed country, contaminants lurk.
Remember it is impossible to know what kind of human or animal fecal waste is being introduced upstream from your sourcing location. Avoid drinking water before treating or risk catching E. coli., shigella, coliform, salmonella, or cholera from feces contamination.
In the event of catastrophic flooding, water sources will be contaminated with sewage and industrial runoff. Boil water notices are common immediately after natural disasters as officials work to determine the safety of municipal water systems. Imagine all of the flooded businesses and cars, leaking chemicals into the water. This water would be highly dangerous to drink and without another alternative could leave your family in a dire situation if unable to turn it into potable water.
How Water Filters Work
In developed countries, it’s easy to be unaware of the immense sanitation work happening behind the scenes of every shower and glass of tap water. Water is purified into clean and safe drinking, bathing, and cooking source. There are many situations that can arise requiring you and your family to need to purify water yourselves.
Backpackers often carry water filters in the situation they didn’t pack enough water and need to purify nearby water sources. Undeveloped countries also tend to have unsafe water systems and only bottled water is recommended, without that resource, you may need to purify on the go. And of course, in the event of societal breakdown, clean water would be vital to survival especially in urban areas.
The goal of a water filter is to remove potential contaminants, especially bacteria and protozoa. This article specifically discusses water filtration, which is different than water purification. Water filtration uses a mesh net or cloth as a sieve to catch debris while allowing the water to flow through. Water purification destroys bacteria and protozoa using UV light or chemicals. Both processes are important and knowing when to use each could save your life.
Water filtrations methods include pump filters, gravity-fed systems, hollow fiber filtration membranes, and carbon filters.
Pump filters employ a pump that is usually mechanically worked by the user, to force the water through a filter. Filters often contain fine meshes that need to be replaced or cleaned.
Hollow fiber filtration consists of thousands of filaments a few millimeters wide, in a PVC shell. These filaments are porous with a very high packing density. The contaminated water will enter the system and move through the hollow fibers. Suspended solids and microorganisms will be trapped in the hollow fibers and will have to pass through the hollow space, whereas the clean water can permeate the porous fibers, to be consumed.
Gravity-fed filters take advantage of gravity to feed the untreated water through a filter. No electricity or mechanical labor is needed. These systems usually have a top compartment with filters and a lower compartment. The lower chamber will collected the clean water. This method is slow but effective.
Filtering During Survival Situation
In survival situations, water for drinking should be sourced from rainwater caught in clean containers or snow. Water can also be collected safely by collecting transpiration from plants. Other water sources should be considered contaminated and filtered before drinking.
Without a filtration or purification system, you can still boil water. Boiling water is still an excellent way to kill bacteria and protozoa. It’s recommended to boil the water for about 10 minutes at a rolling boil. In desperate survival situations, boiling may not be practical. You may not have access to a container to boil water in and you may not have the ability to easily start a fire. But this remains the lowest-tech method and usable if other options don’t exist.
If you chose a personal survival straw, like LifeStraw, you may spend time during the day leaning over stagnant water to filter and drink.
A pump water filter like the Katadyn uses a pump to force untreated water through a filter cartridge. These filters are typically quick and will produce about a quart a minute.
Larger gravity-fed systems are unlikely to be used in short-term surprise survival situations, like when a hiker is lost in a National Park, but provide security for preppers planning to survive long-term survival after societal collapse.
Best Options Depending on the Situation
The best filtration method will depend upon the drinking water and survival situation, that’s why it’s important to understand the types of filtration systems and when they are appropriate.
If hiking or backpacking in the United States or Canada, survival straws and pump filtration systems are popular. These are light and produce extremely clean water quickly. If traveling or hiking internationally, these options are still excellent, but it is highly recommended to purify the water as well. Tablets or UV devices can be used to do this.
In the event of natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding, personal pump filtration systems are excellent. They allow for the storage of some water as needed and are highly reliable.
In the event of a long-term societal collapse, with sewage systems potentially compromised, a combination of methods is best. Having a few personal filters provides flexibility for your group and promotes personal safety, while having a gravity-fed filter provides clean drinking water in high-volumes for the foreseeable future.
You should bring 1 gallon of water per person per day when camping. You may need more on hot days and depending on activities. You can never have too much water.
Whether we are camping or not we need a lot of water daily. We need water for more than just drinking. Most of the campers don’t have any idea how much water they need to bring when camping. Here, we have explained in detail about the amount of water you need to bring when camping. Read on to know about it.
- Bring One Gallon of Drinking Water Per Person
Drinking water is essential for every human being. We need to consume water every day because our bodies need it. When you are camping, you need to bring at least one-gallon water of drinking per person per day. Even if you don’t drink this much water, it is still important for several reasons. One major reason is dehydration. If a person is dehydrated it can ruin his performance and mood. For camping, you need to be hydrated to enjoy your trip.
Effect of Climate
Climate affects how much water our body needs while camping. If you are camping in a hot and dry, it is obvious that you will need more to stay hydrated because in a hot climate your body will sweat a lot. Especially while camping in deserts, you need to prepare yourself to combat its dryness. Drinking one-gallon water becomes easy when the camp in such dry and hot places. When you are camping in a cold climate, your need for water also decreases.
Effect of Activity Level
The need for water is also determined by your level of activity during camping. If you are doing a tough activity like hiking, it will require you to drink more water than usual. However, if you don’t do such activities, you will naturally consume less water. To fulfill your need for water, you need to have a couple of large water jugs. You can also have a hydration backpack so that you do not have to stop now and then to take a drink of water.
Bring One Gallon Water for Other Needs
It is advisable to bring at least one gallon of water per person/day for other water needs. Besides using water for drinking purposes, you will need water to satisfy other needs. For example, you will need water to wash your body, cook food, & wash dishes, etc. You will be surprised to know how much water we need for other purposes. That’s why you should be well prepared.
Water for Cooking Food
During camping, you will need water to cook food. Making healthy and great food requires water to make it. For example, cooking food like rice, oatmeal, noodles, pasta, etc. need water. So, if you are planning to cook food during camping, make sure you bring enough water for it as well.
Water to Clean Dishes & Yourself
When you are done having a meal, you will have to wash dishes. For that purpose, you need a lot of water to wash those dirty dishes. If you do not like to wash dishes, then you may take disposable plates and cutlery with you. When you are camping make sure to have excess water with you to rinse off your body. It always feels good to take a portal shower after hiking.
Water for Pets
Just like us, the pets we bring camping with us also need to drink a lot of water. They need freshwater to quench their thirst. The need for water also depends on the size of a pet. If a pet is a big dog, then it will require more water. So, the next time you go camping, make sure you bring enough water for your pet as well.
Bring More Water Than You Need
When you decide to go camping, you need to be well prepared for it. Now that we have discussed the things you need water for. Make sure you bring more water than you need because you don’t want to search for water during camping. If you run out of water, it will ruin your camping experience. Besides that, it is safer and healthier to have access to water at all times. You can also help your other friends with your excessive water resource.
Water purification tablets are used in various situations, where the need for portable drinking water might arise.
Such as camping, disaster, military, and survival situations. It makes bad water drinkable like from a stream, or lake by killing all the bacteria that can make you sick.
Drinking water from waterfall
Camping without running water