Back in the day, people used to boil water to purify it, and this traditional method is used even today. However, times have changed, and there are now other options available for survivalists. Here are a few water treatment strategies to keep you alive on the trail.
Boiling water remains an important strategy to kill water contaminants. It is an effective method, but this option may not always be available. You may lack the tools to start a fire, or you may lack the fuel to maintain a fire to bring water to a boil. Even more, you may be forced to keep a low profile and starting a fire will just foil your concealment plans. When it comes to emergency preparedness, it is important to have a backup plan. After all, a survival scenario can put you to the test in ways which are hard to predict. It’s better to be safe than sorry and as you will see, some of these methods are accessible to everyone.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of innovation in emergency preparedness. Nowadays we have all sorts of items and gear that are designed to keep us alive when all odds are against us. Water filtration is a field that has seen a lot of improvement over the years. There are three categories of water filtration items that one could use: chemical treatment, mechanical filters, and ultraviolet light.
Which one is right for you depends on some factors which are specific to your region. The part of the country you live in, the number of days you need to filter water for and whether you’re familiar with traditional methods of purifying water are all factors to be considered.
Methods to kill Water Contaminants
Some of these chemical treatments are based on using iodine compounds, a method that has been developed during World War II. Most of these germicidal tablets can be bought for a few dollars, and they don’t require special skills to use. All you need to do is drop one or two tablets into a liter of water and wait for 30 minutes before taking a sip.
Besides tablets, there are also chemical treatments free of both iodine and bleach. If you want to kill water contaminants and you are health conscious, then these are for you. For example, Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are one of the safest choices if you fear the use of iodine. It comes with two bottles (A and B) and you have to mix them to activate the ingredients before adding them to the water you want to purify. It has a chlorine-dioxide formula that releases a highly active form of oxygen which removes the germs from the water. You will be safe from intestinal distress, and you can safely use them for months.
On the go field filters
These filters are very popular amongst preppers and survivalists and for a good reason. They can make a big difference in taste and safety when you are faced with questionable water sources. Most of these filters are easy to operate, and some are even incorporated into a canteen or bottle. This design makes it easier for you to carry water around, without having to stop and use a treatment to kill water contaminants. The Lifestraw Go is one of the main choices that houses the filter inside the water container. It allows you to make progress on the trail without stopping and wasting time with water treatment.
There are also water bag filters which you fill with water and let the gravity or the sun to do all the work. All you need to do is fill the bag with dirty water and position it in a sunny spot or hang it from a tree branch. You will have a good supply of water nearby, and you can take care of your other chores without thinking about chemical treatments or checking your watch.
Suggested article: Ready To Drink Natural Water Sources
Various devices use UV light to disrupt the DNA of bacteria and viruses so that they are no longer able to reproduce. These devices may look high-tech at first, but even a child can operate them without any problems. All you need to do is to insert the device into the container of water and swirl it around for a minute or two. Just follow the instructions, and you will be able to filter as much water as you need as long as you have batteries.
What I’m using
Over the years I’ve tried various methods of water treatment, and it’s one of the subjects which gets my full attention. I’ve suffered from an upset stomach during my camping trips and I assure you it is not a pleasant experience. Learning to kill water contaminants on the field is especially important if there’s no one accompanying you. You will need someone to take care of you or provide you with assistance when you’re ill if you want to make it in the wilderness. Here are some of the items I’ve used, and I’m still using today.
Potable Aqua Germicidal Tablets
I bought these because I can store them for up to four years and they are a great choice for a long-term survival plan or my bug-out. The 3 ounces weight is negligible considering you can use them for 25 times and they kill E.col and Giardia, but also protect you against viruses. You need two tablets for a liter of water, and it takes about 35 minutes to kill water contaminants. The downside of using iodine tablets is the taste, but there are alternatives to neutralize it.
As I said above these drops are a safer choice when it comes to chemical treatment. Aquamira Drops are iodine and bleach free, and you can use them for up to 120 times. It takes around 20 minutes to treat a liter of water and they provide protection against bacteria and viruses. They are more expensive than Potable Aqua tablets, but they are much safer.
Puralytics Solar bag
This water purification bag is one of the most awarded survival items when it comes to water purification. The brand is recognized as an industry leader in water purification technology, and their product is simply amazing. All you need to do is fill the bag with 3 liters of water and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. The Nano-technology used by the Puralytics bag helps to kill water contaminants better than any other filter out there. You can use it for 100’s of times without having to worry about cleaning or flushing it. Eliminates 99.9999% bacteria, 99.99% Virus, 99.9% Protozoa, and reduces heavy metals and manmade chemicals.
The downside of this water filter is the price, and it may be too expensive for some.
I used to carry a LifeStraw Personal Water filter in my bug out bag, and I did a review for it when it stopped working. Since then, I’ve replaced it with the LifeStraw Go bottle because I find it much more practical. Compared to the tube filter, it allows me to carry water with me, and the filtration is instant. It can filter up to 1,000 liters, and it protects me from protozoa and bacteria. The downside is that LifeStraw Go Bottle doesn’t offer protection against viruses. On the other hand, neither did the Lifestraw Personal Water filter. To be on the safe side, I use it in conjunction with my Aquamira drops.
Related reading: Ten Ways A Water Canteen Could Save Your Life In The Wilderness
I’ve used this in the past, but I keep it only as a backup solution now. It has its rightful place in my emergency kit, and I’m pretty sure it will come in handy one day. The SteriPen is a UV filter which allows you to filter 1 liter of water in about one minute and a half. It has a light system which makes it easy to use. Press the button until the green light starts to flash, place it in the water and start to swirl. After a minute and a half, the green light comes on again, telling you the process is done. If a red light comes on, you need to repeat the process.
I find this water filter extremely useful to kill water contaminants but the need to use batteries and remembering to pack them kind of kills the vibe. I don’t want to burden my bug out bag so I’ll just stick with the drops and LifeStraw Go. There is also a USB rechargeable version, but it’s more expensive than the classical one.
A final world
When you travel the beaten path in the wilds of North America, you need to have an efficient way to kill water contaminants. The water may seem fine at first, but you never know what it’s lurking in it. Minimize the risk and plan ahead before you travel. These water treatments are not expensive, and they can save you a lot of trouble. Some of these methods can be used for your bugging out plan, while others can be kept at home in case of a natural disaster.