How To Purify Water – Survival Water Purification

Categories: Survival

You’re in the wilderness. The temperature has been slowly rising since you left your campsite-a good, clear, and unmistakably hot day ahead of you. You look up and notice a few scattered clouds offering little shade, but at least you’ve got the trees.

You set your survival pack down on the ground and reach into a side pocket for your water bottle. Empty.

While in reasonable conditions, you might be able to survive for 3-5 days without water, there’s seriously no earthly reason you ought to test how your body reacts to dehydration. It’s time to find some water.

Whether it’s a puddle or a swift-flowing stream you find, you should never assume the water that is tempting your parched lips is anything less than a bacterial breeding ground. A bad case of diarrhea or vomiting will only decrease your chances of survival.

So, how are you going to turn that tempting and dangerous water into purified, drinkable, thirst-quenching hydration? Whether or not you’ve come prepared, there is a way to purify that water. We’ll talk about 5 of them in this article.

Survival Water Purification Methods:


The simplest way to purify water in the wild is to boil it. To do this, you’ll need (I bet you can guess) a container and fire. To actually purify the water, you’ll need to let it boil steadily for 10 minutes. Some say 1 minute is fine while others recommend a minimum of 7 minutes.

In my honest and very frank opinion, the longer you boil that water, the “deader” those nasty little sickness-inducing microorganisms will be. Remember, the last thing you want to happen to you in a survival situation is to get sick. Don’t forget: the higher the altitude, the longer the boiling time.

Chemical Treatment

Another way you can make water safe for drinking is to chemically treat it, and you can bet your thirsty little gizzard that there are a number of chemicals that will do the trick. Some examples are Iodine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Chlorite, Potassium Permanganate, and bleach (yes bleach).

Some of these chemicals are actually already sold as purification tablets designed specifically for campers, hikers, and survivalists. These tablets are pretty easy to use.

Simply drop the correct number of tablets into your container filled with water and let the tablets work their magic. Usually the water is safe to drink after about 30 minutes (so you’ll have to be patient). Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before you use these tablets.

Plain old household bleach – one that has no scents, cleaners, or was manufactured to be color safe – is also a good water purifier if you know what you’re doing, but be careful!

To make your water safe, add around 1/8 teaspoon of the bleach to a gallon of water and let the bleach do its thing for no less than 30 minutes. Similarly, mix 5-10 drops of iodine (specifically 2% tincture of iodine) for every liter of water and wait for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Commercial Filters

Not all of us are certified mountain men (although you may be one). Some of us would prefer the easy way, and commercial filters have been created to come to the rescue. While there are literally loads of these filters to choose from, most of them operate in a very similar fashion.

Basically, your unsafe water will go into a hose at one end of the purifier, and the water will pass through a ceramic or charcoal filter which cleans the water before it goes out through another hose and into your container. Commercial filters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pump-operated while others are simple filter straws.

One point to keep in mind, however, is that not all the commercial filters will be able to remove viruses (although most of them do remove bacteria, protozoa, and other microorganisms).


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