Purifying Water in the Wild

Whether you are stranded after camping, or trying to survive the apocalypse, you need to be able to access to clean water. But if you have run out of your own purified water, here are some ways that you can get clean water in the wild.

First things first, when obtaining water to purify, avoid standing water like swamps and marines that are covered in algae. Instead, look for clear flowing water. Lakes and ponds aren’t ideal, but they will do if they are the only sources you can find. You can filter your water through a cloth first to get out larger particles.



The oldest method to purify water is by boiling it. Let the water boil for at least 5 minutes. It is best to let it boil for 20 minutes if there is time. This method requires that you build a fire, and that you have a fire-proof container to boil your water in.



Iodine helps kill bacteria in water. It is available in tablets, crystals, or tincture of iodine. If using a tincture of iodine, add 2 drops for every quart of clear water. If the water is cloudy, however, add 10 drops. Crystals and tablets should have instructions on the packaging. Let the water sit for half an hour in order for it to purify. Iodine can change the color and taste of your water though.



Another way to purify water is through a filter. There are a number of different products that you can purchase from bottles to filtration straws. At Prepper’s Base we have a purifying straw that would be great for backpacking or camping.

If you don’t have a filter, you can make one from materials in your surroundings. Using birch bark, make a cone shape and secure its shape with a vine or rope. Then, fill the cone will alternating layers of sand, charcoal, and grasses. This will filter out chemical impurities and particles, but not bacteria. You can also dig a hole a few feet away from a water source. The hole will fill with water that is mostly clean, but you may still want to boil it.



If you have bleach on hand, you can use it to purify your water. Add ⅛ teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water. You probably won’t have a measuring spoon in the wild though, so you can go by the rule of 2 drops of bleach per liter. Make sure to let it sit for half an hour before drinking.


UV Light

UV light can purify water too. You can let your water sit in the sun from 6 to 8 hours on a very sunny day, or leave it outside for 1 to 2 days on a cloudy day.

If you want to go more high-tech, get SteriPen. SteriPen makes it easy to filter water with UV light. It destroys 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. You simply place the SteriPen in the water which activates the UV light and stir the pen in the water. The UV light will turn off when the water is ready to drink. You can purify a liter in just 90 seconds, making it one of the fastest ways to get drinking water.


Wherever you go though, make sure to be prepared. Take sufficient water with you, and make sure to have a backup method of water filtration. Check out more survival tips on our blog.