I’m sure you’ve heard stories of solo hikers or bikers that manage to get themselves lost in the wilderness, and then, after battling with nature and its extremes, they return to civilization because of their will to survive and of course – that handy bottle of water.
We humans can only survive around 3 to 4 days without water, while staying alive without food is much easier, because trying to survive in extreme heat conditions can actually worsen your thirst and your body will start craving more fluids.
While over-hydration is not a good thing either, you will still always need a certain amount of water in your body so that your organs can function fluently.
When you find yourself lost in the wild or venturing through unknown and tricky terrains, carrying enough water with you can be hard.
This is why water purification methods have been devised by survivalists who understand how important constant access to clean water is when you are traveling off-the-grid.
However, many people are left regretting the fact that they didn’t know ‘enough’ about water purification, before venturing into the wild.
So here are a few pointers that can help you understand water purification to upgrade your survival chances.
Be Conscious About the Water Sources You Choose
Your best option for retrieving pure water is from sources of clear flowing water from areas where there are no people around, no manmade buildings or any obvious signs of pollution.
When you are making your way through the wilderness and you run across a stream or a spring, you should try to fill up as many bottles of water as you have.
Ponds, lakes, & Rivers
You should know that ponds, lakes and rivers are less ideal sources of water since the first two are water bodies that are stagnant, which means that it may have a lot of bacteria, while rivers can often typically be heavily polluted.
Be extra careful after the area has experienced any flooding, or if there are population centers or chemical plants operating nearby.
Snow & Ice
As long as this is not frozen seawater, ice and snow are also great and instantly available sources or pure, or at least, clean water in the winter season.
You shouldn’t et ice or snow though, since that lowers your body temperature quite a lot and does not do much to quench your thirst.
You should still purify ice or snow after it has melted, but only as long as it isn’t brown, yellow or black in color. Adding snow to a hot pot and melting it will make for an awful taste.
Filtering & Digging for Clean Water
You can also try to retrieve clean water from mud, dry river beds or any other kinds of low lying terrain.
One thing that I haven’t particularly tried but have heard numerous times about is creating a swamp well which is done by digging up a hole and then trying to shore it up back from the shoreline.
The main concept behind this procedure is trying to find bodies of clean water underground which are usually present in excess around other large bodies of water like oceans or seas.
However, while all of the aforementioned ways of looking for clean water are very useful, sometimes you are stuck with very limited options and the only thing that you can do is look for possible purification methods that can help you.
Also, it is never a good idea to plan a risky trip in water scarce areas, because if you get lost, your survival instincts will be the only thing that can help you stay alive.
The best way to purify water is through boiling, and it is also the easiest.
All you need is a little bit of equipment along with a camp stove or a campfire.
You should try to bring the water you have to a full boil until you have rolling bubbles as the pot simmers over high heat, and make sure that you let those bubbles roll for at least five minutes to ensure maximum purification.
Then cool it down and drink up!
Purification Pumps or Filtration
When you make a visit to a camping supplies store, you will find a number of different kinds of filters and purifying pumps that actually enables you to clean water almost instantly.
This can easily be done by squeezing water though charcoal or ceramic filters, after which it is treated with chemicals to become safe for drinking.
There are a variety of hi-tech water bottles available that have this process built in as mechanism, so that water can be purified without being pumped from bottle to bottle.
The purification takes place as you suck the water into your mouth through the head of the water bottle.
Tablets & Drops for Purification
This is a very inexpensive and simple procedure, but the water extracted through this method will not necessarily be the best in taste.
The easiest way of purifying any kind of wild water is simply by dissolving purification drops or tablets in it and then waiting for a few minutes.
You can either use Iodine, which is more common, but potassium permanganate and chlorine can also be highly effective.
You should let the water be for at least 20 minutes after adding these chemicals before you can think of consuming it, and if the taste is unpleasant, use powdered fruit juice mixes to mask the taste.