Clean water is the most important survival resource there is, unfortunately it’s also the most prone to make you sick, thanks to an entire global menagerie of waterborne pathogens. Purifying water, then, is one of the most important activities to consider in a survival situation.
The most obvious treatment to purify water is boiling. Opinions vary for how long: from five minutes to twenty, so it may be better to go for twenty, just to be sure. Filter the water through a piece of cloth first to get rid of any large debris and sediment.
2. Commercial filter
There are many portable commercial filters on the market, though they can be quite expensive. Budget versions built into water bottles have become available in the last few years, however, and these are the perfect filters for the survivalist.
3. Earth filter well
If you don’t have a store-bought filter with you, you can always make your own out of whatever’s available. You can even use the ground itself by digging a hole a couple of feet from a water source to use as a well. This won’t get rid of any microscopic bacteria, but it will filter out a lot of the stuff you don’t want to ingest.
4. Make your own water filter
You can make your own water filter from a cone made of bark, preferably from a birch tree. Tie the cone with string and fill it with sand, charcoal or grass, then pass the raw water through. Not perfect, but better than nothing.
5. Water purification tablets
These tablets, whether with iodine or chlorine, purify water when they dissolve in it. One tablet usually purifies five gallons, or 25 liters. The aftertaste isn’t for everyone, however.
6. Water purification liquids
For larger quantities of water, water purification liquids are commercially available, one 250ml bottle of which can treat up to 125 gallons, or 625 liters, at a time.
7. Ultraviolet purifiers
Portable water purifiers such as the SteriPEN that kills pathogens with UV light. Takes about 90 seconds to purify a liter, and they run on batteries, but are compact and easy to use.
In true survival situations, however, with an indefinite timeline, natural resources are always the best, as tablets and batteries run out and filters only last so long.
Tyler Michaeslon is 32 years old adventurer and writer. Main hobbies include time outside, writing, calisthenics and TV shows. Part-time blogger at www.prosurvivalist. com