Are you interested in water purification methods? Anyone who has been in a survival situation will tell you that finding a source of drinking water should be among one of the top priorities.
But did you know that there are many methods of purifying water?
Thats right. Water purification is getting easier and more accessible by the day with the help of new technologies. What was considered impossible fifty years ago is now becoming the new norm for survivalists.
With that said, not every water purification method is the same. Each one has its pros and cons that must be weighed.
This article aims to help teach eight of the most commonly used water purification methods that all survivalists should know. We will introduce you to each method and explain each one in detail to help give you the insights you need.
Let’s dive in.
1. Boiling Water
When it comes to water purification processes, boiling water is considered the most common and effective way to kill bacteria. There are several different methods survivalists use to boil drinking water.
First, it is essential to know that your elevation determines the duration for the water to boil to kill harmful bacteria. If you are below 6,500 feet, it must boil for 1 minute. Anything higher than that requires at least 3 minutes to be safe.
The most straightforward way to boil water is to use a campfire and place a pot or a heat-resistant water bottle.
If you dont have either container, you could use a tin can. However, tin cans are known to hold a lot of bacteria. It is only recommended if you have no choice.
You could use other methods of heat to boil water aside from campfires. If you can access a car, you could use its auxiliary power outlet to plug into specific electric kettles. The only downside is that it could drain its battery.
Some mini propane heaters are made to boil water containers in mind. The only downside is that it can take a lot of propane to get the water to reach a boiling point. If space isn’t an issue, consider taking one.
2. Portable Water Filters
Thankfully in this day in age, technology has allowed us to take water filtration systems that are portable and easy to use.
While it could be more convenient than boiling water, you must know it does not kill all harmful bacteria. Long-term exposure hazards such as fertilizers and pesticides can not be filtered out with this method.
There are two types of water filters.: pump action and drip filters.
A pump action filter uses a pump and hose to manually suck the water through its filtration treatment system and become drinkable.
The drip filters work similarly, but rather than having a manual pump to suck water in, it uses a gravity drip method where the hose collects it naturally.
The drip filter is more effective in filtering harmful bacteria, but filling its container takes 15 to 45 minutes. If time is limited, the pump action could be an alternative option.
Either option is viable, depending on preference.
3. Survival Straws
The survival straw is one of the smallest and most lightweight filtration systems any survivalist can have on them.
How it works is the staw has a built-in carbon filter that is designed to catch and eliminate larger bacteria cells that are harmful.
Like water filters, it can not separate all harmful bacteria, so use them at your own risk. If a water source looks iffy, then be safe and avoid drinking from it.
The nice thing about the straw is that it takes no work or time to get started. Simply drink from the source, whether a river or lake. It may not taste very good, but it can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.
4. Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)
This method relies on using the sun’s energy to disinfect the water. It is considered the most natural method for water purification. This technique requires constant sunlight exposure; the water must remain over 45 degrees to work.
The most common way of using this method is to use a plastic water bottle. Any small container could work if it is colorless and transparent with no labels.
Once you have your container, simply fill it with unpurified water and leave it in an area with direct sunlight exposure over 24 hours. The UV light should kill almost all the bacteria in the water and make it drinkable.
There are a couple of obvious drawbacks to this method. It is impossible to do if you are not in an area with good sunlight.
Another is it takes 24 hours for a small container to become drinkable. A 16 oz water bottle a day is not enough for a person to stay hydrated.
If your heart is set on UV water radiation treatment, then consider investing in a UV water treatment device.
Check out the review for the SteriPen below, a device that can make UV water treatment more approachable and easier for newcomers.
Distillation is the process of purifying through heating and cooling techniques. It is used primarily when a water source is deeply contaminated by radiation, lead, salt, or metals. If you are stranded by sea, this method is excellent for desalinating the water.
The key is to heat the polluted water to where it evaporates and to use a lid or bag to capture the droplets it produces for drinking.
A simple approach is to use your pot to boil water over a fire and to collect the evaporated water by putting a lid over it and having it drip into a bowl.
There are other and more efficient forms of distillation. Check out the video below to see one survivalist’s take on a distillation system.
6. Disinfecting Tablets
Chemical water treatment is another standard method to create drinking water. These chemicals can come in small tablets that make it easy to take while traveling.
Disinfecting tablets contain three chemicals: iodine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide. The downside with chemicals is that they can affect the flavor and make it taste bad. It could also be harmful to people with certain health conditions.
These chemicals have been tested and are proven safe to drink for most people, but medical experts state that women who are pregnant or people that have thyroid issues or are allergic to shellfish should avoid taking these tablets.
Using a disinfecting tablet is easy. Add one tablet to a 16oz water bottle with the water inside. The tablet should dissolve fully at around 35 seconds. These tablets are effective and can kill up to 99% of bacteria.
You should also be aware that these tablets have a short shelf life.
The average shelf life of a package of disinfecting tablets is one year. Some brands may state that they can last up to two years, but generally, you must use them within one year for maximum effect.
Despite some drawbacks, these are handy for emergencies. If the taste is too much for you to bear, consider adding a flavor drink mix to help cover the taste.
7. Household Chemicals
It is possible for you to treat water with chemicals commonly found in homes, but you need to be careful.
Do not mix chemicals if you are not confident in working with them. You must do research and be cautious when working with chemicals.
Common household chemicals such as bleach or iodine can disinfect water. You must only use one. Do not mix both together, or it could make you sick!
The amount of chemicals required to make it drinkable depends on the water quality and temperature.
Cold, murky water requires roughly four drops per quart, and warm murky water requires two drops per quart of either iodine or bleach.
Once you add either bleach or iodine to the water, seal the water container and shake it for one minute straight. After that, open the seal to wipe the chemicals off the rims of the lid.
The last thing you must do before drinking your water is to leave it in a dark room or shaded place for 30 minutes. This will allow the water to reach a cool room temperature. Once left, give it time to become crystal clear.
The water should smell like chlorine at the end. If not, then it is recommended that you add another drop or two and repeat the process.
Use bleach over iodine if possible. It is the safest of the two chemicals.
If you use iodine, then you must identify which type it is. Tincture-iodine is way more potent than povidone-Idoine. Depending on which type, it requires more or fewer drops. Dertine which one it is before you add drops.
Be mindful of how much chemicals you add to your drinking water. Below is a detailed video explaining how household chemicals purify water.
8. Clay Vessel Filtration
Aside from UV light radiation treatment, the clay vessel filtration method is another eco-friendly solution.
As it turns out, clay vessels are effective in filtering water. Its compound can separate the impurities in water that can make it toxic to drink.
To treat the water, simply just pour the dirty water into the clay vessel and seal the top with a lid.
Clay can filtrate 1.5 to 2.5 liters per hour. It would be ideal if the clay vessel were modified with a drum tab for easier access to collecting the water.
Many may not consider clay vessel filtration a viable solution because it requires having access to a clay pot or container.
Get this though: most homemade clay filtration systems use basic flower pots. These pots can come in many different sizes.
Yes, clay is known to be heavy, but if someone is creative, they could make a more portable version that can be taken anywhere. Either way, clay vessel filtration is still a good method for survivalists to be aware of.
If you want to see one person’s attempt at making a portable clay filtration system, check out the video below.
Survivalists have many options for water purification methods. Keeping current with water treatment methods and devices can improve your survival odds. Knowing a few methods off-hand will make you more well-rounded than most people.
Consider taking the time to stay updated on survival trends. The more knowledge you have, the more tools you can have at your disposal.
Never be afraid to ask the us for advice down in the comments. Our survivalist community thrives on teaching others what they know. Learning from someone with survival experience is the most effective method, and it is more engaging than any textbook you will ever read.