Survival Guide: How to Find and Purify Water

by Jacklyn Krol
water river stream

In the wilderness, how does one find water and purify it to make it safe for drinking?

If you’re out in the wilderness, especially by yourself, you can get stranded for a variety of unexpected reasons. It’s always great to be prepared and educated before you make a journey where you don’t have an unlimited pure water supply. Dehydration can kill while you’re in the elements, it’s extremely important that you stay hydrated.

How to Find Water

The easiest option would be to find a river, lake, or body of water. If there aren’t any bodies of water, you collect rainwater. You can also get water from morning dew by rubbing a piece of clothing on a surface with dew on it then ring out the cloth.

If you can find specific foods or plants, you can get water from their sustenance. Digging a well could be an easier option since you just need tools to dig with.

Natural Ways to Purify Your Water

No matter which method you decide to purify your water with, you’ll want to pre-sift the water with a t-shirt or other filter of sorts. Not all methods of water purification eliminate bacteria and other impurities. There are countless filtration systems that are sold online that purify water in a variety of ways, like pumps and straws.

Your quickest and easiest option is to boil the water, however, you’ll need a container and fire to do this. Boiling the water will get rid of most pollutants and contaminants. Overall, this method will not be 100% effective in purifying the water either. You need to heat the water at 245°F to kill pathogen spores, you can not reach the temperature needed at sea level without special equipment.

Believe it or not, some plants can actually purify your water to a certain extent. If you can find and correctly identify cilantro, Jackfruit seeds, fruit peels, rice, coconuts, or bananas, you can purify your water.

Water Purification Devices

There are countless filtration systems on the market that purify water in a variety of ways, like pumps and straws.

You can use certain chemicals to purify the water. Over time this can hurt your overall health and cause numerous side effects. Most of the chemicals give the water an unpleasant aftertaste. Bleach is one of the chemicals you can use. However, you need to make sure there aren’t any scents or additives in the bleach that you use.

Soldiers used the Halazone tablet years ago, which is still effective and sold today. There are numerous brands and types of tablets that provide varying degrees of purification.

Ultraviolet purification has its pros and con. The major pro for this method is the fact that it does not add any chemicals or additives to your water. Unfortunately, after the water is purified, it can not be exposed to any light whatsoever.

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