It’s not a secret water is the essential component to all life. The average person, however, is not a lichen, camel, or a cactus. If you find yourself compromised or in unfamiliar territory, water IS your first priority after security (a bear will not wait while you stop for a drink).
Even the most amateur hiker knows not to venture out without a full water source. Most established trails have water points from which you can drink and refill. Some, such as on the Appalachian Trail, are streams which require purification. All are good, and all mean survival. If you neglect biology, you have already lost.
1. Iodine/Chlorine – These are some of the most effortless, cheapest, and sure-fire chemical solutions to your thirst. They’re your best friend even when the water is the foulest sludge you can imagine. They are available in tiny, portable bottles and only add a bit of taste you can easily look past with a dry throat. Do make sure you give them the full 30 mins to work and turn your canteen upside down with a loose cap to purify the lip of the bottle. Otherwise, I hope you have a lot of toilet paper or properly sized foliage. This is especially useful if you must dig in a dry stream bed for the murky, black, life-saving gift which lies beneath the soil. It’s not pretty and you should use a spare T-shirt over the mouth of your canteen to filter the debris, but it will make sure you see another day. Trust me.
2. Filter Pumps – There are always those of us with a little more disposable income. Water-pumps are another way to ensure your improvised water source will do more good than harm. They will also do it without the chemical aftertaste of tabs and chlorine.Pumps add extra weight, especially if you pack extra filters for the long haul. This is worth it for some people, and you don’t have to worry about contaminating your canteen. You also get a bit of a workout trying to pump the water, if you’re into that.
3. Boiling – Classic and certain to get you the water you need with zero risks of contamination. Better yet if you enjoy some sassafras tea you scavenged off the trail. Two solid minutes at a rolling boil will kill anything in that water that could have killed you.
Downsides to this ancient tried and true method of purification are ever apparent in the summer time (or the desert at any time) if you need to cool down. If you need to hydrate, but don’t want boiling water, place the base of your canteen in a shallow, cool, running stream to quickly cool down that newly safe cool-aid.
There are certainly other highly improvised methods to filtering water when you’re in a tight spot. So, keep an eye out for future articles with diagrams, visuals, and advice. Patriot Tactical carries everything you need, and more, to ensure you get out alive and well to venture another day.
The world is a crazy place and we are just along for the ride. Make sure you know where the handlebars are. Stay safe.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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