How to Purify Dirty Water in the Outdoors?

Water is essential source for good health and drinking it regularly helps your body functions properly. Staying hydrated is important especially if you are in outdoors, but it’s not easy because the weight of water is heavy. Carrying enough water of around 6+ liters for three day-trip and staying in outdoor tents without exploiting an outdoors sources, like river or pond, can really weigh you down. In spite of being a source of good health, water can upset even the strongest of stomachs as natural water can be infested with waterborne bacteria.

What to do and how to use water in an effective manner while camping?

It isn’t difficult, Understanding how to use outdoor water sources in a safe manner, but does require some patience. Generally there are three ways to make drinking water safe: boilingfiltering, and chemicals.


By heating water to the boiling (5-10 minutes) you can kill any bacteria within the water and create safe drinking water Boiling water is probably the cheapest but it is really time consuming. A little more work is required that is simply wait and allow the water to cool down and you’re ready to start guzzling it down.


It is necessary for us to know the difference between filtering and purifying. Essentially they both do the same job but a purifier takes the ‘cleaning of water’ one step further. Purifier introduces a chemical component to kill off things like viruses that filters won’t catch. It is safe and fast to pump water out of a dirty, unfiltered source, into a clean container. Filters allows you to drink water immediately once its clean rather waiting for to cool down like in boiling. Filters have become much smaller, less expensive and more effective in last ten years.


Iodine tablet/drop are extremely effective in killing all the bacteria that stands in unfiltered water and are used most commonly to convert water into safe drinking water. They are a popular are a popular choice for many outdoor enthusiasts, as they are easy to use, lightweight and ultra-small. Newer tablets even offer a second tablet to help remove the iodine taste from a clean water, which takes up to 30 minutes to be totally effective. To make this process easier, there are some additional methods like moving water is usually a better source than stationary, as it helps to remove the dirty top layer that can form on ponds and pools. It is considered as safe practice to drink water directly from a spring head.

Remember it takes few feet of travel for the water to pick up something that will make you sick. 

We suggest you to treat a bucketful of water rather than doing a large number of single trips. It would be a great to have a collapsible water bucket and fill in water from a lake. Boil, filter or chemically treat the dirty water and discharge the clean drinking water into seal-able bottle and leave it at camp.

Stay hydrated on the trail. Hiking is very difficult and exhausting and your body needs that water to keep things running smoothly. Headaches, muscle cramps and fatigue are all signs that your H2O tank is running low. So treat your water and drink up!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, please take a look at our other camping related blog posts HERE.

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