Camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors can be a great and relaxing experience. While you are spending time in the wilderness, however, it is very important that you are careful about drinking water directly from natural sources. Water found in nature – from streams and lakes, etc. – contain a lot of things that can make you physically ill, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa. That is why you must take steps to ensure that the water you’re drinking while enjoying the outdoors is safe. There are water treatment options that are small enough for you to bring along with you on your journey that will ensure any natural water you drink is clean of contaminants, bacteria and viruses.
First of all, a good plan is always carry good old H20 from a trusted source with you in bottles. This includes tap water from your house or purchased bottled water. Figure out how much water you will need depending on the length and difficulty of the trip ahead. Remember to overestimate the amount you’ll need in case of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances in which the hike or camping trip ends up longer than you originally expected.
Any waup to a roiling boil with either a camping stove or in a pot over a fire. The boiling technique will kill any protozoa, bacteria and viruses, thereby making the water safe for human consumption. It is important to remember, however, that the boiling method will only kill the living dangers and will not rid the water of any chemicals or other ground water contaminates that can be equally dangerous or alter the taste.
You can also purchase droplets or tablets to use as a treatment for natural water. These tablets or droplets can be added to the water approximately 2 hours before it can be ingested. Some of these drop-in treatments contain chlorine, which will kill the living contaminants in the water, but will cause the taste of the water to resemble a swimming pool. Chlorine is safe for human consumption only in very small doses and is used in most water treatment plants as the main cleaning method. Other drop-in treatments may use iodine, but it is not effective against Cryptosporidium. Again, these treatment methods may not completely eradicate some chemical contaminates, and will not protect against dirt in the water.
A great method for cleaning natural water is by bringing a small water filter you. Filters will take care of the bacteria and protozoa that can be in your water supply, but may not be able to catch rare small viruses. Be sure to clean your water filter regularly, as they can become easily clogged and dirty, especially when used with water taken from natural sources.
Enjoy your time in the outdoors, and remember to treat any water you take from natural sources to ensure your safety. Proper hydration is important in the outdoors, so be sure to have one water treatment method in your pack at all times.