Remember that time you were out in the wilderness, or on the trail? You probably felt okay at first, and were having a mighty good time…but what happened when you started running out of food…or water? This can be an incredibly dangerous situation to fall into. If you have no water? Let’s put it this way: dehydration isn’t a walk in the park.
So, how can you deal with the possibility of dehydration? Assuming you ran out of your own water, that is. You’ll have to rely on the water in your environment. But what about fast-moving water? Well, as a matter of fact, the best places to get water in the wild are fast-moving rivers. (The deepest parts of lakes are excellent sources of water as well, as is water from wells). What you should avoid, however, is water that’s stagnant, water that’s on the shore, and water that’s close to where other people live and are camping. If you don’t have a choice, always default to running water over stagnant water. Running water is safer to drink, in general.
That being said, what are some ways of cleaning or purifying water? In answer to that question, you can boil water, filter it, or use chemicals to disinfect it. First, boiling is very safe and relatively simple to accomplish, although it will take some time and requires a source of heat. To disinfect water with this method, boil the water for one minute, at least (the amount of time will depend on how far above sea level you are). When water looks cloudy in texture, it must be filtered before the boiling can take place. Moreover, boiling can make your water taste funny, so you can let the water cool down, or add a bit of salt for every liter of water.
Chemical purification is another option. If you’d like to purify water with this method, one thing to keep in mind is that disinfection won’t kill every protozoa. So, instead, you’ll want to pass the water through a filter with a thickness of 0.5 microns (or less). Also note that water which has been disinfected can taste funny, so consider taking flavored drink crystals along with you, or concentrated citrus juice; these can both mask the taste and scent of disinfected water. However, you should only add the powders or juice substance some time after the time for treatment has elapsed.
In terms of chemical purification, methods include iodine (iodine tablets, iodine crystals, tincture of iodine) or chlorine (tablets or bleach). You can buy these supplies beforehand at a camping or outdoor store, but be sure to read the directions before you pop the tablets or bleach into your survival backpack.
Filtering is, as we’ve said, another option. Purchase filters from your local shop for outdoorsy goods. On its own, facilitation doesn’t purify water properly, so you must complement it with disinfection. Again, you’ll want to read the instructions carefully.
With all this being said, if you do feel sick from water you got on the trail (or wherever you were exploring), tell your doctor as soon as you get back home. It might save you from spending a lot of time at the hospital (and several hundred dollars). Also, please be advised that any water that hasn’t been treated can be unsafe, no matter how clean it might look.
Take these tips to heart, so that you’ll be safe. Because if you’re safe in a disaster situation, then you can do anything.