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How to Purify Water for Drinking While Camping

Learn how to purify drinking water from Heather Menicucci, author of Let's Get Primitive: The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping, in this Howcast video.


So, figuring out how you're going to get fresh, drinkable water when you're camping is a pretty big concern. If you're primitive camping, meaning that you're hiking in a couple of miles from where you parked your car, then you're probably not going to be able to carry all the water that you need in with you.

I did used to do that when I first started camping, just because it seemed like the most comfortable and safest way to go. I had a couple of five-gallon jugs and I would fill them before I left. It meant taking a lot of breaks when we were hiking in, but at the same time, I knew the water was safe to drink and I just knew that I could bring in everything that I possibly wanted and it just made me feel really comfortable. The other cool thing about bringing in big jugs of water is you can tie rope around them and hang them from trees and then you've got running water. So, that's kind of neat.

Any water that you find when you're camping, in a river, or a lake, or a stream, you're not going to be able to drink, because it's filled with bacteria and viruses. You can boil all that water. So, if you boil water for five minutes, then it's safe to drink. The thing is, then you've got hot water. You also are going to use up a lot of your firewood if you have to boil all the water you want to drink. So it's not very practical to do, but it can be done. If you boil your water, you should just plan on bringing something to store the water in once it's boiled, and let it cool.

The other thing you can invest in is a purifier or a filter. You're looking at spending between 50 and 200 bucks on something like that, but that's probably the safest, most reliable and most practical way to make sure that the water that you find is drinkable and safe for you to drink.

There's lots of different options on the market. The one that I is a pump. So it's a filter. The water runs through a tube, through the filter, and into the container you're going to use for drinking, but you have to pump all the water. That's the part, that's the downside to the filter that I have.

On the other hand, there's something called a steripen, which is awesome. It's basically sterilizing all the water that it's placed into. That's on the expensive end of the spectrum.

Lastly, you should probably plan for a worst-case scenario situation and bring some iodine tablets. They'll purify any water. They're going to make the water taste like iodine, and it's also not safe for you to consume large amounts of iodine, so the tablets like that are just used in emergency situations.

When it comes to purifying water, water is a necessity, you're going to need it, so it's just a matter of figuring out what solution you're comfortable with, in terms of ease when you're camping and how much money you want to spend.

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