Whether you are a survivalist, hiker, or camper you need to plan for hydration. It's not always convenient to pack in your own water in with you. Sometimes your water supply might run out or get contaminated. If that happens, you should know how to filter your water and purify it for drinking.
There are micro bacteria, fungi, and all sorts of nasty things that might be in the water which you cannot see. Even if it looks clear, smells fine, and tastes good, it could make you very sick if not done properly.
The basic concept of water filtration is to pass the water through layers of filtration, not just one simple screen. The most reliable and safest way to filter your water is to bring a proven water filtration tool with you. Depending on your specific excursion you may have room for a pump system or you might need to cut weight and simply bring a filtration straw.
The Katadyn Dual Microfiltration Vario water filter is the top of the line when it comes to pump style filtration systems. It is designed for fast use and high flow filtering and each cartridge can filter up to 530 gallons before you need to replace it. If you are going out in a group, or not taking any water at all, this is our recommendation. It weighs only 15 ounces, which to some may seem heavy, but compared to packing in gallons of water it is a big advantage. You can pack in a gallon of water from home, or carry a 15 ounce filtration pump that provides 530 gallons along the way.
If you simply need a backup, or emergency, water filtration method for yourself then an Aquamira Frontier Straw is the way to go. I weighs less than 1 ounce and can filter up to 30 gallons of water. They can be purchased in a Two Pack for the same price as other straw type filters on the market. You are practically getting two for the price of one - and they remove 99.9 of Cryptosporidium and Giardia just like the other brands.
But what if you are in a real pinch and didn't bring your own filtration system?
Although they aren't as trusted and safe, you can make your own water filtration system out of things you typically have with you. Creating a Do it yourself Water Filtration system is easier than you might think. Here is what you will need:
*Empty bottle, jug, or bucket
*Charcoal (campfire coals work fine)
*Piece of cloth (bandana, shirt sleeve, etc)
*Knife or sharp cutting tool
All of the items on the list should be with you, close by, or easy to find in the wilderness. For this example we will use an empty bottle as our filtration container, but any sort of container that you can put a hole in will work.
1) Make sure your container is completely clean. Any oil or chemical residue can make you sick.
2) Turn the bottle with the lid facing down and cut the bottom (now facing up) off near the base.
3) Put a piece of cloth down on the lid like a screen, or you can cut the top of the lid off - leaving the threads in tact - and thread the cloth onto the bottle so there is a screen where the top of the lid used to be.
4) Pour charcoal into the bottle first, filling the bottom 1/3 of the bottle.
5) Pour sand on top of the charcoal filling the next 1/3 of the bottle.
6) Pour gravel on top of the sand until the bottle is almost full.
Now that you have the filtration bottle put together, be careful not to tip it over. Don't shake the bottle and mix up the layers. You want the water to pass through the layers in the proper order to remove the debris.
Hold you newly made water filter over the bucket, or bottle you wish to catch the filtered water in, and carefully pour your unfiltered water into your water filter system. Be very careful not to drip or spill the dirty water down into the clean water container below!
The first time you pour water through the filter it will come out with some sediment and discoloration - usually a milky or dirty color. Simply pour it back through the filter as many times as needed until it comes through clear and clean.
Just because water is filtered doesn't mean it is purified! If it is spring water or glacial water you are probably okay, but if it came from a pond, creek, or river you should absolutely boil the water first. After boiling the water, if you have any iodine or bleach, you should drop in 5-8 drops per gallon and mix it thoroughly before drinking to kill any remaining micro bacteria that might have got through.
This do it yourself water filtration method can be applied to any container. It i also scalable - meaning you can create a large scale system out of a fifty gallon barrel if you planned on staying put for a while. Large scale filtration systems can be built as a rain catch at your home or cabin in the woods, providing filtered drinking water when you need it.
Now your water should be much cleaner and safe to drink!