We can go without food or sleep for a few days, but not water. It’s safe to say that water is one of the most essential things, which most of us take for granted because we have an abundance of it. However, that’s not always going to be the case, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. And when you’re out in the open back country, or up in the mountains, staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps the body regulate its temperature, which makes it the most important factor on the list of survival priorities, after which come shelter, fire, and food.
That being said, if you’re on a multi-day trip, you’ll probably need to drink a lot of water which you may physically not be able to bring with you. For that reason, you’ll have to rely on a natural, drinkable water source, and if there’s no one around you will need a water cleaning system (also known as a water filter). But before we get into what a water cleaning system is and what it does, let’s discuss possible water sources.
Clear flowing water where there aren’t any people, signs of pollution or human-made things are ideal. Lakes, ponds, and rivers come after that, then snow and ice come last. You should at all cost avoid drinking salt water, but if that’s your only water resource, you should utilise some sort of a water cleaning system before you drink it.
Water cleaning systems or water purifiers are systems designed to cleanse water from viruses and bacteria. One of the most common ways to purify water is to boil it for about a minute. In order to do that, however, you’ll need a metal canteen, a cup or a pot, and fire. Alternatively, you can use a water filter. Water filters can be found online and in survivalist stores, and there are two basic types – one that treats bacteria and other gross stuff with iodine or another virus-killing chemical, and one equipped with ceramic fillers.
But if you’re way out in the wilderness and can reasonably claim that other people haven’t polluted the water, just drink it without treating or filtering it. But don’t get too lazy, even if you have a little bit of a doubt, just go ahead and treat it. Pack your water purifying equipment and bring it everywhere you go. But if you have to make the decision between becoming dehydrated and drinking dirty water, just drink the water, because dehydration will kill you much quicker than bacteria.