Water Myths: The #1 Best Way To Purify Water While Camping

You had no idea this was coming.  It's dark, the last light melting into the murky horizon. You're lost. Post graduate, well dressed, heartily packed, and utterly clueless.  But it's the thirst that's really unsettling. And you know, as you start to get fatigued, that it has something to do with the fact that you ran out of water 16 hours ago. Your heart begins to sink as you realise how quickly your energy is fading.  As fortune has it, your shoes begin to sink into softer earth.  You move lower to the ground and notice something fantastic.

There's a small, distinct, ever so slightly moving stream mere inches away.  And you feel that your luck is about to change. You cup the clear, cool water in your hands and hold it close to your lips.

Stop.

You don't want to die.

Even clear, flowing, see to the bottom water can kill you.  And a serious bout of diarrhea is not going to help your chances of avoiding dehydration.  Grab a kettle or pan and stay with us..

What's in that water?

Microorganisms, which are invisible to the naked eye and the source of all kinds of sickness, like E.Coli, Hepatitis A and Giardia. And let's not forget pin worms and liver flukes.  Ewww.  You don't want to drink that unless you boil it first.  

Boiling is the oldest form of water purification.  It stands the test of time because it works.  

Here's how to purify water by boiling. 

(Supported by the Center for Disease Control.)

  1. Boil water for one minute.
  2. Boil for 3 minutes if you are in high altitudes or above 2,000 meters

If the water is cloudy or hazy, (ie. turbid,) you will need to strain the water through cloth or a paper towel, allow it to settle, then boil the remaining clear water.  This helps eliminate as many of the unhealthy suspended particles as possible.  

We know, we know, you've come across websites that tell you to boil your water for 5-7 minutes etc, etc. No. It's a waste of fuel. Just follow #1 and #2. Truth is, water is most likely safe at 85 degrees Celsius.  Boiling just acts as a visual cue which tells you the water is sufficiently heated, (for those without a thermometer.)

Additional Reminder: Even when you notice other people drinking directly from streams, don't do it.  They may have different immunities, especially if they are locals.  

Boiling doesn’t remove chemical impurities or toxins, such as from pesticide run off or dumping.  Be aware that even the best method has its limitations. 

Bonus:

Natural Hydration Recipe

    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 3 tbsps sugar
    • 1 quart of water (boiled, if you gathered it from nature.)




Well, that's it for now.  Enjoy yourselves out there.  And as always, if you need any camping equipment or clothing, check us out!