How to get clean water in the outdoors

Powerful Outdoors

How to get clean water in the outdoors

Throughout your journeys and adventures, you may find many times where you will run out of water and have to resort to finding it yourself. This skill will save you in your day-to-day life, whether you need to find a way to make river water drinkable, or you’ve faced contamination at home and need a way to purify/filter the water. No worries, Powerful Outdoors has your back.

Using filters

The safest way to purify water is to invest in a reliable portable water filter.  It is best to find reputable, tested, and certified brands as their quality control are strict. Turn to filters with small filter pore sizes (Look for a filter that has a pore size of 1 micron or less), as they are more likely to remove parasites, although, most water filters will not remove bacteria or viruses.

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Filters labeled as certified by NSF Standards 53 or 58 will remove parasites if used properly, but will not remove viruses or all bacteria.

Reverse osmosis filters, on the other hand, remove bacteria, viruses, and salt from water, which makes it very convenient in the case that only saltwater is near. It is known to be the purest form of filtration. However, they generally do not filter out parasites, except for those that incorporate ultraviolet filtration to destroy parasites and bacteria.

On that note, ultraviolet light filters are also handy in the case of filtering small amounts of water (this method may be less effective in cloudy water).

Boiling water in emergency cases

In the case that you don’t have access to water filters and water is needed urgently, boiling the water is your safest option. It is said to kill most viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms that may harm and contaminate you. The water should be boiled for at least one minute.

In cases of high altitude (2000m/6500ft), the water should be boiled for 3 minutes. If the water is cloudy, pass it through a clean cloth coffee filter first or allow it to settle, when clear, boil the water as instructed above.

For an emergency survival filter, one may be fashioned from items around you, such as the one in the link below:

DIY Survival Water Filter (charcoal base) – YouTube

Note: The clear water in the result should still be boiled or disinfected with tablets to kill all contaminants and ensure that it is safe for drinking.

 These are only emergency case scenarios. If you have access to a professional purification method, do not opt for these methods.


To avoid this situation always make sure you bring a sufficient amount of water with you before embarking on your journey. If it is too much extra weight, invest in a reliable water filter to keep on you at all times, as well as a bottle of water just in case.

Water is life, and clean water means health

Article was written by Yara Farah

Make sure to check out my other blog posts too!

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