Clean drinking water isn’t something that comes easily when camping. Most of the time, the water sources available at/near campsites aren’t safe to drink. Even the clearest stream from the most beautiful creek can contain nasty things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. So when you’re unsure, always take precautions! In this article, we will discuss the ways you can make sure you have clean drinking water and stay hydrated while you’re out in the bush.
Carry water with you
Bringing clean drinkable water on your trip is the most straightforward approach (duh!) However, water can be bulky and heavy to carry with you, so this becomes a problem when the trip goes longer than a couple of days. If you’re just planning a day trip or an overnight camping, this approach is quickest and easiest!
Disposable water bottles are convenient, but you should be mindful of the plastic waste generated. The overwhelming majority of campsites (especially the ones in national parks) require you to take your rubbish with you. Instead, we recommend filling a jerry can, or water jug with a spout and keep them in your vehicle. If you’re going on a hike, take a hydration bladder like a camelback. These collapsible multitier pouch is will fit nicely in your backpack.
Boiling water is the oldest and surest method of purifying water. This will involves a container and heating source, which can be a little bit time and space consuming, but will work better on longer trips comparing to carrying a large amount of water with you.
Water from natural sources can sometimes be cloudy. Be careful to filter it through a clean cloth or let it sit for a while and draw off the clean water before bringing the water into a hard boil for at least 3 minutes. Let it cool and keep in a container with a tight lid.
This method is the lightest-weight and most compact option to make clean drinking water while camping. You need a container for your water and a purification tablet. For large volume, Aquatabs can be used to purify four gallons of water per tab. Smaller packets are also available if you’re just looking to purify a single bottle or a canteen. You can find these tablets on Amazon. A comparable alternative is Katadyn Micropur Forte Water Purifier. However, these are available only in small tablets for smaller scale purifying and can be found at Anaconda. Note that the purifying tablets work by killing the organisms in the water but do not get rid of the particles in it. So if you're going to purify turbid water, make sure to filter them out first with a clean cloth. Or if you unable to, just don't use the water at the bottom of your container. It is important to remember that these tablets CANNOT be used with salt water.
Filters are available in many sizes and forms to suit your trip. For short, solo trips, we love the Lifestraw for its pocket-size and convenience of being able to drink from basically anywhere. For longer trips, an active filtering system (one with suction) is a good option if you’re camping near a water source as these can be used to pull water out of a puddle or a tiny stream. Katadyn Vario Water Filter is an example of a handheld pump that can even filter salt water. Be mindful that there are many manufacturers of filter systems and each one has a life expectancy, so be sure to find out when and how you should change your filters to ensure your purification system is working properly. Purified water should have no taste or smell. if it does, be on the safe side by changing your filter. Always carry a spare on your trip.
That’s the four ways you can stay hydrated with clean and safe drinking water while camping! Some methods are more suited to some situations but having more than one of these methods available is the best way to ensure you won’t go without water!
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