10 Ways to Purify Water When Camping

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Camping is one of the best ways to spend some time outdoors. Whether you are camping with friends, family, or by yourself, there will be several occasions where drinking water may be scarce. This can make for an unpleasant day if you don’t know how to purify your own drinking water – especially when you are out in the wilderness! In this article, we’ll give you 10 different methods of purifying your own drinking water while camping.


Boiling is easily one of the most effective methods for purifying water. To do this, simply place your drinking water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, continue to let it sit there for at least 30 seconds – or longer if you are above 5000 feet elevation. This will kill off any bacteria that may be present in the water.

Water Filter

Using a filter is one of the most common ways to purify drinking water when you are camping or hiking – especially if it’s for longer periods of time. There are several different types of filters that work well, but they all have their limitations. Here are some tips on how to choose the right one for your next camping trip.


A tarp can be used to capture water from trees or even the ground itself, providing you with a quick source of drinkable water. Depending on where exactly you are collecting this rainwater, it may require purification before being consumed by humans – but if not, simply use any clean cloth and tie it over the mouth of your container. To collect this water, you can either place a tarp directly on top of an object (like rocks) or simply place it underneath some sort of suspended collection device (such as leaves).

Water Bottle

If all else fails, don’t underestimate the power of having enough water bottles on hand! Water is heavy and bulky, so it’s smart to bring more than enough with you when camping.

Natural Source

As an alternative method of purifying water if bottles aren’t available, look for natural sources like streams or rivers. This is a great way of getting fresh – but potentially dirty – water into your system without having to risk drinking from ponds or puddles. In most cases, you will need to filter this water before consuming it.


Another method for purifying water is the process of distillation. To do this, simply fill up a pot with your drinking water and bring it to a boil. Once at boiling temperature, you can then place another container underneath that has some sort of catchment device (such as an empty bottle). As steam comes off of the boiled water, it will collect on the underside of this lid and drip down into your collection device.

Mini Water Filtration System Bag

The Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System is a popular choice for camping and hiking because it’s lightweight, compact, and quite effective at purifying water when you need it most! Simply fill up your clean water bag with dirty or suspect drinking water and attach the filter intake hose. Then drink directly from the inlet hose (which is also detachable), or attach it to your hydration pack.

The Mini removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella and cholera, along with other harmful microorganisms like giardia and cryptosporidium by filtering water through a 0.01-micron hollow fiber membrane filter which can be used for up to 100,000 gallons. This product is perfect for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities when you need to drink from a natural source such as lakes or streams. It also works well in third-world countries where water may not be safe to drink without the use of purification tablets or drops!

Survival Straws

The straw style of water filter is one of the lightest and tiniest water disinfecting gadgets available lately. Newer versions may be used as a drinking straw and connect to a water heater’s drain valve to remove debris from heated water after a calamity.

They may also be used to filter the water flowing through them using a garden hose. Don’t expect it to remove every virus or bacteria that might be present, especially if the hose has been in the sun or if there’s a lot of tepid water after a prolonged power outage. The majority of these filters include an activated carbon filter component that helps to reduce the taste of chlorine or other harmful chemicals that are commonly found in tap water.

UV Light Devices

The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti is a lightweight, portable water purifier that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly and effectively eliminate microbial contaminants. Many of these devices use lithium or alkaline batteries which can’t be replaced when they go dead – so it’s important to bring extra batteries with you on your next camping trip!

SODIS (Solar water disinfection)

Solar water disinfection (SODIS for short) is a water treatment technique that uses the sun’s energy for disinfection. The most popular technique is to expose plastic bottles of contaminated water to the sun for at least one day.

The sun’s strong UV radiation destroys or damages nearly all biological hazards in the water. There are several advantages to this treatment approach. It is simple to use, inexpensive or free, and effective (but not guaranteed) bacterial and viral disinfection is provided. Furthermore, no hazardous chemicals are used, and it does not require constant monitoring.

Disinfecting Tablets

These chlorine dioxide tablets are a lightweight and easy way to purify water when you’re out camping. Simply drop one tablet into your quart of suspect drinking water, shake it up until dissolved, and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before consuming the clean water that is now available in the bottle!

Household Chemicals

We’ve all seen the books with a charcoal-filled pants water filter hung from a tripod that shows up on TV. That’s not to say it won’t work; we’re just saying that it isn’t as effective as you might think. It will filter larger particles, but don’t expect virus-free and bacteria-free water to come out.

However, a filter constructed from some flexible hose, glue, and a piece of pine sapwood might work well. The structure of the sapwood already has a filtering function in the living wood, screening out air bubbles from tree sap. Unchecked, these air bubbles would cause tissue damage.

Drink It Raw

Drinking raw water is a roll of the dice. Even in beautiful natural landscapes, the water might be tainted with dangerous stomach upset germs. Drinking untreated water is hazardous at best unless you discover a spring that is producing clear water out of the natural groundwater table.

Before offering up your water, try to process it if at all feasible. However, there are always exceptions. If dehydration is going to kill you and you can’t treat the water, drink it. It’s preferable to be alive and sickened with germs than dead and pathogen-free.

Ceramic Filtration

Ceramic filters are used to purify water that has bacterial and parasitic protozoans in it. The filters may produce water that is almost completely bacteria- and virus-free. Vectors, on the other hand, cannot be removed by ceramic filters. As a result, if only bacteria and viruses are present in your water, ceramic filters would be an effective treatment.

Sand Filters

Slow sand filters work well with cloth filtering methods to create water that is free of germs and has a preferable taste. The disadvantage of this approach is that it cannot eliminate all bacteria from the water.

The procedure is ideal for activities like camping since it can be set up quickly. The bottom level may be built out of gravel, coarse sand, and fine sand. You can also use charcoal to eliminate the unpleasant odor from the water.

Cloth Filtration

The cloth filtration process has been utilized for a long time. The technique just utilizes a piece of fabric to trap particles in the water. Sand and silt can be trapped in various types of cloth, as well as some huge parasites, depending on the sort of cloth you are using.

However, this approach must only be utilized in water that is not severely polluted. If the water contains dangerous germs, you should start with the cloth filtration technique and then proceed with other methods such as distillation and reverse osmosis filtering.

Desalination Technique

Desalination is the process of removing salt and mineral deposits from seawater. This procedure can be used to purify water when you are camping or in a survival situation. The same technology that makes reverse osmosis work for home use will keep you alive if your only other options are bacteria-ridden puddles, lakes, rivers, or streams.

Reverse Osmosis Technique

Many people in survival situations have turned to reverse osmosis for water purification when they are unable to find other methods that work well enough in the wilderness. This process works by forcing polluted liquid through a semi-permeable membrane, trapping impurities on its way through, and allowing clean water to pass through.

Squeeze filter

If your water supply is limited, you can use a squeeze filter to remove 99% of the bacteria in it. The Etekcity portable camping water filter will eliminate most protozoan cysts and sediment when used with pressed or squeezed contaminated liquid.

Vortex Filter

The Vortex Water Filtration System uses two counter-rotating disks with sub-micron pores to filter out 99.99% of harmful bacteria, protozoan cysts, and other particles from standing or crawling water sources.

In general, when camping or hiking in an area that is unfamiliar to you – especially if there are signs of wildlife nearby – boil your water for at least a minute before drinking. This should kill off any potential bacteria and make the water safe for consumption. Taking steps to purify your drinking water will always help to make your camping trip more enjoyable and safe!

Now that you know how to purify water when camping, it’s time for you to choose the right method(s) for your next outdoor adventure. Remember – just because a source of freshwater is available doesn’t mean that it is necessarily safe for you to drink.

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