How To Purify Water On Your Next Expedition

Water purificationCredit: Jens Johnsson

Are you looking to venture out on your next outdoor expedition? A long trip or hefty hike will require some necessary hydration. But you don’t want to weigh down your backpack with bottle after bottle of H20, or overlook your environmental responsibility.
Luckily, there are water purification solutions aplenty, and Craghoppers is here to talk you through these, ensuring you stay healthy, hydrated and make the most of your exciting new journey ahead!

What is water purification?

First, it’s important to look at what exactly water purification is and the need for this when on your travels.

You may think certain water sources are safe just by looking at them, but there could be something more sinister lurking underneath.

The water purification procedure is necessary to remove any harmful contaminants from raw water in order to produce safe, drinking H20. So, what is purified water?

During the process, those nasty, unwanted substances such as parasites, bacteria, algae, and viruses will be removed. It will also help to get rid of any minerals or man-made pollutants, such as Sulphur Dioxide.

The last thing you need on your enterprise is to fall victim to unclean water, wishing you were somewhere else. But how do you know which purification process will work best for you?
Different expeditions require different purifying needs. And the process of picking which one works for you can be confusing.

So, we’ve handpicked a variety of methods for how to purify water when you’re out and about exploring.

If you’re planning a day hike and need access to your own lightweight water source, a squeeze water filter may be your new best friend. Using hollow-tube technology to remove bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, you can sip water directly from your chosen source or use a screw-on bottle attachment to move dirty water to a clean bottle.

How to filter water when exploring in a group? A pump filter could fulfil your needs. Working in a similar way to the squeeze filter, pump filters can be used to hydrate many mouths. And don’t forget to take your warmest fleece for extra insulation when you stop and wait for the purification process to take place.

The boiling water method
Simple but effective. Boiling water is one of the most traditional methods when it comes to the water purification process, and it won’t take you much time at all. Perfect when you’ve got acres of ground to cover and silty water sources.

Make sure to boil your water for at least 1 minute when spending time in low altitudes and three minutes at altitudes above 2000 meters or 6,562 feet.

The only downside is the time spent as you wait for it to cool down. You will also need to use this technique sparingly as it will use up essential cooking fuel.

Soak it up with UV Rays
A great portable water purification process to try out is a UV purifier tool. Highly efficient when it comes to swiftly killing off microorganisms, such as Protozoa, these handy systems work in a simple way. Fill your water bottle up to the top and blast with this powerful tool. 90 seconds should do just the trick.

And before setting foot on a new terrain? Don’t forget your trusty lithium batteries. Your UV purifier won’t work without them.

Water bottle

Bottle it up
Wondering how to purify water with a limited amount of time and room to spare? Try a purifier and bottle all in one.

What’s more is that different types will provide differing types of protection. From in-built UV technology which is effective against protozoa, bacteria and various viruses, to bottles with built-in cartridges to rid your water of pathogens, chemicals and certain heavy-metals, there are various types to choose from.

And they tend to carry a pretty good lifespan. For some, you will need to take a charger in case you use up all of the cycles, but it’s a great choice when you’re really on the go.

Let’s talk about tablets
A big deal in the world of clean water, effervescent water purification tablets offer a great solution. Lightweight and compact, they won’t take up too much room amongst your other travelling gear. But what makes a good water purification tablet?

Iodine based tablets can be used, although they are a little old school as they don’t get rid of the parasite Cryptosporidium. They can also leave your water tasting a little less than desired.

The winning ingredient in the best water purification tablets today is Chlorine Dioxide, but often Iodine and Iodine Oxide are used. These chemicals will eradicate parasites such as Giardia, along with viruses and bacteria found in contaminated water sources.

And how to clean water with just one tablet? Well, a standard water purification tablet will purify 25 litres of water, but stronger ones can help to purify 70 litres, so these little guys go a long way.
Whichever way you decide how to purify water, there will be a method for you to use. And it’s always helpful to carry a backup water purifier for those slightly more varied expeditions, as you never know which water source you may be faced with.

Looking for more advice on how to learn essential outdoor skills? Here’s how to repel mosquitoes without bug spray and the basics of map reading – helping you step away from the everyday and get outdoors.

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