It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a desert or in the middle of New York City—as a human, you need water to survive. Of course, it will be a lot easier to find water in New York than in a desert. Finding any water when you’re in a survival situation is a good thing, but it’s also important that the water be clean.
My good friend Rich went backpacking down at Coyote Gulch a few summers ago. It’s an area in Southern Utah that’s really beautiful and has fairly diverse terrain, from what I’ve been told. He and his group brought water with them, but because they were going to be gone for four days, they obviously couldn’t bring enough water for their whole journey.
Well, on one of the days, Rich filled his water bottle with water from a stream they were walking along. He put some water purification drops or tablets into his water bottle and closed the lid, because you’re supposed to wait about 30 minutes before you drink the water.
Just a few minutes later, though, his group found a natural spring. Water that’s been purified using drops or tablets doesn’t always taste the best, so they all decided to dump out their water bottles and refill them with better-tasting water from the spring. That’s all fine and dandy, but they forgot to consider one thing: they were putting the clean water from the spring into a contaminated container.
When they dumped out their water bottles, the water in them hadn’t been sitting long enough to be completely purified by their water treatment products. That’s why the clean water they put back into it got contaminated. Long story short, Rich ended up getting giardia which is not fun, to say the least.
What’s my point? Water filtration is super important when you’re outdoors, but you need to be smart about it. Give your preferred filtering method plenty of time to work before drinking the water, and under no circumstance should you ever put clean water into a container that’s had contaminated, unpurified water in it because trust me—you do not want to get giardia.
So that’s it! Water filtration rocks, but be smart when you use it.
Here are a few different water filtration systems we carry at Blade HQ:
This has seriously got to be the coolest thing I have ever seen. This filter is easy peasy to use; you just drink through the straw… and that’s it! The water is filtered as it moves through the straw. You can put the straw directly in the water source, or fill up a container with water and drink from that. If you use a container, remember that the container will be contaminated, so don’t put clean water in it without first ensuring that the container has been cleaned and rid of any harmful bacteria or other substances. This straw filters out chorine, lead, mercury, cadium, aluminum, copper, e-coli, giardia, cryptosporidium, and more.
Katadyn makes a pretty good selection of water filtration systems, but this is one of my favorites. It removes bacteria, protozoa, cysts, algae, spores, and sediments. It’s just 3” x 6.5” x 2.4”, so it really is compact and perfect for hiking, camping—you name it. It has an output rate of approximately one liter per minute, and it has a maximum capacity of 1150 liters or 300 gallons.
You’ve probably seen these before. They’re pretty self-explanatory; put the tablets in water and wait for the time indicated on the bottle before drinking the water. 50 of these tablets will treat up to 25 quarts of water.
These drops are used the same way that the tablets are used—put the drops in the water and wait for it to be purified. Each of these kits will treat up to 30 gallons of water.