“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
It’s true, water may be all around us…but most of it is considered unsafe for human consumption. While a cool drink from a river may sound refreshing, in reality it has the potential of leading to illness or even your demise. Harmful contaminants such as bacteria, parasites, and pollutants infest much of the world’s waters. Without being purified, the majority of it should not be ingested.
Many people in our country take having clean water for granted. Although we are accustomed to it being at our fingertips, its availability cannot be relied upon. Natural disasters as well as the simple negligence of man both can cause the tainting of a city’s water supply. Unless residents have prepared alternative solutions, they suffer by lacking this vital resource.
Whether you are in the wilderness or forced to become self-reliant in an urban setting, it is imperative to have the necessary tools needed to purify water. There is a wide variety of methods to choose from depending on how much time, money, and supplies you have.
Probably the easiest and most universal way to purify water is the boiling method. What’s great about it is that it can be done in your home, or out on the trail using a found source. As long as you have a container to boil in, along with a camping stove or fire, you can produce safe drinkable water.
Even without a pot or container, with a little resourcefulness and ingenuity you can still boil water by digging a hole in the ground and lining it with the soft clay you will find, then simply drop rocks heated in a firepit (be careful to use fully dry rocks only as ones found in a stream or pond may explode when heated) rotating them back into the fire until your water comes to a steady boil.
Another rock-boil method is to find a hardwood stump (or preferably cut one fresh) and use the charcoal from a campfire to slowly burn away the center of the stump, scraping away at the center until you have enough space to place your heated stones.
In an extreme pinch even an empty water or soda bottle may be refilled, loosely fastened and set near a fire. As the plastic will have a higher melting point than the boiling point of water (212 degrees fahrenheit) the water should boil before the bottle gives-way. Note that use of plastic to boil water may leech harmful chemicals into your drink, still that may be preferrable to extreme dehydration or potentially deadly parasites, cysts and bacteria found in many common water sources.
There are also some excellent water filtration and purification devices out on the market today, which are perfect for emergency preparedness or even for an outdoor excursion. In order to choose the right system, it’s important to assess you and your family’s needs, and then compare it to the products abilities.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Rothco Military Water Purification Powder Packets
Aquamira Tactical Frontier Pro Water Filter
Aquamira Water Treatment Kit