Many modern people like active rest — they believe that camping with a tent is much better than a measured relaxation in a hotel. But for the trip to go as it should, you should appropriately prepare for it.
Competent water purification during a hike guarantees that all tourists from the group will return home healthy. It is clear that it is impossible to take all the necessary supplies with you, so you will have to take water from natural reservoirs.
The option to drink water from the river does not work here since the water in the lake may contain a complete set of pathogenic microflora. Water must be cleaned before use. Consequently, it is essential to know how to purify water camping and protect yourself.
Preparation Before the Camping
The main feature of water purification in natural conditions is that you have to spend a certain amount of time on this. Moreover, you need to know precisely how to do it. You may have to take some reagents with you, at least potassium permanganate and iodine.
Before you go on a hike, look again at the route and identify my parking areas. But many do not even know how and how to purify water in nature. Usually, the camp is set up near water bodies — on the banks of a river, lake, stream. It is better if the water is running and the bottom is sandy or rocky. The ideal option is quartz. But this happens quite rarely, so we proceed from the fact that we offer the landscape. And this, with equal success, can be a muddy swamp or a pure spring.
The Risks of Drinking Contaminated Water
Outwardly, even clear natural water can contain many dangerous microorganisms, including the causative agents of cholera, dysentery, and other intestinal infections. Also, there is a danger of getting the hepatitis A virus and parasitic diseases in open water. The consequences of their ingestion are unfortunate. There are several ways to purify water in nature.
Even one sip of dirty water can provoke an acute or chronic illness. A particular danger is the neurotoxins that blue-green algae produce. They depress the human nervous system not only when ingested but also when exposed to the skin.
The water purification method you choose should be able to kill as many of them as possible. All forms of fighting bacteria and viruses in water have their pros and cons, so it is imperative to learn as much as possible about the products on the market and make an informed choice to best meet your needs.
Water Filtration vs. Water Purification
The choice of a way to purify water during a hike depends on the quality of natural water and its characteristics — color, odor, transparency, presence of impurities. It is better not to use stale water from stagnant reservoirs since it contains the most significant dangerous inclusions, including microbiological ones.
Filtration and purification are mandatory stages of water purification in nature, even for the most transparent natural water. You do not need to be an expert in this area, but it is vital to know a few simple rules. It’s in your best interest.
Methods Of Purification
You can purify water in the field in different ways: boil, filter, treat with ultraviolet light, add disinfecting tablets, powders, or drops. At the same time, none of the methods is universal. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
When choosing a water purification method during a trip, you need to pay attention to the pollution of sources along the journey route. Namely: is the water clear in them or dirty, what pathogens (bacteria, protozoa, viruses) are common in a given area, is it necessary to remove a specific smell and taste.
The simplest and well-known method, and perhaps the most effective, due to the resistance of some harmful microorganisms to chemistry, is, of course, boiling. Usually, it is enough to boil the water for a couple of minutes, but if the water is known to be unfit for drinking due to harmful bacteria, boiling for 15 minutes will disinfect the water.
Historically, boiling has been used to decontaminate the water from microorganisms. If done correctly, it can only kill a fraction of the bacteria. Bacteria and protozoa die at the first boil, but killing the rest of the microorganisms will take another 10 minutes of boiling.
Water treatment products in the form of tablets or drops take up very little space in the backpack. They are effective against bacteria and protozoa as well as viruses. They are suitable for water treatment in densely populated areas. At the same time, they are cheaper than almost all filters and disinfectants.
They are easy to use: add to water, wait for the indicated time, and drink. The tablets also work well in clear water; physical contaminants will reduce the effectiveness of the products and increase the processing time.
UV Light Purifiers
The compact outdoor UV disinfectors are extremely easy to use. The disinfectant must be placed in a container with water, turn on and stir the water during processing. This is the fastest way to remove pathogens from water:
- Reliable and safe for eyes and skin, the ultraviolet lamp is guaranteed to destroy more than 99.9% of pathogens, bacteria, and viruses living in the water.
- Ultraviolet radiation destroys the DNA and RNA of pathogens.
- Physical contaminants reduce the efficiency of the UV lamp, so turbid water must be filtered before UV treatment.
Another popular water treatment is iodine in its usual form, an alcohol solution. 2-3 drops of iodine are added per liter of water. It is pretty enough to disinfect it. The disadvantage of this method of purifying and disinfecting water in natural conditions is a characteristic medicinal odor. Experienced tourists claim that after a while, iodine evaporates, and they also recommend letting the water draw.
Another method of chemical cleaning is chlorination. This method is based on dissolving special chlorine tablets in water. The disadvantage of these tablets is that they lose their properties during long-term storage.
Chlorine is a relatively effective and cheap agent. With its help, almost all water in the world is purified, but it is highly toxic. You should not immediately consume water after chlorine treatment. Chlorine evaporates from the water after a couple of hours or after boiling.
Methods of Filtration
More minor, invisible particles are removed from the water when it is filtered. You can use a filter made from scrap materials or created with several layers of fabric. Of course, this will help remove some contaminants from the water. But such filters are not able to rid water of the most dangerous — chemical compounds, microorganisms. Consequently, it is best to use multiple cleaning and filtration methods together.
Soft filter flasks are used not only for transporting water but also for purifying it. In addition, they are lighter and more compact than most conventional plastic and metal bottles:
- When camping, you can fill the bottle from any source — and drink straight from it right away. An integrated cartridge in the neck filters the untreated water, removing pathogens from it.
- During purification, the water passes through a hollow fiber microfilter with a pore size of 0.1 microns. Bacteria, protozoa, and silt particles are too large to pass through the pores.
- Consequently, only pure water flows from the neck.
These travel filters do not need to backwash the contaminated cartridge with clean water.
A gravity filter is one of the most convenient water purification methods for camping use:
- These expeditionary filters consist of a lightweight and compact water bag and filter cartridge.
- The bag is filled with water and suspended from a tree or other convenient support, after which the water flows by gravity through the cartridge.
- The system does not require any physical effort for filtration and allows you to purify up to 2 liters of water per minute.
The filter cartridge removes bacteria, protozoa, algae, turbidity, spores, and cysts from the water. It is especially suitable for moderately contaminated water. A decrease in flow rate indicates that the cartridge needs cleaning.
Going on a long backpacking journey, sometimes you encounter difficult situations when you have to fight for survival — to look for water and food in the wild. But it would be best if you were well-prepared for such trips. It is essential to know the primary water purification and filtration methods — they will help you survive in many circumstances.