Camping, canoeing, and hiking can be pretty strenuous activities and you always need to stay properly hydrated to avoid heat stroke. However, it’s quite difficult to haul along a continuous supply of water with you.
If you carried along a week’s supply of water, you wouldn’t have much room for anything else. The best solution for this is to take along a portable water filter or purifier. Of course, for these items to be effective, you’ll also need a source of water.
Drinking dirty water can result in a variety of illnesses as it’s often filled with parasites and germs. This is why it’s imperative to try and clean it up as much as possible.If you buy a portable filter make sure it has easy to clean or replacement filters.
You also need to know what type of filter will fulfil your needs. It’s a good idea to do some research or talk to an expert at a camping store.
You might even want to try the filters out before depending on them for your trip in the wilderness. If you’re going on a short trip or hike, you can usually carry enough water with you.
However, extended stays in the country mean you’ll need plenty of water. A portable water filter is always a good idea just in case you get lost or you run out of drinkable water.
One of the most popular types of water filters is the ceramic model. They’re quite inexpensive and durable and you don’t have to replace them as you can clean them and use them again. It’s not a good idea to reuse a charcoal water filter as bacteria will often grow in them. Most ceramic filters are treated with an anti-bacterial coating such as silver.
However, ceramic filters don’t always get rid of harmful chemicals that may be present in the water, including trihalomethanes and chlorine. But these chemicals are usually found in water that comes from municipal supplies, not in countryside streams.
You still need to be careful where the water’s coming from on your camping trip though as wastewater run-off could be full of harmful chemicals. A ceramic water filter can filter harmful bacteria, but not chemicals.
A water purifier is different than a water filter as a purifier is designed to remove protozoan cysts as well as viruses and bacteria. A filter can only remove protozoan cysts and bacteria. Most areas of North America don’t have viruses in the water, but it’s hard to tell what water contains them and they’re too small for a filter to trap them. A water purifier will use an electrostatic charge or iodine to kill any viruses present.
If the water source has possibly been used for sewage, which is more likely the closer you are to civilization, then you should use a water purifier. They’re also good for less developed areas of the world as viruses may be more common in the water in these areas. In North America, you’ll usually just run into protozoan cysts and bacteria.
Also, when using a water filter for your camping trip, it’s a good idea that you treat the water with an iodine solution or with chlorine and let it sit for about 15 minutes before consuming it. This will just clean the water even more of any possible bacteria. However, you don’t have to do this if you use a water purifier as the gadget will automatically do it for you.
photo from markrberggren