How to Filter Water in the Wild


Water is essential for human survival. On average, we need to drink about half a gallon of water every day. That number goes up in hot weather and when you are performing strenuous activities like hiking.

If you are out in the wild, one of your biggest concerns will be finding safe drinking water. Everyone should know some basic guidelines on how to filter water in the wild.

Don’t worry if you don’t clear your palate on the details. We’re going to go over the most common solutions for getting water safe for drinking. Continue reading so you can rest easy going into your next outdoor trip.

How to Filter Water in the Wild 101: Boil

One way to filter water in the wild is to boil it. Boiling water will kill most bacteria and viruses, making it safe to drink.

To boil water, build a fire and let it burn until the wood is charred. Place a pot of water on the fire and let it come to a rolling boil. Boil the water for at least one minute to ensure it is safe to drink.

There are many different types of water filters available on the market. Check before heading out to the wild. Gravity filters, pump filters, and chemical filters are all effective at removing contaminants from water.

Solar Disinfection

Assuming you do not have a water filter or any other device with you, and you need to filter water in the wild, one way you can do this is through solar disinfection or SODIS. It relies on UV rays from the sun to disinfect the water and make it safe to drink.

All you need is a clear container, like a water bottle, and enough sun exposure. Fill up the container with water and then leave it out in the sun for six hours.

Keep in mind, though, that solar disinfection will not remove any sediment or particles from the water, so if the water is particularly murky, you may want to let it settle first and then pour off the clear water into another container before exposing it to sunlight.

Charcoal Filtration

One of the best ways to ensure you have clean water to drink when you are in the wild is to filter it yourself. There are a number of ways to filter water, but one of the most effective is to use a charcoal filter. To do this, you will need to build a makeshift filter using a tube, some cotton, and some charcoal.

First, you will need to find a clean water source. Once you have found a source, you will need to gather some charcoal. This can be done by burning wood in a fire. Once the charcoal is cool, you will need to grind it up into powder.

Take your tube and fill it with the charcoal powder and stuff it into the other end of the tube to act as a filter.

Find a clean container to put the filtered water in. To use the filter, simply put the end of the tube into the water and suck the water through the filter.

Enjoy your Clean Drinking Water

If you’re ever stuck in the wild with unclean water, remember these steps on how to filter water in the wild and you’ll be able to drink safely. With a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that you’ll always have clean water, no matter where you are.

If you’re interested in learning more, stop by our blog to learn how you can make sure you’re prepared for anything.