Water is one of the top priorities when it comes to a survival situation. What the situation is, does not matter because the average person will dehydrate and die within three days of not having water. In today’s world, most people walk around dehydrated under normal conditions. Why would people drink water when they can stop at a coffee shop or swig down a soda?
If you are thrown into a survival situation you are going to start behind the eight ball. You will have to find water to survive.
Water purification and water filtration are what you are going to have to worry about if you find natural sources for water.
Water Purification is the process of removing undesired contaminants from water. Under most cases, this will make water safe to drink.
Water filtration is a general term that means any process that removes particulates, sediment, and debris from the water. This does not mean that the water is safe to drink. Some filtering methods do not leave the water safe to drink after the filtering process is done. A lot of commercial filters will make water safe to drink but, it all depends on where you are and what possible contaminants are in the water.
There are different uses for both water purification and filtration. In a survival situation, you will only have to concern yourself with purifying the water until it is safe to drink. You filter the water to remove any particulates in the water source. Mud, dirt, or other debris are among the things you will commonly have to filter out of the water before you bother to purify it.
Boiling water is the only known way to purify most water sources. I say most because some man-made chemicals will not come even if the water is boiled. If you are going hiking or camping or you are just out wandering around it is very important that you carry some sort of metal container with you.
Having the ability to carry water with you can help solve a lot of your problems. If the container is metal then you have just killed two birds with one stone. You can transport your water with you when you move away from a water source and you can purify it by boiling.
I suggest you carry at least a 32-ounce container with you. This size will adapt to most commercial chemical water purification products. If you are using a metal container to boil your water make sure it is NOT double walled. Double walled and vacuum sealed containers have the chance of exploding while on the fire.
If you are relying on boiling for your water purification method make sure you are filtering it through a bandanna, coffee filter, or a spare piece of cotton. This can help remove any larger pieces of sediment that might affect the taste of the water.
Commercially sold chemical water purification products can be bought at every sporting goods store. They have some advantages and disadvantages.
They take time to work. This is the first downfall of chemical water purification. Depending on what brand you buy it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-6 hours. That is a long time to have to wait for your water to be safe to drink but, it if your water has a high chance of being contaminated it is better to wait the time and get safe water to drink.
One advantage of chemical water purification is its size. They can be carried in a pocket or a bag. Some come in small enough containers that they can be carried in a wallet. Which is an awesome way to hide survival gear in your EDC. If you add in some 1-liter whirl pack water storage bags then you have a method to carry and purify water on your person that does not take up any weight or space.
Commercially sold water filters come in all shapes and sizes. If you are in a civilized part of the world then most of these will filter enough out to make your water safe to drink. This does not hold true for every water filter though. Be sure to read and understand everything about your water filter before you rely on it.
There are many ways to make a water filter. If you have a soda or water bottle that you can spare you can make a filter that will at least improve the quality of your water. It would still need to boil but, in a pinch, something is better than nothing.
Some household supplies like bleach and iodine can also be used to purify water to make it safe to drink. You should only do this if you know exactly how much to put in the water to make it safe to drink. If you get the mixture wrong you can get sick or die from it.
Make sure to get the proper training and knowledge before you attempt any of the methods that I have mentioned here.