Water Purification & Filtration

Water Purification and Filtration

Discover How To Purify Natural Sources of Water

When you find yourself in a life or death wilderness survival situation, acquiring pure drinking water is an urgent priority. Your body will dehydrate very quickly, and if you don’t have a clean supply of drinking water you will die within a matter of days.

Sweating Leads to Water Loss And Dehydration

Your body uses approximately 2-4 liters of water each day to handle bodily functions like sweating and urinating. Every cell in your body requires water to function!

When Severe Dehydration Occurs Death Isn’t Far Behind:

When you start to get dehydrated you’ll notice feelings of thirst and irritability. Later stages of dehydration include symptoms like dizziness, lack of energy, headaches and painful urination. Ideally your urine should always have a semi-clear appearance. If your urine is very low in volume has become dark and developed an odor, it’s a strong warning sign you need to re-hydrate as soon as possible.

Water Isn't Easy To Find In Certain Environments

If you have a small supply of water you need to ration what you have wisely. Drinking 500-700ml of water each day is enough to keep severe dehydration away as long as you limit your physical exertion and stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible. Consume your water slowly throughout the day, never drink it all at once.

Water is the #1 you’ll be dead within a matter of days. If you’re without water in an extremely arid environment you could be dead in a very short time. In this article we will discuss the safe principles of how to overcome water contamination.

How To Find Natural Water Sources:

There are many techniques to find water. Some aren’t always reliable, others require materials but will surely produce clean drinking water.

  • Animals can lead you to clean water. Mammals require large amounts of water and usually will drink a couple times a day at dusk and down. The problem is many animals travel long distances to their water source, and it’s not always a wise idea to follow trails without knowing for sure water is close by. Many grazing animals stay close to water. If you see their tracks it maybe worth investigating fresh trails to see if they lead to water.
  • Clean water can be acquired from many plants. Green bamboo plants can provide large amounts of pure drinking water, simply bend the stalk of the plant and tie it down. Cut the top off and leave a container to catch the watch which drips down overnight.

    Banana and plantain trees are another great source of water. Chop the tree down 1 foot from the base and create a bowl in the stump. The bowl will keep filling up with water for 3-4 days.

    You can also cut a small notch into a vine as high as you can reach, then chop the bottom of the vine and place it in a container. Water will begin to drip out over time.

    Another method is to chop branches, vines and roots from various species of trees and plants into 2-3 foot long sections. Place them into their own containers for collection and watch which types are producing water. If the water they produce is cloudy or has any kind of color to it, it’s probably poisonous and should be thrown away. If the water is clear and tasteless you can drink away! When you are trying to get water from roots test chopping vs breaking to see which allows for more water flow.

    Also don’t forget the rule that water is generally more plentiful at the base of sloping ground.

    There are countless ways to get water from local vegetation. It’s important you research the plants in your area which you can use to get clean drinking water.

  • Collect Early Morning Dew. If there are lots of grasses and plants around you can use a primitive water collection method that will get enough pure water to last the day. Simply tie clothing or fabric around your lower legs and ankles then walk through thick sections of grass in the early morning. The fabric will collect the dew and can then be squeezed out into a container. If you don’t have any spare fabric you can tie grass around your ankles, although in my experience it doesn’t work as well.
  • Sandhills on the sea coast can be found all around the world and are an excellent source of fresh water. If you’re lucky enough to be on the coast try digging a well behind a sandhill. The sandhills collect plenty of rain water which floats on top of the ocean salt water. Dig until you can see 1″ of water then re-enforce your well walls with wood and stones to avoid a cave in. If you make the mistake of digging too deep you’ll inadvertently mix the fresh water with the lower layer of salt water.
  • Turn salt water into fresh drinking water by making a coolamon. To do this you’ll need a container of some kind or dig a hole in the ground where you can boil saltwater. Place many rocks in a fire pit until they’re extremely hot, then transfer them into your container full of salt water until it starts boiling. Once the water is boiling you’ll water to lay a piece of clothing or towel on top of the container to catch all the steam as it rises. Once the fabric has collected enough liquid you can ring it out.
  • Use condensation and moisture to make a water collection still. For this method to work all you’ll need is a large sheet of clear plastic. Start by finding an area with moist soil and dig a hole 3 1/2 feet diameter and 2 feet deep. Next line the hole with healthy plants and shrubs which have a lot of moisture content. Place a container directly in the center of the hole to collect water and place the plastic sheet on top of the hole with rocks or pegs to hold it down. Find a small stone and place it in the center of the plastic sheet to allow the moisture to run to the center and drip into the collection bowl. The sun beating down on the plastic causes condensation and moisture to collect because the water content in the soil and plants in the hole are drawn off by the heat of the sure and captured by the plastic sheet. The droplets of pure water will collect and drip down the sheet directly into your collection can. This method takes about 12 hours of sunlight to collect 1 liter of water so ideally you want to have multiple stills.

If you find a natural source of water like a lake, river or stream, you’ll need to purify it before having a drink. It might seem like a perfectly clean mountain spring free of contaminants, but it’s impossible to tell. Below the surface of the water a few feet away there maybe a rotting elk carcass or that ‘natural mountain spring’ could be contaminated with dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Natural Water Source: Mountain Stream

This Natural Water Source May Appear To Be Safe, But It Contains Harmful Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites! Drinking impure water is something you shouldn’t do. By taking the chance of drinking unclean water, you’re risking getting very sick and that can be deadly in a survival situation.

Dysentery, Cholera and typhoid, Blood Flukes.

Primitive Water Filtration Systems

You may come across water that needs to be filtered. This water is usually foul smelling, stagnant and not very clear. The filtration process will help clear up most of the particles from the water, it will improve the taste and smell.

Build a DIY primitive water filter:

Get yourself a cylindrical container, many survivalists use a plastic bottle, but if one isn’t available you can simply roll a section of birch bark into a funnel shape and use that instead.

Filter ingredients: Sand, charcoal, moss, fabric or tissue.

Tear the moss and break it up until it’s a pile of loose material.

Moss is a great filter because it’s a natural source of iodine.

Break up the charcoal and crush it until it’s a fine powder.

Charcoal removes foul odors and helps eliminate bacteria.

Fabric or tissue at the base, moss next, then the charcoal powder, then the sand, then another layer of charcoal, then more sand, then finally a coarser layer of sand. Make each layer 1-2 inches thick.

Clean the filter out by running through a good amount of water. The first couple of times you use the filter you’ll notice the water will be dirty when it comes out. That’s to be expected because the water is cleaning all the filter components.

Remember these DIY filters are great at reducing the amount of particulates. It will help reduce viruses, bacteria, odors etc but the water still ideally must be boiled.

Modern Water Filtration Systems

The LifeStraw personal water filter originally launched in 2005 and won best invention of 2005 by time magazine as well as the 2008 Saatchi Award for “World Changing Ideas”. This filter is a favorite among survivalists because it uses an effective patented filtration system that doesn’t rely on chemicals, moving parts or batteries.

This filter is 9″x1″ and has a shelf life of 3 years. It can filter 1000 liters (264 gallons of water) and it filters down to 0.2 microns removes 99.999% of all viruses and bacteria.

To Use The LifeStraw:

  1. Remove the caps from both ends
  2. Insert the large end in the water and start drinking
  3. When done blow back and remaining water out of the filter
  4. Put the caps back on

The best part about the LifeStraw is that it allows you to drink straight from the source. There’s no reservoirs or waiting times, you simply place the straw into the water source and you’ll suck through clean, drinkable water!

This water filter is the perfect solution for backpackers, preppers, campers and wilderness survival specialists. It’s a very high durability product and has been built to survive in very harsh conditions. It’s made out of very tough, durable material and resists snapping or breaking even under heavy load.

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Sawyer Hollow Microfilter Membrane Water Filters

U-shaped microtubes allow water to enter all the way to the core while trapping all the harmful bacteria and viruses on the outside.

Since there’s such a large amount of these microtubes it increases the rate at which water can be filtered, and also helps reduce the amount of cleaning. You’ll barely ever have to clean your Sawyer microfiler while out backpacking or camping, but if you need to, it’s very simple.

filters down to 0.1 microns on the filter and 0.2 microns on the purifier. removes 99.9999% of cholera, typhoid, botulism, dysentery, e coli, streptococcus, coliform & salmonella.

It also filters out over 99.9% of protozoan like giardia, cyclospora, cryptosporidium, and viruses like hepititus, polio. echovirus, sars virus plus many more.

Boil Water To Kill All Harmful Organisms:

One of the best methods of water purification which doesn’t need any expensive equipment is to boil your water.

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