1. Boiling Water
The easiest way to purify water would be to boil. If you are hiking, then you should carry a lighter, which can allow you to start a bonfire. You will also need a metal container, which you can use to boil the water. You can find a good quality container on amazon, where you can find lighters and many other tools. To make sure you purify the water thoroughly, bring it to a full boil. You will know when the water is at a full boil, once you start to see bubbles forming at the bottom.
Once you reach a full boil, let the water boil for 5-10 minutes. Once you have boiled the water for 5-10 minutes, you can consume it right away, or you can wait for the water to cool down. Even though this is a long process, we recommend that you use it when you are in a pinch. Boiling water can be one of the best ways to purify the water streams around you, and to make it drinkable. To further purify the water, you can strain the water using your t-shirt or a coffee filter once you have boiled the water.
2. UV Water Purifier
This is a fantastic method to purify your water. Most experts consider UV rays to be a great way to kill any impurities present in the water, UV rays can kill up to 99.9% of any germs or pollutants. Even though this might be an investment on your end, it is worth it. The product we have linked above has two options. The first one is normal, and the second one is a crazy mode. The normal mode will kill 99.1% to 99.99% of the germs in one minute, whereas the crazy mode will kill 99.9996% in two minutes.
Depending on the type of water body you are around, you can use the normal mode or the crazy mode to purify your water. In most cases, you will not need to use the crazy mode. We would recommend that you don't use a crazy mode, as it will burn up more energy. If you want to be sure, then you are more than welcome to use the crazy mode as it will help you clean out a higher percentage of the water. Since this bottle requires a lithium-ion battery, we recommend you carry one with you, just in case you run out of juice.
3. Water Filter Gravity Bag:
Using a water filter gravity bag can be a good option for purifying water, only if you have extra space to store a gravity bag. The gravity bag filters the water from a filter that you will install into your gravity bag. You can also get gravity bags that have a pre-installed filter, but that depends on the brand. You can expect gravity bags to kill 99.99% of germs, which makes the water good enough for most people to consume. The only disadvantage we see with the gravity bag is that you will have to hang it upside down for the whole filter system to work. If you don't have a tree nearby, where you can hang the gravity bag, then you will have to hold it up with your hand.
But the great thing about a water filter gravity bag would be that it cleans the water almost instantaneously. Most hikers swear by water filter gravity bag, whereas some dislike them. It would be best to try out a water filter gravity bag for yourself before you come up with a conclusion. Overall, a water filter gravity bag can be an excellent option to have with you during a hike if you have extra space.
4. Pump Water filter:
A pump water filter is the portable version of a gravity filter, but you need to pump it by hand to get the desired results. The way this water filter works is you put the pump hose inside the container, which contains your water, and then you pump until it disposes of the purified water into a mug or a container.
Many people use the pump water filter, as it clears out around 93% to 99% of the bacteria without using a lot of energy. We recommend this pump to people who don't have a lot of space in their bag and would like similar results to a water filter gravity bag. The water's flavor/consistency is going to be identical to what you get from a water filter gravity bag but in small packaging. Most hikers will boil the water first and then use a pump water filter to ensure its purity. However, you can use the pump water filter by itself and still clean out the water to a point where it can be drunk. Overall, this is a fantastic tool to invest in if you hike frequently.
5. LifeStraw Water Filter:
LifeStraw water filter is a fantastic option for hikers who need something in a pinch. LifeStraw water filter has been proven to clean 99.9% of bacteria, which may be found in water, making it a great choice. We recommend that you only use the LifeStraw water filter in a pinch as it has a limited lifespan. The way LifeStraw water filter works is straightforward, all you have to do is use the device like a straw, and all the water you suck up will be filtered before you drink.
LifeStraw water filter works excellent when used in a lake or streaming river; it can work in any water body except saltwater. You can also get a LifeStraw water filter in a bottle form, which will filter water present in your water bottle. We will provide a link for both versions, that way you can quickly get either of them. Overall, this is a fantastic product to own if you are a serious hiker that needs to have something that will come in handy when you have nothing to purify your water with. Like we said before, use this product in a pinch, and this product works best in streaming rivers or lakes.
Now that we have talked about the best methods to purify natural water let's discuss why it's essential to use purification methods before consuming.
Always pick the cleaner source.
This goes without saying, make sure to pick the cleanest source of water you can get. The best way to tell if a water source is clean would be by looking at it. If the water seems muggy, then chances are it has a lot of impurities. On the other hand, if the water appears more on the clear/ blue side, then it will be a relatively clean source. Whatever you do, don't take your chances and look for a cleaner source.
Make sure to get water, and if you find a cleaner source, you can use that instead. When you are hiking, the chances of you finding water is uncertain, which is why we recommend you don't nitpick. Also, don't pick water from places which look extremely unsanitary, as you don't know what kind of virus could be in there. You should be okay with most water sources if you are going on a hike in North America or Europe. If you travel to South America or Africa, that is where you have to be careful in regards to picking water sources.
Carry Fresh Water With You
Remember that using natural water sources for hydration should be an option and not a necessity. Make sure to carry fresh water with you when you go on a hike, that way you don't have to look for water in the first place. Carry as much clean water as you possibly can; once you start to run out of the water, you can get more water from natural sources and purify the water with your equipment. It's always best to be prepared when you are going on a hike, as you don't know when you will need a specific item. Just make sure that you bring fresh water with you, and that you are not relying on finding water sources for hydration. I know this point sounds very juvenile to some readers, but for beginners, this might be a good point to cover.
Utilize as many tools as possible.
This step isn't as crucial as the others, but to add a sense of security, we recommend using as many purification methods as you can before you consume the water. Most people will only use one method to purify the water, and you should be fine to consume. However, if you want to be sure, we recommend you boil the water first and then use a water purifier just to make sure that you get rid of all of the bacteria and unwanted infection that may be present in the water. One of the best ways to purify water is to boil the water as it kills all the bacteria.
If you don't have anything to purify the water, it is always best to boil the water. However, if you can start a fire to boil the water and have a purifying tool such as a pump water filter, then we recommend you use both options so you can get the purest water possible. Again, if you can only use one method, then just use one. But the more you can purify the water, the better.
Be Aware Of Reptiles & Animals Around You
If you go on a hike in Florida, there's a high chance that some water bodies will have alligators and American crocodiles. Please ensure that you get your water from sources that have fewer opportunities for an alligator or crocodile attacking you. Crocodiles and alligators do an excellent job of hiding themselves. They can be five feet away from you, and you won't see them.
Just make sure that you have a keen eye when you go near a water source, especially if you live in places where there are reptiles such as crocodiles and alligators. The chances of you coming across an alligator or crocodile is extremely rare, but you must prepare for the worst. If you know there are alligators in a specific pond or water body; you shouldn't get water from there. Since crocodiles and alligators are widespread, we decided to talk about them. But you would be surprised how many reptiles and animals can be found in freshwater bodies around the world.
Hopefully, you have a clear idea of how to obtain water and purify it to a point where it is drinkable. Just make sure that you are always prepared when you go on a hike, and make sure you always carry fresh water with you. Like we said before, it is always good to have clean water with you rather than to look for a water source. The tips we have discussed should come in handy when you are in a pinch or if you desperately need water. Most people who go on a hike won't need to look for water, but if you ever need to purify water, you know how to.