Water Purification For Camping – Clean Safe Drinking Water

When camping or hiking in some remote areas of the country the supply of reliable clean drinking water can be in short supply, so Water Purification For Camping may be necessary. Water is a major part of any outdoor trip but sometimes fresh drinking water may be scarce so remember to have a backup plan when venturing into dry or unfamiliar areas.

Camping can be a wonderful way to spend time enjoying the beauty of our natural environment. However, it doesn’t make any difference if you like to sit and relax, or if you’re into hiking, climbing water rafting and getting the Adrenalin flowing. In any environment, you will naturally sweat, sometimes excessively, which will dehydrate the body and drain your energy.

The thing you cannot survive without on any day is drinkable water. Water is life and is essential, however, when you go camping or hiking or any other outdoor activity, sourcing, storing, and carrying water is always an area in which needs planning. Without water supplies, you ask, hope, or pray Mother Nature will provide you, through sources like rivers, wells, ponds, dams among others.

Unfortunately, water from these sources may very well be detrimental to your health as groundwater can be contaminated with all sorts of nasties even though it may look crystal clear and clean. Some contaminants in groundwater can cause infection and sickness, and quickly spoil a good time. So water purification has a place in these circumstances

In most instances, water will undoubtedly need to be carried in the car to the campsite. However, if you are planning to spend a lot of time in the outdoors, you will not always manage to carry all the water you will require especially if you’re on an extended journey. You will require water to bathe, wash utensils, or cook. Freshwater supplies at your destination are essential.

What is the use of a Water Purification System?

Water purification systems get rid of contaminants, chemicals, particles or other impurities in the water to make it safe for drinking, cooking or other camp activities. They are a means of making water safe for drinking.

You should never disregard their importance and make sure to have one of the many systems available on your next camping, hiking trip. A water purification system may come in handy at some point, generally when we don’t expect to need it.

If your in an area with poor water quality you will need to purify it for more than just drinking, you will also need to use clean water to cook and to clean your teeth and so on.

man drinking from a container in front of a mountain

What are the benefits of water purification for camping?

  1. Maintain Health

First and foremost the major benefit of purifying water is so that we have a supply of clean safe drinking water. Health is paramount and maintaining good health while being outdoors so as to fully enjoy your days out there in the outdoors. Water purification decreases the chances of being affected by microorganisms, harmful chemicals or bacteria that may be present in the water.

       2. Portable.

The ability to purify water saves you the need to carry a lot of water during a camping or hiking trip. If there are available water sources along the route or at your destination as water is heavy and can make you walk slow and drain your energy. You will have the freedom to explore more in the bush if your back is free of excessive luggage.

      3. Extra space.

The room you would have used to carry plenty of water can be used to carry other important things for your camping trip. What you need out there in the woods cannot be accommodated in your backpack or whatever you are using to transport your camping essentials. Avoiding carrying unnecessary things is important and water purification for camping can help you achieve this.

      4. Improve water quality

Purifying camping water can improve its taste, smell and look. You do not want to drink greenish water with a weird smell and taste? Do you?

What are the different styles of water purification systems for camping? How do they work?

       1. Personal water straw.

This is my personal favorite, it is simple in design and construction and will give you drinkable water from virtually any source, just remember like most other forms of water purification it will not be of any use with salt water. Probably the simplest and most convenient is the personal water purification straw and should be a part of every camper/hikers equipment.

The water filtering component allows the user to safely drink from a pond, dam or river of unknown quality also can be used in countries with possibly contaminated waterways. It can filter up to 1000 liters of water so it is extremely economical and certainly the first choice. Check this one out here in an extensive review I have carried out on Lifestraw Personal Water Filter.

I have used this device extensively in my travels and simply cannot fault such a wonderful invention, this will provide a level of safety which is difficult to find in any other device. It is proven beyond doubt to be an ideal companion if you are going away from regulated areas of water supply, and an absolute must-have in your backpack when going into developing countries and particularly some areas of Asia.

This part of the world I visit regularly and know first hand the quality of water is not assured and sickness is common among foreigners.

        2. Aquatabs.

These are a tablet form and is one of the best purification systems in the world. The tablets kill micro-organisms in water they prevent dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and a good deal of other water-borne diseases found in untreated drinking water. Many parts of the world have poor quality drinking water, and these tablets can literally be a lifesaving addition to your equipment.

A major benefit is the very compact nature of this kit, and this form of water purification is my second favorite as the convenience and low cost is very hard to beat. Simply carry them in your pack or luggage and use them whenever there is doubt about the reliability of your water supply.

        3. Chemical.

This is another fairly common way for hikers and backpackers to assure themselves of a ready supply of drinking water This purification system uses chemicals like iodine or chlorine or oxidizing agents to eliminate harmful elements in the water like bacteria or viruses. The system is easy to employ, inexpensive and reasonably quick (around 20minutes) before drinking, although it can interfere with the taste of the water.

But because it is another compact and lightweight product, it is a great solution for us to purify water. A chemical purifier is always a handy option to have available in case the need to source clean drinking water from a dubious supply arises.

       4. Ultraviolet.

This system has a number of products available, but one is a product not unlike a large writing pen. It involves the “pen” being placed into a small container of water, this kills the bacteria and viruses in the water quickly. It takes only a short amount of time to create a liter of drinking water.

They are light and compact, battery powered and can produce several thousand liters of water Although it works in eliminating bacteria and other living contaminants, it may prove futile in removing larger particles that may require a filter type, and besides the use of batteries is not always reliable.

        These next three forms of producing clean drinking water usually call for more larger pieces of equipment or time and are more relevant to camping rather than solo travel or hiking.

        5. Boiling.

If you have the time and facilities to boil water, this is another system for water purification. It consumes time but doesn’t affect the taste of the water. If the area you will be camping has no source of fuel like firewood, this may not prove to be a realistic proposition. You will also have to cool the water before using. But it is free and nothing here that you have to buy, so that’s a bonus right?

        6. Reverse Osmosis.

Another system that has a place in our line up, not the easiest but one that needs mention. Reverse osmosis in these portable units removes both good and bad minerals from the water some of which are essential for good health. This is not a problem if used only for a short period of time.

The biggest drawback with these systems is that you need pressure and that is not easy while camping however not impossible as a  pump can be used. Although they have a number of components, they are very light and portable and produce quality water in the absence of other systems although not much use away from the coast. More of a water supply for a semi-permanent arrangement.

       7. Gravity.
This system works by filtering water from a high point to a lower point without the help of any outside force and the biggest advantage is they require no electricity, the water simply flows from the top to the bottom naturally through a filtering process of microfiber mesh.

Carbon filtering and some kind of polisher which removes any residual chemical. Some gravity type of water purifiers also have a UF component. Once again a number of components, however simple to use and maintain. this system removes virtually all bacteria and has a lifetime capacity of 18,000 liters. Check out this system.

Camping is a good and fun leisure activity. It can bring good memories if it is well planned or bad memories if you do not plan it well. You need to observe all the safety measures where ensuring you have abundant safe water is the most important one. Having a system for water purification when camping, hiking or other outdoor activity is a good way to ensure you have safe water for the duration of your outdoor adventure. Is there a system that you use for water purification? if so let us know we would like to hear your thoughts so Let’s drink to that.

If you have any more questions about Water Purification For Camping, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.

Thanks, Shane.

16 thoughts on “Water Purification For Camping – Clean Safe Drinking Water”

  1. We are taking a long hiking holiday around North Wales this June and water supply is one of the problems we have been looking to cover before setting off. 

    I really like the idea of that personal water straw that you cover in a section here – what an inventive and simple way to make sure the water you are taking in is safe! 

    I’m wondering if these straws come in packs of more than one? For hiking groups maybe?

    • Hi Chris, best of luck on your holiday, that sounds amazing. Being prepared can make a huge difference to the success of any hiking trip, and covering your water requirements is a very smart move. The Lifestyle Personal Water Filter can truly be a life-saving device if you find yourself in unfamiliar country with no clean water. 

      Maybe you find a dam or well, maybe just a muddy stream, this device will allow you to drink to quench your thirst until you find a better supply. Yes, these can be purchased in packs of 2-3 or even more just go through my link to the Amazon page and you will find them there.

      Thanks for your comment, Shane.

  2. Great post and I think this is a very important post. Indeed, if you go camping somewhere, where you find water in rivers or so, you don’t know what is in the water. Maybe you could get a serious disease from it! Many people don’t realize this, so it is good you bring it up, with the purification system. I will share it and show it to friends, lets see if they think about it! Thanks a lot! 

    • Hi Emmanuel, If you are traveling, hiking, or camping away from familiar water sources, this is a must-have piece of equipment.

      Thanks for your comment, Shane.

  3. Hi Shane, thanks for the solutions you provided regarding water purification. 2 of my friends plan to go camping in a rather wild area, so they won’t have any fuel or wireless access. I never though that water could be a problem for them, but after reading your article – I realized they never considered that. 

    Boiling would probably be the easiest solution at first sight, but I agree with you that it’s quite complicated. Especially in an area like where there plan to go.

    You recommend using a personal water straw, which I’m not very familiar with – but I’m sure my friends are, as they are avid camping fans. But if it can filter such a high quantity, it’s surely economical. I will have a look at Lifestraw’s filter, thanks for your recommendation.

    • Hi Ashley, make sure your friends They are extremely economical, very cheap for what they can do. Make sure your friends have prepared well, particularly for water, this becomes vital in a very short period. They should definitely have one of these amazing little units in their packs.

      Thanks Shane.

  4. Love this. This post is educative and timely. As a trained missionary, lack of access to safe and potable drinking water is a challenge for those of us into mission works.  We have always used the boiling method in purifying the water we drink, however just like you mentioned, this takes time and we burn a lot of energy. With this knowledge, the use of aquatabs and personal straw water appear better. Would inform my colleagues about this knowledge.

    • Hi Tolu, the Lifestraw personal water filter is a truly amazing device that can help people in countries and communities where clean safe drinking water is not readily available. They are cheap but they are valuable in that they can, in fact, help save lives. The Aquatabs are another easy and cheap form of water purification. 

      Governments and health organizations should be spending more money making these resources more readily available to those communities who struggle to provide clean safe water for the people. 

      The Lifestraw program “Follow the Liters” for every Lifestraw sold a child in Africa will be provided with safe drinking water for a whole school year.

      check out this terrific program here https://www.lifestraw.com/blogs/news/follow-the-liters-to-1-million

      Thanks for you comment, Shane.

  5. What an interesting topic!  While planing a move to California, hiking is a must on the activities list.  Your blog about water purification help me to understand the benefit of water purification while camping and definitely have to have it in mind when planing a hike or camping. I was also able to review the lifestrpaw review, which is a fantastic resource given its features. 

    • Hi Herbert, Thanks for your comment, I am glad you liked my article on a very good and useful device.

      Cheers Shane.

  6. Hey Shane really like your article over the different types of ways for purifying water while outdoors. In the Marines we always had to use the aquatabs when overseas. It always left a funny taste but it worked. I wish that the aqua straws were around that would have been so much easier. Thanks for the great article.

    • Hey Cody, I really appreciate your comment and I’m glad you liked my article. I agree about the taste and that is why my personal choice now is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter, it is just a fabulous little lifesaver that comes everywhere with me, I love it.
      All the best of luck to you, Cheers Shane.

  7. My son does a lot of camping and hiking (I do, too, but for shorter periods of time making water usage a non-issue in most cases).  He goes far and for long periods, so water is a major factor he always has to consider.  He’s tried many different things over the years, but I have to say that I am really liking that personal water straw.  How awesome is that for personal use along the way.  Thanks so much.  I have his next gift!

    • Hi Babsie, This Lifestraw is by far the best way of securing safe drinking water no matter where you are. I regularly travel through many parts of Asia and have saved myself from a lot of sickness by using this terrific device. You son will be super impressed by this as a gift.

      Thanks for your comment, Shane.

  8. This is a huge one for me, in my area, our water is not very pure and water purification is definitely a must to keep the hospital bills away.

    I really like water straws and it will be very suitable for camping. 

    I have tried aquatabs before, in fact I was so impressed by it so much so that I began promoting it and even encouraged a friend of mine to start selling it.

    It is truly amazing.

    Thanks for your awesome recommendations. 

    • Hi Etah, I am glad you took the time to read my post, I too like the water straw very much it is a great piece of useful equipment and it should be made available to everyone that needs it.

      Thanks for your comment, Shane.


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