28 responses

  1. Joe Wilkerson
    June 8, 2011

    Good article. While I am not a survivalist, I do believe in being prepared, especially in this day and time. I think the world as we know it is about to change to the point us not recognizing it. I want to at least have water to drink and something to eat be it meager or not. Thank you again.

  2. Todd Martin
    September 24, 2011

    Hello I am also a teacher of wilderness survival and I would like to make a couple of changes if I could. According to recent findings Iodine is one of the things that you do not want to use to purify water and here are the reasons why. one if you have anyone in your group that is allergic to shellfish then you will also have a medical emergency on your hands from the iodine, secondly Iodine and chlorine have been found not effective against cryptosperidium which besides guardia are the 2 biggest bugs in the water infesting 97% of all waters in the US. so if it is not effective against one of the 2 biggest bugs then don’t use it. there are other alternatives like sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide which are found in MSR micropur tablets and aquapure tablets. these are effective as a full purification tablet but remember to read the instructions as clarity and temperature of the water will effect purification times with a min. of 30 min. to 4 hours. more to come later thanks for reading.

    • Jennifer
      April 28, 2013

      What great information! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. It may save many lives in the future.

  3. Student
    October 12, 2011

    I found this helpful, but was not alot of information on this topic if you where to make a paper on telling how to purify water, and how to gather it.

  4. anjuman
    October 28, 2011

    there is always a difference in comprehension through reading and learning it through videos. putting demo videos would be a good idea. thank you for all the useful info.

  5. ahmed ali ahmed
    January 24, 2012

    thank you for the right answers that i really need it. thank you very much

  6. heidi mackey
    April 15, 2012

    Thank you, Todd for the update on not using iodine for water purification. My husband is allergic to shellfish.!!

  7. PurePlanetEssentials
    May 16, 2012

    This a great article with some very useful and important information for survival depending on what type of situation you’re in. One of the most important aspects of water purification that is overlooked is the pH level of water. A pH level of 7 is the optimal level for water. When water has a pH balance of 7, water reaches an alkaline state. Drinking alkaline water regularly, helps your body to hydrate itself as well as flush out toxins and waste products. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may get a boost there as well. Overall, there’s no better way to help stay healthy.

  8. Logan Thybolt
    November 27, 2012

    Good article but i am doing a project on ” How would you survive on a deserted island with only the clothing on your back (you have to find resources such as water, clothing, food, and shelter)?” and i cant figure out how to purify salt water with only natural resources. Please help.

  9. Bob
    December 13, 2012

    It’s true that many people recommend boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes, or longer, to be safe. However, according to the Wilderness Medical Society the reality is that when the temp of the water rises above 160° F (70° C) it will kill all pathogens within 30 minutes. When the temp rises above 185° F (85° C) it kills them within a few minutes. So by the time water reaches its boiling point of 212° F (100° C) all pathogens will have been killed. But for most of us what’s another minute or two for peace of mind? Loved this article… great information and a bookmarked resource!

  10. Hach
    January 1, 2013

    Hi its is a really good aritcle, but I am curious on one How do you on a large scale purify salt water for more than a 100 people living in a remote area. Lets say the situation is that they dont have alot of resources to deal wit no ground water, they live on a island, not a lot of firewood and there has been a drought for over 6 months.

    Could you all please submit your solutions to this challenge.

    • Vermster1up
      May 7, 2013

      Have you tried collecting water from trees through the transpiring of there leaves? Basically placing a plastic bag over a tree limb with its leaves.

  11. pazke
    January 18, 2013

    According to the CDC, water need only be boiled for 1 minute to make it safe for drinking. Since fuel may be scarce, a shorter boil time would be beneficial.

  12. Marvin
    February 14, 2013

    Was wondering in a land like the Sahra desert and sea water was pumped about 400 miles into the desert how fare from there would the water be free of salt as the sand filterd the water.?

  13. Vermster1up
    May 7, 2013

    Thomas J. Elpel mentions in his book “Botany in a day” that he will ingest some mint plant with any water that might be questionable in an emergency situation. I have been trying to elaborate on this technique, there are many plants that show antibacterial,antimicrobial, and are also effect against protozoa mint being one. So it could be possible in an emergency situation to use something like crushed up peppermint plant to disinfect water. Still researching it but looks to be interesting.

  14. RLP
    May 18, 2013

    I find it interesting that the CDC recommends 8 drops of the correct bleach per gallon of water while the FEMA/Red Cross pamphlet recommends 16 drops per gallon. That is a wide gulf. I wonder who is more correct? I really like these new filtration “straws” that are out now and the canteen by I think Ndur or something like that can filter 100 gallons of questionable water with one filter. Those kinds of items seem like a great way to insure you have a continual supply of water. Good article by the way. My favorite tidbits were making your own water distillation system, that is a new one for me.

  15. Rhonda Givens
    June 16, 2013

    I recently went camping and was confronted with water that had a natural tanning to it. The water was a deep brown/red color and a rotten smell! I used the charcoal and gravel technique and was simply amazed how the water tasted and smelled. The fish seemed to thrive in this deep murky red water, but I was doubtful. By the way I was in Florida, I was very worried about bacteria.

  16. Jim Scott
    July 28, 2013

    There are two different concerns with drinking water. The first are disease causing pathogens, agents include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasites. The second are with particulates and chemicals dissolved into the water which boiling alone does not eliminate.

    With the first concerns, the scientific evidence is that disease-causing organisms are dead long before the water reaches a boil. So there is no need to boil pass the point where is starts to boil. The act of heating until one sees a boil assures that more than an adequate time & temp. has been achieved without the need of a time piece or thermometer. The temperature and time required is inversely proportionate. That being, the lower the temp. the longer time required and the higher the temp. the less time required. Pasteurization a process applied to many food and drink products, to render them safe is carried out at temp’s between 60 to 70 c (140 f to 168 f). Be assured, heating to a boil is a simple process that inactivates all problematic pathogens. If fuel is a concern after a boil allowing the water to cool covered renders further reassurance, while not required. Is the water sterilized? No. Some bacterial spores are heat resistant, some survive for long periods in boiling water (100 c or 212 f) . They are everywhere in the natural environment but they are not waterborne pathogens to be avoided or should not raise any health concerns, that I know of or understand it.

    With the second concerns, chemical and dissolved solids (like salt, arsenic, etc.) can be removed via or vapor (solar) or steam (fire) distillation. While traveling to third world countries or out in the wilderness any where bring water orproceed accordingly (above). :)

  17. Waste Water Treatment and Purification
    August 4, 2013

    There are lots of methods by which you can treat the waste water. The technique to be utilised depends on the quantity you want to manage as well as the level of contaminants you are coping with. Thanks!

    December 18, 2013

    Mr. Scott is right. If it’s not dead by the time the water boils it’s not going to die necessarily by boiling it for five minutes longer. You’re just wasting valuable time and fuel.

  19. talia kane
    January 14, 2014

    where the heck are you going to finde iodine or aq filter in the wild!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  20. Billybobjoebob
    February 6, 2014

    Has anyone thought of boiling maet before eating if you cant get anything to hold the meat up? I am doing a research report for a class i ould like to know. If you can find out thank you.Thanks for reading.


  21. Billybobjoebob
    February 6, 2014

    Hey I have another question. I would like to know if you can use other fiters becuase i live off of survival shows, but they dont explain how to set them up?!

  22. martin smith
    February 8, 2014

    ive just move into a barn conversion and theres natural springs everywhere and that got me thinking about saving this water in bottles for the summer.
    I think ill boil it and so what its a bit flat but if its ice cold or could make ice cubes from these natrual springs i think it will say me a lot of money

  23. ramjbose
    March 30, 2014

    i want to purify a soup water …., is it possible ..,

  24. RoseRaw
    June 8, 2014

    Many plants will also help with the purification of water. However, if you are not familiar with mountainside plants, do NOT attempt! !
    Boiling seems to work 99% of the time.

  25. Eric Riddick
    June 29, 2014

    Good article about how to make potable water in the backcountry!

    As an Eagle Scout, former Philmont staffer and long time backpacker, I agree with the author’s ideas regarding how to purify water properly. Taking shortcuts on this issue leads to illness and people dont believe it will happen to them, until it does. I have known personally several backpackers who “got lazy” and drank untreated water from crystal clear, bubbling streams in the mountains, yet still ended up with a nasty case of Giardia. It can take months to fully recover from Giardia. The shortest amount of time Ive heard is about a month recovery.

    I consider this issue of making sure you purify your water a form of personal discipline, while backpacking or practicing wilderness survival skills or primitive camping.

  26. lloyd howell
    July 29, 2014

    hi iwould boil water at least 10 minutes that way your sure i was a navy seal dont use iodine if you have a seafood allergy

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