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Water, Water, Water
7/17/2012 1:24:59 PM by (kevinreeve)

Water, Water, Water

by Kevin Reeve

On day six of a long cross country hike I am in trouble. I had expected a marked waterway on the topo to be flowing with clear clean water. What I found instead was a dank swamp. The water was cloudy, and filled with biological life. To drink it as it was would have meant sickness for sure. I sit and stare at the water. It has been 24 hours since the last stream, and I have been out of water all morning. I am thirsty. I am dehydrated. And this source of water is not looking good.

When I plan a trip like this, I am dependent on the best information I have. The situation described would best be avoided, But sometimes situations arise that put a crimp in the plans. In this case, that meant dropping my pack and digging out the water filter that will render this soup drinkable. It was not cold and refreshing. But it was wet and clean.

There are three primary ways of purifying water: Chemical treatment, filtration, and boiling. When I travel, I am capable of any of the three.

Filtration is the simplest of the three methods. I drop the intake hose into the water, pump a few times and I have water flowing. It is simple and takes little time. I can produce a couple of liters of water in a few minutes this way with only a little elbow grease.

The second method I use is Polar Pure iodine crystals. Iodine, in proper concentration, kills biological contaminants. I simply fill the small jar with water, let it sit for a certain amount of time to create a concentrate of iodine solution, then pour the recommended number of capfuls into the filled water container. In thirty minutes or so, the water will be drinkable.

The third method, boiling, requires a pot and a fire or stove. This method is great when you need to refill all the water containers and cook a meal that requires water, such as at dinner time. A pot filled with water will be biologically safe after it is brought to a boil. I would recommend longer boiling time at higher elevations, say five to ten minutes. Once boiled, the water is ready to drink.

A few tips to ensure proper sanitation. Make sure to keep “dirty” containers, those that carry unclean water, separate from the clean water containers. Same with filter hoses. The intake hose that goes into the water must not come in contact with the output hose.

Use a pre-filter on the end of your intake hose, such as a coffee filter to extend filter life. Pre filter the water from the pond through a coffee filter to remove sediment when using either the Polar Pure or the boiling method. Sediment is sometimes a harbor of biological contamination that boiling or chemical treatment might not reach.

For home water treatment, there is only one system I recommend. That is the Berkey filter systems. Here is a source: http://getpreparedstuff.ecrater.com/c/1026284/water-filters Berkey filters both filter and purify. They combine filtration with chemical treatment to give you huge capacity. A four element system will purify 22,000 gallons or some ridiculous number like that.

In terms of portable filters, I recommend the Katadyn Pocket filter. Most small filters will filter 600 gallons per element, whereas the Katadyn does around 12,000 gallons. By far the best value.

Polar Pure is available online at the following location http://www.survivalcampingstore.com/WaterDisinfectant-PolarPure

Many of us know generally about water and survival - we forget what's it's like to not know - so pass along to family and friends and your network.

© All written materials and photos property of Kevin Reeve and onPointTactical LLC.

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