Water, more specifically clean water, is essential to survival. Common thought is that one can live perhaps three days without hydration. As a practical matter, the latter day or two of that time frame will be spent in delirium and agony. Suffice to say, you need water to live.
Purifying Water when Bugging Out
You can only carry a finite amount of water. It is heavy and takes up a lot of space. Therefore, a wise prepper will not only carry water but also invest in the supplies necessary to treat additional water to make it potable. Fortunately, there are several options available.
Bringing water to a boil is about the surest way to kill any pathogens or other critters floating in it. It is best to filter the water first by running it through a coffee filter or something so as to remove any sediment and debris that might be present. Then, use a clean pot to bring the water to a rolling boil. Technically, just bringing it to a boil is enough to kill anything in the water. But, many people like to err on the side of caution and let it boil for a few minutes. Realistically, you aren’t using that much extra fuel in doing so, if that’s your preference. However, it can be difficult to provide enough water for an entire family or group using this method. Of course, this method also requires you to carry a metal container you can use for boiling the water.
A mainstay in many survival kits, water purification tablets work very well. The tablets add a chemical (typically either an iodine compound or chlorine dioxide) that will kill off the bad stuff in the water. Generally speaking, you’ll add the tablets to your water, shake vigorously, then seal tightly and wait 30 minutes or so. Follow the directions on the package exactly to ensure the best results, of course. Personally, I’ve found the chlorine dioxide based tablets leave the water tasting better than the iodine based tablets. Your mileage may vary. What I suggest is that you carry two water bottles. One with water ready to drink at all times and the other being treated as you travel.
A third option is to purchase a filter straw. What is nice about this option is there is no work or waiting involved. The device consists of a straw with a built in filter. You simply put one end of the straw into the water and suck through the straw, just as you would if it were a can of soda rather than a stream or river. The water is filtered as it goes through the straw and is potable by the time it reaches your mouth. This can be a great option for those who are looking to truly travel light.
My suggestion is you double or triple up on your water purification methods for your bug out bag. Remember – two is one and one is none!