You take your family out camping for the weekend in the Sierra Mountains and you packed everything you need for a weekend getaway. You made a checklist and went over it several times. Shelter- check; fire- check; food- check; and water- check and double check. The vehicle is packed and you're ready to head out for your family adventure.
Feeling adventurous, you decide to go on a backcountry hiking trip instead. You wonder if you have enough supplies and equipment to do this, and you decide that you'll be okay for the trip. You arrive at the ranger station and get your permit and a map and ask the ranger for a good trail with a lot of things to see.
You're ready to head out.
Throughout the hike, you periodically check the map, and that's when you realize that things don't look right. You should be at the campsite by now, and wonder if you took the wrong trail and if you're lost. we only brought enough supplies for a couple of days, what are we going to do!
You decide to set up camp and take an inventory of your supplies, knowing that you only packed enough for a couple of days. You realized that you aren't going to have enough water if you are, indeed lost, and you start to panic.
This is a real life scenario that can and has happened. It's important to learn new skills that better prepare us for the worst case scenario.
This week's lesson is water purification and collection. Finding and purifying water is not as hard as some people think it is. The first method is to always be prepared. This means that I always carry a portable water filter. These can be purchased from any major outdoor store, and I suggest you buy two-- one to practice with, and one that you carry with you.
I use the Sawyer water filter. It is small and light and can be screwed on any type of coke plastic bottle. This water filter only filters out bacteria and viruses and other biological organisms. Unfortunately, it doesn't filter out chemicals.
The second method is a solar bottle. Take a clear plastic 20 oz or less water or coke bottle and fill it with dirty water. Next, place the bottle on a dark surface like a rooftop in direct sunlight for six to eight hours. The sunlight will heat the water up to 180 degrees, and the UV light will kill the bacteria and viruses in the water effectively pasteurizing it. This method only works on a clear bright sunny hot summer day, and will not work in the cool months of fall, winter or spring.
The third method is to boil the water. This is simple, and all you need is something to boil water in and a fire. Start by finding clear running water from a river or creek. Scope out the water and make sure you don't get any dirt or other foreign objects in it. Next, place the pot over a fire by making a tripod over the fire. Boil the water for at least for 15 minutes or more.
Caution: While it is possible to boil water in a plastic bottle, I don't suggest it as the bottle heats up, it can melt the plastic could get into the water, so I would use a metal pot if possible. Let the water cool for at least 5 minutes or more before you drink it.
This is how you can find and purify water in a survival situation like the one above.
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The Second Amendment Advocate and Avid Cyclist