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Posted on 04-20-2013

Water Purifying in the Wilderness

Camping season is just around the corner, and whether you need survival tips or just enjoy camping here is some information to help you along your way. While we can survive for weeks without food, our bodies can only survive for a couple of days without water. Needless to say, it is extremely important to make sure you have enough drinking water or steady access to water while you are in the wilderness. Drinking untreated water can lead to very serious illness and sometimes death! Although much of the natural water in Montana is clean and most likely just fine to drink, harmful bacteria and viruses are often times in naturally occurring water. So what can you do to make it safe to drink?


A very simple, yet effective way to purify water is to boil it. This will rid the water of viruses or bacteria that may exist and make it safe from diseases such as Hepatitis, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Dysentery. Boiling water should be performed for a minimum of five minutes, which helps to ensure that the pathogens in the water are killed.

Purification by Chemicals

Certain chemicals such as iodine, chlorine, halazone, and permanganate all can be picked up in liquid or tablet form at a local pharmacy. Bleach can also help if you are in a pinch, and even a few drips of regular household bleach per quart of water may be effective. Do not use color safe bleach and make sure it is less than a year old.

Water Purifying Filters

Hand held filters can be very handy on a backpacking trip to use in a river, but look for a filter with a very small pore-size such as 0.4 microns to help remove bacteria and protozoa. Also, make sure you include some chemical purification such as iodine to kill any of the viruses that may be present.

Your Chiropractors in Bozeman, MT, Dr. Dustin and Rachel Rising make sure to purify their water thoroughly during any hiking or camping trip to ensure their safety. In any situation, make sure that you purify your water as best as you can. This does not guarantee that nothing bad is in your water, but it is typically very effective. Taking the time to make sure your water is purified will lead you to a healthier camping and hiking season.

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