How To Purify Water In The Woods

How To Purify Water In The Woods

Going out on the wild can be a fun and adventurous trip. However, safety needs to be taken care of, and the nutrients you get in the woods might have some dangerous contaminants behind it. Fortunately, the art of water distillation has made it easier for us to remove these viruses from our water.

So learn how to purify water in the woods through this guide. We’ll show you some common techniques to help make your water clean and safe to drink.

Before Purifying The Water

Finding A Good Water Source

You have to find the water source before disinfecting it. Depending on your situation and location, water can be either nonexistent or in abundance. Water comes from sources such as ponds, lakes, and creeks. If you can distill the water, you can use salty or brackish water as a reliable source.

Precipitation is also another form of emergency water supply. Snow, ice, rain, dew, and hail could be collected for water. Fresh rain that doesn’t come from a forest canopy or a jungle should be safe enough to drink from. You can use melted snow for drinking without processing it as well.

Water issuing from underground sources and springs can be secure for most areas. Water coming from birch and maple trees can also be safe. But if the water is considered “dirty,” then it will have to be disinfected by one of these following methods.


Boiling Water for Drinking

Boiling is the simplest way to purify water. On average, it takes about 10 minutes to boil water for distillation. Therefore, it’s a good way to purify water in the wilderness even if you have limited time to spare.

To start, get a fire started and a pot ready with your water in it. When boiling water is your purification method, make sure that you apply a high heating temperature until you see bubbles coming from the surface.

Let the bubbles stay for about 5 minutes before getting the pot off the fire. Once this is completed, wait for 5 minutes for the water to cool down before drinking it.

Boiling is a great method for when the water isn’t clean but not clear. However, it might not be good at removing dirt. Thus, you should employ other distillation methods to make the water fully clean. You can do this by boiling the water first then transferring it to a sand filter. The sand filter will remove any impurities that was not found during the boiling stage. This will make your water safer and cleaner to drink.

If you’re going to keep needing to boil water I suggest making a slow burning fire. Learn how to do this here.


Filtration is important when purifying water for the wilderness. This is because most water found in the wilderness is dirty or muddy. In this situation, you will need to use the filtration method to ensure the water is safe for drinking.

The best way to do this is by using sand to filtrate your water. Here are some steps to show you how to do it:

  • Use a bottle and cut its base evenly to form a cone shape.
  • Get filter material for the neck part (bottom part) of the bottle. You can use cotton or pebbles. About 3 inches of the filter’s material should be good enough.
  • Use gravel for filtering the material. This prevents the sand from getting into the filtered water.
  • Fill the bottle with sand.
  • Get water and then pour it through your self-created filter. The clear water should appear from the bottom. If the water isn’t clear, you can pass it through the filter for it to become clearer.

There are multiple advantages you’ll get through the sand filtration method. First, sand filtration is a simple method of purifying your water. Another advantage is that sand filtration is very effective.

This is because you only have to use the materials that are available. And it’s effective at getting rid of multiple forms of contaminants such as trash, viruses, and other contaminants. Lastly, you’ll want to use this method when you want to clean up a lot of water.

Purification Drops and Tablets

Another way to purify water is via purification drops or tablets. You can find them sold at your local drug store. These tablets have a mixture of ingredients such as potassium, chlorine, iodine, and permanganate.

Chlorine is the most commonly used ingredient used for tablets and purification drops. The purification drops and tablets can be used up to 20 liters of water. Here are some steps you’ll need to follow in order to purify the water in the wilderness through this method.

  • First, you’ll need a 20 liter can. This will depend on the instructions given on using tablets or drops. Check the amount of liters required to add or the amount of drops or tablets needed to start.
  • Use water and fill the can to the brim. Add in the tablets or the drops as stated on the instructions.
  • Shake the can for 20 seconds. Let the drops or tablets mix with the water so it can become purified.
  • Let the water stay for 20 minutes before drinking it.
  • Drink water once the 20 minutes has passed.

Evaporation Traps

In some scenarios, it won’t be possible to find a reliable water source in the wilderness. Sometimes you won’t find a water source nearby, and you’ll have to walk miles until you find one. Placing evaporation traps in the ground is a creative way to obtain water without a direct water source.

  • First, start by analyzing the land. Check for spots that appear as if it was a river bed. This is important because you’ll get a lot of water in this small area.
  • Once you’ve found a spot to dig. Begin by digging 19 inch holes. Add more holes to increase the amount of water you’ll obtain. For dryer land, you’ll have to dig more to find the moist land.
  • Get any form of plant (non-poisonous) and place them in the holes you’ve created.
  • Grab an empty cup and place it in one of the empty holes.
  • Get a plastic bag and start covering the holes with it.
  • Seal the plastic bag by placing sand around it.
  • Wait for the sun to evaporate the water fully.
  • Collect the water.


You’ll always find salty water in the wilderness. However, this type of water can cause dehydration because of the salts placed inside it. And it has a lot of purities and needs to be purified before drinking.

  • First, get a clear glass cup and a pan. Place the empty glass in the center of the pan.
  • Pour in the salty water, slowly making sure to avoid any water that enters the cup.
  • Place the cover of your pan upside down. The handle needs to face the glass.
  • Start boiling the water.
  • While the water is boiling, you’ll notice it becomes a steam form and collects the cover.
  • Wait for the water to cool off then drink it.

Survival Straws

If you don’t want to do a lot of work like distillation and filtration, you have the alternative option of using survival straws. As people are starting to become more excited about having adventures in the wilderness, there are more inventions being made to help make the lives easier for those individuals.

Survival straws were designed to help purify water when staying in the wilderness. They are easy to use, and you can find them in stores that sell hiking supplies.

First, you’ll have to hold the straw in the water body. Make sure to hold it for at least a minute. This will help the water flow through the filter membrane. After that, you can suck on the straw to draw the water from the straw’s water body and to your mouth.

The water that enters your mouth is safe from microbial and additional contaminants. Using survival straws is the most user-friendly way to purify water, especially because it is not much you have to do.

Water Bottle Filters

Water bottle filters are one thing you need to have on the wild, especially if it’s your first time. There is a myriad of water bottle filters being sold in the market today. These bottles consist of pre-built filters that help you enjoy the water once you start drinking. They are easy to use, so there’s no complicated set up involved with this.

First, remove the lid from the bottle. This is so you can add water in the opening. After this is done, you can take the water within 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes has passed, your water will be filtrated and safer to drink.

UV Lights

Small organisms and parasites are weak to UV lights. If used as a disinfectant, its very effective at keeping the water clean. Make sure it’s from a powerful light source to ensure that the water is purified.

What Should I Do In A Survival Situation?

What to Do In A Survival Situation

It’s important to remember that your essential tools and goods can be gone. The unexpected can happen, or you or your friend gets in an accident. Here are some ways to keep you prepared:

Take Inventory

You need to take an inventory of everything you possess. Sometimes the good plans go down south, and your secondary items can possibly save your life. Once you’ve gathered all of your materials, see how each of them can help you in getting out of the wilderness.

Create a Shelter

Now you can be creative with this. There are multiple shelter builds, and each of them have their pros and cons. Obviously, you want weather protection from the elements and a overhead at night.

Check out this article I wrote on building survival shelters in the woods for more info.

If you live on mountainous, rocky terrain, check for overhangs. Otherwise, you should use leaves or limbs for anything that can help with insulation. Pine needles can cover the ground in a thick batch, which is great for bedding.

Eat Consistently

Things can be difficult when you’re looking for an adequate food source. Especially when you’re in survival mode when its easier to become malnutritioned. We suggest that you learn how to find edible vegetation and fruits when you’re out in the wild.

Learn how to make a simple trap to collect small animals. Protein is an important component while out in the wild, so don’t rely on just one food source in order to survive.

I also recommend reading through this article on 13 bushcraft skills. These skills can greatly help just about anyone in a survival situation.


Being out in the wilderness requires a lot of concentration, planning, and knowing how to use what materials that are given to you. Purify your water first, to ensure that you’re not dehydrated and get the right food sources so you can survive. By staying aware and alert, you’ll be able to survive and have an enjoyable time when out in the wild.


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