Water filtration can be a confusing subject. Most of the high volume (long life) water filters like Sawyer, can filter out most particulate and bacteria (protozoa) from just about any water. But they do not remove chemicals, viruses, or foul tastes.
In a survival situation, where the water source is questionable, preparing water for drinking is going to be a multi step process.
Your best source for water will be a running stream above any inhabited areas. There is less opportunity for undesirable products to be infused into the water.
Since I don’t like to drink water by itself, I needed to formulate a plan to get water with as little taste as possible. This will make it easier for me to stay hydrated. Here is my plan.
- Collect water from the source, pre-filtering it through a bandanna or shemaugh to get the larger particulate matter out of it
- Filter it through a filter like the Sawyer Mini or similar long life filter
- Boil it for 10 to 15 minutes to kill viruses (active boil time)
- You can replace this step with purification tablets or drops. Or even household beach.
- Let it cool and then filter it through a charcoal like filter to remove tastes and chemicals (Brita)
There are several issues with this plan of course. First and foremost is the time needed to accomplish this. With that in mind you may want to have several vessels to hold the completed product once you’re done. This of course adds weight to what you might be carrying. If you are in a stationary location this has less impact. Second is the last step. Specifically with Brita brand filters. The half litre squeeze bottles will only filter about 150 litres of water before they are expended. You will need to carry more replacement filters or, just suck it up and deal with the taste. 150 litres should carry you for about 60 days depending on consumption.
I carry a Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System in my GTFH bag along with a Brita Squeeze Bottle. And bandannas and a shemaugh for the one thousand and one uses they have. I also carry at least one 1 litre Nalgene Bottle.
In my EDC bag I carry a Lifestraw.
This is what I do. What you will do will be strictly dependent on your needs and desires. Making sure you are staying hydrated in a survival situation is critical to your survival. How you achieve that is strictly up to you.