Personal Safety

Outdoor Survival Water Filtration Techniques



Water filtration becomes a challenge when you are out there in the wilderness. Here are some ways to make available water safe for drinking.

Outdoor Survival Water Filtration Techniques

When it comes to water filtration there are a dozen and one available tools that will filter water while outdoors; but what do you do when they fail? How do you clean water effectively and stay hydrated in the wild when you're all out of techy gimmicks and gear? The answer is simple: you go back to the basics.

Our ancestors  had no other option… they figured out how to filter and clean water on the go  while traveling, hunting, and even migrating. And luckily for us, those methods still work! By all means, get the gear you need to make hydrating easy! But make sure you know exactly what you need to do when those tools don't work.

Boiling Water

No matter the situation, if you find yourself at the mercy of nature searching for clean water for survival the first most basic tip will be to boil it. This does not work with all water found just forms of safe drinking water such as water found in running streams, rivers, snow melt, etc. Especially if this water will be collected in large amounts for many people the water will need to be boiled as to ensure its purity.

Although commonly a quick sip can be taken from streams, rivers, or other forms of running water it is extremely important to boil the water as long as more than a few cups worth are collected. Be sure to play it safe when collecting large quantities of water; although the water may appear clean, it won't always be.

Filtrating Through Moss

If on the “go” and water is very scarce than use moss to filtrate small amounts of water found. Sometimes moisture has already been collected inside of moss and can be squeezed and sipped. As well as moss will remove large debris that can be found in the water and is unsafe to drink. Moss does not however purify water entirely however.

Use moss to sip from small quantities of water found by absorbing the water within the moss and squeezing like a sponge. This method will not work so great on extremely muddy or dirty water but will work on water that may appear slightly “iffy” upon appearance. The sponge method can also be used with the moss for collecting small amounts of water to fill a canteen or water bottle with. Be sure to keep this method in mind if resources are scarce and travel on foot is long.

Building a Basic Water Filtration Unit

Believe it or not some of the elements that can be found in nature can be used as part of a filtration unit. For example, rock, gravel, and even pulverized charcoal are all used in filtration units to purify water. These units can be quickly built with elements that can be found in nature around you especially if water is muddy or dirty to an unsafe drinking extent.

If collecting water in the quantity of just a few cups worth than collect either sand or gravel or possibly a mixture of both in a small container. Cut or poke very small holes at the bottom of the container to let the water drain through. Fill the container with water and collect the water that falls through at the bottom, repeat this method if water still looks questionable. If collecting water for a larger quantity than a larger container can be used under the same method. Once the water has been cycled through the filtration unit two to three times than boil the water to ensure purity. With this method of filtration it is important to always boil the water afterwards prior to consuming.

Want to learn more about water filtration? Check out these related posts below!

Make a Water Filter from a Tree Branch

3 Quick Tips to Safely Drink Dirty Water

5 Reasons to Own a Berkey Water Filter

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  4. Heather

    October 19, 2017 at 2:41 PM

    I never knew that moss could act as a makeshift water filter – good to know! In any case, boiling water is extremely effective if your far from any clean water sources. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Om Kadam

    October 25, 2018 at 4:21 AM

    While boiling water may seem the best solution when camping in the wild, I would suggest that you invest in a good quality hand-held UV Water Purifier. This portable tool is just amazing and can be carried around effortlessly. Thanks Alden, for sharing these tips. Very useful!

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  19. Mr. Vakkachan Chirayath

    July 12, 2022 at 3:34 AM

    Thanks Alden, for sharing these tips. it was very helfull

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