Backpacking and Safe Drinking Water

Those who enjoy outdoors activity are constantly concerned about the safety and quality of the water they drink.  Tradition methods are far from ideal and create more gear to carry and more time to spend instead of enjoy the great outdoors! Never assume that untreated water is safe to drink just because a person is in the mountains or in a remote place. More than one thirsty backpacker has greedily quenched his or her thirst with unfiltered mountain water only to discover a dead animal or excrement only a little ways upstream.

The two major types of water impurities are biological and chemical. Most wilderness areas and hiking terrain are at higher elevations and above or up stream of any outposts of “civilization”. So in most wilderness areas chemical contamination is not a real problem. The primary exception to this rule of thumb is in some desert areas where dissolved chemicals may reach toxic levels through evaporation.

e Coli Bacterium

Biological impurities on the other hand potentially exist in almost any water source except possibly right at a spring because they are carried not only by other hikers but also by animals. Biological contaminates may be microorganisms, bacteria, or viruses.

The two most common microorganisms to contaminate a hiker’s water sources are Giardia and Cryptosporidiosis. Chemical treatments are typically less effective against these than boiling or filters.

Many different forms of bacteria and viruses may also cause discomfort if ingested from contaminated water sources. Coliform and E coli are bacteria sometimes found in water that may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. Boiling and chemical treatments are typically more effective against bacteria and viruses than are filters.

Backpacking Water Purification by Boiling

Backpacking water purification by boiling does readily kill giardia. And you don’t need to do it for five minutes as some literature states. Just bring the water to a boil and giardia will be dead.

The problem is that if you are on a major hike or backpacking trip, you probably don’t have this overwhelming desire to carry the amount of fuel needed to boil water for days. You also may not want to spend your time doing this type of water purification, when you could be hiking or reading. If it’s hot, and the humidity is low, you should be drinking about a quart an hour when you are backpacking. You can easily down 7-10 quarts a day. You’d spend all your time and fuel boiling drinking water for giardia if you had to purify water that way. More importantly, boiling does not kill most water-borne pathogens and leaves the hiker vulnerable to illness in the wilderness.

Water Filters

Water filters have been the preferred method of getting rid of water on the hiking trails of much of the world. In the United States, water filters are used in all wilderness areas. They have the advantage of “no taste.”

The other main advantage is that they produce purified water relatively quickly. Once you run the water through the filter you can drink it immediately. The problem is that water filters are expensive, wear out (need filter replacement) and are usually bulky and heavy to carry.

Chemical Treatment of Water

Chemical treatment of water offers yet another option. Many wilderness veterans swear by the use of iodine tablets or iodine crystals. One advantage that iodine has over filters is weight and bulk. A small bottle of iodine tablets weighs only a couple of ounces and takes up hardly any space in the backpack. Disadvantages for iodine treatment include off-taste, discoloration of plastic drinking containers.


Probably the least effective, chlorine is somewhat unstable, adds some taste to the water, and leaves behind some chemical residue now associated with a small cancer risk. Commonly known for it’s toxicity.


More effective than chlorine, but deteriorates when exposed to sunlight, and leaves behind an unpleasant taste, iodine is another option. It may not be suitable for people with certain types of thyroid conditions.

A New Natural Way to Purify Water

There is a new product, NutraSilver that kills all water-borne pathogens very quickly. It cost about $ .05 per liter

Next generation Colloidal Silver

and weights 1 ounce so it is easy to carry. There are approximately 600 drops per bottle so it lasts a long time. Since you are not primarily concerned about chemicals, your main interest is to kill pathogens in your drinking water. NutraSilver is totally non-toxic, unlike iodine and chlorine so it is perfectly safe to use.

NutraSilver has been used in third-world countries for over a decade and millions of lives have been saved by using this product. Every claim made here is supported by FDA-certified lab reports and can be viewed by clicking here.

Why NutraSilver?

Well, NutraSilver weighs one ounce.  You no longer need to carry supplies to boil water, nor do you have to ingest and toxicity like chlorine pills. NutraSilver is safe, easy to use and kills bacteria, fungus and viruses.  And the best part? You can make 1,200 liters of safe drinking water in just one, one ounce bottle! So, where can you get this amazing water purifier? Right here!


About CareMan
I am the CareMan, have been for 7 years now. I really do care about YOU and getting YOU back to great, natural health, so long as you have an open mind.

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