If you’re going into the wilderness for an extended period, it is essential that you have enough water to sustain yourself. There are various methods of doing this such as boiling, distillation, filtering, tablets and UV rays. Filters are typically the best solution for eliminating large amounts of contaminants, but they can be challenging to use and inconvenient. Straw filters and gravity filter systems make excellent alternatives if you need something portable.

In a Nutshell: Overland Water Filtering

Access to clean and safe drinking water is crucial during overlanding and camping trips. While various methods of water collection are available, it’s important to ensure the water is filtered and purified before consumption. In this guide, we will discuss different ways to filter water and provide recommendations for portable water filters that are suitable for outdoor adventures.

Methods of Water Filtration:

  1. Gravity filters:
  • Use gravity to pull water through a filter element.
  • Ideal for large groups, as they can filter high volumes of water with minimal effort.
  • Easy to set up and typically require little maintenance.
  1. Pump filters:
  • Require manual pumping to force water through the filter.
  • Effective in filtering water from shallow sources, like puddles or small streams.
  • Can be labor-intensive, especially when filtering large volumes of water.
  1. Squeeze filters:
  • Water is forced through the filter element by squeezing a soft container or pouch.
  • Lightweight and compact, making them ideal for backpacking and solo trips.
  • Can be slow to filter water and may require regular maintenance.
  1. Straw filters:
  • Filter water directly as you drink through a specialized straw.
  • Extremely lightweight and portable.
  • Limited in terms of filtration capacity and better suited for personal use.
  1. Bottle filters:
  • Integrated filter within a water bottle.
  • Convenient for on-the-go hydration and filtering water from various sources.
  • Filter lifespan and replacement can vary depending on the model.
  1. Ultraviolet (UV) purifiers:
  • Use UV light to neutralize bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in water.
  • Effective and quick method of water treatment.
  • Relies on batteries or solar power for operation and may not remove sediment or chemical contaminants.

Water filtration is essential during overlanding or camping adventures to ensure you have access to clean and safe drinking water. By understanding the various filtration methods and selecting a portable water filter that best suits your needs, you can stay hydrated and healthy throughout your journey.

In a Nutshell: Overlander Water Purification

When embarking on overlanding or camping adventures, having access to clean and safe drinking water is essential. Water purification methods can help eliminate harmful contaminants and microorganisms from collected water, ensuring it is safe for consumption. In this guide, we will explore different water purification techniques and provide recommendations for portable water purifiers suitable for outdoor enthusiasts.

Methods of Water Purification:

  1. Boiling:
  • A simple and effective method to kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute, or three minutes at higher altitudes.
  1. Chemical treatment:
  • Use water purification tablets or drops containing iodine or chlorine dioxide.
  • Effective in killing most microorganisms, but may not eliminate all viruses.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for treatment time and dosage.
  1. Ultraviolet (UV) light purification:
  • Neutralizes bacteria, viruses, and protozoa with UV light exposure.
  • Requires batteries or solar power for operation.
  • May not remove sediment or chemical contaminants and is best used in conjunction with a pre-filter.
  1. Solar disinfection (SODIS):
  • Uses sunlight to disinfect water in clear plastic bottles.
  • Requires at least 6 hours of sunlight or 2 days of cloudy conditions.
  • Less effective in turbid water and best used with a pre-filter.
  1. Filter and purifier combination systems:
  • Integrates filtration and purification processes in one unit.
  • Removes sediment, microorganisms, and some chemicals.
  • Provides comprehensive water treatment for various water sources.

Water purification is a crucial aspect of overlanding and camping trips, ensuring that the water you consume is free from harmful contaminants and microorganisms. By understanding the various purification methods and selecting a portable water purifier that best suits your needs, you can maintain your health and well-being throughout your outdoor adventures.

Recommended Accessories: Portable Camping / Overlanding Water Filters

Portable Water Filter Recommendations:

  1. Platypus GravityWorks:
  • A reliable and efficient gravity filter system with a high flow rate.
  • Suitable for groups or base camps.
  1. MSR MiniWorks EX:
  • A durable and field-maintainable pump filter.
  • Ceramic filter element with carbon core to improve taste and remove some chemicals.
  1. Sawyer Squeeze:
  • A lightweight and compact squeeze filter with a long-lasting hollow fiber membrane filter.
  • Ideal for backpacking and solo travelers.
  1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:
  • A popular straw filter with a simple design and reliable filtration.
  • Perfect for emergency situations and as a backup filtration system.
  1. Grayl Ultralight:
  • A bottle filter with a unique press system that removes a wide range of contaminants.
  • Ideal for international travel and filtering water from various sources.
  1. SteriPEN Ultra:
  • A rechargeable UV purifier with a user-friendly OLED display.
  • Effective against microorganisms but should be used in conjunction with a pre-filter for sediment removal.

Recommended Accessories: Portable Overlanding / Camping Water Purifiers

Portable Water Purifier Recommendations:

  1. Aquamira Water Treatment Drops:
  • A chemical treatment using chlorine dioxide that is effective against a wide range of microorganisms.
  • Lightweight and easy to use, making it ideal for backpacking and emergency kits.
  1. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Tablets:
  • Iodine-free water purification tablets using chlorine dioxide.
  • Effective against bacteria, viruses, and cysts.
  • Suitable for international travel and as a backup purification method.
  1. SteriPEN Ultra:
  • A rechargeable UV purifier with a user-friendly OLED display.
  • Effective against microorganisms but should be used in conjunction with a pre-filter for sediment removal.
  1. Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle:
  • A bottle filter and purifier combo with a unique press system that removes a wide range of contaminants.
  • Ideal for international travel and filtering water from various sources.
  1. MSR Guardian Purifier:
  • A pump filter and purifier combination that offers comprehensive water treatment.
  • Filters out sediment and removes viruses, bacteria, and protozoa.
  • Durable and suitable for challenging outdoor conditions.

Overlanding Water & Boiling

Boiling water is a simple yet highly effective method for purifying water. It helps kill germs, eliminate contaminants, and makes water safer to drink or cook with.

Boiling water is an essential skill to learn if you plan on overlanding in your RV or camping out in the backcountry. Not only will it save you a trip to the store, but it also protects you and your family from disease while providing food during wilderness explorations. Boiling water will not only save time at the store but also provide health benefits while out in nature.

Boiling water is best done using a kettle or pot large enough to accommodate an entire pot of liquid. Add cold tap water, bring to a rolling boil for one minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes).

Once your water has been boiled, allow it to cool. Then, alternate pouring between two clean containers in order to trap oxygen in the liquid. This can improve its taste and reduce odor from the source.

When overlanding, it is wise to carry various purification tablets with you. These typically contain chlorine or iodine and will do a much better job at eliminating bacteria than boiling does.

However, it’s essential to remember that even with a filter, it won’t be able to eliminate all microorganisms from your water. You must either boil it or use an appropriate filtration system in order to guarantee the quality of the liquid you drink.

Boiling water can be used for many purposes, including showering and bathing. It also sterilizes medical instruments, cleans dishes and utensils, and softens hard water.

Before using a boiled water supply, check with your state’s health department or local fire department to see if there are any boil water notices in effect. These usually arise when water has been exposed to sewage or other hazardous chemicals due to pipe bursts, water treatment disruptions, severe weather events and natural disasters.

Overlanding Water & Distillation

Distillation is a widely used water purification process that eliminates microorganisms and other pollutants from drinking water. It can be applied to treat water from any source, including riverwater and saltwater. Furthermore, distillation helps prevent mineral buildup in your heater or other equipment.

The basic distillation process is as follows: Water is heated until it evaporates and then condenses, with steam reaching a condensation chamber where it is cooled by a fan until it returns to water droplets.

Once the water has cooled, it drips from the spout into a holding container and is collected. You can then filter it using an activated carbon filter.

Before distilling, testing the water source for contaminants such as nitrates, sulfates, heavy metals and radionuclides is recommended.

Boiling and chlorination are the two primary methods for eliminating most contaminants, but distillation can serve as a backup in case those methods cannot be utilized. It could even be part of an integrated disinfection and sanitation plan when overlanding.

One common issue that can arise during distillation is that some organic chemicals may vaporize and then condense back into liquid along with water. These compounds, known as VOCs, are hazardous when consumed; thus they should be removed prior to beginning the condensation process if possible.

Some units feature a column or volatile gas vent to eliminate contaminants during the initial stages of distillation. This allows only pure water to evaporate and then be captured, before any of the contaminated water enters storage tank.

Water that accumulates in the boiling chamber can clog the system and eventually cause breakdown, so flushing should be done regularly. This can be accomplished either with manual labor or using acid.

Some distillers use a float valve in the boiling chamber to maintain water level as distilled water is collected from storage tank. This valve makes production of distilled water much simpler and automatic as users utilize it.

Overlanding Water & Filtration

Water can contain bacteria, protozoa, microplastics and other contaminants that can make you ill when consumed from an unsafe source. When hiking in the backcountry or overlanding to remote places, you need a reliable way to filter and purify your water before drinking it.

Filtration is the process of separating solids from liquids or gases by using a porous medium that holds the solid while allowing fluid passage through. This may be done chemically, biologically or physically and is commonly employed in water treatment plants.

Gravity sand-bed filters are the simplest type of filtration, often found in city water plants. These tanks are constructed from concrete with a false bottom and layers of coarse gravel, crushed rock or sand at their top.

Sand-bed filters are widely used in industrial settings as a cost-effective and reliable means of purifying organic liquids. Crushed coke is used to filter sulfuric acid, limestone is commonly employed for adsorption filtrations and charcoal beds are utilized for eliminating alkaline chemicals.

These systems utilize various materials, such as activated carbon, ultraviolet (UV) light units, reverse osmosis and water distillers. These can be integrated into a home-based pitcher or as part of an appliance or freestanding counter top.

Gravity sand-bed filters are one of the oldest methods for water purification. This process involves scooping a hole in a bed of sand on the bank of a river to a depth below water level and then collecting clear, clean water filtered by this bed of sand.

In addition to bacteria removal, these filters are effective at eliminating protozoa and viruses as well. Since these pathogens tend to be smaller than bacteria or fungi, they can easily be captured by a filter.

When selecting a filtration system, choose one that will eliminate all waterborne pathogens from your supply, particularly protozoa. These disease-causing organisms are easily spread by wildlife or livestock.

When selecting a water filter, take into account the size of the container you’ll fill, how much water needs treating and where you plan on overlanding. If traveling to developing countries or wilderness areas, larger tanks may be necessary than those required for domestic travel.

Overlanding Water & Purifiers

Water purification systems are essential when traveling abroad, particularly to countries with contaminated or poor-quality water sources. Not only do these devices reduce your environmental footprint and save you money in the long run, but they can also protect you from potentially hazardous situations when drinking unclean water.

These filters effectively eliminate bacteria and protozoa from a wide variety of environments, while inhibiting virus development. Unfortunately, they cannot remove dissolved chemicals or viruses (which require carbon filtration for removal). If chemical contaminants are an issue in your area, consider investing in a filter with a carbon element for extra protection.

Most backpacking purifiers use either physical or chemical adsorption to filter out particulate matter. These processes work by drawing substances to their surface through electrostatic forces (physical adsorption) or chemical bonds (chemical adsorption). Adsorbents are also employed in other environmental cleanup efforts because they can trap harmful pollutants like VOCs and odors without creating byproducts.

Another method for eliminating particulate matter is diffusion. Filters are designed to spread out over water’s surface in order to trap smaller particles while preventing larger ones from passing through. This technique works best when the fibers are woven into fabric.

Straw filters are the simplest to use and don’t need any special setup or assembly. Simply attach them to a tree branch or tent and let the water run through them until it’s clean enough to drink.

Pump and squeeze filters are more efficient at purifying large amounts of water quickly, but they can be challenging to set up. These systems pump or squeeze water through a filter for several seconds or minutes before releasing it into your mouth at speeds ranging from 1-3 L per minute.

Pump or squeeze filters come in a range of flow rates and lifespans, each offering its own advantages. When looking for a filter, look for one with an impressive maximum capacity; not only will this save you money on replacement cartridges but also allow your filter to serve you for extended periods of time.