Water is essential when overlanding or camping, not only for drinking but also cooking and cleaning. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but having access to clean drinking water is also beneficial. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to obtain water when overlanding or camping. Let’s explore some of the best options to consider.
In a Nutshell: Overlanders & Water Acquisition
Methods of Obtaining Water:
- Natural sources:
- Rivers, streams, and lakes: Collect water from flowing sources when possible, as it is less likely to be contaminated compared to stagnant water.
- Rainwater: Harvest rainwater using tarps, rain catchment systems, or even pots and pans.
- Snow and ice: Melt snow and ice for drinking water, but avoid consuming it directly as it can lower your core body temperature.
- Man-made sources:
- Public water facilities: Refill at established campsites, gas stations, or ranger stations.
- Water wells: Locate wells using maps or GPS coordinates and ensure the water is safe for consumption.
- Potable water vendors: In some regions, vendors sell water in bulk, which can be a convenient option.
- Water purification:
- Boiling: Boil water for at least one minute to kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
- Filtration: Use a portable water filter or purification system to remove impurities.
- Chemical treatment: Use water purification tablets or drops to treat the water.
Recommendations for Safe Water Storage:
- Choose appropriate containers:
- BPA-free plastic containers: Ensure the containers are designed for water storage and are safe for long-term use.
- Stainless steel containers: Opt for food-grade stainless steel as it is durable and resistant to corrosion.
- Keep containers clean and sanitized:
- Wash containers with soap and water before use.
- Sanitize containers with a bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 quart of water) and rinse thoroughly.
- Store water in a cool, dark place:
- Avoid direct sunlight to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.
- Store containers away from gasoline, pesticides, or other chemicals to prevent contamination.
- Rotate stored water:
- Rotate your water supply every six months to maintain freshness.
- Monitor water quality:
- Inspect containers for leaks, cracks, or damage.
- Smell and taste the water to ensure it hasn’t gone bad.
When overlanding or camping for extended periods of time, having access to clean and safe drinking water is vital. By employing various water collection methods, using appropriate purification techniques, and following proper storage practices, you can ensure you and your fellow adventurers stay hydrated and healthy throughout your journey.
Advice #1: Always Bring Water Filters
If you want to drink water during your trip, a way to purify it is necessary. Doing this will guarantee that the water you consume is free from germs and contaminants.
When overlanding or camping, there are various water filters you can use. These include straw filters, gravity filters and bottle or squeeze filters. Each has been designed for a specific situation and offers its own advantages.
Straw filters are an ideal choice for travelers who need to use their filters quickly and conveniently. Their compact size makes them lightweight to take on vacation with you, making them a convenient travel companion.
Gravity filters require more setup effort and bulkier materials, but they produce an abundance of water in a short period of time. This makes them perfect for long trips where everyone needs access to clean drinking water at once.
Gravity filters can be useful in areas with little to no trees, though this may make the system bulky and cumbersome.
Finally, chemical treatments for purifying water exist. These are easy to use and may serve as a backup option in case your primary filter malfunctions.
These methods are effective against a range of germs, including bacteria and protozoa. The only drawback is that they may impart a chemical taste to the water; however, this can be neutralized using taste-neutralizer tablets.
Bacteria and protozoa are the two primary threats to people living in wilderness settings, but viruses can also present themselves. Viruses tend to be species-specific and can be spread via fecal matter in water sources.
For effective virus killing, water purifiers are the most efficient solution. Some systems employ chemicals for this task; others rely on ultraviolet light instead.
Before purchasing a water purifier, be sure to research its capacity and lifespan. This way, you’ll know how many gallons of water it can filter before needing replacement – saving both money and time when camping or outdoors.
Advice #2: You Can Never Have Too Many Refillable Bottles
When overlanding or camping, it’s essential to have plenty of water available. This can be accomplished by carrying a refillable bottle with you or bringing along an appropriate container.
Refillable bottles are an eco-friendly way to get water when flying, as they help reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on the type of bottle, you can reuse them up to 50 times.
When looking for a refillable bottle that can keep water cold, opt for one made from glass or PET. These types of bottles are sturdy and lightweight, perfect for multiple trips.
Refillable bottles are an eco-friendly choice, helping reduce plastic waste and pollution. Not only can these be recycled, but they can even be used in place of single-use plastic bottles.
Refillable bottles can be found in a wide selection of stores. These bottles come in various colors and sizes, so you’re sure to find one that best meets your needs.
Refillable bottles are an effective way to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean. Oceana estimates that if all soft drink companies worldwide switched from single-use plastic to refillable bottles, it would reduce ocean plastic pollution by 39%.
Refillable bottles are not only more eco-friendly than plastic bottles, but they’re also more convenient. They can be reused up to 50 times and refilled at any nearby water fountain for added convenience.
Refillable bottles are an economical way to save money on your overlanding or camping trip, as they can be used for purchasing food and drinks from grocery stores, restaurants, and other local establishments. Furthermore, refillable bottles require less cleaning than disposable plastic bottles for convenience.
When overlanding or camping, it’s essential to be eco-conscious and protect the environment. One way of doing this is by always packing out your trash and picking up others if possible; doing this helps keep our planet healthy and clean for future generations to enjoy.
Advice #3: Bring Water Containers
When overlanding or camping, it is imperative to always have access to fresh water. Hydration is a basic human need and without it you could experience dehydration or become ill.
While overlanding, you will need at least 1.5 to 2 gallons of water daily; however, it is best to carry more for extra safety. Additionally, having a backup emergency supply stored in case your primary container runs out of water is recommended.
One popular way to store water is in a water container, such as a jerry can or barrel. These containers are typically plastic and can hold two to seven gallons of liquid. Not only are these durable and easy to transport, but you should ensure they’re BPA-free and food grade certified for safety.
The initial step is selecting a container large enough for your needs. You should take into account the size of your vehicle, how long the trip will last, as well as personal preferences when making this decision.
When selecting your water container, the weight of the container should also be taken into consideration. A 55-gallon barrel, for instance, may weigh up to 484 lbs when full; on the other hand, a 5-gallon water jug only has about 45 lbs in weight.
When searching for a water container, it is essential to find one that will withstand the elements and the ravages of time. Make sure the plastic is BPA-free and food grade, then opt for a model with both a lid and spigot.
This will make it effortless to use and keep clean while overlanding or camping. Furthermore, you’ll save space and energy by not needing to carry around heavy water containers all the time.
For serious overlanding use, look for a water container with an integrated filtration system. This will help filter through the impurities commonly found in unfiltered sources of water. Filtration guarantees your drinking water is free from chemicals, bacteria and parasites so you can be confident it’s clean to drink.
Advice #4: Filtered =/= Purified
When overlanding or camping in the backcountry, having access to clean drinking water is essential. Without adequate hydration, survival will be difficult – especially when there is no reliable source of freshwater nearby.
The most commonly used method for water purification is using tablets or dropslets. These products can be dropped into a bottle of water and left to work for 30-60 minutes, after which the water is safe enough to drink.
These products typically use iodine or chlorine to effectively kill bacteria, viruses and protozoa in water. They’re lightweight enough for backpacking with only a few ounces in weight so they’ll fit easily in your bag.
Iodine and chlorine are both effective against a variety of microorganisms, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Unfortunately, both chemicals produce an unpleasant flavor and color in water. To reduce this flavor, there are iodine neutralizer tablets available which help mask its taste.
Chlorine dioxide is a popular option for water purification. It’s more effective than chlorine since it disinfects more volume of water. Chlorine dioxide also kills viruses and bacteria, though it cannot effectively combat Cryptosporidium or Giardia.
Katadyn manufactures a chlorine dioxide tablet that can be dissolved in water to treat dysentery, diarrhoea and cholera. You can purchase them in packs of 30, 60 or 100 for extended use – these tablets should last you a long time!
You could also consider investing in a water purification system that uses UV light to sterilize the water. While these are usually more costly than other options, they offer an efficient and speedy method of disinfecting your drinking water.
The only drawback to these types of products is that they must be used within a certain time period (usually 4 hours or so). This makes them difficult to transport on vacation, but it’s still worthwhile taking them along just in case you need them for emergency situations.
Potable Aqua’s water purification tablets, which come in a convenient bottle of 50, are an excellent choice for backpackers. Not only are these tablets effective against giardia and other bacteria, but they leave no iodine taste or color to the water.
How Do Overlanders Store Their Water?
Overlanders store water using various containers and storage systems to ensure they have an adequate supply for drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs during their trips. Some common water storage options for overlanders include:
- Jerry cans: These durable, rectangular containers are designed to carry and store liquids, including water. They come in various sizes, typically ranging from 5 to 20 liters, and are made of food-grade plastic or metal. Jerry cans are popular among overlanders due to their sturdy construction and stackable design.
- Collapsible water containers: These containers are made from flexible, food-grade materials and can be folded or rolled up when not in use, making them a space-saving option. They come in various sizes, usually between 5 and 20 liters, and often have built-in handles and spouts for easy pouring.
- Water bladders or bags: Water bladders or bags are made from flexible, food-grade materials and can be filled with water to provide a lightweight and compact storage solution. They usually have a hose or spout for easy access to the water and can be hung or placed in a backpack.
- Built-in water tanks: Some overlanders choose to install custom or aftermarket built-in water tanks in their vehicles. These tanks can hold larger quantities of water and are often made from durable materials like stainless steel or food-grade plastic.
- Water bottles and hydration systems: For personal hydration, overlanders often carry reusable water bottles or hydration systems, such as hydration bladders or reservoirs, which can be easily refilled from larger water containers or natural sources.
How Do Overlanders Shower?
Showering while overlanding can be a bit of a challenge, but there are several options available depending on your preferences, location, and available facilities. Here are some ways to shower when overlanding:
- Public facilities: When accessible, overlanders can make use of showers at campgrounds, RV parks, truck stops, or recreational centers. These facilities often provide hot water and a comfortable place to clean up.
- Portable camping showers: Many overlanders carry portable camping showers, which consist of a water container, a hose, and a showerhead. These showers can be heated by solar energy or connected to a propane stove or vehicle’s heating system. They can be hung from a tree or mounted on a vehicle, providing a convenient and private shower option.
- Solar showers: A solar shower is a bag made of heat-absorbing material that is filled with water and left in the sun to warm up. After a few hours, the water can reach a comfortable temperature for showering. Solar showers typically come with a hose and a nozzle, making them an easy and eco-friendly option.
- Battery-powered showers: These portable showers use a small, battery-powered pump to draw water from a container and push it through a showerhead. The water can be heated beforehand or left at ambient temperature, depending on your preference.
- DIY vehicle shower systems: Some overlanders create custom shower systems integrated into their vehicles. These can include built-in water tanks, water heaters, and showerheads mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. These setups can provide hot showers and privacy with the use of a shower tent or a privacy screen.
- Wet wipes or sponge baths: In situations where shower facilities or water is scarce, overlanders can use wet wipes or a damp cloth for sponge baths to clean themselves. Biodegradable, unscented wet wipes designed for camping are a practical option for a quick and water-efficient cleanup.
- Natural water sources: When in remote locations, overlanders may use rivers, lakes, or streams to bathe. It’s essential to use biodegradable soap and keep a safe distance (at least 200 feet) from the water source to minimize the impact on the environment.
Regardless of the shower method chosen, it’s crucial to be mindful of water conservation and the environment. Overlanders should use biodegradable soaps, practice good hygiene, and adhere to Leave No Trace principles to ensure they minimize their impact on the areas they visit.