Water, an essential resource to survive outdoors. Part II
As was mentioned in a previous post, water is critical for survival, especially when you are outdoors, far from modern civilization's water supply, and without access to safe natural sources of water.
That's especially true in dry, hot environments but also in places where there's plenty of water because, no matter how much is available, when you are outdoors, it's impossible to know if the available water resources are suitable for human consumption or if it is contaminated, representing a health hazard if it's drunk.
Since there's no precise way to assess water safety on the field, when we are outdoors it's necessary to assume all the water we have access to, is potentially contaminated thus, it is not advised in any way to drink water from natural sources if it has not been previously treated.
And that's why every outdoor activities lover must be equipped with two basic water treatment tools.
The first one is a filter.
There are several models available in the market, each one meeting individual needs for a given situation but, essentially all they work the same way, removing impurities such as sand, debris, and organic material from the water intended for human consumption.
The size and model of your filter will depend upon the time you will expend outside, the amount of water required as well the number of people in your group. While bigger the water needs, a more robust, durable filter will be needed, moreover, if you expect to deal with sediment-rich water sources, a bigger, stronger filter will be necessary.
However, a filter alone is not enough because even when macroscopic material is removed, bacteria and viruses still may be in your water without being noticed, so additional safety measures are required. In this regard, chemical water purifying systems are paramount to guarantee the biological safety of your water.
These devices may work in different ways but the most common is by adding a given, standard chlorine concentration per liter of water to kill all living organisms in the water.
The procedure is safe and simple but it remains paramount to follow the manufacturer's instructions to achieve proper results.
Perhaps carrying all this gear might represent extra weight and bulky apparel to fit in your backpack, but the effort is worth it.
You may survive without food for up to a month but only a few days without water.
Even worse, contaminated water consumption may lead to severe health problems jeopardizing not only your well-being but risking even your life, so treating water is essential to avoid unnecessary risks when you are outdoors and the water supply you bring from home is exhausted.