What’s the Best Way to Purify Water?

Flowing springYou may have seen videos of some seasoned woodsman or survivalist who filters dirty water through a bandana or drinks water through a straw and a cigarette filter from a sinister looking puddle. Not only are these worst case scenarios for water filtration, they do absolutely nothing to purify the water. Drinking contaminated water without purifying it can be extremely dangerous. So what’s the best way to purify water?

People often have the misconception that water filtration and water purification are interchangeable. This is not the case. Filtering water removes large particles, sediment, and some types of bacteria. While water filtration is beneficial, it doesn’t always mean that the water is safe to drink.

Water purification removes viruses, chemicals, and biological contaminants, and ensures that the water is potable. Those survivalists who drink water through a cigarette may avoid a mouthful of sand, but they might be getting a mouthful of hepatitis A instead.

There are a few different ways to purify water. Some methods of water purification include boiling, tablets, drops, and UV light.

Boiling is the least efficient way of purifying water. It takes longer and requires a more elaborate set up than other water purification methods. Boiling water can be used in a pinch, but shouldn’t be your main means of water purification.

Water purifying tablets or purifying droplets are lightweight and easy to pack. They are extremely effective in purifying water, and easy to use. Tablets and drops can be made from iodine, chlorine dioxide, or other types of chemicals. The directions may vary from product to product, but you essentially just drop the tabs or drops into your water and wait.

Ultraviolet light is another popular way of purifying water. Steripen and Camelbak are just a couple of the companies that make UV light purifiers. The advantage of this type of water purifier is that you don’t have to use chemicals or deal with a taste or odor that some tablets and drops leave behind. However, UV purifiers do not work as well with cloudy or murky water meaning you typically need a filter in addition to the purifier. Light purifiers also require batteries to work, which means you can be out of luck if your batteries run out.

Different people prefer different types of water purification. Some like the convenience and reliability of drops or tablets, while others are willing to carry a filter and extra batteries for the luxury of a having a UV light water purifier. Stop by the store to get a more hands on experience with water purifiers and find the one that’s right for you.

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