Water Wednesdays: Filtration

Safe Drinking Water on the Go

When you camp, where do you get your water? A tap? A natural spring? Random pump of questionable origin? Do you load up on gallon jugs at your local gym right before you head out?

Now, public taps are supposed to have warnings on them if they’re deemed unsafe for any reason. However, this in itself causes a problem:

  1. someone has to realize that particular spot may not be safe
  2. someone has to do the paperwork to get it looked at
  3. someone has to approve the spending for sampling and testing
  4. someone has to not ignore the results of the test
  5. someone has to not cause a Flint issue

All of these things should be fairly simple, especially if steps 2-5 are the same person. Yet Step 5 happened. It really, really happened, and it’s still a bad situation. And it happens in minor amounts constantly. (Seriously: be careful about public park drinking fountains. You know how fire extinguishers get ‘checked’? Yeah, it’s a lot like that. But without the mallet.)

So, there are some easy ways to help keep yourself, and your family a little less contaminated while out in nature.


I’m going to break with my tradition of using a single example to represent an entire bit of gear. I’m going to provide this link now: personal water filtration and then talk about the different sizes people tend to use.


Single Person Easy Use

They start with a big straw (like in the bottle above). That thing that looks like a cold pack? It’s a filtering straw.

There’s a version that you can dip right into a river. I have to admit that I haven’t. It kinda creeps me out. On the other hand, my little brother (yes, the health-issues one – I only have one brother) has, and he doesn’t find it weird. He also doesn’t just stick it in near a bank, he goes out a bit for faster-moving water. 

It’s easy to use because it’s just a straw. It’s also easy to carry, for the same reason.


Single Person

There are also bottle styles, like I show above. This one I’m comfortable with using. Again, our original sources for water are those we think are less likely to be bothersome, but the bottle itself is good at its job.

Personally, I care that the water comes from sources that aren’t contaminated by farms or factories, and that aren’t getting anything extra from the pipes, and aren’t in a position to be growing anything – don’t drink from stagnant water!! 

 There is a reusable bag style that I’m having trouble finding a good example for (which is weird, because it’s all my brother drank from for two years). It transports like a regular collapsible bottle – just with two bags instead, and you can carry it as one or two pieces (but as 1 piece is easier). The water sack never touches anything else, since the part you drink from is at the other end of the filtering sack. They’re not pulled off the market, I just can’t find it. 


Multi-Person Use

There are mostly 2 styles:

  • those based off the camp shower design
  • those based off the lemonade/Gatorade giant yellow containers you see sports teams drink from

The first type actually reminds me of an IV bag (but I just spent this past summer dragging 3 of us between medical specialists and hospitals, so I don’t know if it’s an objective comparison …probably not). It can be nice, however, especially to ensure everyone can reach it, as long as you have a sturdy branch to hang it from. That way, it’s not taking up valuable surface area, or forcing everyone to get to the ground to refill their bottles. Remember: people already don’t drink enough water – don’t add complications!

The second is a more traditional water container. The second style can generally hold more. However, it needs to take up part of that valuable surface area we covet – the design of it requires it. Don’t try to hang any of these. They aren’t meant for it, and you could damage it without realizing it.

They both do the job well, and are easy to refill.


What to Use to Refill the Multi-Person Styles

So, you care about water filtration. You want clean drinking water while out camping, or even just tailgating. but how do you get water into the filtration system?

You can carry a hose, but that takes up a ton of space and weight.

You can just use your own bottles, but that defeats the point of a filtering system entirely.

You can carry a collapsible bucket. Probably your best bet – and easier to disinfect.

Whatever you choose, pick something you, or a willing person in your group, can fill and carry repeatedly. Lugging a 5-gallon water jug for a few hundred feet (or a mile or two) once is very different than doing it 3 times every day. Realize your strength limitations, and don’t get hurt.


One of the extra perks to the single use options is that they can not only be used in addition to the larger styles; but also puts the responsibility into each person’s own hands. Even kids can be expected to carry their own, and just be reminded to refill them whenever there’s a good and safe spot.


That overall link again is here.


Do you have a preferred filtration method?

Did you notice I left out the Dune System from this? Can you guess why?

Do you think my break from tradition is silly?

Let me know in the comments!


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Again, just to remind you, the links may be affiliate programs; but you don’t pay extra for it!


I'm (now) an Affiliate, who blogs about the materials, gear and supplies needed for living in a tent and long term camping: http://longtermcamping.siterubix.com I also enjoy reading and sci-fi in all its many forms.

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