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Essentials for camping

While only using the following resources – a full tang-fixed blade knife, split log, plastic container, spruce or pine resin and a hot fire, this technique proves to be useful when you cannot find flowing water from lakes or streams and have non-ideal, non-compact snow to work with. In this survival segment, wilderness survival experts Zach & Cody will demonstrate a unique method for melting snow without the aid of a metal cooking container (pot, pan or cup) in a winter environment.

Fresh, clean drinking water is an essential necessity for life and crucial in a winter wilderness setting. Even less information is available for determination of the quality of remote (i.e., wilderness) surface-water sources 8 E. coli and Vibrio cholerae may occur naturally in tropical waters and may be capable of surviving indefinitely 9 Enteric pathogens can also retain viability for long periods in cold water 5 Most enteric organisms, including Shigella species and Salmonella typhosa, hepatitis A virus, and Cryptosporidium species, can survive for weeks to months when frozen in water 10-12. Use it to drink directly from streams and lakes, or fill up a container and use your LifeStraw to enjoy clean water on the go. The LifeStraw has unlimited shelf life and once opened can provide an individual with more than 5 years of safe drinking water.

Boiling: The most effective way to remove both viruses and bacteria from water is simply to boil it. Bring it to a roiling boil and keep it there for 60 seconds or so and you’ve got safe drinking water. These filters allow you to drink directly from contaminated water sources They physically filter out 99% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa by using hollow fiber membranes. My concern is that someone in the near-future will find themselves in some unexpected wilderness emergency and, based on information gleaned from poor sources as those previously described, will drink their urine in a fit of desperation, thereby initiating a descending spiral that results only in a body recovery by SAR teams.

Chemicals: Anyone who needs drinking water while in the wilderness should always have certain chemicals on hand to purify the water. How to Find and Purify Drinking Water in the Wilderness. You can use these to melt snow and obtain water for drinking Remember to collect clean snow for melting.

Linck is quick to chastise the outdoors industry for “claiming the average hiker or camper needs a $99.95 microfilter pump to avoid illness and death.” Maybe expensive devices are talked up by their makers (are we really blaming companies for wanting to sell their products?), but luckily, the people that study waterborne diseases and pretty much everyone who has had any kind of training in wilderness survival will tell you that decent water treatment can be done a myriad of ways, many of which are dirt cheap. Using plastic sheeting, a shovel, container, drinking tube, and a rock, you can create a solar still—a type of water collection system that uses condensation and the sun to create a water reserve. Straw type filters are one of the most common types of water filters used to purify water in the wilderness survival situation.

There are a lot of people who will tell you that you can make a water filter to purify water in the wilderness by layering gravel, sand and charcoal in an old soda bottle. Nevertheless, you should never trust water you find in the wilderness, but should purify all water in the wilderness before drinking it. There is a small, inexpensive device which you can buy, which has been developed to allow people in third world countries to pasteurize water as a means of purifying it. This device, called a Water Pasteurization Indicator” or more commonly called a WAPI, consists of a plastic capsule with a wax pellet in it. The container for the WAPI can be used as a float for it, by inserting the WAPI into a hole in the bottom of the container.

I remember being on a wilderness canoe trip when I was eight, and watching our guide scoop up water from the river we were paddling on and drinking it…I asked her how she knew it was safe. With the right survival kit, you’ll be able to do what’s necessary to make the water from these sources safer to drink. Boiling is always the best option for drinking any non-treated water source, but if you’re forced into a situation where it’s not an option, rainwater is the safest, untreated bet.  For more information on water filtration, be sure to visit

Sarah Davis: Sarah, a data scientist, shares insights on big data, machine learning, AI, and their applications in various industries.