The Simple Hiking Hack For Making Safe Drinking Water In Case Of Emergency

You're hiking, taking in the beautiful sights and finding refuge in the shade the trees provide. The majestic views and serene silence — minus the wind rustling the leaves, birds singing, and crunching of pebbles and sticks underneath your feet — help you feel at ease. You feel recharged.

This serendipitous feeling follows you on your hike up until a rumbling of anxiety begins to encroach upon it. You realize there's no clear water in sight. You must've miscalculated. Your water bottle is nearly empty and you have miles left on the trail before you'll be near a stream. There's a water source nearby, but this is murky, you can't drink it. But then you remember a hack you learned online and a water filter tucked away somewhere deep in your backpack.

You pause your hike and dig out a bandana and a container from your bag. It's unconventional, but this makeshift pre-filter will do, saving you from trekking while parched.

How to pre-filter murky water

Water is essential for hiking. If you find yourself running out of water while on a hike but can't find clear water nearby, you can purify dirty water to make it drinkable. All you need is something to function as a pre-filter and a filter. A bandana, coffee filter, buff, or spare sock will do for the first part.

First, grab the container you'll be using and then place the makeshift filter over the mouth. After this, you can add the water and filter it through. While it won't remove the tiny clay particles and bacteria, it will remove the bigger objects. Ultimately, this method serves as a sediment pre-filter and will only remove large items, like rocks and bugs from the water.

You'll still need a water filter to ensure the water is safe to drink. This pre-filter will make using that much easier by preventing larger objects from possibly jamming the water filter.

Water purifiers to bring along

Staying hydrated while hiking is paramount to your enjoyment, and more so than that, your overall health. Rather than chugging large amounts of water, sipping on some about every 20 minutes is an ideal way to stay hydrated. If you know you'll be on the trails for hours, or maybe even days, bringing a water purifier is a must. Sure, you can bring numerous full water bottles, but this will weigh you down and put unnecessary strain on your muscles. So, we'll say multiple water bottles are what not to put in your pack.

Using the pre-filter hack we've described is a great tool to use, as long as you have another form of filtration. Bacteria and viruses lurk in the water and pose a threat to your well-being. If you're going to drink water that isn't clear while on a hike, you'll need a water filter. Luckily, there are a large variety of options. You can choose from based on your needs. 

If you're willing to wait 30 min for water, the ultraviolet light purifier is a great option. It uses UV rays to neutralize the bad stuff in the water. If you're in a group, a gravity filter can get you 4 liters of water in minutes. If you're on your own, a sip/squeeze filter is a great option. It's light and quick, some versions allow you to stick a straw in the water and drink directly from the water source.