• Bryan Donoghue

Water Purification Tips & Tricks

Stay Healthy While Staying Hydrated Out In The Wild!


a man filters water from a stream by flashlight at night in the middle of the mountains

Photo Credit: Robert Ritchie



Last week on the blog, we featured a series of fire safety tips that were originally posted to the Pathloom Instagram and TikTok pages. This week, we want to do the same with water safety, highlighting a few of the more popular methods for removing impurities, germs, and potentially dangerous bacteria from your water source while you're out hiking or camping.


There are plenty of safe, effective ways to filter your water prior to drinking while out in the backcountry. Your preferred method will depend on a number of factors. If you've got a camp stove and a pot handy, you can boil everything - but if you're backpacking and trying to keep your pack's weight down, this might not be the best way of doing things. Tablets are great, extremely compact and easy to use - but they can take up to 30 minutes to work, which might be an issue if you're running out of time before the sun sets. A LifeStraw is an excellent, fast option for water filtration direct from the source - but you might not be able to get close enough to your water source to utilize it safely or properly. A SteriPen utilizes UV light to effectively kill germs and bacteria - but won't help with physical debris should any get into your water bottle. Choose an option that will work best with your planned itinerary for your trip.


A few tips and tricks for your water filtration edification:

  • Check warnings for the area you'll be camping/hiking in to see what sorts of impurities are found in the local water. Certain purification methods have various degrees of success against certain impurities, so make sure your method matches up to what you need to protect against!

  • This one is fairly self-explanatory, but if there's water available at your campsite, check to make sure it's potable before drinking!

  • Remember to let your water stay at a rapid boil for at least one minute before removing it from the heat and allowing it to cool. If you're at increased elevation you'll need to boil it for longer - 3 minutes for anything over a mile high.

  • Go for the chlorine dioxide tablets rather than iodine, which can turn your water yellowish. It's still safe to drink, but it doesn't look as appetizing and can leave a bit of an aftertaste.

  • If using a SteriPen, make sure to stir it around your water bottle, as that increases the efficacy of the UV germ-killing technology. Bring extra batteries, too!

  • Be sure to replace the filters of your water filtration system on a regular basis - more often than the average person changes out their Brita filters, at the very least! (Note: don't actually use a Brita filter for backcountry water filtration, it is not graded for that and will not remove all traces of harmful bacteria!)








Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may enjoy:

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Van Life Guide: Boondocking

Van Life Guide: Not All Motor Oil and Roses

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Dakota: Legend Country (Part 2)

Dakota: Legend Country (Part 1)


If you’re looking to get out there for an adventure of your own, and could use a bit of guided leadership for the experience, check out some upcoming trips from our partners at Cairn Leadership. Our team is really looking forward to the Death Valley Backpacking Trip in early January (2022) and encourages our community to register for this epic trip using the code PATHLOOM at check-out for $100 off!


Sign up on our website for exclusive early access to the Pathloom BETA app, and let us help you plan your next outdoor trip! As an early user, you will receive exclusive access to our BETA app, outdoor guides, and information - created solely for you by Pathloom!

Pathloom is a Bay Area-based technology startup on a mission to get more people outdoors, more often by reimagining the way people discover the outdoors.