One of the most common mistakes made by newbie hikers is not drinking enough water while hiking demanding or long trails. An average hiker needs 1/2 l of water per hour, but that amount varies depending on the trail difficulty, weather, climate, and sun amount, personal tolerances etc.
But sometimes when you take a very long hike trail, you’re simply not in the position of carrying on your back as much water as you need in order to stay well-hydrated.
Luckily, a modern hiking gear includes various water purifiers and filters, based on different purifying methods. They are very useful addition to drinking water you carry in bottles in your backpack. If you own any of these you can easily turn any potentially contaminated water source into clean, drinking water and avoid any disease or intestinal disorder caused by pathogenic microorganisms.
Here’s a useful guide on how to choose the right water purifier or combine different water purification methods, and how to apply them depending on your possibilities, surroundings, and current situation.
A classic, but quite unpopular and sometimes inconvenient method. Boiling water takes a lot of time and you need a heat source like a fire or gas stove. Another drawback is that you have to wait before hot water gets cool and becomes drinkable.
However, boiling water destroys almost all waterborne pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) and it’s also a great method for emergency situations.
Chlorine dioxide and iodine are the most common chemical water treatments. One of the major pros is that they are lightweight. Chemicals are also pretty effective in treating viruses and bacteria.
Chemical treatment is very useful in addition to any water filter in case you’re out of spare batteries or you don’t have some kind of recharging system.
On the other hand, you have to wait several minutes to an hour for water to be purified completely and the purification process will not remove particulate matter. It takes more time to purify cold and very dirty water than warm and clear one.
And if you’re concerned with the risk of exposing your body to these small amounts of chemicals, there is no health risk if it’s taken occasionally. Actually, the benefit of drinking pathogen-free water purified with UV light outweighs the risk of ingesting these chemicals. However, pregnant women should consult a doctor before using any of these chemical treatments.
Good news! Once impractical and extra weight water filters are now made in a lightweight form by many manufacturers. The extra weight once was the major disadvantage of water filters. Pros are many: water is drinkable immediately, it tastes good, and it has a high effectiveness in removing bacteria, protozoa, and various chemical contaminators.
These type of filter has a pump and water gets clean and safe for drinking when forced through the filter.
Water filters are purifiers and filters in one, so they effectively remove any particulate matter. But unfortunately, they don’t work for viruses so you can use a chemical treatment before filtering water.
Bottle filters and straw filters are some pretty cool variations of the classic water filter. They are practical, compact and lightweight. You will satisfy your thirst almost immediately if you use a filter straw or filter bottle.
Ultraviolet Light Filters
These are very useful portable devices which use UV light to damage the DNA of various microbes and viruses. Some of them are in the form of a bottle, which is quite practical and handy solution. Unlike filters, they don’t have a pump, but they don’t work well for murky and extremely filthy water.
However, water purified with UV light purifiers gives you tasty, clean water in very short time. Just keep in mind that you should always bring spare batteries or find a way to recharge the battery if needed. Battery life can be extended if you remove the batteries when not using the UV light purifier.