I made the video below 3 years ago. Since that time, and for many years prior, nothing has changed for me in how I collect and treat water in the backcountry for biological pathogens. And when I say collect, it is more than just dipping my bottle or pot in a creek, there is a thought process I use in reducing the variables that could hurt me as you will see in the video.
It is also worth noting I am blessed with the Chattahoochee National Forest in my ‘backyard,’ thus, manmade pollutants haven’t been a concern in the places I collect water due to their remote locations and topography. I understand many who read this will not have some of those benefits, so you must address your water needs specific to YOUR environment.
When you watch the video, I hope you get a chuckle too when I talk about what could be in the water as my dog Scout walks behind me… in the water. Couldn’t have timed it any better. In this video I am just sharing what I do. There are other considerations you may need to address specific to you and where you collect water. In addition, there are more water treatments than mentioned here.
- Backpacker’s Field Manual by Rick Curtis
- Equipped to Survive – see the section on Water Purification
- Trash Bag Survival – our own article where we show how to boil water in a trash bag as well as use as a transpiration bag among a host of other things.
This is a very serious subject I do not take lightly, nor should you… as there is the potential of a variety of organisms and contaminants where we collect drinking water in the backcountry that could make us sick or even cause death.
I am sharing here WHAT I DO in my woods for collection and treatment of backcountry water — you should note I have a ‘day job’ and do not make my livelihood as a survival instructor. In this article I have listed additional sources of information and my bio (below). Always consider your source of information and understand your environment maybe different than mine! This is not a substitute for proper training and experience. If you have any questions about that, please see our ABOUT page.