Knowing how to filter water is a handy skill to have on your outdoor adventures.

Every traveler needs the right gear to have the best adventure possible. But successful travels does not just stop at having the right gear. You will need to have the right skill set to get by with as well. If you are a traveler who might find yourself in a situation where clean water is not accessible, then a must-have skill is how to filter water.

Today we are going to take a look at several different ways of how to filter water and fill your cute water bottle. From conventional methods that require some basic equipment to it to nitty-gritty DIY methods of how to filter water. We are going to dive deep (pun intended) into the many different ways you can filter water so that you can keep on going. Let’s get started!

Boil Water

How To Filter Water - Boil

One of the easiest ways to get clean water is by boiling it. The great thing about boiling water is that you can do this while you are out on a wilderness adventure with ease. You can even do this at home if you want to make sure your tap water is as clean as it can be. Boiling water is an extremely effective method of killing pathogens that can cause illnesses. Simply put the water in a pot and let it boil for at least one minute.

If you find yourself hiking or climbing in or up a very high elevation, then you will want to boil the water for longer than one minute. In high altitudes, be sure to boil your water for at least 3 to 4 minutes. This is because at higher elevations where the air is thinner, water will boil at a lower temperature. While it is not the act of the boiling itself that will kill harmful bacteria and viruses, it is the actual temperature of the water. You want to make sure to get the water as hot as it can get in order to filter your water effectively.

Drink From a Spring Source

If you are out in the wilderness, then this next method of how to filter water can be a pretty quick fix. Look around your environment and see if you can find a bubbling spring source. A flowing spring source from any mountainous area is typically safe to drink. However, do keep in mind that this method is not foolproof. In certain agricultural regions where pesticides are used to protect plants, you may want to steer clear of this method. Pesticides can flow into clean spring sources and contaminate the flow of water. However, if you are in a region that is not populated and has not been disturbed, then you should be all right to drink the water.

Use a Shirt as a DIY Filter

If you find yourself in an emergency situation where you need to figure out how to filter water with limited resources, then this method is for you. To pull this off, you will need some sort of fabric such as a bandanna or shirt. The tightly knit the fibers in your fabric are, the better. Simply take a container and tie your fabric around the top of the container. Next, pour your water onto the fabric so that it can drip down into the container. Be sure to pour the water slowly. This initial filtration system will help take out any visible debris. Next, you will want the water to sit for a little bit in the container so that any smaller particles will settle on to the bottom. Before you drink the water after it has settled, see if you can try and boil it first. Boiling the water will help clear it of any potential pathogens.

Use Charcoal for an Advanced DIY Water Filter

How To Filter Water - Use Charcoal

This next method of how to filter water can be used in any survival situation. This process requires several steps and a bit of tedious prep work. However, this is one of the best ways if you need to figure out how to filter water when you are in the wilderness.

Step One: Prepare Your Materials

Before you do anything, you will want to gather the materials you will need for this advanced water filtration system. The first thing you will need is some charcoal. While charcoal is one of the last things you can expect to find in the wilderness, the good news is you can make your own. To make your own charcoal in the wilderness you want to start a fire first. Build a hot wood fire and let the wood burn out completely. Once your wood has burned out, cover it with dirt and grass and wait several hours before you dig it up. Once you dig up the burned wood, break it up into chunks. After you have done that, you will have successfully made yourself some makeshift charcoal. Next on your list of supplies is two containers. You will need one container for the water to filter through and another container for your water to drip into.

Step Two: Prepare Your Filter

For this next step, you will want to get your hands on some cloth. In a worst-case scenario, a shirt or two will suffice. Break up your charcoal and pack it very tightly into a piece of cloth. You do not want the charcoal to be loosely packed. When you pour the water through it, you want the water to trickle through the broken up charcoal as opposed to running right through it. To make sure you do this correctly, be sure to pack your charcoal into the cloth as tightly as you can.

Once you have packed your charcoal, place it in the bottom the bottom of your filtration container. Next, you will need to get another piece of fabric and packet it with rocks and pebbles or sand. A mixture of these three can work just fine as well. You can even use grass and leaves if there are no rocks. Just be sure that the grass and leaves you use are not poisonous. Once you have completed packing together your pebbles and rocks, you are ready to add it to your filtration system. Simply place your cloth bag of pebbles and rocks over your cloth bag of charcoal and you are ready to go.

Step Three: Assemble the Filtration System

Next, you want to place the container that houses your makeshift filter on top of a clean container. Before you do this, be sure that your makeshift container has a hole on the bottom of it. This way, water can trickle outside of your filtration container into your clean container.

Step Four: Pour Water Through Your Filtration System

Once you have your filtration system assembled and ready, you are now set to begin filtering your water. The best method of how to filter water is by slowly pouring your water on top of your makeshift shelter. You want your water trickle down through the sand and through the rocks to get to the final destination. So be sure not to pour too quickly.

Step Five: Repeat

Once you have filtered the water, you want to repeat this process at least four or five more times. The more you filter the water through your makeshift water filter, the more cleaner your water will be. Remember each time you pour, you want to pour slowly so that your water will filter well between each rock and charcoal piece.

If this makeshift water filter is something that you will be keeping with you throughout your adventure, then be sure to swap out your filtering materials. Change out the top cloth bag of rocks, sand, and pebbles often. Microbes in the rocks can develop into bacteria growth that may be harmful to you. When you use your makeshift water filter several times, be sure to swap out the top layer of sand and rocks with a new one.

Purchase a Conventional Filter

How To Filter Water - Purchase a Conventional Filter

If your travels have brought you home, but you want to continue filtering your water, then you still can! One of the best ways of how to filter water is by purchasing one best product on the market; A conventional water filter. There are several types of water filters you can choose from when you were looking for a water filter. Here are some of the top three water filters that are available for cleaner, fresher water.

1. Charcoal or Carbon Water Filter

The first type of water filter is a carbon or charcoal water filtration system. These types of filters are the most popular because they are fairly cheap and eliminate most microbes. They will help filter out most organic contaminants that are found in everyday tap water. These organic contaminants include lead, mercury, and even asbestos.

2. Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

The next commonly used water filter is a reverse osmosis water filter. Filtering your water with a reverse osmosis water filter will help remove inorganic contaminants such as arsenic and nitrates. You only want to use reverse osmosis filters when you know that your water is contaminated with a chemical that a carbon or charcoal filter will not remove.

3. De-Ionizing Water Filters

These type of filters are also called ion exchange filters. A de-ionizing water filter help remove minerals from your water. Using a de-ionizing water filter is best if you want to turn hard water into soft water. Just be aware that de-ionizing filters do not remove contaminants in the water.

Once you choose the type of filter you would like, there are often two ways of using them. The first main method of using your new filtration system is by using a pitcher that houses the water filter system. The Brita company is most known for providing filter infused pitchers. Another common home assembly to filter your water is by installing a small product right onto your sink. This way whenever you turn on your sink your water will be automatically filtered.

Finally, if you would like to filter the water throughout your house then you may want to install a whole house water filtration system. This is only necessary if the water in your house is severely contaminated and unsafe for common things such as showering and bathing.

Whichever filtration method you use, be sure to swap out the filter regularly. Read your manufacturer's instructions so that you know exactly when to switch out your water filter. Most filtration system such as the Brita pitcher filtration system will let you know when it is time to swap out your water filter. Finally. companies like Brita and Delta offer great water filtration systems for you to choose from.

The Drinkable Book 

Another great invention that you may want to consider taking with you on your adventures is The Drinkable Book. This incredible invention was thought up of by researchers at the University of Virginia. This amazing book not only educates people about how to filter your water, but you can actually rip out the pages to filter out your own water. Using one sheet of this book can filter up to 100 liters of water. Each filter can provide water for about 30 days. And each book can filter up to four years worth of water. When tested, the pages in the drinkable book were able to rid dirty water of 99.9% of the harmful bacteria that can cause sickness and even death. Consider snagging your copy of the drinkable book to take on your adventures if you need a portable water filter

Final Thoughts

If you have ever wanted to know how to filter water, well you don’t have to look any further. With a little bit of fire, and a little bit of ingenuity, you don’t have to worry too much about getting lost in the wilderness without any water. While we cannot guarantee that you won’t get lost, we can guarantee you this. If you follow these tips and tricks of how to filter water, you should be good to continue on in your adventure.

Related Article: 7 Best Portable Water Filters for Your Outdoor Adventures