Part of the Lore and Saga family of web sitesBushcraft and wilderness skills with Gary Waidson
ContentsRavenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness SkillsArticles
Mountain streams provide water that often only needs a quick boil to be useable.

Water

The days of drinking water straight from the streams of Britain  and much of Europe without a care are unfortunately long gone.

Even in areas where pollution and modern farming methods do not make the water dangerous to drink, other human and animal contamination render much of the surface water in this country and most others unsafe to drink without some form of treatment.

Water purification involves two stages, firstly, unless the water is very clean, it should be filtered to remove large contaminates.

Then it should be treated either with heat or chemicals to kill any remaining organisms.

There are many high tech purification devices available on the market but my personal preference is the use of a thick canvas filter called a “Millbank bag” after the Millbank medical college. Simply filled with the water to be filtered and hung over a collection vessel. It certainly isn’t the fastest method, but it does have the advantage of not needing any manual effort, unlike pump filters.

The Millbank bag is a simple filtration system to remove larger contaminents from water

My usual approach is to hang the bag shortly after arriving at a site and leaving it to filter while getting on with other jobs around the camp.

After filtration the water must still be treated to remove micro-organisms. In places where a fire is not practical, chemical purification can be achieved with a variety of commercial treatments such as Aqua Mira.

If a fire is available then a pot of water or a volcano kettle brought to the boil will kill any harmful organisms very quickly.

A volcano kettle is a fast self contained boiler for water perfect for bushcraft and wilderness use.

People often think such methods are time consuming and if you were to time the whole procedure then it would seem so.

Consider it another way. 

Wetting, filling and hanging the Millbank bag, 30 seconds.

Placing a pot under the bag when water level drops to the line, 10 seconds.

Hanging the pot over the fire when full, 10 seconds.

Taking the pot off the fire when boiled, 10 seconds.

Although there is a lot more time between these actions the only time it really costs you is the time you are actually doing something.

Result? Two litres of water filtered and treated for 1 minute of action, faster than any hand pumped filter I know of.

If you want your water cold simply leave it to cool until the morning.

 

Another source of water that can sometimes be utilised is rainwater collected from your shelter tarp or fly sheet. This can be used with very little treatment in most places.

 

Ravenlore is part of Lore and SagaYour compass for navigationFoodFireWaterShelterDirectionLinksProjectsTravelGalleryBushcraftContactPhotographyLore and SagaRavenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills
ContentsArticles
Photo-ExpeditionsWaylandscape

Bushcraft and wilderness skills should always be practised with respect for the environment and other users of the outdoors. Leave No Trace.

All text, images and artwork on this site are the property of Gary Waidson and protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Bushcraft Navigation Set
Shelter
Fire
Water
Food
Direction
Travel
Projects
Shelter
Fire
Water
Food
Direction
Travel
Projects
Shelter
Fire
Water
Food
Direction
Travel
Projects