Survival Water Filter: Manufactured, Primitive and DIY Water Filters

Knowing how to use a survival water filter in any type of emergency can often mean the difference between life and death. In the event that you are in a situation where typical water supplies have become contaminated and unsafe to consume, a filter will help you procure several days of clean drinkable water until the situation can be resolved.

Survival Without Water

A number of emergencies can be a catalyst for a water crisis. Whether you are stranded in the wilderness without supplies or severe weather causes flooding and aquifer contamination, at times you may be without clean viable sources of drinking water. People can go weeks without food and survive; however, this is not the same for fluids. It is important to know that even becoming 2.5% dehydrated can make your body 25% less effective.

The average person requires at least two quarts of clean drinking water per day under normal circumstances. That amount rises significantly when you add in other factors such as activity level and sun exposure. It is imperative that we replace the water that we lose through perspiration, and the higher the temperatures are, the quicker the body becomes dehydrated. Research has shown that, at an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the human body can survive approximately 10 days without water if their activity level is low.

What Does a Survival Water Filter Do?

A survival water purifier, or filter, is a potentially life-saving tool that takes contaminated water and turns it into a clean source of drinking water. While these filters are typically used for outdoor recreation or outdoor emergencies, knowing how to use a survival water purification system is also a big help during widespread crises where clean bottled water is in short supply and the public water system is rendered unsafe.

The Award Winning LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Types of Water Filters

Water purification survival filters can be used almost anywhere and come in a variety of styles. Survival filters can be purchased ahead of time and stored away for emergency use; however, they can also be created from basic materials if you find yourself without clean drinking water unexpectedly.


Coghlan's Water Filter

Store-Bought Survival Water Filters

If you worry about being faced with a situation where clean drinkable water is not available and you are financially able to do so, it is recommended that you purchase a survival water filter and learn to use it long before you actually need it. These filters can be purchased from several different manufacturers and can come in sizes ranging from a small tube for convenient outdoor use to the size of your average water cooler to purify larger amounts of water.

The smaller filters can clean a small amount of water at a time for immediate use, which is convenient when only one or two people need water for camping situations or wilderness emergencies. Larger filtration systems such as the Berkey water filter purification systems can purify and store up to two and a half gallons of water at a time, which can be used to cook and provide fluids for a number of people. Survival water filters do not require power and most require only the use of a replaceable filter cartridge, which, in larger filters, can last up to 3,000 gallons.

Manufactured survival filters are a bit expensive, with larger models ranging from $250 to $300; however they are a solid investment, when you consider that they will likely pay for themselves over time, especially since you have the option of purifying your tap water on a regular basis to decrease your need for store-bought bottled water.

Primitive Survival Filters

In the event that you find yourself stranded in the wilderness with only natural sources of water to drink, it is wise that you find a way to purify the water you do find to prevent illness. Bacteria, viruses, animal waste and even chemicals that can cause sickness when consumed often pollute bodies of natural water and standing water. If in these instances you are not carrying a portable survival water filter, you can easily filter water using objects that are likely to be around you.

Birch Bark Water Filter

To make this survival filter, use a knife to cut a large square of bark from the side of a birch tree. Roll the bark into a large cone, making sure that the hole in the bottom end is relatively small, but large enough for water to pass through. Tie the cone in place using string or any vined plants you may find nearby.

Once you have your cone assembled, you will need to fill it with several layers of materials that will help filter any bacteria and other contaminants from your water source. Start by placing a few small rocks in the bottom of your cone. On top of that, you will want to alternate layers of sand, grass and charcoal if available to help filter the water.

To strain the water using this survival water filter, you will need two containers, one for contaminated water and one for clean water. Collect water from your water source in one container and put the other underneath your cone. Pour the unclean water through the large opening in the cone and allow it to trickle through the entire contraption, emptying out into the container below.

Outdoor experts recommend running the water through the filter two to three times for best results. It is also important to know that if you are unable to find a body of water, containers can be set up to serve as a rain catchment system. You can then create your cone filter and use it the same way.


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