Posted by on June 29, 2016

Don’t drink standing water! Don’t drink unpurified water! You’ll get sick and vomit up all the liquids inside your body then all kinds of bad stuff will happen to you, just don’t do it. But you’re thirsty, you’re dehydrated, you’re starting to get woozy and desperate. So what do you do?

Fast, rushing water is generally safe to drink but if all you’ve found is a stagnant pool, there is still hope. First, if you have a pot and fire, you can boil the water to purify it. As one of my favourite survival guys, John Hudson, says – big bubbles, no troubles.

But I don’t have a pot or a fire and I’m DYING of thirst, what do I do?!

The other way to purify water is to filter it.

OH MY GOD, Beth, there are no Britta filters in the wilderness!

Then you make one! Ok, so there are two ways of doing this.

Got a plastic water bottle? Good. Cut it in half. The top half will be your filter, the bottom half will be your vessel. Tear of a strip from your t-shirt or use part of your sock to plug the hole. Then fill the bottle with equal parts of the following, in this order –

  1. Fine Sand or dirt
  2. Coarse Sand or dirt
  3. Grass or leaves, tightly packed
  4. Gravel

Push the filter into the bottom half of the bottle so it stays upright, then pour in your dirty water. It’ll take a while but the water will start dripping into the bottom, tada, filtered water!

Second method is to dig a well. Start digging a foot or so away from the pool. Dig until the bottom of the hole starts to get wet or muddy, then dig some more until you see water seeping in. Cover the top of the hole with leaves or similar and leave it for a couple of hours. Go back and you should have a nice pool of water, naturally filtered by the earth. This may still have bad stuff in it so it’s still a good idea to boil the crap out of it, but without fire and without a bottle filter, I’d risk drinking this water.

**Disclaimer – I’m not a survival expert. Don’t try this stuff at home. I accept no responsibility etc. If you want to learn more about survival, there are dozens of fantastic courses you can take and I encourage you to do so**

Posted in: A Week in the Wild