Questions relating to obtaining, carrying, or purifying water for use during outdoor excursions.

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44
votes
4answers
24k views

Is drinking urine safe?

We've all heard stories about how people saved their lives by drinking their urine. Is drinking urine safe when there are no other water sources available? Can I filter it with a water purifier?
36
votes
11answers
8k views

How to carry water in freezing temperatures?

When backpacking in freezing weather, water in a canteen often turns to ice. I am looking for a canteen that Will not burst when the volume of water increases due to freezing Will make it possible, ...
26
votes
4answers
11k views

Do iodine water treatment tablets have negative effects?

I've heard that iodine water treatment tablets can have negative side effects. Is this true? If so, what are some healthier alternatives?
24
votes
9answers
12k views

How much water should be carried while hiking in the desert?

I live in the Arizona desert, and during the summer, despite my best intentions, I always seem to end up doing some hiking in the summer heat. What is a good formula to figure out how much water I ...
21
votes
8answers
18k views

How to keep water cold in hot weather?

When doing outdoor sports like hiking or biking I'll always take a lot of cold water with me. I love to drink cold water and I feel more refreshed compared to drinking warm or not-so-cold water. But ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Can you boil an egg in dirty water?

I'm going on a one day hike, and I want to cook an egg whilst on it. I'd like to avoid carrying excess water, and the route goes past a couple of waterfalls and several streams, so there is no problem ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Do you need to purify all mountain water sources

I was just reading this question What is the safest way to purify water? Now I walk a lot in Snowdonia in North Wales and on occasion I drink from mountain streams. I've even camped next to mountain ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

In a survival situation, should I drink unpurified water?

If I am in a survival situation, is there any reason I shouldn't drink the available water? I am aware of Giardia and cholera. Are these worthy concerns, or are there good enough cures available that ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

This weekend we went "pole camping". A pole camp site (dutch link only) is a camp site offered by the departments of forestry in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is very basic. What is offered is a ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Does a life-straw replace my water while hiking?

Let's assume I hike in a region with a lot of streams, rivers and lakes (South-Germany etc.) not longer than for two days. Am I supposed to use a life-straw as my primary water-source or should it be ...
18
votes
4answers
644 views

Why are people so worried about Giardia?

Everyone I have ever been camping with seems to have an unwritten rule never to drink from streams no matter how clear they might seem, for fear of Giardia. I have also heard people telling about ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

How much sea water can I safely drink?

Anyone who has played in the ocean knows getting a little sea water in your mouth and swallowing it will not kill you. Seawater contains salt. When humans drink seawater, their cells are thus ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Washing dishes with seawater or freshwater?

When backpacking in a coastal region, you sometimes have access to both fresh water (e.g. a stream) and salt water (sea, bay, etc.). If you do not treat the water used for washing dishes, what are ...
16
votes
3answers
976 views

What is considered a water source, and why is it recommended to camp so far from them?

I've read one one of the US national forest or wilderness websites that when camping in the wild, one should camp at a certain distance from a water source. Should I understand a water source to mean ...
16
votes
7answers
7k views

How do you prevent mold in CamelBak hydration bladders?

When using a CamelBak (or other hydration bladder system), it is easy for mold to grow if the bladder is left sitting with water in it. What is the best way to avoid mold (or other nasties) growing ...
15
votes
2answers
586 views

Where are good places to look for water sources when I have run out on a multi-day hike?

Luckily this has never happened to me, but even the most prepared hiker can often get themselves into difficulties if they run out of water. My question here is in your experience in remote arid ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Ration or consume water?

In a situation where you don't know when you will find water again, is it better to ration the water you have over time (and ever increasing dehydration) or to drink it to quench thirst as soon as ...
14
votes
1answer
685 views

Will Iodine Tablets Ruin My CamelBak?

In the past, I have gone backpacking with some fairly expensive, heavy water purification tools. But the more I read about water safety in California's Sierras (here and here), the less I think these ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

How do you flavour your water on camping trips?

Always drinking pure water can be boring and tasteless, especially when you have to filtrate it or use sterilizer/purification tabs which might cause the water to taste really bad. What are easy ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a human survive in Saltstraumen or other whirlpool?

I am fascinated and afraid (at the same time) of whirlpools and water currents. I wonder if a average human could survive water currents or whirlpools or maybe even the Saltstraumen?
13
votes
6answers
13k views

Is it safe to drink out of a rusty thermos?

I've got a thermos for coffee and/or water storage that I use on hikes and for bike touring since it keeps things hot for hours. However, it seems like the inside is rusting a bit. Is this safe to ...
13
votes
3answers
940 views

Formula for rough amount of water to carry on hike?

Is there a formula which can be used (I'm thinking one that gives amount of water needed factoring in time or distance covered and temperature) to roughly work out the amount of water that needs to be ...
13
votes
3answers
6k views

Where can I find an iodine crystal water purification product?

For years I used a product called Polar Pure for water purification when weekend backpacking. It was an iodine based solution, so not great for a thru-hike, but fine for a week or less. Specifically, ...
12
votes
5answers
523 views

Why would I want a pressurized hydration pack?

I saw an ad today for a pressurized hydration pack. My first thought was "why?". I can't imagine a scenario would this would not lead to (a) more weight, or (b) greater risk of failure... neither of ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I desalinate seawater?

I know I shouldn't drink seawater (because of the salt it contains), but how can I desalinate it?
12
votes
4answers
561 views

Is cold shock response a real danger, if someone is used to cold water?

Various sources (mostly TV stations, at least in my region) are constantly warning about the danger of cold shock response, if someone goes to water too quickly. But on the other hand, Bear Grylls ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How safe is drinking distilled water?

Are there any adverse effects of drinking distilled water (possibly obtained melting snow or using other survival techniques like a solar still)? Maybe dehydratation, diarrhea...? Some people even ...
11
votes
4answers
392 views

How to effectively dry/clean the inside of water bladders?

After using water bladder, how to dry it thoroughly besides simply pouring out the water content so any remnant of water inside it is cleanly eliminated?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it a good Idea to drink grape sap if you have no clean water?

In spring, the grape vines are so full of watery sap that a cut from my pocket knife causes it to trickle out fairly fast, and it can be collected in a container. Someone told me that it is a good ...
11
votes
1answer
489 views

Train yourself to need less water

I'm interested in doing multi-day hikes (i.e. backpacking) in the desert where water sources are not readily available, thus requiring one to carry in enough water for the duration of the trip. On ...
11
votes
2answers
859 views

How to efficiently fill a bladder with water?

I normally use cheap, lightweight water bottles to carry my water when I'm hiking. However, sometimes I'm with people who use bladders such as a CamelBak, and I offer to go and fill water bottles, so ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Water filters - why sand and rocks?

Saw a video on youtube where some guy made a water filter out of a bottle, charcoal, sand and little rocks. He commented that since the charcoal is very porous it's great for filtering. Then, after ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it safe to drink snow?

If it snows, is it safe to drink the water when it melts? What sickness can I get from snow? I am in Europe and would like to know for here, but other places would be interesting too.
10
votes
4answers
721 views

How to stay hydrated with minimum water usage

A friend of mine asked a experienced long distance hiker, how to drink during such a hike. The answer was, drink 0.1l water per hour and then you are fine. Is this correct and can anyone add some ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Soft or hard drinking bottle?

When choosing a water bottle for hiking, a very distinct choice I can make (amongst all the other types of materials and hardiness, size and so on) is weighing up whether to purchase a "hard" plastic ...
10
votes
2answers
455 views

How much fuel to carry for melting snow?

I'm using a multi fuel stove (MSR Dragonfly) for a 10 day ski tour, how much fuel should I allow to provide sufficient water for cooking and drinking. Meals will be mostly dehydrated just-add-water ...
10
votes
1answer
297 views

How to tell if water is likely to have cryptosporidium?

I often use CLO2 (for example this product) to treat drinking water when I’m backpacking and boiling is not convenient. The instructions for the product say that the dose should be tripled if the ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the most effective means of melting snow with body heat for drinking?

The related question Is it safe to drink snow? tells us that in addtion to then normal considerations for any wild water source, you also need to consider how the snow may tip your metabolism into ...
9
votes
3answers
298 views

How can I conserve water over long treks?

Is there any way I can balance out drinking water when taking a trek, or simply taking a hike to one of the local peaks around here? Even if I come stocked, I tend to end up run out of water close to ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Reusing the same water bottle for drinking tap water

Recently, I've started drinking more and more tap water instead of buying bottles all the time (which is usually absolutely no issue in Germany). I like to use a bottle for that not fill a glass all ...
9
votes
2answers
324 views

What to do with old hydration bladders?

I have two old hydration bladders, both of which are no longer usable (in one the cap is broken, in the other the internal bag is ripped). Spare parts appear to be unavailable. Is there anything good ...
9
votes
1answer
684 views

Is it possible to 'moisture trap' from trees while thru-hiking?

I'm toying with the idea of collecting water from tree leaf transpiration, while hiking: Obviously, vegetation with larger leaf surface area (and certain types) would be better than others. But is ...
8
votes
4answers
288 views

What is the safest and most effective additive to keep drinking water from freezing?

I know that the antifreeze used in fresh water RV tanks is non-toxic and can protect to -50F. Thinking Sugar might be a good choice I posted the question How to calculate how much sugar to use as ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Are water purification tablets safe?

There are a few questions regarding safety of water purification, one regarding expiration date, another regarding iodine, but I know that there are more than one types of water purficiation tablets. ...
8
votes
2answers
783 views

What backwoods trick to get pure water produces the most safe water?

So I read this answer and I was wondering what contraption produce the most water when you don't have a water source? So what water trap produces the most water? Specifically, what should I do with my ...
8
votes
2answers
178 views

How do I make sure my cliff-diving location is safe?

I like cliff-diving, but I am always scared that there might be a rock hidden in the water. If it is a popular spot, then I just trust that someone has already done the work, but what if I am going ...
7
votes
8answers
954 views

Carry a larger water bottle or a smaller water bottle for backpacking?

I'm debating between carrying a larger water bottle and a smaller one. A larger one means I'll have to stop less to filter water, but it means I'll be carrying more, at least for a period of time. ...
7
votes
2answers
475 views

Advice on wild swimming in Ontario, Canada

I am pretty much a newbie when it comes to wild swimming, or swimming in rivers and lakes having only went once or twice. However, I'm an avid swimmer and have participated in several swimming ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Rain soaked leather jacket- how to repair?

I have a genuine full grain 1.3 mm cow hide motorcycle jacket that was caught in rain. It wasn't a downpour but I was in the rain long enough for the jacket to be pretty wet, not just the surface. I ...
7
votes
3answers
179 views

Finding water in the dry wilderness

If I'm in the wilderness in a dry, hot climate without much vegetation and I'm running low on water, what land features and other potential signs can I look for to guide me to a drinkable water ...