How to purify water in the wild

Exploring in the wilderness is thirsty work, and it’s super important to keep yourself hydrated. Once you’ve found yourself a source, it’s essential that you know how to purify water to ensure that it’s free from bacteria and harmful bugs when you drink it.

Drinking unsanitary water significantly increases your chance of picking up a nasty virus or becoming very sick, but luckily, there are many different methods which, if followed correctly, means finding clean water to drink can be a doddle. So, here’s how to make sure that you are drinking clean water.

Boiling water


The classic method. If you have access to a stove or you’re a dab hand at building a fire, then boiling your water is a relatively easy method for you to use. All you have to do is bring the water to boiling point for one minute at elevations of up to 2,000m and three minutes at elevations higher than that, remove it from the heat, let it settle and cool for further few minutes – and then you’re all good to go! Just be aware that boiling water will not remove any solids, so if you can see any suspicious looking floaters, you’ll want to strain those out.

Gravity filter


If you’re on the go and haven’t got the time to be faffing around with stoves or building fires, then using a gravity filter is a great option. They’re super easy to use, as once the water is in, gravity will do all the hard work for you (so no need to pump!). Once the water has gone through the filtering system, you’re fine to drink it as the contaminants will have been removed.

MSR’s AutoFlow Gravity Filter is an ultralight and efficient purification system, which would be well-suited for any backpacking trip. To read more about the product click here.

Using a pump to purify water


Using a pump is a highly trusted way to purify water. They were originally designed for use within the military and are still commonly used by adventurers all over the globe today. Water is driven through the filtering system by a hand pump, which filters out all the bad stuff, ensuring it’s safe for you to drink.

MSR’s Guardian Purifier is a long-lasting and reliable option, which enables you to clean your water with ease. To read more about the product click here.

Chemical treatment

Probably the most lightweight water purification option out there, using chemical treatments (e.g. chlorine or iodine) is a very easy way to get clean water. All you need to do is pop the treatment into your water and wait the instructed amount of time before drinking it (this can be from minutes to hours, so make sure to always check the label!). The only downsides to chemical treatments is that they don’t remove solids, and you may find that some leave a funny taste in the water.

Pocket sized filters


If you aren’t a fan of the taste of chemical treatments, but you still need an option that wont weigh you down, then pocket-sized filters could be for you. They’re super handy for times that you are on the go and need instant hydration, as you can drink straight from the source, which makes finding safe water to drink an easy task. You can also use them to fill your vessels, giving you clean water to drink for hours.

MSR’s Trailshot Pocket-Sized Water Filter, is ideal for the fast paced adventurers. To read more about the product click here.

See MSR’s full range of water treatment products by heading to