Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink, well not unless you want some pathogens swimming through your intestinal track. Without a doubt water is needed for survival. Three days without water and you die, and this “rule of thumb” doesn’t take into consideration physical exertion, wounds, illness, and environment. So now that we have established that water is crucial to survival we have to face the fact that long gone are the days that you could dip your cup into a pristine stream and chug water till your hearts content. Luckily many companies have come up with filters, pills, and processes to make water potable. Now you might think that with your new gadget you can once again drink away; well not exactly. The fact of the matter is no matter what filter, process, pill you have you need to Think Before You Drink.
No Silver Bullet
The last time I checked there is no portable filter that “does it all”. Each one has its strengths and limitations and its your responsibility to know what they are. Not only do you need to know the limitations of your device or process but you need to find out where the water you are about to drink is coming from. That water may look clean where you are but how does it look upstream? Is there a factory or city upstream? A farm? Are their other streams feeding into it? Is it moving? Is it stagnant? This information needs to be gathered so you know if your device/process can properly shield you from the possible threats or if you need to find a better water source.
Related: Sawyer Mini Water Filter Review
I always encourage people to have multiple ways of processing water from boiling to iodine pills. This not only provides you with a back up solution in case something breaks or runs out but it also gives you layers of protection from all the different contaminates that can be in our water. If you do your “recon” and ascertain that a filter that takes care of bacteria, cysts, and protozoa is sufficient then you can save time and resources by not using a virus filter or having to make a fire to boil water. Or you discover a settlement upstream and think it would be wise to go straight to boiling. In a Bug Out or survival situation sanitation is going to be at a minimum and even though you may live in a 1st world country it will not take long before some water is riddled with cholera, typhoid, polio or hepatitis A, so be prepared for more than your garden variety giardia.
Think Before You Drink
Now you’re probably thinking you will never drink from a stream or lake again. I wouldn’t go that far. I can say that I have been using my Sawyer mini for 4 years on its own and sometimes with a charcoal filter and have not had any problems. Is this impart to the filter? Yes, but its also because I will Think Before I Drink. I looked for water coming straight from the rocks. I avoided the stagnant cesspools or streams with an abundance of trash. If you do this you will not only stay healthy and hydrated but you will also prolong the life of your filters, pills, etc. because you will not overtax them or use a resource more than you need too. If you haven’t gone out to your Bug Out or Survival location and checked out your nearby water source you might want to do that and give it a “Think”.
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