How Do You Purify Water on a Backpacking Trip?

By Robert Palmer

Going on a backpacking trip means that you are responsible for obtaining all of your own water. This means that you will need to purify all of the water that you find during your journey.

Purifying water is an important part of keeping yourself healthy and safe while out in the wilderness. Fortunately, there are several ways to purify water while on a backpacking trip.

Boiling is one of the oldest and most effective ways to purify water. Boiling water kills most bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other contaminants.

To boil your water, simply bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute. Make sure that the boiling point of the water is at least 74°C (165°F). Once boiled, let the boiled water cool down and store it in a clean container.

Chemical Treatment is another way to purify water while out in the wild. There are several chemicals available that can be used for this purpose, such as chlorine dioxide tablets or iodine drops.

Chemical treatment works by releasing substances into the water which kill harmful bacteria and viruses. Add the recommended amount of chemical treatment according to its instructions and wait for 30 minutes before drinking.

Filtering is also an option when it comes to purifying backpacking water. A filter will remove particles from the water such as dirt and sediment which can make it look cloudy or contain unwanted particles and organisms.

Portable filters come in different sizes, so make sure you get one that suits your needs. Filter your water through a clean cloth if you don’t have a filter available.

UV Light Treatment can also be used to purify backpacking drinking water. UV light treatment works by exposing contaminated water to ultraviolet rays which kills bacteria and viruses present in the water. While this method may be more expensive than other methods, it does not require any special chemicals or supplies and can be done quickly.

No matter what method you choose to use when purifying your drinking water while on a backpacking trip, it’s important to always use clean containers or vessels when storing your purified drinking-water; this will help ensure that your drinking-water stays safe for consumption.


Purifying drinking-water while on a backpacking trip is an essential part of staying healthy and safe during your journey. There are several methods available for purifying drinking-water including boiling, chemical treatment, filtering, and UV light treatment; each has its own advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to choose one depending on what best suits your needs.