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Can You Filter River Water to Drink?

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In《Man vs. Wild》, The wilderness survival experts Bear and Bee in every challenge wilderness, attach the most importance to the water, outdoor activities are not convenient to bring too much water.

Unclean water often can contain a few disease-causing substances, so when you are extremely thirsty after finding water sources, had better not be eager to drink, should be on the environmental conditions at that time, necessary purification and disinfection treatment of water sources, to avoid poisoning or catch the disease because of drinking water. 

What problems should be solved to purify river water into drinking water?

The river water quality in the silt, bacteria, and algae, water cleanliness affected by weather, pollution, soil layer along the way, and the project construction, generally the river water quality is generally better than during the rainy season when the weather is sunny.

because the rainy season and sediment increase, more impurities, turbidity, chromaticity, smell, and bacteria content exceed the bid, and must after purification to drink。

The river water is purified into drinking water through three main processes

  • precipitation
  • filter
  • Sterilize

filter water processes

How do you purify river water?

osmose process

When there are floating foreign bodies in the water source or water turbidity is not clear,

first of all, we can be 3~5 meters away from the water source to dig a hole about 50~80 cm deep, the diameter of about 1-meter pit.

then let the water from the sand, stone, and soil in the gap of natural exudation,

finally, gently have exudated water out, into the box or pot and other storage containers.

Note: Do not stir up the sediment at the bottom of the pit. Keep the water clean and clear.


When the water source we find is dirty and turbid and contains a lot of sediment, foreign matter floating, microorganisms, worms, leech larvae, etc., the environment around the water source is not suitable for digging holes to filter water.

you can use this method

First of all, we can find a plastic bag and Pierce holes in the bottom to facilitate penetration or use cotton gloves, handkerchiefs, socks, sleeves, trouser legs, etc.

You can also use a Coke bottle, remove the bottom of the bottle, turn it upside down, and prick the cap with a knife.

Then fill 2-5 to 7 layers of 2~4 cm thick clean sand from bottom to top, and press firmly.

Finally, the dirty water is slowly poured into the homemade simple filter.  When the water under the filter overflows, the filtered clean water can be collected in a basin or kettle.

If you are not satisfied with the filtered water quality, you can filter the filtered water again until you are satisfied.


1: Collect the water you find into a container such as a basin or a jug.

2: Put a small amount of alum or kapok tree branches (mash), cactus (mash), and walnuts (mash) in the water.

3: Mix the water well and let it settle for 30 minutes

4: Gently scoop up the top layer of water, without stirring up the settled turbidity, so that you can get cleaner water.

Usually in addition to spring water (underground deep well water) can be directly drunk, whether river water, lake water, stream water, snow water, rain, dew, or through infiltration, filtration, precipitation, and water, it is best to carry out disinfection treatment before drinking.

How do you disinfect and water for camping?

Method 1

First, we put the water purification tablets into the water container, then stir and shake it, then let it stand for a few minutes, the water can be drunk or poured into the bottle for storage.

In general, one water purification tablet can disinfect 1 liter of water, and 2 water purification tablets can be used if the water is cloudy.  The military now uses this method to disinfect water during emergency operations in the field.

Method 2

If you don’t have access to water purification pills, you can sterilize your water with the medical iodine you have with you instead of a water purification pill.

First, add 3 or 4 drops of iodine to each liter of purified water.  If the water is cloudy, add twice as much iodine to each liter.  Then stir and shake and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes before drinking or storing.

Method 3

You can also use Chlorite, or bleach, which has antiseptic properties.

First, you need to put 3 or 4 drops of bleach per liter of water in the pre-treated water, double the amount if the water is cloudy. Shake well and let stand for 30 minutes. Safe drinking water is available. But at this time, the water contains bleach taste and sediment,

so you need to be careful not to drink the anti-precipitation of the cloudy matter together.

Method 4

If you don’t have any of the above, you can also use picnic vinegar (or even white vinegar) to disinfect water. Pour some vinegar into the pre-treated water, stir it and let it stand for 30 minutes to get drinking water, but the water will have a sour taste of vinegar.

Method 5

The best way to disinfect water at height Sea level below 3000 meters and if you have a fire is to boil the water for 5 minutes, and this method is simple and practical.

Use this method to disinfect rivers, lakes, streams, rain, dew, and snow when planning to hike or have a picnic so that you can drink and cook.

When you find salty water, boil it with Mongolian Thyme Herb to sterilize the water.  It won’t get rid of the bitter and salty, but it will prevent bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

When you find water containing heavy metal salts or toxic minerals, you can use strong tea and water to boil the method to improve the water quality, the last sediment does not drink.


Currently, Wakiwaki offers water purifier water bottle and water filtering straw , this water purification equipment is very practical in the field, the purified water by it is sterile, non-toxic, tasteless, without any impurities, and does not need to go through a boiling can be drunk, very light.

  • Want to remind friends of attention additionally: below the circumstance of water source shortage, want reasonable arrangement drinking water. Don’t drink until you are full just because you are thirsty.
  • If you only take one or two sips at a time, put it in your mouth and swallow it slowly.
  • After a while, when you feel thirsty, take another sip and swallow it slowly.  Repeat.  Can not only make the body will drink the water fully absorbed, but also solve the mouth and throat dryness.
  • A standard water bottle (0.1.3 L)  keep 6 to 8 hours, or even longer.


How to properly Clean your Outdoor Water Purifier?

Cleaning the Outdoor Water Purifier in the backpack is always a big problem. Simply washing it with water seems not to be clean enough. The filter and the inside of the straw are not easy to clean. So the water bag cleaning needs to be divided into daily cleaning and deep cleaning.

  1. the water bag is filled with water, and prepare a clean piece, do not know what the clean piece is can ask for some treasure.
  2. Put the cleaning tablet into the water bag and let it stand for 5min
  3. Vibrate for 30 seconds after 5 minutes, and pinch the water bag and the filter at the same time to let the water flow out of the filter mouth
  4. Let the water bag sit for a while again, pour out all the water thoroughly, and rinse well
  5. Let dry

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