Gearing up for a road trip? One thing you should never leave home without is a reliable source of clean drinking water.
Now, you might be thinking, “Ah, she’ll be right, mate. I’ll just fill up my water bottle from the nearest creek or river, and it’ll be sweet.” But you may want to think again. While it might look crystal clear, there could be some nasties lurking in that water that could leave you feeling not right in the stomach, or worse!
Why is purifying your water while on the road so important?
First and foremost, untreated water can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause a whole host of illnesses. We’re talking about everything from diarrhea to hepatitis A to giardia. Trust us, you do NOT want to be stuck in the bush with a dodgy tummy.
It’s not just the microorganisms you need to worry about. Surface water can also be contaminated with chemicals, heavy metals, and other pollutants. These can come from sources like agricultural run-off, mining activities, and even natural weather events like bushfires.
If you’re still not convinced…here are some other reasons to consider:
As we mentioned, you could end up with some serious gastrointestinal issues, which can quickly put a damper on your road trip.
Depending on the contaminants present in the water, you could also experience skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even long-term health effects like kidney damage or liver swelling.
So you want to know how to purify your water while on the road?
We’ve convinced you. Now, the good news is there are plenty of options for filtering your water.
The four-litre GravityWorks Filter from Platypus is a great way to provide clean drinking water for groups. It does as its name suggests and utilises gravity making filtered water a hands-free process. In the kit, you’ll received two water reservoirs: one labelled for dirty water and the other for clean, with the filter attaching between the two. The full dirty reservoir is hung higher than the empty clean one and the water passes through the filter and into the clean reservoir. Fresh, tasty water anybody?
RRP $220 AUD
The HydroBlu 2-Stage Versa Flow Lightweight Inline Water Filter is one of the lightest and most convenient personal water filters out there. It can be screwed onto your plastic water bottle, used inline with your hydration pack, used as a gravity system or bucket filter, or can be used as a straw so you can drink directly from the water source if you’re game.
RRP $60 AUD
UV light purifiers
All the Steripen Aqua UV Water Purifier requires you to do is press a button, place in water, and stir to purify your drinking water. Ideal for your next off-road tour, and then some, it lasts for up to 3,000 litres of water purification.
RRP $169.95 AUD
What to look for
The key is to find a system that works for your needs and budget.
When selecting a filter, you want to look for one that removes at least 99.999% of bacteria and protozoa, and ideally one that also filters out viruses and chemical contaminants. You should also consider the filter’s flow rate, lifespan, and ease of use and maintenance.
How to do it
So once you’ve picked your filter, how do you actually go about filtering your drinking water when you’re on the road?
Here’s a quick run-down of the process:
1. Find your water source – this could be a creek, river, lake, or even a rainwater tank.
2. Set up your filtration system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you’ve got all the necessary components, including any pre-filters or adapters.
3. Fill up your water container or bottle from the water source. Make sure you’re not stirring up any sediment or debris as you do so.
4. Run the water through your filter system. This might involve pumping, pouring, or sipping through a straw, depending on your setup.
5. Check your water for any visible signs of contamination, like cloudiness or unusual smells or tastes. If you’re unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and filter it again.
6. Drink up, and enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of purified water!