Carrying a sufficient supply of drinking water is easy on a day trip, but it’s often not possible on a multi-day adventure. And while freshwater is abundant in Canada, most natural sources are not safe to drink from directly—even pristine-looking water may not be potable. Waterborne bacteria, viruses and parasites can quickly turn a backwoods adventure into a nightmare, so making water safe to drink is an essential outdoor skill. Filtering can remove particles and pathogens, such as bacteria and parasites, but most filters do not remove tiny spores and viruses. Purifying water, on the other hand, will kill those nasty organisms, but it won’t remove particulates. Select the treatment that best suits your adventure, and always carry a back-up.
4 ways to ensure you have clean drinking water in the backcountry • Outdoor Canada is written by Lowell Strauss for www.outdoorcanada.ca