First Night Out: Treat Water

Learn how to treat water in the backcountry.

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Treat Water

» Choose a method

Backcountry lakes and streams could contain bacteria and other microorganisms. Your happy-gut options:

BoilingKills everything

Pros Easy; cheap; requires no special equipment

Cons Wastes fuel

Chlorinedioxide Kills everything

Pros Ultralight; cheap; easy

Cons Takes 30 minutes to kill Giardia and four hours to neutralize cryptosporidium; affects taste

Filter Kills bacteria and protozoa

Pros Fast (1 to 3 liters per minute); no funny taste

ConBulky; pricey; can require field maintenance

Ultraviolet lightKills everything

Pros Fast; light; no taste

Cons Pricey; requires batteries