One of the first crisis you face when lost is how to purify water in the wild.
It’s ironic that water, the great giver of life, is also the number one cause of human death world wild. I’m not talking about drowning due to a flood or capsized boat, I’m talking consuming water infested with parasites which literally destroy us from within.
Fatalities in Puerto Rico continue to climb a month after the initial devastation created by the hurricane, not from collapsing building or mudslides, but from people being forced to drink dirty water. Ironic, considering Puerto Rico is an Island surrounded by water with countless waterfalls, streams and small waterways, has no access to safe drinking water. It’s shocking, perhaps more terrifying, those picturesque blue and emerald waterfalls and private swimming oasis displayed in the advertising brochures must be at best a mistake and at worse a lie about the safety of the tropical oasis.
This time Nature is not dealing with a rookie: You have bleach, sanitation chemicals, pots for boiling water, reliable fire starters, even one of those collapsible plastic cups that fold up like an accordion. You have it all. None of these issues pose a problem, because you have come totally prepared with lots of equipment.
Life saving equipment you had until 10 seconds ago when the top heavy backpack teetered onto its back and took a nose dive over a cliff and down into a 500 foot ravine of dense jungle.
Good Luck Finding it
All kinds of things can happen to your bulky emergency gear. What you need is something small that fits in your sock.
It has several names but we’ll use the more common brand name of Life Straw. What is it? Poetically speaking … a life saver. Technically speaking … It’s a miniature water filtration system designed to look and work like a straw. The small tube is equipped with specialized filters inside it and if you can suck on a straw you can use this devise.
How Does it Work?
Engineers, which is not uncommon, reverted to old-school physical filtration systems of older water filters, added new technology and developed a unique filter system which wipes out germs present in microbiological levels in water. Simply explained its a 23- centimeter tube which uses technologically advanced filters to take water contaminated with pathogens and converts it to safe drinking water.
All water purifiers use the same principles.
- Filters will block larger debris and contaminants, like insects, from entering the straw.
- The water passes through a series of finer membranes and filters as small as 15 microns in diameter
- This procedure removes the vast majority of microorganisms, but an ultra-filtration filter is used in larger purifier with pores as small as 0.2 microns.
- Charcoal filters are used for taste.
The Life Straw uses mechanical filters to remove contaminants from the water, therefore by using no chemicals or moving parts. Store it at room temperature and your device will last forever.
You can use it a certain amount of times, which varies based on how much water you drink per day. On average, it will last you just under a years worth of uses, about 300 days worth. You can tell it’s no longer any good when you can’t draw water through the straw any more, even after you back flush.
What is Removed?
Life Straw filters down to an incredible 0.2 microns in size which virtually eliminates bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%) from contaminated water, plus it reduces turbidity by filtering 100% of suspended particles. It eliminates the risk of:
- Escheirchia coli
- Vibrio Cholerae
- Giardia Lamblia
- Entamoeba Histolytica
- Cryptosporidium Parvum
Seriously nasty organisms that can make you weak, sick, or worse. Never, ever drink water you find in the wild unfiltered! The normal Life Straw is designed for wilderness survival and will filter 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of protozoan parasites. Chemicals, saltwater and viruses will not be removed.
That means you can’t drink pool water, because it contains chemicals that won’t be filtered out.
How to Use a Life Straw Filter
Most water filtration systems of this type are lightweight. Life Straw weighs only 2 ounces. Your average person should consume 2 to 3 liters of water daily on a normal hiking venture. At that pace the straw will last from 250 to 330 days of continued use.
- To activate your life straw filter, uncap the devise and hold it upright in water for about a minute. Allowing water to seep up the membrane.
- Perform five quick sucking actions and water will begin to flow.
- If you’re drinking extremely muddy water you may have to periodically blow back down the tube to extract the solid particles that accumulate.
Here’s hoping this new information will allow you to purify water in the wild the right way.