Options discussed in this article
Now if your planning an overnight hike you may be wondering how to keep hydrated on the trail. Not to worry, this is a common concern and I’ve put together 4 simple options for getting clean water on your hike. Personally my first option is always a Camelback or some sort of light weight water bottles or pouches. It’s not always as easy as you may think to come across a decent water source on your hike. With that being said there are occasions when I’m going to be on the trail for a few days at a time and it just isn’t possible to carry enough water on me to last the entire hike. That is actually the case for me this coming weekend and is sort of the inspiration for this post. If you do plan on getting water on the trail I suggest you research the streams and rivers in the area you plan to hike. There have been instances in the past where I ran out of water on the trail and had to go several hours without until luckily it began to rain and I was able to collect enough water to get me through the remainder of the hike. That was a rather unpleasant experience and had I not found water when I did could have potentially turned into a dangerous situation.
Camelbacks are a great way to carry multiple days worth of water easy and conveniently when embarking on a long trek. They are light weight and specifically designed for physical activity. Anytime that I’m not taking a ton of gear with me I like to bring the Camelback because it beats constantly having to reach into my backpack to find a water bottle. Camelback makes a variety of great products that fit comfortably on your back and allow extra room for gear storage. They are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up on Amazon or in any camping/hiking store.
2. Iodine Tablets
For this up coming weekend I will be in the woods for about 36 to 40 hours. Since this is relatively short as far as extended hikes go I plan on bringing most of the water I will need in water bottles and pouches. This should get me through the first day but chances are I will need to pick a little water up along the way. In order to save on weight and space in my pack I will be using iodine tablets as my water purification method. These can be purchased for only a few dollars, weigh almost nothing and are easy and reliable to use. My personal method for these is any time that I come across a good source of clean looking water and one of my water bottles are empty I will simply fill my bottle up from the stream, drop an iodine tablet in and within a half hour I will have drinkable water. I am comfortable using iodine tablets on occasion since I don’t do a ton of overnight hikes but if I’m planning anything more than a few days I would choose a different purification method. Iodine tablets are recommended for short term use only so I wouldn’t make a habit of using them.
3. Filtration straws
Filtration straws are another popular option for hikers on the trail. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively (under 20$) and can purify well over 200 gallons of water per straw. These things are reliable and take up almost no room in your pack, which you know is a great selling point for me. I think these are a great option. I personally just find it annoying to have to bend down and put my head in a creek every time i want a sip of water. Another set back with these is you don’t really have the option to store water for future use. That being said if your looking for a handy piece of survival gear that that is inexpensive and takes up nearly no room id recommend grabbing one of these for your pack.
4. Water filtration systems
Now these things come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can range anywhere from 20$ to several hundred dollars. I personally wouldn’t spend a ton of money unless I was planning on doing something like hiking the Appalachian trail where I would be out for several months at a time. If you do have a hike like this in your future I’d say absolutely invest in high quality gear. Also if you will be hiking in an area where the water quality is sketchy investing in something a little higher end may be your best bet. For those of you looking for something a little less intense there are plenty of great options at lower price points. Sawyer makes a great little product that uses absolute mircon technology and comes with everything you need to pull water out of a stream, filter it and fill your water bottles. the whole thing weighs 2 ounces, fits in the palm of your hand and can be purchased for just under 20$. This up coming weekend I will be hiking in upstate New York where generally speaking the water is pretty pure to begin with so something like this would be a great option for me.
Whichever option you choose to go with I strongly suggest you research the area you will be hiking and get as clear an understanding of how readily available a water source will be. Take it from me nothing is scarier than being stuck in the middle of the forest with no one around to help and no idea where or when you will be able to get your next drink of water. For that reason alone I always keep at least some form of water purification system in my bag. Best of luck my friends, thanks for reading and be sure to follow me for more hiking posts like this one.