Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wilderness Survival: If you have a clear plastic water bottle and sunshine, you have safe drinking water

I originally learned this trick a few years ago while going through Red Cross training, but it's a technique that's still not widely known. If you have a clear PET plastic bottle and fill it with germ and virus filled water and leave it out in the sun for at least 8 hours in hot weather (up to 48 hours in cold weather), the sun's UV radiation will render it safe to drink. This process is known as Solar Water Disinfection. Check out this video from CNN where they show people in undeveloped areas of Kenya purifying their water this way:

It's a great survival skill to know if you are close to a source of water of questionable quality and have run out of potable water. As always, be extra cautious and when in doubt, leave the water bottle in the sun for several hours longer than recommended if possible.

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)