Potable Water Planning Guide

Potable Water Planning Guide
Surviving without food for many days is possible--but forgo water even a short time in the backcountry, and trouble will come quickly. More than a few days out virtually guarantees having to replenish reserves.

Bring Enough

Bring a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day. If your campsite has potable water, plan to bring enough for your hike in. Always carry at least one backup purification method.


Purification by Boiling

Bringing water to a full boil--for at least one minute, preferably a little more just to make sure---kills pretty much everything in the water and is the best water purification method.

Chemical Purification

Chemicals such as iodine or chlorine tablets work but might not be as effective as boiling and can adversely affect water taste.

Filter Purification

Filters create potable water by forcing the water through a filter medium, usually charcoal. Filters often need to be augmented with a chemical system because while the filters will trap lurking micro-organisms, they generally can't catch something as small as a virus.

Water Caching

Pre-positioning potable water at strategic points along your route works if your travels take you through areas such as the desert where water is absent.


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