Do NOT risk drinking directly from natural fresh water
sources! They can be contaminated by human and animal
waste. Water from lakes, rivers and springs often contain
pathogens that will use YOUR body as their intermediate
host. If this happens, you will NOT have a Romantic Camping
Unless posted as SAFE, the water from a campground spigot
may also contain bacteria that will make you ill. Fortunately,
you have many options for converting potentially contaminated
water into SAFE drinking water.
Check out the following water purification options…
Boiling is an effective technique for making water SAFE.
Bring water to a steady rolling boil to kill bacteria
and microorganisms like giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium.
Of course, the boiling purification method does use considerable
time and fuel especially when camping at high elevations.
You will likely find other purification methods more convenient.
Portable water filters for camping are usually small
and light (1-2 pounds or less). For this reason, they
are a popular among backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Dirty water is pumped into a screen-filtered flexible
tube and then through a ceramic or charcoal filter, ending
up in your container. These water filters are designed
to remove bacteria, protozoa and microbial cysts, all
of which can make you very sick.
Unfortunately, water filters can become clogged with
impurities and over time they can become themselves contaminated.
Look for filters that are enhanced with silver metal nanoparticles
which are blended within the ceramic or charcoal filter.
The silver works to suppress possible growth of pathogens
within the filter.
Iodine has long been the preferred chemical used for
purifying water. The iodine kills many of the most common
pathogens present in natural fresh water sources. However,
Iodine remains ineffective against some protozoa, such
Another drawback to Iodine is that it tastes really BAD.
Kits can be purchased that include an iodine tablet and
a second tablet (usually vitamin C or ascorbic acid) that
will remove the iodine taste from the water AFTER it has
REMEMBER: Do NOT add vitamin C (or other flavor mixes) until
iodine has had sufficient time to work. This time is 30
minutes in relatively clear, warm water, but is considerably
longer if the water contains sediment or is cold. Also,
don’t use the iodine tablets left over from last year. Iodine
tablets lose their effectiveness after about six months.
Silver ion or Chlorine Dioxide tablets or droplets can
actually disinfect water more effectively than Iodine.
They also leave hardly any noticeable taste in the water.
These water purifiers can be found under names like Micropur,
Aquamira, and Pristine.
These chemical disinfecting agents will kill cryptosporidum
and giardia if utilized correctly. Unfortunately, this
purification system generally takes between 30 minutes
to 4 hours, depending on the formula.
Ultraviolet (UV) light destroys DNA. Exposure to intense
UV light prevents microbes from reproducing. UV light
is capable of killing microorganisms such as bacteria,
viruses, molds, algae, yeast, and even cryptosporidium
and giardia. However, UV light has no impact on sediment,
chlorine, metals, and other chemical contaminants. For
this reason, the UV system works BEST when combined with
a portable water filter.
Check out the portable UV water purifier sold by SteriPEN.
These UV water purifiers are lightweight and work very
If you ingest contaminated water you will likely contract
travelers diarrhea. The symptoms include bloating, abdominal
cramps and nausea combined with three or more unformed
stools within 24 hours. This is definitely a bummer way
to spend up to three to five days of your Romantic Getaway.
Each year, an estimated 10 million people experience
traveler's diarrhea. If you are a healthy individual this
experience is NOT the end of the world. Your primary concern
will be rehydrating and replenishing your lost electrolytes.
Use Gatorade or Enlyten (electrolyte strips) to help your
body recover more quickly.