Ive been asked if I can do a talk to a mens group on beginner bushcraft methods and I thought the basic three may be a good place to start for people that have never tried or have been interested in bushcraft as a good primer. The basic three being shelter, Fire and Water. I have written about setting up a tarp before under I believe part 4 of knots, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about water purification methods in Australia.
The 5 Water Contaminants. There are 5 contaminants that pollute water that you need to know about in order to make your water safe to drink.
Turbidity – is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid. Cloudy, hazy or muddy suspended particulate matter such as sand mud, silt or other decomposing organic material must be removed first through filtering for all water purification methods to be able to work. Even if there are no pathogenic (disease causing) organisms in the water, turbid water can still irritate your stomach.
Parasites – are microscopic organisms that live on or in another host organism. They can be either single cell organisms such as protozoa and cysts or multicellular organisms such as worms.
Protozoa are parasitic or free-living organisms that are able to multiply in humans and other animals causing disease. Eg. Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
Bacteria – much smaller than parasites, bacteria are single celled organisms found almost everywhere on earth (in the soil, water, in the air or in the tissues of plants and animals). Some bacteria cause disease while others don’t. The ones that do, produce a wide range of infections, some of which are potentially lethal. Eg. Typhoid Fever
Viruses – a virus is a sub-microscopic infectious agent (not a cell) that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Still smaller than bacteria, viruses infect all types of life forms including animals, plants and other microorganisms. Eg Hepatitis A, Polio, travellers diarrhoea and viruses in the water from poor sanitation.
Chemical Pollutants – pesticides and heavy metals from man-made polluting sources such as mining and agriculture.
Ive been tending to try and rely less and less on complicated methods and tools for bushcraft, how ever they do sometimes have their place. Such as Summer in Australia prevents fires from being used to boil water. Also the time and fuel required to heat water if in a hurry such as hiking long distance..
For most of the year I have now been using a Brown bag in links below to pre filer water to remove any particles of organic material prior to boiling and in much of Australia unless there is a sewage leak or farm animals or pesticides up stream this is all that is required. I use either a 48oz nesting cup being slightly longer than a standard sized cup. They take a little longer to bring to the boil but hold much more., or a bush pot. Depending on which sized knapsack I have at the time.
If Im moving around constantly I also carry a Grayl Filter in one of the three current models. The ultra light for light weight hiking or GHB and the larger version for bushcraft camping, that I also use for cooking when not carrying dehydraded food. I place pictures below of my cooking set up which I put together myself rather than purchasing the complete system to not only tweak it to how I like it but I already had many of the parts.
Ive gone through several water filters and the problems I had were ceramic filters which were my favorite became clogged due to the tannins and suspended matter in the streams or many of the pump filters only did small amounts of water before the filers required being replaced. Being mainly aimed at hikers. I also cant sit at a stream pumping a filter for long.
So the three filters Id recommend are firstly the grayl for ease of use, these are perfect for a bug out bag or GHB where you dont want to stop for long or start a fire and wait for water to cool.
The other two are the Sawyer mini that Id hook up the same as the Life straw in a hanging system to use gravity to run the water through the filter rather than using a mechanical pump but this is more for when yourve made camp.
48oz Nesting cup
Bottle Cooking kit
Stainless steel Bush Pot
The 5 Contamements from :