Monday, April 2, 2012

Backpacking and Water Purification – Don’t Get Sick

I went on a hunting trip not too long ago where my friend and I didn’t have too much time to go scouting around before hand. We looked up the location we wanted to go to on Google Earth. After a couple of hours, we decided on backpacking to a spot 5-6 miles back in where we thought we would see an abundance of deer. The spot we chose looked like a pristine, untouched pond tucked just far enough away that nobody would really get there by accident. We thought we would see deer everywhere out there.

So we loaded up our packs and headed straight into the woods. We backpacked in half the day and got to a spot probably a half mile from the pristine pond just before night fall. I had brought with me a 3 liter hydration pack, and my friend did the same. We worked so hard that we ran out of the water shortly after we set up our camp.

We woke up the next morning and began our hunt. We decided to go toward the lake, so that just in case we didn’t shoot anything in the morning, we would at least be in the area to grab some water around lunch time.

Well, lunch time came, and we hadn’t seen anything yet. We moved quickly down a hill to the edge of the water. As we approached, we noticed that the pristine pond we had seen on the map didn’t look at all like what we were seeing. The pond turned out to be about 3” deep, and a watering hole for cattle. It was disgusting, muddy, stagnant, and any other word you want to use to describe foul water.

Thinking I was pretty smart, I pulled out my water filter, which is one of the better filters on the market. My friend and I filtered enough water to fill our hydration packs twice by filtering and drinking the water. I was really surprised at how clean the water looked after the filtration process.

We went along our trip, and didn’t see much of anything in the way of deer. We packed up our camp and headed home. The next day, I got home only to find out that I had become very, very sick. Even though we had filtered the water, which removed sediments, we didn’t use any purification tablets, which would have killed any active viruses that would have been present in stagnant water. I called my friend, and he told me he was just as sick as I was.

So, the moral of the story is that if you’re going to drink water from a disgusting, filthy, putrid water hole, use a water filter AND water purification tablets. Your body will thank you on your next hunt.

Author Bio: Brett Gillan is the Camping, Optics, & Electronics Merchandiser at's Warehouse). Brett spends his summers camping, fishing, and backpacking with his family. He spends his fall season big game & water fowl hunting.