If you are a global traveler, adventure is your middle name. But when it comes to traveling in other countries, safety is always of utmost importance, especially when it comes to the safety of the water you may be drinking.

Just in case you find yourself lost on a trail somewhere in a different country while hiking, for example, after reading this article it should give you some good ideas on how to make any water you come across in the outdoors drinkable.

There are several different water-born pathogens that can cause you hard including viruses, protozoa, and bacteria, and none of them we want in our digestive system!

With that said, today we are going to take a look at five ways you can purify water if you don’t have any bottled water on hand so that it is safe to drink anywhere that you found it.

1. Iodine Tablets


Iodine tablets have been one of the most popular forms of water purification for backpackers, travels, and hikers alike. I carried these in my backpack when I went to Cusco, Peru as I was told the water was not safe to drink.

I just popped a few of these in my water bottle, let it sit for 30 minutes, and voila! Clean drinking water! You can easily buy these tablets online at Amazon.

2. Boiling Water

There are several ways that you can purify water, but when in doubt, boil your water. It’s the surest way to make sure the bacteria completely gets eliminated.

As a matter of fact, if you have the chance to boil your water even after you have purified it with another method such as ultraviolet rays, even better.

3. Ultraviolet Light

Purifying water using ultraviolet rays is another primitive way to purify water that you may get from a stream or lake. The initial idea is to be able to collect water from a stream (depending on its turbidity), or natural spring and use the ultraviolet rays from the sun to kill the bacteria.

You can do it this way, or you can use the more modern device such as a UV sterilizer pen or a hand-cranked water sterilizer that essentially does the same thing, except you are using your own man-power to make the sterilizer work instead of batteries.

4. Water Filtering Devices

If you want to be completely sure you will always have clean water, you can use any of the commercial water filtering devices that are on the market today such as the very popular LifeStraw, or Katadyn series of personal water filters.

These filters work so well that you can drink water straight out of a lake or stream. I have used these for years whenever on a hiking trip, and always have one in my backpack as an emergency device just in case my camelback runs out of water.

5. Chlorine

I wanted to make sure to put chlorine in this list because using chlorine is a great alternative for people who have sensitivities to iodine. It’s also not recommended if you are pregnant to use iodine to purify water.

Therefore, you can pick up some water purifications tablets that don’t contain any iodine.  Aquatabs makes for a great choice. They are one of few purification tablets that you’ll find that are certified to NSF/ANSI 60.   The active ingredient is Sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) and is approved by the EPA.

Final Thoughts

No matter where you are around the world, always be prepared for the unexpected, especially when traveling.  Getting sick can seriously damper your trip and can lead to some serious health concerns if you end up with Giardia, for example.

And in the end, if worst comes to worst, remember to boil it!