Whether you’re backpacking through the Himalayas in Nepal, spending a week in the Canadian wilderness or live in an area often affected by natural disasters, you may at times be forced to drink from a questionable water source. And while visual assessment of a source can provide some clues about its potability, without some way to clean it with confidence, you always run the risk of contracting something serious.
In a no-potable-water scenario, you can of course try to not drink for as long as possible. But eventually you’re going to need to take on fluids as it’s impossible to go without them indefinitely. The reason you can’t just walk to any stream, lake or sitting water source is that these water sources often contain microorganisms and harmful sediment. Consuming water directly from wild water sources is more often than not going to make your situation worse.
Water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery are some of the more serious risks you run from drinking from dirty water sources. Other illness-causing microorganisms which are commonly encountered by wilderness enthusiasts include giardia lamblia and campylobacter jejuni. These can leave you feeling pretty awful for a number of weeks and could potentially cause a serious situation in which you are unable to leave the wilderness while you recover.
Luckily, when it comes to cleaning water on-the-go, there are a number of handy and reliable ways to kill microorganisms and make your water safe to consume. As it’s a problem faced by many people all over the world, these methods are tried and tested. Quite the best water purification tablets are long-lasting and budget-friendly, too.
Below you’ll find eight great options for purifying water. These include purification tablets, drops and an advanced “cleaning straw,” which allows you to drink directly from suspect water sources.
1. Portable Aqua Germicidal Purification Tablets
Producing ready-to-drink water in as little as 35 minutes, the Portable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets are a fast and simple way to get your water clean and potable. The bottle contains 50 individual tablets, which are great for camping, hiking, international travel and keeping on hand for natural disasters. To create drinkable water, simple add two tablets to your water, shake after five minutes and wait a further 30 for the process to finish. The product is loved by Amazon users and used by the military and worldwide emergency organizations as well.
2. Ef Chlor Portable Water Purification Tablets
BEST FOR AT-HOME EMERGENCY KITS
These Ef Chlor Portable Water Purification Tablets are an ideal component of any at-home emergency kit. Whether it’s a natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstances, with these handy pills, clean water is only ever 30 minutes away. The 10 tablets included in the pack are capable of purifying up to five gallons each, or 50 gallons in total. Furthermore, the pills are effective against virtually all known spores, viruses and bacteria and have a handy two to three year shelf life.
3. Expedition Research LLC TAC-H2O
BEST FOR EXTREME SPORTS
If you love heading out into the wilderness or enjoy extreme sports which take you to remote areas, it’s a great idea to keep a pack of these Expedition Research LLC TAC-H2O Water Purification Tablets in your gear. Each tablet can clean five liters of water while the complete pack can produce up to 500 liters total. The tablets come in a handy, resealable zip-lock pouch which protects the tablets from water, sunlight and other potential problems.
4. Coghlan’s Drinking Water Treatment
The Coghlan’s Drinking Water Treatment is an effective, iodine-based, two-step cleaning process, which is effective against Giardia and other water-bourne pathogens. The treatment includes neutralizer to give your water a pleasant taste and remove the unpleasant iodine color you’ll find in other competing options. The pack includes 50 germicidal tablets and 50 neutralizer tablets. To produce one quart of good-to-drink water, simply add one of each tablet.
5. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets
BEST FOR CAMPING
Producing one liter of potable water from every tablet, the Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets are a lightweight, portable and fast-acting way to clean suspect water sources. They’re effective against a range of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria and cryptosporidium. These EPA-standard pills take four hours to achieve ready-to-drink water and are ideal cleaning through your water supply whilst camping.
6. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
MOST ADVANCED (+BEST REVIEWED)
With over 6,500 five-star reviews from Amazon users, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is our most popular option for drinking water straight from the source. This advanced filter uses membrane technology to filter out bacteria, microplastics, parasites and more. It’s ideal for all kinds of activities, including camping and international travel, as well as a great addition to any home emergency kit. The pen-like device is lightweight and has a lifespan of up to 4,000 liters of water.
7. Mightie Company Water Purification Tablets
BEST FOR CONTINUOUS USE
The Mightie Company Water Purification Tablets have your water ready for drinking in 40 minutes. After filtering your sourced water or allowing the sediment to settle, add one of these purification tablets and mix for 10 minutes. Once complete, allow the water to sit for 30 minutes before enjoying clean, microorganism-free drinking water. The tablets also have an impressive shelf-life and are routinely used by a number of international organizations, including the World Health Organization.
8. We Are Clean Water Water Purification Drops
These We Are Clean Water SilverDyne Water Purification Drops are a simple and easy way to clean suspect water. The USA-made drops are both vegan and gluten-free and make use of only organic and natural ingredients. The formula is both smooth and flavorless and is ideal for creating clean and pleasant drinking water. To clean one liter of water, simply add two to three drops of the solution and let it sit for 30 minutes before consuming.