Water Purification

One of the most important factors to consider when going for a walk is how to remain hydrated.  We all consume water as we exercise but the amount can vary dependant on the level of exercise and the walkers age.  The older you get the more hydration you will require but on average we are looking at approximately 150ml per every 15 minutes walked. So in a 1.5 hour walk you will need, at least, a litre of water.

Now a litre of water weighs 1kg, so if you are planning a 4 hour afternoon walk, then you will need to take 2.5 – 3 L of water or 2.5-3 kg extra weight!  This can, of course, be almost doubled if you are partaking in strenuous exercise or walking during the heat of the day.


So what are the alternatives?

The simple answer is to take a full water bottle and refill it en route from streams or other water sources.  The caveat here is – do you know how safe that source of water is?

Are you prepared to take the risk?


In 1978 a colleague and myself spent a long weekend walking across Dartmoor.  This was something I had done many times and had always refilled my water bottle from the crystal clear, fast flowing streams.  This weekend was no different except that within a day of returning home I was rushed to hospital with what was thought to be appendicitis.

After the operation I was still in extreme pain and subject to ‘projectile’ vomiting.  Blood and stool samples were taken and analysed to no avail, until a pathologist with a Veterinary background recognised a bacteria only found in sheep!  I was given appropriate medication and made a full recovery.  The belief is that there was a dead sheep up-stream from where I had taken water.

So what is the solution?

Simply – water purification.

Up until just a few years ago this was either accomplished by the use of water purification tablets, or by boiling and cooling the water.  The problem with both of these methods is that they are time-consuming and not always convenient.

Purification tablets can take between 30 & 60 minutes to work.  As a result, they are ideal if you are camping but of little use if you are walking as your water bottle can be out of action for up to an hour.  Again boiling is only useful if camping.


The modern-day alternative and the invention that has revolutionized hiking, camping and international travel is the water purification bottle.  These are water bottles with specially designed water filters usually built into the mouth piece.  They are designed to remove more than 99.9%* of all known biological hazards and to reduce chemical contaminants below harmful levels from the water instantly! You fill the bottle, secure the top, open the mouth piece and drink.

filter bottles
Images may not reflect current products and are used purely to illustrate the narrative

So please remember, it is very important to remain hydrated.  Even as we move into the winter months, there is still a requirement to drink plenty of fluids.  Make the investment into one of these amazing filter bottles and save weight and yourself from serious illness.

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* 99.9999% of viruses, 99.99% of bacteria, 99.9% of parasitic protozoa (Ref: Pure Hydration)

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