Corporals Corner Mid-Week Video #12 Three Simple Ways to Make Water Safe While In the Woods.

Welcome to Corporals Corner Mid-Week Video #12, where we will explore three straightforward techniques to ensure your water is safe while adventuring in the woods. Whether you are an experienced woodsman or a beginner camper, understanding how to purify water is essential knowledge. Join us as we delve into easy methods that will keep you hydrated and healthy during your outdoor escapades.


Welcome to Corporal’s Corner Mid-Week Video #12! In this video, we will explore three simple ways to make water safe while in the woods. Whether you are on a hiking trip, camping adventure, or any outdoor excursion, it is crucial to have access to clean and safe drinking water. Knowing how to purify water using readily available methods can make a significant difference in your health and well-being. Join us as we dive into the techniques of straining, disinfecting, and boiling to ensure your water is free from harmful organisms and contaminants.

Straining: Removing Large Contaminants

One of the first steps to making water safe in the backcountry is straining. Straining involves getting rid of large contaminants and particles that may be present in the water. To strain water effectively, you can use a clean cloth or a bandana. By pouring the water through the cloth, you can filter out visible debris, such as leaves, twigs, and bugs. While this method eliminates prominent impurities, it does not purify the water entirely, as smaller contaminants may still be present.

Disinfecting: Killing Harmful Organisms

The next method we’ll explore is disinfecting the water. Disinfection is essential to eliminate harmful microorganisms that could cause illness or disease. Two commonly used disinfectants are tincture of iodine and household bleach. When using tincture of iodine, simply follow the instructions for dosage and wait for the recommended disinfection time. For household bleach, add a few drops per liter of water, mix well, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Once the disinfection process is complete, the water will be safer to consume.

Boiling: The Ultimate Purification Technique

Boiling water is an age-old technique used worldwide to make it safe for consumption. It is a simple yet powerful method that eliminates harmful organisms effectively. To boil water, you will need a heat source and a container. If you are below 6,500 feet elevation, boil the water vigorously for at least one minute. On the other hand, if you are above 6,500 feet elevation, extend the boiling time to three minutes. Boiling water at these temperatures will kill most pathogens, ensuring the safety of your drinking water.

Straining Vs. Filtering

It’s important to note that straining water only removes larger contaminants, while filters are required to eliminate smaller impurities. While a cloth or bandana can effectively strain the water, it is unable to filter out microscopic bacteria, viruses, or dirt particles. Filters with smaller pore sizes are designed to capture even the tiniest contaminants, ensuring a higher level of purification. If you’re planning an extended trip in the backcountry, investing in a quality water filter is highly recommended.


In conclusion, ensuring your water is safe while in the woods is of the utmost importance. By following these three simple techniques of straining, disinfecting, and boiling, you can significantly reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses and make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable. Remember, straining helps remove large contaminants, disinfecting kills harmful organisms, and boiling water provides ultimate purification. Stay hydrated, stay safe, and keep these methods in mind on your next wilderness excursion.


Q1. Can I use any cloth or bandana for straining water?
Q2. What is the recommended dosage of tincture of iodine for disinfection?
Q3. Should I use unscented bleach for disinfecting water?
Q4. Can I use boiling as the sole method of water purification?
Q5. What other contaminants do filters remove apart from bacteria and viruses?