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How to Get Safe Drinking Water When Traveling

If you are planning a trip, you might be wondering how to ensure access to safe drinking water on your travels.

For example, you might be planning a backcountry camping trip, a hiking trip, or a trip overseas where you aren’t sure if the tap water is safe to drink.

Whatever the reason, access to safe drinking water is critically important to your well-being and health.  Sometimes the available water might not be safe for human consumption or other uses like brushing your teeth or cooking.

In these scenarios, you are likely going to have to take some steps to treat the water to make it safe. In this guide, we’re going to go through the whole topic of water purification from a travel perspective.

We’ll start with resources on discovering if the water will be safe to drink on your trip and how to learn what the main risks are. We’ll then go through the various options you have for making water safe to drink when traveling, covering the advantages and disadvantages of a number of methods.

Finally, we’ll finish up with a number of recommendations for different products that can be used to treat water when traveling to help you decide which might be best for your needs.

This is all based on our personal experience traveling around the world, as well as extensive research using information from trusted sources like government agencies.

By the end of this post, you should know if you need to consider a water treatment method for your next trip, and if so, which one is going to meet your needs and budget!

If you are interested in learning more, find the complete post written by Laurence Norah here.

LAST UPDATED

June 29, 2022

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Laurence Norah

Finding the Universe

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While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team