Need Water? Try this Emergency Water Purification System

Nothing ruins a camping trip like a waterborne illness.  While there are store bought water purification kits, it is good to know how to purify your water without these kits or fire. Or at least carry a portable water softener.  Below is a simple way to filter your water but only do this as a last resort as this technique will not remove germs, and always remember to have hydrogen water tablets when traveling, it is a very useful tip. 

Tree Bark Water Purification System


Tree bark that is easily bendable such as birch





String or vine


  1. Cut a 14 inch horizontal line into the bark of a tree.  Make second cut 14-inches below the first cut and slice another 14-inch horizontal line.
  2. At the end of these two cuts, make a vertical cut on both ends.  Now, peel the bark away from the tree.  You should now have a piece of bark that is 14-inches square.
  3. Slowly begin to create a funnel shape by bending the bark inward so that only a small opening is at the bottom.
  4. Secure the funnel shape with string or vine.  Please note:  if you are using a vine make sure it is not poison ivy.
  5. Place a few stones in the bottom of the funnel.  You will need enough stones to hold your filter material in.  This step may take a little trial and error to get the right amount of stones.
  6. Layer with grass, then sand and finally charcoal.  Repeat with these layers until you reach the top of the cone.
  7. Now, place your funnel over a cup and pour water into the funnel.  Continue to do this until you filter the amount of water needed.

Some things to keep in mind when using this type of water filter system.  First, only remove bark from a living tree as a last resort.  This removal will eventually cause the death of the tree.  Next, keep in mind that this type of filter will remove solids only and will not prevent waterborne illnesses.  Also, just like any other type of filter, the filtering material will need to be changed often.

So this year, if you run out of iodine tablets, your campers under the sink system purification system breaks or you cannot build a fire, do not resort to drinking unfiltered water.  Instead, build your own water filter system out of materials from the world’s largest superstore we call nature.

The quality of water we have at home also depends on plumbing which is why we trust Pascoe's Plumbing with our homes plumbing work, as they have been with us since we constructed our house and have always helped us regardless of the time. The pipes in the house should be repaired on a regular basis, and replaced, if necessary. Read an excellent article about frozen pipe repair as you never know what emergency can happen with your pipes next winter.