Survival Charcoal Water Filter
Ideally, your survival charcoal water filter should be completed ahead of time, because the process involved in obtaining the materials for one is lengthy.
*To get fresh charcoal: flame is not your friend. In order to get good quality charcoal, you will need the wood to smolder, rather than burn. It will take a long time to get enough charcoal for the filter, be patient. Don’t settle for less and compromise your health. You will need to crush it to powder for use in the filter.
Survival Charcoal Water Filter ingredients
- Charcoal – you will need fresh charcoal*
- Cloth or a coffee filter
- A container to hold all of the above
To construct your charcoal filter:
1. Take your container and drill a hole in the bottom. Filtered water will eventually drip through this hole, it should not pour.
2. Place your cloth on top of the hole. Some advocate using grass for this step, and you can in a pinch, but be cautious. Using grass may come at a price, due to meadows and such being flooded occasionally. Flooding means that river water (that carries parasites) has covered the grass at one time. This exposes the grass to eggs of parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm and the like. Those are not pleasant bugs to deal with. Chances are that you are clothed to some degree and can sacrifice a piece of cloth.
3. Place some sand on top of the cloth – about .5 inch layer, (or more if desired).
4. Place crushed charcoal on top of the sand. This is the functional layer of this filter – all the filtering work is being done here. This layer should be packed tightly and should be as long as practical. I’d recommend that if you are using a large soda bottle, the charcoal should take up almost the full height of the container. Some people say that filling it up half way is fine, but in this case, more is definitely better. Use a fist or a stone to pack the charcoal in (without destroying the container) . Just leave a couple of inches for the next layer.
5. Place an inch or 2 of sand on top of the charcoal. This will prevent a mess when you pour the water in.
You should run your water through the filter multiple times. This will ensure that the quality of your water will improve over time, and definitely removes more contaminants.
Types of usable containers:
A 2 liter soda bottle
1 gallon can
A clay pot for plants (comes with a hole that you don’t have to drill!)
Anything that can hold water safely and not break while you are packing charcoal.
What the survival charcoal water filter does:
It removes large particles
It filters out sediment and mud
It decreases the presence of a good number of contaminants
What the survival charcoal water filter will not do for you:
It will not remove ALL bacteria or ALL contaminants. It simply gives you much better quality water than what you started with.
After your water has been filtered, it is now READY TO BE BOILED.
I take pride in knowing how to do things myself, because when you have a survival emergency, there is nothing more empowering than being able to say “don’t worry, I got it”. However, your efforts will produce a product that while certainly functional, will not be as efficient and portable as this one: