No announcement yet.

Drinking Water during winter camping

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Drinking Water during winter camping

    Hi all, I have been winter camping for many years now and did not realize there were others as crazy as I am! Very happy to have this site. My question is: what is the best way to create drinking water while winter camping? I always take in water but that only lasts for so long so I either use lake water (when possible) or snow. However, after melting and boiling snow for a period of time over the fire, the water has particles of stuff in it and tastes smoky. Is there a great filter to use? I have brought in paper coffee filters but those take awhile to filter water through and are kind of clumsy, but they do work. I recently picked up another filter to try during my next trip in 2 weeks but thought I would see if other folks have any advice in the meantime. Thanks!!

  • #2
    If you're just looking to filter out bigger particles of debris and what not, running the water through a piece of cloth is sufficient. In winter temperatures the hollow fibre filters are not recommended as they will freeze and crack.




    • #3
      I use a drain screen inside a silicone funnel to strain out most of the offenders .
      Attached Files
      Last edited by 4estTrekker; 02-24-2021, 06:31 PM.


      • #4
        Glad you're here, Grumple4! Here we appreciate each other's craziness!!

        Some more ideas that work well for large groups where we are melting +/- 90 liters (24 US gallons) each day:

        A screen such as what 4estTerkker uses works well. But, you really only need that if the snow is full of organic bits (old spring snow, or snow from under trees after a strong wind, for example).

        Using snow gathered from the top of the snowpack (if it is cleanest) and from an open area away from trees will minimize the floaties.

        Keeping a close-fitting lid snug on the melting pot will reduce the smoky flavour.

        When removing drinking water from your melting pot, take only the top 90%. (Most organic bits will have sunk.) Use the last 10% for swishing around and "cleaning" the pot before dumping it.

        Add back a little clean, liquid water to your pot before adding new snow to be melted, and then put the pot back on the heat. That last addition of liquid water to the new snow will reduce the potential of scorching the bottom of the pot - no need to add a scorched flavour to your newly melted drinking water. The added liquid water will also speed the melting for the liquid will improve the heat transfer.

        The last thing that comes to mind is that the newly melted water is really low in dissolved gasses, so it sometimes tastes "flat". Filling a water bottle half full, tightening the lid, and giving it a good long shake seems to dissolve O2/N back into that water. Some people will do this once, remove the lid for a moment, put the lid back on and repeat a few times. Then the water may taste better. Some people swear by this method while other can't notice a difference.

        Just some ideas!


        • #5
          I use a cheap polyester fibre swimming pool filter basket liner inside a cut down PET bottle.
          A lid helps keep the smoke flavour out when we use an open fire but some of us do consider the smoke flavour an added bonus


          • #6
            Undersky has given you a lot of good suggestions. Bottom line, getting water easily while winter camping is why I stay near open streams. Melting snow isn't on my "Top 10" list of things to do when camping unless absolutely necessary. Luckily for me, where I do my camping (Adirondacks & Catskills in NYS) you'll find lots of open streams throughout the winter. And, if the streams do ice over, it's still easier to melt ice than snow.

            That's all for now. Take care and until next well.



            • #7
              I will always prefer to camp near a water source, here in Minnnesota, it is mostly frozen lakes. Melting snow is the next best option, but in general does not taste as good. The key for me with melting snow is to keep a pot going all the time. Always have a bit of water in the pot before adding snow to it.



              • #8
                I have used the GSI Ultralight java drip for this purpose, it drains the water through faster than a paper coffee filter, and it clips to a cup, a water bottle, or whatever.

                The GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip means that the most minimalist hikers, travelers, and backpackers can enjoy real coffee every day. The ultra-compact design packs well. There’s just no excuse not to have good trail coffee anymore.


                • #9
                  I am also using a a drain screen inside a silicone funnel to strain out most of the offenders, however sometimes it is not enough actually. You could also use some cheap polyester fibre that is used for swimming pools in order to filter basket liner inside a cut down PET bottle. Man, we are going camping pretty soon, but my head lamp is broken, and the ones that I have seen so far are pretty ... trash! The only proper head lamp that I found was on amazon, however it is unavailable right now, and that is sooo freaking annoying.
                  Last edited by Ariamis; 07-05-2021, 09:04 AM.


                  • #10
                    Just adding something from my Boy Scout days and the handbook.
                    The taste of boiled water or melted snow can be improved by aerating it. I don't usually bother but using a half empty [ clean and sterile naturally] and shaking vigorously works well.
                    This is one of the reasons I carry big PET bottles with me and two or more pots and bigger pots than my mates. I think it is important to keep hydrated


                    • #11
                      I used to camp a lot during spring and autumn when the weather is a bit more chill. Even if I am not an expert, I still have some tips for others. My favorite thing for camping is the lanterns from These lanterns are perfect for camping. I love them because they are super bright but also collapsible so that you can squeeze them into your pack. They have a hook so that you can hang it from anything, a hook to hang it from inside a tent. Plus, it has a button-free design convenient for low-light conditions.
                      Last edited by AmyBuckland; 08-05-2021, 06:48 AM.


                      • #12
                        Sounds like trying to aerate the water is something I need to try after melting the snow.


                        • #13
                          I always prefer to camp near a water supply, which is primarily frozen lakes in Minnesota. The next best choice is melting snow, although it does not taste as delicious. When it comes to melting snow, I find that keeping a pot burning all the time is essential. Before adding snow to the pot, make sure it has a little water in it.


                          • #14
                            I also end up camping by lakes here in Minnesota. But usually I am bringing an ice auger to do some fishing. So I get all my water from the lake. But, I do also bring a gravity water filter. It hangs up perfectly in the Snowtrekker. Before going to bed I disconnect the filter part, put it in a ziplock bag to prevent any excess water from leaking, and sleep with it in my sleeping bag right at the foot.