Water treatment is essential!
Water cannot be freeze-dried nor is it practical to carry enough for an extended trip. In the Northern (non-agricultural areas) canoe areas the most common waterborne pathogen is Giardai sp. It’s a common protozoa that once ingested will cause a condition commonly referred to as “Beaver Fever”. Symptoms appear a few days after ingestion and usually include severe diarrhea & fever.
Many people, including myself, have drank untreated water without a problem. Giardia spores are heavy and sink to the bottom of clear calm lakes I would strongly insist that you treat all water before use. The following methods will ensure all bacteria, protozoa and viruses are removed they will not ensure that the water is free of chemical contaminants so in areas where heavy agricultural or industrial activity are suspected or existup stream; take the ultimate precaution and bring bottled water. Be forewarned, that in warm weather it is easy to consume at least 4 liters (1 gallon) per person per day.
Many models of lightweight portable filters are now available. With the best being the Sawyer mini water filter…
From SAWYER “Our lightest and most versatile personal water filtration system, the Sawyer MINI weighs just 2 ounces, fits in the palm of your hand, and provides 0.1 micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli, removing 99.9999% of all protozoa (such as giardia and cryptosporidium), and removing 100% of microplastics.
Attach the easy-to-use MINI to the included drinking pouch, use the included straw to drink directly from a water source, connect it to hydration pack tubing, or screw it onto standard disposable water and soda bottles.
Rated up to 100,000 filtered gallons of water, the award-winning MINI is perfect for everything from camping with the kids to traveling abroad where tap and bottle water cannot be trusted to kitting out your emergency go bag.”
Traditionally used and considered the most reliable method for treating water Just bring the water to a boil for one minute will ensure that it is free of all common pathogens and viruses. Although it is the most reliable method it tends to require quite a bit of fuel and if fires are restricted it may not be practical and tends to flatten out the taste of the water. This can be remedied by vigorously shaking the water or though the use of flavour crystals.
Iodine is a cheap and popular method with many people. It is however not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers or those with thyroid issues. Personally, although more expensive, I prefer Chlorine Dioxide tablets which are commonly available and work against all bacteria, protozoa and viruses.