Home » How to Use UV Water Purification in the Wilderness

How to Use UV Water Purification in the Wilderness

Ultraviolet purification is an excellent option for purifying water from outdoor sources like lakes, rivers, and creeks. If you’re planning an outdoor adventure, you’ll find this guide on how to use UV water purification super helpful. It discusses all you need to know, from why you need UV water treatment to how it works and how it benefits you. 

Why You Need Water Purification in the Wild

At some point in the wild, you’ll need to get your water from streams, lakes, and rivers. Unfortunately, these natural sources are prone to contamination from viruses, bacteria, and disease-causing pathogens. If you drink the water directly without removing these contaminants, you will be at risk of waterborne diseases like gastroenteritis, cholera, and dysentery. To avoid these unpleasant effects, you’ll need to purify your water before drinking, and that’s where UV purification comes in. 

How does UV purification work?

UV purification uses ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy microorganisms in water. The UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that falls between the light we can see and invisible x-rays. When this UV light is emitted at high levels, it destroys the DNA of microorganisms, and they become useless and unable to affect your health.

For UV purification, you’ll need a device that contains a UV bulb/lamp (it could be a UV water treatment system or a UV sterilization pen). UV purification eliminates 99.9% of microorganisms in water, including cryptosporidium and giardia cysts. Although some types of viruses are resistant to UV, it effectively destroys most of the common microbial contaminants in water.

Is UV purification safe?

UV purification is effective for destroying microorganisms in water. The process is pretty safe because it doesn’t involve using chemicals. So, there’s no risk of chemical contamination.  

But on the downside, a UV purifier may cause harm if you look at or touch the UV bulb while it is on, but that is unlikely to happen as long as you’re careful. You can learn more about UV purification safety at  best-osmosis-systems.com.

Although UV purification is great for removing microorganisms, it can’t remove chemical contaminants, so if your water is polluted with chemicals, UV purification won’t help.

How to Use UV Purification in the Wilderness

In the past, UV purifiers were large water treatment systems only suitable for residential and commercial use. But these days, you’ll find small UV sterilization pens suitable for outdoor use. A UV sterilization pen is designed like a pen with a UV bulb at one end. Because it’s so small, you can easily use it to purify your water in the wilderness.

Here’s how you can purify your water using a UV sterilization pen:

  1.       Insert the pen into your water bottle.
  2.       Turn on the UV light.
  3.       Use the pen to stir your water for about a minute. During this time, the UV attacks all present microorganisms and neutralizes them.
  4.       Turn off the UV light and remove the pen.

Remember to put the pen inside your water bottle before turning it on and remove it only after you turn it off because UV light is powerful and can harm your eyes if you look at it.

Pros and Cons of UV Purification

UV purification has its pros and cons:


Here are the pros of using UV water purification in the wild:

  1.       It is easy to use

Using a UV purifier is very easy. It’s also really fast and only takes about a minute. Unlike other filtration methods where you have to wait a while to get filtered water, UV purification provides you with safe water almost immediately.

  1.       It is practical 

If you go camping in the wild, one helpful tip is to pack as little stuff as possible. A UV purifier is practical here because it is small and requires little space only.

  1.       It is effective

UV purification is very effective for water that contains microorganisms. It destroys 99.999% of microorganisms, making your water microbial-free.

  1.       No chemicals

UV purification does not introduce any chemicals into your water. This is a unique advantage because other disinfection methods like chlorination and ozonation require that you use a specific chemical. With UV purification, you don’t need to handle any chemicals, and there is no risk of overusing chemicals and worsening your water’s condition.


On the flip side, here are the disadvantages of UV purification:

  1.       It does not improve water taste and smell

UV purification does not change the taste and smell of water because it does not remove or add odor-causing chemicals. Basically, if your water has an undesirable taste or smell, UV purification will not improve that.

  1.       It uses battery

Most UV sterilization pens work with a battery, which becomes ineffective once it runs out. So if you have to stay in the wild for long, a UV pen may not be reliable because it could run out of power.

  1.       It doesn’t filter sediments

UV purification kills microorganisms, but it does not filter out dirt and sediments that may be present in water. It also does not work on chemical contaminants like lead. So, if your water contains sediments and chemicals, you may have to combine UV purification with filtration to achieve clean water (which is not practical if you’re in the wilderness).

  1.       It doesn’t work on cloudy water

Microorganisms are neutralized only when the UV light reaches them. If the water is cloudy, microorganisms can hide under the cloudiness and avoid being affected by UV light. So, UV purification is not effective for cloudy water. You’ll have to ensure that your water is clear first before you can use UV purification.


Like every other water treatment option, UV purification has pros and cons. But its ability to fight against the biggest enemies of outdoor water sources — microorganisms — is really impressive. It is fast, practical, and easy to use. UV purification is a treatment option you can trust if you’re going to be out in the wild.


Jocelyn Brown
Jocelyn Brown

A former school teacher, Jocelyn Brown created Hip Mama’s Place in 2007. Her motto for this blog is: get inspired, create and share! Jocelyn loves sharing about food and recipes, crafts, DIY projects and her random travels with her family. She also loves all things social media, but her latest obsession is Instagram.

Find me on: Web


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *