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Hillbilly Water Filter

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When you are in survival mode, you may be forced to do things you wouldn’t normally do. For example, if you are in desperate need of clean drinking water and you do not have a filtering system with you, you may need to use this creative “hillbilly” method to clean water you have managed to find. Sometimes you have to do whatever is necessary and that includes drinking water that has been filtered through what most would call garbage.

Hillbilly Water Filter

The filtering system is rustic to say the least, but it is effective. Basically, it involves using a plastic bottle, which tends to be pretty prevalent in the great outdoors. Yes it is garbage to some, but it could be what saves your life. We all know that any water you stumble upon must be assumed to be dirty and unsafe to drink. Just because you cannot see the dangerous bacteria and other nasty bits, like human and animal waste, it does not mean it isn’t there.

Once you have found your plastic bottle, cut off the bottom. Turn it upside down and add a layer of charcoal. Get this charred wood or charcoal from your last night’s’ campfire. On top of the charcoal, place a layer of sand and then finally, some rocks. If you are practicing during the spring or summer, you can use edible plants like dandelions, and chickweed in place of the rocks and sand. Another tip which you will hear about in the video is to use a bandana or piece of cloth over the rocks as another filtering tool. This will catch some of the bigger things.

After you have built your filter, pour water over the top. The first couple of passes will be black as the charcoal cleans itself. Charcoal is used in filtering systems because of its porous nature. It absorbs all the nasty stuff and clean water is produced.

Although the Hillbilly Water Filter may be a crude filter, it does work and will provide you with life-sustaining water in a survival situation.

Craig Caudill is a blogger and vlogger for Dan’s Depot. He instructs how to organize your BOB bag and other outdoors and survival subjects. He is also the chief instructor at his Nature Reliance School.

The post Hillbilly Water Filter appeared first on Geek Prepper.


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    Total 7 comments
    • caribbean critic

      Charcoal is used because activated carbon has a chemical affinity with most of the toxic metals and chemicals libel to be a source of chemical pathogens

      • Anonymous

        It is porous and the broken down pieces are too. It is also alkaline while the ash is acidic. This is a perfect trap if you have a screen at the bottom of your homemade filter. In the South it is best to just boil the water, but this keeps out all the other stuff before you pasteurize.

        • Aunt Jane

          I don’t think this would filter out microbes or amoebas would it? You still need to boil although in an extreme situation it might be the best you can do.

    • Geneww1938

      using an ordinary coffee filter does an amazing job in removing particles before the carbon filtration etc.


      Not as hillbilly as I thought the article might be. Hillbilly filtered water – drinking someone’s piss, filtered water. Just joking, Hillibills



    • Anonymous

      It will also filter heavy metals and other toxins considerably.

    • marksamanda

      I want to point out that charcoal is very different from wood coals that you would find in your camp fire. When you hear of a water filters that use coal they are talking about the mineral that is mined from the earth not the stuff from your wood burning stove. Charcoal is the stuff you buy at the store for bbq”s and is not suitable to filter water with. Water filtered through wood ash and coal is very alkaline as Anonymous pointed out and produces a common product called lye or lye water. Using wood coals derived from burnt hard woods like oak has an even higher amount of lye in it. This hillbilly water filtration system has a very similar recipe that I use in my LYE HOPPER (Google that if you don’t know what it is) once a year when we make soap from lard and lye water. That being said you can make a very effective water filtration system without using charcoal or burnt wood. Layering fine sand, coarse sand, pebbles, grass or other suitable vegetation, and larger stones and slow dripping your water through it several times clearing changing out the fine sand once or twice for extra dirty water. I have never used something as small as a water bottle for this method but I have done it using the pant leg from a pair of jeans. Filtering water this way is a very slow process and not very suitable in a survival situation. However many times in the wild nature creates its own filter have you ever seen water seeping through the side of a rock face or sand base? This water is almost always safe to drink having been naturally filtered through Mother Earth herself.

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