3 Ways to Make Survival Water Filter

Water is a life-giving liquid, and you will observe its necessity every day. You can not survive healthily without drinking pure water. 

Pure water means water that is suitable for drinking and cooking. Survival water filters are the best option for water purification in remote places. 

In survival life or condition, you can understand the crisis of pure water. You will have different sources of water. But, you can not drink them instantly. You can use filters to convert them into pure water.

Some options are ancient but still active for water filtration. These options will help you to get drinking water during survival.

In this writing, we describe the best ways of making a water filter. Besides, we explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Let’s explore. 

Why Do We Need To Filter Water Before Drinking

Why Do We Need To Filter Water Before Drinking

The filtration process is the most used technique to purify water. It is a significant way to get pure water during survival time. 

Dirty water is not suitable for drinking. It contains bacteria and sometimes excessive odor. If you have a water filter, it will enable you to get clean water. 

So, you need to filter water before drinking when you don’t have clean and fresh water. 

Similarly, water has several health benefits. You can not survive or live without water for a long time. Our body, blood pressure, and digestive system work with the help of water.

Water is the fuel of our human body. So, it is a significant issue to drink clean and pure water. A filter will help you to do that. 

3 Ways To Make Survival Water Filter

3 Ways To Make Survival Water Filter

So, you might ask, what are the solutions and ways of water filtration in remote places or during survival?

Don’t worry! We have three efficient ways to make a survival water filter. You can use these processes to get drinking water during survival, off-grid living, camping, and other outdoor activities.

We include these processes after considering the efficiency, performance, output, and ease of use of the filtration process. 

With these processes, you can get clean water conveniently to use regularly. 

  1. Using Charcoal Sand And Gravel
  2. Using Solar To Filter Water
  3. Using Household Chemicals to Purify Water

Using Charcoal Sand And Gravel

Using Charcoal Sand And Gravel

By using charcoal sand and gravel, you can make a convenient water filtration system. It provides clean water without electricity, gas, or any chemical.

The process is completely natural, and it will enable you to get drinking water anywhere. 

Due to the method, you need high-quality charcoal sand, gravel, a container, and a cone. The charcoal sand and gravel will purify the water, and the container holds water before filtration.

You might use a plastic container or jar to preserve water. It depends on the availability and access to the appliances and materials. You will need another container for clean water.

We prepared a step-by-step guide about how to use charcoal sand and gravel for water purification.

It will enable you to make a filter anywhere with charcoal sand and gravel. It is an easy process for getting clean water.

These are the listed materials that you will need for the complete process.

  • Plastic or comparable food safe container 
  • Another container for clean water 
  • Clean cotton or cheesecloth 
  • Coffee filter or porous cloth 
  • Charcoal 
  • Sand (clean and fresh) 
  • Gravel

Step 1: Create Holes At The Bottom Of Your Filter

First, you have to create a hole to insert the charcoal sand and gravel. It might be a plastic bottle, container, or comparable jar. 

If you are using a plastic bottle, cut the bottom of the bottle and create a whole. You can use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the bottom part of the bottle. 

At the same time, you have to cut a drain hole at the top of the bottle. The filtered water will expand in this way.

Remember, the drain hole should be perfect, and you have to keep the size medium.

If the bottle contains a cap, you can create several small holes on the cap. It will be more convenient when collecting clean water. 

Step 2: Add Each Filter Layer In Order

Now, you have a well-designed bottle or container. That’s great! In step two, you have to follow the filter layers and input materials in the bottle that you have already prepared. 

The layer order is strategic, and you have to maintain it strictly to get pure water. 

The first layer needs a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or some sand. We recommend cloth or sand if you are in a survival situation. 

Make sure that the sand and grass are clean and out of dirt and other materials. The sand layer should be 3-4 inches

The second layer is poured with 3 inches of charcoal. It is better to use BBQ or vampire charcoal for better results and safety issues. Instant charcoal can be soaked with chemical elements. 

Next, you have to add another layer of sand in the third layer. This layer will separate the charcoal from the subsequent layers. 

The 4th layer will be the 2-3 inch layer of coarse gravel. It will prevent displacement in the sand. Make sure that the gravels are clean, fresh, and fragmented. 

In the final layer, you have to add cheesecloth or porous cloth to prevent large debris from the water.

Step 3: Hold The Filter Upright

You have prepared a filter with the bottle and five layers of different materials. This is step three, where you have to hold and place the filter upright.

The position of the filter is important. It should be stable and safe from dirt and dust. The filtration process takes time, and it is a continuous operation.

So, the upright position will make water pass easily through the layers. 

Step 4: Pour Dirty Water Into The Top Of The Filter And Repeat The Process

Step four is all about pouring the water into the filter. You can collect water from the nearest source and pour it via the top hole of the filter. 

It is important to use a clean container for collecting water. The process is easy, and you have to make sure that there is no water overflow. 

Step 5: Enjoy It! Or Boil Before Drinking

Finally, you have a DIY water filter with charcoal sand and gravel. It is time to collect and drink pure water. 

You can hold the water in a plastic bottle or preserve it in a large container. You don’t have to worry about drinking water anymore.

It is recommended to boil the water before drinking if the water source is too dirty. 


  • Carefully collect the materials and ensure cleanliness.
  • Cut the bottle perfectly and ensure it is food graded. 


  • It is unable to remove chemical or poisonous materials. 

Using Solar To Filter Water

Using Solar To Filter Water

Solar energy is the most efficient power source during survival. The good news is that you can purify water by using solar energy. 

Before going to attempt the process, you should understand how solar power works to purify water. The process is very effective, and you will get drinking water instantly. 

Besides, the solar water filter is a cost-effective process of water filtration. The technology is called Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)

The purification process is very simple. Water temperature will be raised with the help of sunlight. Then the water will be vaporized and eliminate contamination. 

It uses solar radiation to purify water. This system has several advantages. The process doesn’t require electricity or too many materials to get pure water. 

We present a step-by-step guide on how to use solar to filter water. You can prepare this filter easily and use it anywhere under the sun. Let’s explore the process.

Here are the listed materials for a solar water filter.

  • Wood or metal sheet 
  • Reflective material 
  • Black paint 
  • White foam insulation 
  • Sheet of glass 
  • Glue 
  • A container 
  • A heat absorbent tray

Step 1: Exterior Painting: First, you have to paint the wood or metal surface of the container with black barbecue paint. The color will absorb more heat from the sun. It will enhance the heat and make the process more efficient. 

Step 2: In the second step, you have to attach a reflective surface to the back of the water jar. It will also get more sunlight on the water container of the jar. 

Step 3: Now, use the black tray inside the reflective enclosure and place a sheet of glass. The reflective body, glass, and tray will enhance the heat up to 3x. 

Step 4: Create an output hole and ensure that it is at the bottom point of the jar. The hole will be used to collect filtered water.

Step 5: Finally, put the jar under the sun for a whole day and see the magic. You will get clean and pure water. 

Step 6: Collect water from the heated jar into another container. You can reserve water for further use too. 

Using this water filter, you can purify up to three gallons of water from a regular microwave oven-sized jar. You have to set the filter under the sun for the whole day. 

It is recommended to use water from natural resources. This is an emergency filtration process. So, input water from safe resources. 


You can use this filter to purify ponds, rivers, fountains, and rainwater. It is an initial and emergency filtration process. 


  • Easy to set up and use for household and outdoors
  • No gas, electricity, or fire
  • It does not change the taste of water
  • It is replicable with low investment costs


  • The process is only suitable for sunny days.
  • You can not filter too much water. 
  • It takes more time and depends on the sun. 
  • It is not suitable for snowy areas. 

400sf (4×100) White Reflective Foam Insulation Vapor Barrier

400sf (4x100) White Reflective Foam Insulation Vapor Barrier Warehouse Building
  • 1/8 inch thick
  • Non-Perforated White Finish
  • Prevents Condensation

Using Household Chemicals to Purify Water

We use household chemicals for several purposes. Some common chemicals make a perfect reaction with water and purify it without any device. 

You can get pure and clean drinking water by using household chemicals. This is an instant process, and you will do it regularly. 

Water purification with chemicals can be used during off-grid living, disasters, and water shortages. 

You will have the opportunity to get pure water anytime if you know the process.

Here we include three different household chemicals for water purification. You can use the items that are available at home.

Besides, you can carry these items with you during camping and off-grid living. 

Use Bleach

Bleach is a trusted item for water purification. It is an ancient process of water filtration. So, you can disinfect water by using bleach carefully. 

Bleach works both for cold and hot water. Though cold water needs more bleach, you can use it in all weather conditions.

First, collect water from a trusted source. The most common sources are rain, the nearest pool, pond, or canal.

Then, stand the water container for a few minutes. It will send the large dirt into the bottom parts of the container.

Next, include two-four drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water. The amount will be reduced to two drops when the water is warm and more clear.

As we discussed, you have to add almost double bleach if the water is cold.

Now, shake the container for a minute. It is recommended to turn the bottle upside down for proper mixture and movement.

In the final step, keep the bottle in a dark place for 30 minutes. Open the cap of the bottle or container and smell the water. 

If it smells like bleach, you have to wait for 30 minutes more. Don’t think about the shortcut process. 

Product of Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleanser

Use Calcium Hypochlorite

Calcium Hypochlorite is a powder of chemicals that can be used for water purification. Dry Calcium Hypochlorite is a great resource for making bleach solutions. 

You might know that Calcium Hypochlorite is a form of bleach. The difference is that it has a longer shelf life than bleach. You will get a more effective way to purify water. 

You can disinfect water for drinking by following these easy steps.

First, add one percent Calcium Hypochlorite into the water and wait for 30 minutes. If the water contains too much dirt, add the double amount of Calcium Hypochlorite.

Before adding the chemical, make sure that water is free from large obstacles. 

Now, shake the container and move upside down. Keep it under shade for 30 minutes more. You will get pure drinking water.  

Use Iodine

Iodine is also an effective household chemical for water purification. You can use this edible substance to get pure drinking water. The process is very simple, and you can do it with ease. 

First, take a fresh container and pour it with water. Input 5 to 10 drops of Tincture of iodine 2% for one quart of water. 

Next, keep the container under shade for 30 minutes. It is the same process as we discussed for bleach purification. 

Now, shake the water bottle or container perfectly and move upside down. 

Finally, you have to set the bottle under shade for 30 minutes more. Transfer water from the container to another clean and fresh container.


This process is perfect for small amounts of water purification. If you have any long-term disease or blood pressure issues, it is better to avoid chemical purification.


  • Filtered water is not suitable for infants, and pregnant women.
  • Iodine can be dangerous for patients with heat issues.  

4 Alternative Options with Portable Water Filters

If you are not willing to make a DIY water filter, you can purchase filters for survival use. These are the best alternatives that will enable you to get pure drinking water.

We include these items after considering their efficiency, durability, and quality. You will get an instant water filtration system with these portable devices.

  1. Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
  2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
  3. Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets
  4. Survivor Filter Pro – Hand Pump Camping Water Filter 

However, portable water filters are the best solution for water purification outdoors. You can easily carry and store them.

Besides, these filters come with the instant operation and give you the freedom of use. They are affordable and best for survival situations.

But, these filters come with a limited lifespan, and you can not use them to filter large amounts of water. Some models come with a one-time operation. It will increase your filtration cost.

Also read: DIY Water Filter Systems for Offgrid Living

In Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that a survival water filter is a significant tool for off-grid living. You can not live without water, and an efficient filter will provide you with pure water. 

Select the filter that is most convenient and easy to set up based on your location and area. It will make your water purification journey easier during camping and off-grid living.

Always try to collect water from a safe resource. Rainwater is the safest source of drinking water. You can directly drink rainwater if you preserve it in a clean food-grade jar.