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Boiling water is the cheapest and also most reliable way of purification. If you are in the wilderness, it is never a good idea to drink any water that you find without first making sure that it is safe to do so. There can be parasites and germs in the water that just can’t be seen with your bare eyes.
If you don’t have a suitable container with you to boil the water in over a fire then you need to look for alternative ways of boiling. What is your option? With the rocks that are all around you, of course.
The use of hot rocks has been around for thousands of years for such things as cooking and boiling and is a simple skill that should not be forgotten.
The method that we are going to be looking at now can also be used for preparing teas and soups when you’re out on your adventures.
Boiling does not remove chemicals, pollution, spilt fuel and similar contaminants.
Choosing the Right Rocks
I have seen this method written about time and time again but very few of those articles actually tell you which rocks to avoid. It can be incredibly dangerous to just grab some rocks and add them to the fire.
You must make sure that you only gather the rocks from a high and dry location. If you try putting waterlogged rocks in a fire, they can literally explode when they heat up, sending sharp stone bits flying in all directions. The last thing you need is serious injury when all you were after was clean water.
You also want to steer clear of any slate, shale, quartz or obsidian as they are prone to explosion even when dry.
If rocks are going to explode, they will generally do so within 15 minutes of being in the fire so if you are unsure about your choice of rocks, throw a few in the fire and move back about 50 yards. Wait for 20 minutes and see what happens.
Hot Rock Boiling Video
Before we go any further, check out the video below to try and get a bit of a better understanding of how the process works.
You will notice a couple of things in the video. First, he uses wooden bowls for the water but any vessel will do. Secondly, the rocks are rinsed to remove any ash and soot from the fire before adding to the drinking water. This will help to keep the water tasting good but it is personal preference really.
Gather Your Rocks and Heat Them
Once you are sure that you have a safe supply of rocks it is time to gather them up. Gather some good-sized rocks together and place them into your fire for around 15-30 minutes to ensure that they are nice and hot.
Safely Add the Rocks to Your Water
Using two sticks or a thick piece of bark, carefully remove the stones from the fire and place them into your water. It should reach a rolling boil almost immediately, killing any viruses and bacteria in the water. To be safe, leave the water to boil for at least a minute. As soon as your water has cooled down, it is safe to drink. It really is as simple as that!
We love to hear from our readers so let us know if you’ve tried this method and how you got on in the comments below.