Safe Drinking Water While Camping

Although the northern lakes may look pure, there could be a rare problem with giardia lamblia (often called Giardia), a water cyst which can cause unpleasant intestinal illness. It is interesting to note that we’ve never had a guest get sick from the water since we started almost a quarter of a century ago. With that said, however, it is best to treat drinking water by one of the following methods:

  • Use a SteriPen (North Country’s recommended method)

    These are a flashlight type item which uses Ultraviolet light to sterlize water. They are included as part of our Ultra-light GOLD Packages, or can be rented as an additional item. For our Complete Parties using our SILVER, SILVER +, or Non-Profit Youth Group Packages, we discount the rental by about 30%.

  • Boil your water

    Bring water to a full boil for at least one minute, then let stand until cool enough to drink. We suggest you do this with the large cooking pot after dinner, and let it cool overnight. Then just fill your drink bottles in the morning; you’re good for the day.

  • Use tablets to purify

    In our shop we sell tablets (chlorine, iodine, or halizone base) to treat your water.  Follow manufacturer’s directions for use. Cold or cloudy water will take longer to treat and may require additional tablets.

  • Purify or filter your water

    Use a purifer or filter to that is specifically designed to remove giardia lamblia. The problem here is that the filters will plug with algae very easily. For this reason, we personally do not recommend (or use) filters.

  • The Voyageur method

    Many of our guests use the straight out of the lake method. If you use this method you must do it correctly: away from shore and in water that is deeper than you can see bottom. (Especially avoid the stagnant bays and small streams where beaver and moose are commonly seen.) Take your water bottle and gather your drinking water at least an elbows length deep, cap it and return to surface.

Anyone with a medical condition, or a pregnancy, should boil, filter, or treat their drinking water to make sure they have safe drinking water while camping.