Hi Marcella. There are actually a number of different ways available, depending on how much kit you want to carry. Boiling is the time-tested way, but aside from that, you can carry a portable water filter or water purifying chemicals.
Filters are great because the product will often stipulate exactly what it is filtering, from viruses to specific bacteria. Below is an example of a filter that fits within your water bottle (the Exstream Water Bottle Purifier, $49.95)
There are chemicals made especially for cleansing water. Chemical treatments are both lighter to carry and cheaper (the example below is only $9.99). There are limitations from chemical treatments, for instance, particulars remain in the water and the supply is fixed (and therefore limited).
For more information and the website which carries these products, see links below.
Use a portable water purifier, made for just such a purpose. Here’s a link to just one brand, but there are many more.
One really great tool that many hikers, as well as travelers in countries that may not have clean water supplies, is the SteriPEN AdventureOpti device. It works best in clear water (so, clear of debris, sand, dirt, etc.–perhaps run it through a filter first) and is designed to kill viruses, bacteria, and protozoa with a blast of ultraviolet light in about 90 seconds. The article below offers a great review of the SteriPEN product if you’d like to learn more.
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