One of the most important wilderness survival skills is knowing how and where to find a source of water — even if there are no visible water sources around. What do you do when turning the tap on is not an option?
Wilderness Survival Skills | Water Sources Outdoors
Failure to find water has massive and compounding effects on both your physical and mental health. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the warmth you need to worry about. In fact, your body is in a constant state of losing water regardless of the outside temperature. If you find yourself in a survival situation, finding water should be one of your top priorities. We’ve compiled a list of the 7 easiest and best places to find water. Looking for these sources is a skill you can add to your wilderness survival skills.
Rain is the easiest way to get clean water quickly. Unfortunately, it’s also the least predictable. It’s the simplest and safest source of water outdoors, because it has the lowest risk of bacterial infection. You can use bottles, cans, tarps and rain jackets to collect water.
Boiling is always the best option before drinking any non-treated water source. However, if you’re forced into a situation where that isn’t an option, rainwater is the safest, untreated bet.
2. Rivers, Lakes, Streams
Rivers, lakes, streams, or any other bodies of water will be one of the most obvious sources of water in the wild. Look for clear flowing water to ensure bacteria hasn’t built up. Follow game trails and look for flying birds in the early morning and early evening, as they will typically fly towards bodies of water.
While these may be the most common sources of water, they’re also the most susceptible to contamination. Never drink from these sources without filtering, treating, or boiling it first.
3. Morning Dew
You can collect water from morning dew by tying a clean absorbent cloth or tufts of fine grass around your ankles and walk before sunrise through tall grass or meadows. However, you must avoid poisonous plants along the way. Furthermore, you should avoid areas like farms or ranches that may be heavily treated with pesticides.
Collect the water from the cloth by squeezing it into a container. You’ll have to do this quite often if you want to collect enough water to last throughout the day. This is a great option for areas where there’s not much rainfall.
4. Fruits and Vegetation
Fruits, vegetables, and plants contain lots of water. For example, coconut is such an excellent source of hydration that it’s considered Mother Nature’s Gatorade. You can use this method of collecting food for water when you’re in a tropical environment.
Moreover, it helps if you learn more about the edible fruits around your area and know exactly how to prepare them for consumption. Some plants, while full of water, can also cause massive intestinal issues.
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5. Plant Transpiration
Transpiration happens when the moisture is carried from the plants’ roots to the underside of its leaves. Tying a plastic bag around a whole branch of leaves will trap water and let it fall into your collecting bag or canister. The trapped water vapor will then turn into moisture, thus giving you clean and crisp water. Again, be cautious and avoid collecting water from poisonous plants such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac.
6. Digging a Solar Still
Since there is moisture underground, digging your way to the water source is clever — but takes time. You can gather up to 5 liters of water per day using a still.
Dig a hole measuring 3ft by 2ft. Then dig a smaller hole where your canister can fit easily. Place the plastic and keep it in place with some rocks. After that, place a small rock or weight in the middle of the plastic to create an inverted cone over the container to collect water.
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7. Tree Forks or Rock Crevices
Tree forks or rock crevices might not be the most plentiful source of water, but they’re better than going without any water at all. The forks of tree limbs or rock crevices can collect a small amount of water, due to their concave shape. Use clean clothing like a sock or bandana to soak the moisture or water in and wring it out.
Watch this video for some more wilderness survival skills you need to know:
There are many different ways to find a water source in the wild; you just have to know where to look. The ability to find water outdoors is one of the most important wilderness survival skills you can have. After finding a water source, knowing how to purify the water you’ve collected is the second most important skill to have. Remember, you’re not the only one looking for water out there. Always, always, always boil or treat water when you get the chance! Never drink from an untrusted source — you never know what’s around the bend.
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What’s the most important wilderness survival skill for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Last update on 2018-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API