Finding a clean drinkable source of water is one of the most important things you need to do when forced to survive outdoors. Keep in mind that water is the most important element a human body needs to survive so finding a safe source of water fast is a must in a survival situation.
When surviving outdoors streams, lakes, and rivers are the most common source of survival water supply. There are many ways to know where you can find them in the wilderness. Always look out for animal or wildlife tracks as animals always know where the water is. Remember that lush green vegetation is also a sign of a nearby water source. Another thing to look out for is bird flight paths in the morning and evening as they always point to a water source.
Always use your ears when you are moving or resting and listen for possible sounds of rivers and streams as they can be heard in the quiet woods from great distances. You may also want to look in valleys or other low-lying areas as water always flows downhill.
Water in Muddy Areas
Ground water may also be available in muddy areas. You can get clean potable water by digging a foot deep hole with a 1 foot diameter and wait for the water to surface. Use some cloth in straining the ground water to produce a clean potable water source. Keep in mind that found water must be purified before drinking to avoid the risk of drinking contaminated water.
Most Rain water in rural areas or wilderness is clean and safe. They are usually potable and can be consumed without the fear if getting disease or illnesses. It is wise to use any and all kinds of containers when it rains so you can collect a sufficient amount of clean potable water for your survival water storage.
There are many ways to gather rain water in the wilderness, using a poncho or a plastic sheet and a container tie the sheet or poncho on a slant with slight sag to collect and drain the rain water. If you can’t find any containers you can use the poncho or plastic sheet as a makeshift water bag by tying it in all four corners and giving it more sag. Don’t be alarmed if the rain water tastes different because it doesn’t have minerals that are commonly found in streams or ground water but it is still safe and potable. Watch this video tutorial on how to collect and filter water from rain:
Heavy Dew and Vegetation
Another source of potable water is heavy dew. You can collect it by tying an absorbent cloth on your shins and walking through some high grass early in the morning. You can also get water supply from vegetation, bamboo, cacti, coconuts, fruits, and palm trees as they are also good sources of liquid sustenance. Green bamboo trees are the most common vegetation used in obtaining water outdoors. You can use them by bending the top part of a green bamboo tree at least a foot off the ground and tying it off. You then cut off the tip and put a container underneath and leave it overnight. This will give you a sufficient amount of clear and drinkable water in the morning. Check out this video to know how to get water from green vegetation:
Snow and Ice
Snow and ice can also be a good source of drinking water but keep in mind to never eat them frozen as it will surely reduce your body temperature leading to dehydration. You have to melt it and if possible purify it to avoid any illness and diseases. When you are surviving near the sea you can use old sea ice as a water source. An old sea ice is usually blue or black tint, has round edges, and breaks easily and they are salt-free. Like snow it should be melted and purified before drinking. Watch this video for more information on how to obtain safe potable water from snow:
Avoid drinking the following liquids no matter how dire your situation is:
- Fish juices
- Salt water
- Fresh sea ice
They said that if you’re surviving outdoors and manage to find a river or lake half the battle is already over. However in order to drink this water you need to purify it to avoid illness and diseases. One of the most common techniques in water purification systems is by boiling it. Boiling it steadily for 10 minutes is a good rule of thumb. You need to have a fire and container to boil your water, you may not have the right utensils when surviving but you can probably use one or more of these survival equipment:
- Aluminum can
- Tin can
- Large shell
- Plastic bottle
- Glass jar
It is important to filter out large bits of sediments when doing survival water purification before boiling the water you collected from rivers and streams. You can use your shirt or other cloth for this. Plastic bottles can also be used for boiling water. One effective way to do this is by filling the water bottle with water, cap it, and drop it into some hot coals. By doing this the lack of air can keep the water bottle from melting. If you don’t have enough water to fill the bottle you can use a rope or vine to suspend it above the fire so the flames only touch the bottom. If you don’t want to risk losing your plastic bottle or can’t start a fire another effective way in purifying water is by leaving it in the sun in a clear container to kill the bacteria. Watch this video for more information on how to make your survival water filter:
One of the most common and effective way in purifying water is by using purification tablets. There are a lot of purifying tablets available in the market today and they are mandatory in survival kits. It is important to know that most purification tablets use iodine or chlorine to treat the water, as many people are allergic to iodine make sure that no one in your family or group is before using the purification tablets.
It is important to give the water you collected an initial straining with some kind of cloth before purifying it. You may need more than one tablet when purifying murky water, remember that any tablet also needs at least 30 minutes to be fully effective. It’s always safer to drink warm water so allow the water you collected to heat up a little in the sun first to be sure. To add more oxygen and flavor to your purified water pour it back and forth between two containers after boiling or treating it with tablets. Check out our top choice for water purification tablets and equipment with amazon links in case you want to add them to your survival kit:
- Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets
- G.I. Issue Water Pure Tablets
- Aquamira Water Treatment Drops 1oz
- Taharmayim – Israeli Water Purification Tablets (Pack of 50)
- LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Also check out our article pertaining to water storage. It’s useful information to help keep you and your family safe for a while with a large water stockpile.