Finding Water in the Wild

How to Find Water in the Wild

Humans can only survive 3 days without water. In everyday life, whether you live in the city or in a rural area, water is easily accessible. However, if you go camping or bugging out in the wild, the only water you have is the water you bring with you, unless you know how to find water in the wild.

The Significance of Water

The human body needs at least 2 quarts (64 oz) of water a day to survive. FEMA recommends 1 gallon per person per day, half for drinking, and half for sanitation. The body uses water to circulate blood, process food, and assist in other internal processes. While you can survive up to 3 days without water, your body will suffer from severe dehydration after 1 day. Your body will slowly shut down- you will feel very weak because your muscles won’t receive oxygen, your blood cells begin to shrink, you will get tunnel vision, among many other physical functions that will begin to fail.

How to Find Drinkable Water

Listen and Look: The In the wild, unless you are in a desert, there are countless lakes, rivers, streams, springs, and other natural water sources. While you’re searching for water, stop and listen for sounds of running water. Look for vegetation and greenery, vegetation typically only grows around water, so the water source shouldn’t be far off.

Rainwater: Rainwater is almost always safe to drink in the wild. Water that collects on poisonous plants or puddles on the ground are a couple exceptions, besides that, rainwater is perfectly potable. To collect rainwater, set out clean containers or a poncho, and watch as they fill with drinkable water. Don’t worry if the rainwater tastes a little different than normal water that you drink at home, this is because rainwater lacks the minerals that groundwater naturally collects.

Snow: Snow is an invaluable tool in a survival situation, not only because it gives you the ability to make a snow cave to sleep in, but also because it provides a clean water source. However, before you go to stuff a handful of snow in your mouth, melt it. Eating frozen snow will reduce your body temperature and can lead to dehydration.

Vegetation: In many parts of the country, the landscape is covered with vegetation. Plants such as apple trees, palm trees laden with coconuts, cacti, and numerous other plants can contain drinking water. In the mornings, dew will collect on some types of vegetation. Also, you can tie a clear plastic bag around a tree branch in the morning, making sure to enclose the leaves, and collect the water that will have pooled at the bottom of the bag at night (choose a big bag, because this can yield up to a gallon of water).

Animals: Humans are not that different from animals such as dogs, birds, insects, or any other creature that you may find in the wild. This means that all of us have the same basic needs, we need water to survive. Wild animals will know where the closest water source is, so you can find water by looking for animal tracks or insects (usually insects will congregate around water sources). Birds typically fly towards water sources during the morning and evening.

Digging: If you find an area full of mud, but can’t seem to find any actual water, all you need to do is dig a hole. In a few minutes, water will begin to collect in the bottom of the hole. If the water is dirty (muddy), pour the water through a tee shirt to trap all the dirt and debris on the shirt and allow clean water to pour through, or simply drink with a water filter.


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