In survival situation staying hydrated should be one of your top priorities because even though it is possible to survive weeks without food, but surviving without water more than three days is impossible, and even 24h without hydration gets extremely hard. Therefore you should always make sure that you have always at least minimum amount of drinking water available. Because of carrying large amounts of water is not easy, the best way to ensure hydration is to know how to purify water found from the nature.
What happens when you become dehydrated?
If you go about 24-72h without water, some symptoms you are going to start experiencing include increased thirst, dry mouth, headache, dizziness and fatigue. If you go more than three days without water, the symptoms are going to quickly worsen and you may start experiencing more severe symptoms, such as rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, extreme thirst, sunken eyes, lethargy, confusion, fever, shock and seizure. You may even go into a coma, and ultimately die.
The symptoms of chronic dehydration can quickly reduce your chances of survival. So, if you are stuck or lost somewhere in the wild without water. The first thing you ought to do is find a source of water.
Now, it helps to have some knowledge when it comes to water purity. So, here are a few simple tips that can be helpful.
- Water that is spewing from the ground is more pure than still water. Therefore, look for flowing water.
- Avoid water that appears discolored and murky.
- Avoid water that has algae growth.
- Do not drink marsh or swamp water.
- Do not drink water that is near factories, roads or mining sites as it could be toxic.
Water you can drink without purification
It is not always necessary to purify water found from the nature. For example you you collect rain water on clean containers, and you can drink it safely, providing there are now radioactive or other toxic clouds. Furthermore, if you can find a well or natural spring etc. water source, most likely it’s drinkable without any purification. Clear water streams offers also most likely quite good drinking water.
Purifying Water in the Wild
As a rule of thumb, it is always good to consider all water unsafe until purified. Water could look clear and drinkable, but it still can contain bacteria and even toxins. Therefore, it is a good practice to purify water before drinking it, unless you are quite sure that it’s drinkable.
There are various ways you can purify water in the wild. You can either boil it, filter it, use purification tabs or distill it.
Purifying water using boiling
This is one of the easiest and surest ways of purifying water. If you have a container that can be used for boiling water, you are good to go. Of course, you will need to start a fire first. So, be sure to know how to make a fire in wilderness.
How long should you boil the water to purify it?
Boiling the water for about 20 minutes continuously kills any harmful microbes that may be in the water. You may choose to boil the water for longer, but remember, if boil water for too long, most of it will evaporate and you will be left with very little drinking water.
Also, once you boil the water, avoid re-boiling it more than two times. Re-boiling water frequently can cause some minerals that are in the water to become too concentrated putting you at risk of developing certain illnesses.
Using self made water filters
Filtering water is a great way of removing debris, sediment, insects and other contaminants. The easiest way to filter water is by using a piece of cloth. This can be a bandana, a t-shirt or any other piece of clothing that is clean. That kind of filtering could be done before boiling, however it is not alone enough to make water drinkable.
Another simple and more effective way of filtering water is by creating a filter using natural materials. Find a tree bark, some grass, charcoal, sand and gravel. Shape the bark into a cone and then fill it with layers of sand, grass, charcoal and gravel. Make sure the bark cone has a small hole at the bottom end and use strips of bark or any other sturdy material to tie around your cone to hold it together. You may need to run the water through your filter several times to try remove a majority of the impurities.
Charcoal is a very good filtering material because it can remove chemical contaminants, while the other materials can help remove other impurities. The idea is to simulate natural filtering process which happens when water goes through the earth and builds up water tables.
Ready made water filters
There are available plenty of ready made water filters for survival situations. Those are compact in design and effective what comes to cleaning water. You should have water filter always ready at your bug out bag.
Here is SurvivalGearArmory.com’s review of Sawyer Mini Water-Filtration System, which is by the way very compact, effective and useful in filter.
Use water purification tablets
Water purification tabs are easy and effective way to get water suitable for drinking. Of course tabs does not remove any particles, so you might want to also filter the water if possible.
Another alternative for water purification tabs is to use potassium permanganate as it is capable of killing bacteria.
Distillation using solar still
Solar still does not only provide purified water, but it also actually collects the water. It is quite perfect way to get clean drinking water alsmot in any conditions, as long as you are able to build it. To construct a solar still, you need to have a container or something that you can use to catch water. You also need a sheet of plastic and a small rock. Here are are the steps you need to take to build a solar still.
- The first thing you do is dig a hole about 2 feet deep and 3 feet wide.
- Place your container in the center of the hole.
- Cover your hole with the plastic sheet and use soil or stones to hold the edges in place. Make sure that there are no holes on the plastic sheet or any small openings that can let out moisture.
- Take a small stone and then place it in the middle of your plastic sheet to ensure that all the moisture gathering runs to that center point where it can drip.
- Wait for about 24 hours or more and then open your sill and quench your thirst with clean safe water.
That’s amazing effective way to get clean drinking water out of the earth, and there is no need for boiling, filters or purification tablets.
When it comes to finding or collecting water for survival, there are many ways to do it. The sun for example is a natural source of light that can help a survivalist collect water through condensation. But aside from that, there are many water sources in the wild, you just need to find them. The only problem is, you need to purify the water before drinking it just to be on the safe side.
Methods of water purification, such as boiling, distillation and filtration are not complicated and require very basic materials. For any survivalist, basic knowledge on how to purify water naturally, using natural materials is very essential skill to have. You may lack the high-tech tools and devices to purify water, but if you have the knowledge to do it without needing any commercial water purification devices, then you have always drinkable water available.
It is also equally important to understand a few things when it comes to water sources. For example, flowing water is purer than still water. This is not to say that flowing water is always safe for drinking, but it has less impurities than still water. The bottom line is, always purify your water before drinking it, and make things easier, make sure your survival set includes ready made water filter and purification tabs.
If you like this article, share it with your friends. Please post your questions and comments below.