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Finding Water In The Wilderness.

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posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 01:22 PM
How do you go about finding and obtaining water in the wilderness? Let's look at some examples as well as ask some of more experienced posters to reply.

1. Solar still.

A solar still is made by digging a hole in the ground and then covering it with a plastic tarp that has a pebble in the center. It works by condensation accumulating on the inside of the tarp and then dripping into a cup. There are myriad examples available across the web.

2. Plant condensation

This method requires one to wrap a plastic around a leafy plant limb, and collecting the water that accumulates from condensation.

3. Dew collection

This simply requires that the collector only to walk through the grass or vegetation in the early morning with a rag or towel. One then wrings out the rag or towel to collect the water.

4. Dig a well

This may require a bit more work. if you have a dry stream bed, find a depression in the stream bed and dig down to find water.

5. In the more arid parts of the States, on must look up. Climb to the top of a mesa and find a rain filled tank. These often stay filled for prolonged periods of time and can be potable without filtration, but I don't recommend it. These tanks are simply water filled depressions in the rock that accumulate water during the rainy season. The water has no place to go until evaporation sucks them dry.

6. Follow the birds.

Most birds require water twice a day. Usually in the morning and evening. Follow the birds or water needing insects. The usually will not stray far from a good source of water.

7. Look for water needing plants.

Many plants like cottonwood trees require a good source of water. Digging around the baes of these trees will often supply you with water.

8. Barrel cactus

Yes you can cut off the top of a barrel cactus and suck on the pulp. It will give oyu water. However it will also kil the cactus, so do it only in an emergency.

9. vines

Many vines will have a good source of water available in it. Simply cut the vine near the bottom and allow it to drip into your mouth. You must be relatively quick for this method to work so it doesn't all run onto the ground.

10.Find water by going downhill

Water can often be found at the base of a hill. Sometimes it may be a natural spring, other times it may be the start of a stream from runoff.

These are just some of they ways I know to collect water. I am sure others have ways not yet posted. Feel free to contribute.

A few firm notes.

PLEASE treat all water if possible.

The best place to store water is in your body

If you cannot treat the water, and are risking dehydration, drink it anyway. It is better to be treated for giardia or cryptosporidia, than to try to be treated for death. Death is 100 % fatal.

It is always a good idea to carry a good supply of water on any outing you might go on.

Drinking you own urine may be possible, but by the time most realize they are dehydrated it is too late anyway. You are no longer producing it.

Readers please feel free to contribute to this post, especially any long time woodsmen.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 01:36 PM
Great post. I am certainly not a long time woodsman, but never had any problems finding water in my trips to our "forests". Usually all one have to do is to take the map out and walk for couple hours tops to nearest supermarket.

But i am thinking about trip in desert - and it is much less populated so i am worried that my polished technique noted above will not work as well.

A solar still is made by digging a hole in the ground and then covering it with a plastic tarp that has a pebble in the center. It works by condensation accumulating on the inside of the tarp and then dripping into a cup. There are myriad examples available across the web.

Sounds nice. Not sure how it will work in desert but worth a try.
I have another question - do you know a way to make sea water drinkable without any electricity or destilation columns? If i would use solar still with sea water being evaporated, will it not become drinkable?

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 01:42 PM
If you are on the beach you can walk back above high tide mark and dig down. Fresh rain water will trap and accumulate under the sand. I forgot to add that one in there.

If you are on the sea I cannot help you there. Perhaps one of the other members can help you there.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 02:32 PM
If you are in a farming area, look for a small group of trees in a field. There is almost always a pond for irrigation. Most are very old and contain plenty of fish and fresh water. Boy I hope in 20 years I can look back on threads like this and think about it being a fun waste of time. Although this knowledge is good no matter what happens. Thanks for another informative thread.

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 08:27 PM
reply to post by network dude

I am really surprised that there haven't been any posts or additions to this. Suurely this is a topic that needs to be discussed and info that needs to be seen.



posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 09:56 PM
I know that this is slightly off topic, but it still applies none the less.
Urban survival/Water:

The need to do any of the following is very unlikely, but sometimes, crap happens.

In the case of water interruption, a residential hot water heater contains 40 or so gallons of drinkable water.
In the case of water contamination, do not use running water.
Turn off the main water supply to the house.
Turn off the electricity to the heater.
The pressure relief valve will allow the water out.
Most heaters have them at the top of the unit.
Open the valve and then look for the drainage nut on the bottom of the unit.
It won't taste that great because of heating, but it is drinkable.
The water inside the heater is already there, so there is no need to have water going into it at that point.
This avoids contamination.
In an urban environment, water outages are more common than one might think.
So is contamination.
We have often received warnings from local officials not to drink the water after a major heavy rainstorm or severe flooding.
Boiling water warnings are more common though.

It's always a good idea to keep 10 - 20 gallons of water handy, no matter how paranoid you might or might not be.
Cycle through 5 gallons a week, as water does have an expiration date, but is still drinkable, just not as fresh tasting.

NEVER drink from the bottle in a situation.
Sickness can be spread so easily by doing that.

A more unsavory place to find water is in the tank of a toilet. I don't recommend drinking from there, unless you are trapped for a long time in a building for some reason.
Don't drink the water if there are any type of treatment tabs in the tank.
If the water is brownish, or metallic tasting, avoid it as well, it's likely contaminated.
Despite the discoloration inside the tank, it's most likely mineral deposits.
The tank is pretty much separate from the business end of the toilet.

Another source is vending machines.
While this seems obvious, those damn things can be like breaking into Fort Knox if you don't know what to do.
They are tough.
I suggest looking into that on your own.
I don't want to say anything about technique.

Last but not least, and this one is a stretch, I admit it, but a freezer can supply water.
As long as there is electricity, leave the door slightly ajar, and condensation will build, and ice up.
It tastes like musty socks, but it is viable.

[edit on 10/19/2009 by reticledc]

[edit on 10/19/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 10:25 PM

Originally posted by ZeroKnowledge
Sounds nice. Not sure how it will work in desert but worth a try.
I have another question - do you know a way to make sea water drinkable without any electricity or destilation columns? If i would use solar still with sea water being evaporated, will it not become drinkable?

Sometimes it is just too dry to get more than a few drops od water out of a solar still so you've got to add the moisture to extract the water from.

A solar still will work with seawater or even urine if that is all you've got.

If those aren't available adding grass, leaves or any matter containing moisture underneath the cover will help.

posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by badgerprints

Thanks for that bit about a solar still and sea water. I was unsure if it would work or not.



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 11:17 AM
Good thread RP, I thought I would add a few comments.

Follow the animals, particularly deer or elk as their trails will always lead to water.

When putting bags over plants to collect make sure it is a non-toxic plant.

A solar still works great at the beach, simply put fresh ocean water into the hole to evaporate. You can also put your urine and plant material into the still to generate even more water.

Vines can get you water but they can also get you poisoned. If the juice coming out is clear it is probably safe, if milky then don't use. Grapevines are the only vines I trust as a water source.

If you have no method of water purification, you can still get water from an open water source like a creek or pond by digging down 6-10 feet away from the water's edge until your hole fills with water. Allow a few minutes for the mud to settle and drink.

Besides cactus you can also use thistle to draw moisture from. The stalks resemble celery when peeled of the thistles and can be found out it open fields.

To allay thirst put a small clean pebble in your mouth. Chewing a wad of sap from a sweetgum tree works well too.

Maple and birch trees can be tapped. The sap is sugary however so it is only safe to drink a small quantity otherwise it will make you sick.

The sap of sycamore trees is virtually pure water and can be drunk in unlimited quantities. This could be a vital source of safe drinking water in urban areas.

Water can be brought to a boil in a plastic drink bottle if one is careful to not allow the flames to get high enough to touch the bottle. Plastic drink bottles can be found damn near everywhere so if I had no other method of carrying or purifying water I would pick up several bottles or cans if I found them.

Was that too much?
Sorry, but I do love the subject matter and try to be thorough about it. Thanks pawn, another great thread!

posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 11:28 AM
Cattails are a good indicator of a water source. When you're walking around, you may not always see a little pond but cattails are tall and always grow in water so they're like a beacon for a water source.

Also, I read that a guy who had been stranded out to sea for 52 days had survived by using sea water enemas! Makes sense. If you drink sea water, the salt content will kill you quicker than if you just died of the dehydration. Using salt water in enema form makes more sense because the colon's job is to extract just the pure water and filter out everything else.

posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

There is never too much info in matters such as these. Most people may not remember all of these tips but they may remember one or two. The more info put out the better for everyone. I had forgotten about the vine sap color rule



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 09:50 PM
well if yo0ur familiar with the area a map and compass... but if you fell out of the sky to where you are i guess if you can find a tree dig up one of the roots... chock full of moisture ... tastes like friggin saw dust mash though... and i wouldnt do that for an extended period of time im sure its not the healthiest well then again if you dont have a digging tool and an axe your not getting at that ... so err nvm ive got nothing that hasnt already been said

[edit on 20-10-2009 by conspiracyrus]

posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 10:13 PM

Originally posted by whitewave
Also, I read that a guy who had been stranded out to sea for 52 days had survived by using sea water enemas!

I wonder what materials he had on hand
That's astounding, I would have never considered that!

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 12:59 AM
It's utterly amazing(to me at least) that we've lost some woods sense and replaced it 'street sense' yet have managed to survive as a species.

You shouldn't go looking for water! You should know where at least 3 different sources of water are any excursion or escape route before you leave. I'm a big fan of archeology and anthropology, One of the Leakey clan recently said in a lecture looking for ancient human activity or remains away from ancient water source was a huge waste of time. We are the water apes!

That said, water holes are natural ambush sites. Predators, two legged as well as four legged know this, so if you're in unknown or hostile territory, you should be very wary approaching water sources.

Ancient peoples cached supplies along their routes and they seldom traveled with anything more then they could carry on their back. I believe that most of us are urban dwellers. If you have a retreat that's more than 3 days walk(60-75 miles/100-120 km) you should plant caches along that route with food and other supplies. It could something as simply as cans of food and the fuel to heat it up. Leave coded signs on your travel route to remind you of where you cached your supplies. Put it well away from well traveled trails or roads, up hill if possible.

If you're stuck in urban area or passing through abandoned neighborhoods, look for swimming pools. Even if the water is stagnant and fetid, it's still likely treatable. and these man made ponds often never go completely dry even when partially filled in with sand or dirt because under the dirt usually is water that's been trapped.

posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 11:03 PM
If you need to find a good place to dig a well you can always try dowsing for water by use of a divining rod. Science doesn't have an explanation for this when it works other that it's just the hit and miss of chance. However many peoples the world over swear by it and years ago before we had modern water finding equipment this method was commonly used to find well water. There have even been many cases where the use of a divining rod found water where modern equipment has failed.

Here is a video on how to use a divining rod.

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