Best Water Finding Tips from a Survival Expert

Best Water Finding Tips from a Survival Expert

Water Myths

On average, we can go three days without water, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Water scarcity can kill someone in as little as 24 hours, but it can also linger up to a week.

It is widely considered that food is necessary for survival, yet I only eat when there is a water source nearby.

Digestion takes a lot of water, and a person can go for weeks without eating. Eating without water leads to dehydration, which kills you sooner.

The desire to feed isn’t the only survival myth around. Perhaps you’ve seen videos of dishevelled survivalists drinking urine to stay hydrated.

Thirty years ago, in the military, we had this saying: “People survive despite drinking their urine, not because of it.” Urine has about half the salt content of ocean water and contains waste that your body seeks to eliminate.

best water finding tips

Drinking allows your body to draw more water from your tissues and excrete it again.

There are enough lessons on cleaning water to fill several chapters, yet dirty water is preferable than no water.

If there is no method to filter wild water and I ignore signs that it may kill me (such as animal carcasses or industrial contamination), I drink it nonetheless.

In survival scenarios, more people have perished from dehydration than from disease.

Deal with the consequences when you are rescued; it is preferable than death.

There are different methods for obtaining water in diverse circumstances. When everything else fails, the methods outlined below can be useful.

Eating snow or ice is like taking two steps forward and one back.

It lowers your body temperature, raising the risk of hypothermia and pushing your body to heat itself up again, requiring even more water.

Instead, melt it. Snow and ice obtained from precipitation sources do not need to be disinfected unless they are polluted. However, ice and snow from lakes and streams must be. If you don’t have a stove, use the following methods to melt snow or ice.

Core temperature. Place snow or ice in a sealable container and use your body heat to melt them. Maintain a thin layer of clothes between your skin and the container to protect it from the cold outside air.

Direct sunlight. Melt snow or ice in or on a waterproof container or surface (tarp, rain gear, etc.). If the ground is icy, add insulation beneath it.

Fire. Use a metal container (melt a small amount first, bring it to a boil, and then gradually add more snow, or you will melt a hole in the container’s bottom).

Alternatively, place a porous pouch, such as a T-shirt or bandana, near the fire (I normally use a solid stick tripod) and fill with snow or ice.

Place a clean container below it to catch any water that drips through.

Animal Indicators

Animal paths may bring you to water. Look for a V where the trails intersect.

Almost all animals require water, and once they leave a source, they naturally disperse across their environment to graze, hunt, forage, and so on. When they require water, they return to the source via necessary pathways.

Birds often want to sleep near water at night. In a desert setting, observe the sky from a high point an hour or two before sunset.

If you spot a bird or two flying high, follow them until they disappear. Please take note of the approximate direction and distance at which they landed.

Seeing many birds arrive from different directions and disappear in the same general area is significantly more enjoyable.

The next day, just before dawn, return to the same high point and keep a close eye on the same spot. If you witness birds rising and flying away from a specific location, water is most likely nearby.

surface water

Vegetation

Deciduous trees in a mostly coniferous forest may indicate that water is nearby.

Aspens, for example, require water but prefer well-drained soil. Thus, an inverted V of aspens on a hill may suggest a spring above the tip of the V.

Cottonwood trees prefer water near the surface.

Transpiration bags capture water from trees and plants. To capture the water produced by photosynthesis, wrap a clear, durable bag, such as a garbage bag, over a luxuriant branch in direct sunlight.

To keep water vapour from escaping, patch any holes and tightly tie or knot the bag around the branch. (Only apply this procedure to non-toxic plants.) Under ideal circumstances, a large garbage bag can collect up to 300 mL of water in three hours.

You can collect up to a litre of water per day by wrapping bags around multiple trees.

Similarly, you can gather water from dispersed vegetation using huge plastic bags. Look for green flora in arid, treeless places, such as tall grasses.

Gather the greenest plants and place them in a large bag. Plants lose water when they are heated by the sun. To eliminate debris, strain the collected water into a container using a cloth. Drink the water after it has cleared.

Giant vines in rainforests can hold a lot of water. After cutting the vine a few feet above the ground, hold or tie the ends over a container. If you’re in a hurry, put your rain gear in a hollowed-out depression in the dirt.

Not all plants generate drinkable water; if it’s hazy, salty, bitter, or soapy, discard it and try another vine.

Potholes arise in dry washes in desert areas.

Exposed bedrock, especially near the base of steeper slopes, can form vertical tunnels that trap water and debris during flash floods.

Some can be deep (more than 20 feet) and narrow, keeping the confined water shaded and tranquil like a well.

To collect the water, drop it into a jar with a fist-sized rock. If possible, care for it before consuming it.

Seeps are another reliable water supply, occurring when precipitation falls on a level mesa and seeps into the sandstone. Look for a series of nooks along the cliff edges of mesas, with a dark line in the back containing plants and dark streaks.

Digging

Excavating in locations with water near the surface can be profitable, despite Hollywood’s representation of it as more difficult.

Dig towards the water, on the lowest spot below the first barrier dune.

Dig only until water seeps in or the soil appears damp, then cover and check for fresh water in an hour or so.

If you dig too deep, you risk contaminating your supply by crossing through the narrow freshwater table and into the saltwater table below.

In huge dry washes, the outside curve is usually deeper, more shaded, and the final point where water flows.

Temperature variations, dirt, animal tracks, and clouds of small flying insects all increase the likelihood that water is near the surface.

Solar stills can be tricky; learn more here.

If I had the necessary abilities or tools, I would only use them to extract water from saltwater or a heavily polluted source. It can be labour and material intensive. As a result, it is rarely utilised in survival situations, although it is a viable alternative when others are unavailable.

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