So, you’ve patched up your scrapes and cuts, but you used up the last of your water to whip up that garlic poultice you slapped on. Being out of water is not a good idea; how exactly do we fix that? Here are a few suggestions, but we urge you to do your own research and seek out the appropriate training before attempting them.
Whether it’s a rain filled pothole or Lake Ontario itself, the rules remain the same:
How does the water look? Is it oily? Scummy? Filled with alligators? None of these are good, keep moving.
Do you see animal bones around it? Are plants growing around it? Animal bones and no plants likely points to some sort of pollution… keep moving.
Do you see a mineral crust around the edge of the water? That’s likely a no-no and points to the water being alkaline in some way. Great for washing clothes but not so much for drinking.
If your puddle has vegetation, no bones or crust and isn’t a scummy mess, scoop some up and skip down to the Fire and Filter section.
Birds, Bees and Good Old Rain
Birds often fly low when they are heading towards water and make only short hopping flights once they are full of said water. Pigeons and other small grain eating birds are your best bets here. Insects are also great indicators. Bees rarely stray far from their hives and the hives are never too far from water. Ants climbing a tree are almost always in search of water. And flies also never stray far from some sort of water source.
Rain is possibly the best way to gather large quantities of decently clean water (depending on local air pollutants) but you need containers and capturing mechanisms to make it worthwhile. Or you could stand outside with a few clean t-shirts on and then wring them out later. Rainwater1
The dew that condenses on plants in the mornings under the right conditions is typically safe to drink, the problem here lies in how you gather any more than enough to wet your lips a little.
Best idea: have a sterile cloth in your possession that you soak up the water with, then wring the water into a container. This may require a few cloth-loads of dew to produce anything substantial but it's low energy and very easy on other resources and skills needed.
Silly idea: wrap your ankles with cloths as well and then walk through dew-covered grass as you travel or otherwise do something else. Stylish, effective and kind of lazy; perfect!
Snow is like piles of rain sitting on the ground, right? Its right there; just pop it in your mouth like an ice cube, right? Right?! Nope… if there’s snow around you, then it’s cold outside your body. If you put snow in your body, then it will be cold inside your body. This is a bad recipe and will rapidly leave you shivering and creeping closer to hypothermia.
Warm up the water by melting it over a heat source or by sticking a water bottle filled with snow inside your coat until your body heat warms it up.
Plants like cacti, vines and bamboo all gather water in various ways but those ways are far too particular and involved to describe here. In fact, unless you know a lot about cacti; just don’t drink from them. It’s often just liquid poison. Again, remember, get training from the proper authorities on these subjects before trying anything mentioned here. Here are some links if you want them: Plants1
Fire and Filter
The making of fires themselves will likely be another topic but boiling remains key to making potable drinking water from whatever you find. Boiling will kill the microorganisms found in most wild water systems. Things like E. coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium; none of which are the only dangers but trust me the list only gets worse.
Once those bad guys are dead you need to filter the water somehow. Typically, if you use a cloth or other finely meshed product you can sift out the pieces of junk still floating in your tasty drink. Tiny rocks, sand, wood shavings, rotten stuff and poop not being in your drinking water is just an obvious boon to your health that we believe filtering is self evident.
The Standard Warning
We cannot stress enough to receive proper training and to do your own research regarding these topics. Although this information and these facts are as accurate as we can relate them, we are not recommending nor are we suggesting in anyway that you use anything but properly sourced and prescribed medicines.
Thanks for spending some time with us today and we hope you learned something useful.