The first thing you should do if you are in the wilderness is find a water source. Keep in mind that you need 2 quarts of water to survive. If no water source can be found, there will be times when you have to rely on your ingenuity to make a situation survivable.
Hidden water sources can be found in all aspects of nature, you just have to know where to find them. If you’re lucky enough to find a source, you need to make sure you purify it with a dependable water filtration unit. Even clear rivers and lakes may seem clean, but the millions of organisms in fresh water can make you sick, if ingested. Err on the side of caution and treat all water found.
- Use your senses to find water. Obviously listening for nearby streams or rivers will be at the forefront of your mind if you need water. Further, looking around and following animal tracks can also be an option to finding water sources. Lush green vegetation is also a sign that water is nearby. Typically, animals stay close to water sources. If you can find a track and follow it, chances are it can lead to water.Further, swarming insects can also signal water sources are nearby. Bird flight paths in the morning or evening can point you in the right direction.
- Moisture is in the air. Heavy dew can provide one with an ample source of water. Dew will settle on foliage such as grasses and tree limbs at night. If you have a plastic bag (sandwich bag, trash bag, grocery bag, mylar blanket) in your pack, you can cover the limbs of trees and add a rock to provide weight. Secure the bag to collect moisture from the air. Over the course of the day the plant will transpire and produce moisture that will collect at the low point. Poke a hole in the bottom of the bag and collect the water. Collecting water from the grasses should be done before the sun rises. Tie absorbent cloth around your shins and take a walk through high grass.
- Water underground. Pay close attention to muddy areas. There is a chance that you can either collect the muddy water and filter it, or dig a hole about a foot deep and one foot in diameter and wait to see if water that has soaked into the ground will collect in the hole.
- Rainwater is the fastest way to collect water in the wild. In most rural areas, rainwater can usually be consumed without risk of disease or illness. If it rains, use any and all containers you can get your hands on to collect it. Securing a Mylar blanket to a tree or limb will help collect larger amounts of water and you can direct it to a container for consumption.
- Snow is another quick source of water. If you’re near snow and ice, melt it and drink the water. Because eating frozen snow can reduce your body temperature and lead to dehydration, take the extra step and melt it and filter it to purify for drinking purposes.
- Water gathers in tree crotches or rock crevices. Look inside these areas of the tree. With a hankerchief, mop up the water and filter it.
- Solar stills are simple way of distilling water. This process distills water using the heat of the Sun to drive evaporation from humid soil, and ambient air to cool a condenser film.
There will be times when we must draw upon our survival knowledge to help us continue on. Knowing how to find this basic, yet necessary skill could save your life.