Going without water

by Brad
(United States)

Finding water is critical

Finding water is critical

Going without water in the wilderness can put you in serious trouble. You can survive without food for weeks but only 3-4 days without water. In hot weather, you need to drink 2 quarts/day. In a hot desert 1 gal/day or if it’s very hot 1.5 quarts/hr or 3 gal/day.

Things to remember when looking for water in the wilderness:

1. Mountains

Look for runoff down the mountain, base of mountain and green area coming down the mountain. Dig at base of hills.

2. Creek beds

Look for depressions in the land indicating long creek beds. Dig in bottom of creek beds where you can see lines of vegetation.

3. Open terrain

When terrain is flat and open, look for long meandering tangles of brush and shrubs.

4. In desert:

Dig in dry stream bottom or base of hills (not often successful). Let it seep. Find hollow plant stem for drinking from hole.

5. Insects or birds

Sound of insects or birds circling may lead to some water.

6. Animal tracks

Animal tracks often converge near water. Drink the water where animals go.

7. Sea coast

- Dig behind sand hills at ocean beaches. These sand hills trap rainwater and it floats on top of the heavier salt water. Dig only to a depth of 1 - 2 inches of water. If dug deeper, salt water will be encountered and the water will be undrinkable. Let it seep and settle.

- Dig between high and low tidemark in sand until seepage. Collect drink fresh water on top.

8. Seawater

< 40 % seawater + > 60 % fresh water is OK to drink.

9. In the tropics:

Look for coconuts. Use a sharp little stone wedge. Hammered it into the softest eye of the coconut and empty out the milk. Green coconuts have more milk than brown coconuts.
Be warned that drinking too much coconut milk may cause diarrhea if not eating solid food too.
Store water in old and hollowed coconuts funneled by leaves.

10. Stagnant water:

If you find stagnant water, dig a hole 1 foot away and 1 foot deep. Wait 1 hour to get filtered water.

11. Water filter

- Filter debris by scooping up in shirt. Let drain into container.
- Filter water with coffee filters.

12. Best water

Cold flowing water has least bacteria and is safer.

13. A good idea is to boil almost all water 5 - 10 minutes for worst water. Add 1 minute for each 1000 feet of elevation.

If you are out in the wilderness look for safe water, going without water is no option.

wilderness survival

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Useful tips
by: Jessica

Thanks Brad! A lot of useful tips to find water.

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