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The Wilderness Survivor, Issue #023 - Drinking rainwater
May 01, 2006
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Editor - The Wilderness Survivor

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Table of contents

- Editor's Notes
- Have you heard about RSS feed?
- Can you feel safe drinking rainwater
- Content has been updated

Editor's Notes

Hello ,

Hope all is well with you and you are ready for the Wilderness Survivor.

I’m getting more and more emails from my readers. It’s very nice. The last 2 weeks I have got a couple of e-mails asking about if it’s safe drinking rainwater. So in this issue of the Wilderness Survivor I have combined my answers to those questions.

Enjoy your reading!

Have a safe and fun wilderness trip - Respect and protect the wilderness !

Have you heard about RSS feed?

Then you probably know that for you it could mean Real Simple Subscribing – RSS !

RSS is a real simple way for you to subscribe and read the content published at the Wilderness Survival Skills and other of your favorite web sites. "Fast and easy"! No need to click "Get Mail."

Read more at the Wilderness Survival Blog page!

Can you feel safe drinking rainwater in the wilderness?

First, rainwater is not free of pollution. Rainwater contains; dust, plant parts, etc, that the rain has washed out of the air. As this was not enough rainwater also contain anthropogenic gases that result from industrial pollution.

Rainwater in rural areas - is fairly clean. So if you are collecting rainwater in the wilderness far away from polluted industrial areas you are in a better position to get cleaner rainwater.

Drinking rainwater

Normally you could drink rainwater without becoming ill. I have used the precipitation as a water supply backup many times on my wilderness trips and that has worked fine for me. The trick is that the rainwater must be carefully handled so that it does not become contaminated.

A lot of people have survived emergency situation by drinking rainwater. Just check Google and use the search term “survived by drinking rainwater”.

However, if you want to be on the safe side, purify your rainwater. It’s your decision. If you are equipped with a portable filter bottle, use it.

Comment: Rainwater miss some minerals compared to water out of the ground or from steams. You can probably taste the difference.

Collecting rainwater

Make sure your catchment system is clean. It might be a good idea not to collect the rain when it just starts as it's washing out all the particulate material in the air.


1) Collect rainwater flowing off the roof of your tent or shelter. Simply lower one corner and direct the water into a collecting bowl or container. Make sure the tent or shelter roof is clean.

2) A variation of the first example is to use a clean sheet of plastic. Put your sheet of plastic on sloping ground. Put stones on the plastic to make sure the wind will not catch it. Make a mini "V" shape trough down in which rain can flow.

Comment: On my wilderness trips I always have a new (clean) large plastic trash bag in my backpack.

3) The simplest alternative is to just set out rain collecting containers, anything that holds water. However, it have to rain heavily to fill it up....

Content has been updated

New more good content have been added or updated to the Wilderness Survival Skills website the last month. Check the Wilderness Survival Blog

He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Contact me

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Written by Erik C. Falk

(c) copyright 2006

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