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There’s water everywhere if you know how to tap into it. Water is vital to survival, but contaminated water can be almost as dangerous as dehydration. Knowing how to collect water if you have no purification system or even source of water—whether it’s clean or dirty—can save your life in the wilderness. Here are a few techniques that can help.
Water transpiration from plants is a good source of water and is easy to collect compared to other methods. You need to find the right plants and make sure they’re safe to use. Most people stick with well-known plants, with trees like maple providing the most water, but berry plants, such as blueberries also offer water. The technique is simple. Plants take in water from the soil. When the sun shines, photosynthesis takes place in the leaves. The water is expelled from the pores in the leaves called stomata. This technique doesn’t hurt the plant, since it normally occurs, but goes into the atmosphere. However, rotating locations is important for the plant’s health.
Collecting the water is easy. Tie a clear plastic bag around the plant foliage. You need it to be clear to allow the rays of the sun to hit. This brings up another point, have an assortment of plastic bags with you. While some are more durable than others, clear ones are so important for water collection, make sure you have them available. Besides the plastic bags, you’ll need cordage to tightly tie the bag around the foliage, a rock for the bottom of the bag to direct the flow of water. a container to pour it in and some form of filtration device to filter out any bugs or dust that collected in the water in the process. Coffee filters or cloth will work. This method requires very little effort, but does need a plant in a sunny location. You can also collect several bags at one time.
Solar pits are another method of water collecting. Unfortunately, these pits cause you to work hard and that increases your need for water. Often what you gain is less than you lose. Dig a hole, cover it with clear plastic sheeting and secure it over the hole with rocks. Put a small rock in the center to direct the flow of the evaporated water toward a container you put in the bottom. The sun heats the ground, evaporates the water in the soil and condenses it on the plastic. The rock in the center directs the drip toward the collection container. This can be used to clean water from contaminants, as well by pouring brackish water in the hole and letting it distill onto the plastic.
Filtering the Water
Gathering water and boiling it is another method. Did you know that you can boil it in a plastic bottle? As long as the bottle is completely full and you have a lid for the top it won’t melt. You can also use the charred embers from a campfire to purify it from many chemicals. Cut off the bottom of one plastic bottle. Fill a bottle with crushed charcoal, plugging the neck of the bottle with a bit of cloth and putting a small hole in the cap. Pour the water through and allow it to drip into another plastic bottle. You have created a charcoal filter.