One of the most important things humans need to survive is water. With food the human body can last roughly around 3 weeks before your vital organs give up, as your body tends to use up fats and stored minerals in order to keep going. Admittedly by 3 weeks you won’t be running around the wilderness, you will be pretty much still and unable to move.
However, when it comes to water it takes just 3 days without it before you perish. That’s why one of the basic things you need to learn when you head into the wilderness is where to find water, what types of water sources you can get, and the most important fact of how to purify the water you find.
Nailing these 3 simple steps is key to your survival when you are lost, or out in the middle of nowhere.
Where to Find Water in the Wilderness
Sights, sounds and smells are some of the senses that will guide you to the nearest water source. If you are out in the wilderness, perhaps it’s a dense forest; there will always be some kind of lake or river that runs through it.
It’s a bit like a hide and seek next, because you need to locate that source and when you do you need to know where it is in location to everything else so you can easily return to it when needed.
Keep an Eye on Animals
Animals that live in the area will know where water is, and they will lead you to the area if you follow them. The chances are that animals will head to a large water source such as a river or lake, you just need to be patient and wait for them to take their daily water break.
Look for Mud and Vegetation
Two classic signs that water is present in the area is muddy and there is fresh vegetation. Now, this may not be because of a river or a lake it could simply be that the area has bouts of rainfall. Or, if you are clever enough you may suspect that underground there is a water source, so start digging a hole in the mud to see if there is any ground water.
The water you find here may be muddy so you will need to clean it up (we will show you how below).
So there you have it, look for muddy areas, vegetation, lakes or rivers and areas that are prone to rainfall. If you are in colder climates then obviously any snow or ice is your primary hotspot for obtaining water.
How to Collect Water
Using a cloth you can strain the muddy water so that you have enough to get you by for a short spell, it may not taste great but its water at the end of the day.
The old trick for rainwater is to dig a hole in the ground, or if you have containers to leave these on the ground as well. Other tips include using a poncho or plastic sheet that you can tie to two nearby trees in order to capture the rain as it falls.
How to Purify Water so You Can Drink it
Finding a water source and collecting it is one thing, but being able to drink it is another. Whether its muddy water, rain water or lake water the chances are they all contain different variations and amounts of bacteria that could seriously harm you.
Don’t panic though as there are a few ways you can purify the water. Firstly we will start with the cheat ways in which you can dig into your survival bag for some tools.
Boil The Water
If you have a pan with you for cooking you can use this and start an open fire in order to boil the bacteria out of the water. Do this for about 10 minutes and then let the water cool to a temperature that is easy to drink.
The real cheat here is tablets that help purify the water; you can grab some of these for cheap and keep them in your bag. Do this and the water is ready to drink.