The ABCs of survivalism: How to obtain and treat water in the field?

Adventure hobbies/Survival
Chandler Lee
The ABCs of survivalism: How to obtain and treat water in the field?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Survival is growing in popularity. It is a unique adventure during which you can gain valuable knowledge about how to survive in the most difficult conditions. Are you ready for a solid dose of knowledge?

Water – the source of life on our planet

You are lounging on your favourite sofa on a Saturday afternoon and suddenly you feel parched? You go to the kitchen, turn on the water tap and enjoy a cool drink to quench your thirst. But obtaining water is not always so easy

When you go on a hike in the mountains, a trek out of town, or a bike ride, you take along a supply of water. Dehydration is a dangerous condition in which the body begins to function improperly. An adult should consume a minimum of 2 liters of fluids each day. However, there are situations in which the body’s need for water increases significantly. This happens, for example, during hot weather

What should you do if you run out of water on a hike in the mountains? Can you drink from every stream along the way? What dangers are waiting for you?

Where can you find water in the field?

This depends on where you are at the moment. Different methods of searching will be effective in flat terrain and others in the mountains. It is a good idea to be prepared for every opportunity. Then your chances of survival in an extreme situation will increase significantly.

  • Rivers, lakes, or mountain streams are surface water – you can never be sure if the water you find in them is clean. It can be contaminated in a variety of ways. Both mechanical, biological and chemical contaminants are dangerous
  • Rainwater – if it is raining, you are in a good situation. You can collect rainwater in a vessel. Don’t have any bowl with you to catch the drops falling from the sky? Spread a piece of camping tarp on the ground, but be sure to place it in a depression in the ground. You will catch more water then.
  • Dew – you will encounter a lot of dew on the grass in the morning. When you have nothing to drink, you can use it to hydrate your body at least a little. Licking dew directly from plants is not an effective way. So how do you get water? Use a piece of cloth for this purpose. Cotton works well. Spread it over the plants and wait until it absorbs the water. Then wring it out carefully and catch the dripping water in a bowl.
  • Snow – You can get water not only from dew, but also from snow or ice. However, you need a proven way to melt snow and ice. This is not a problem as long as you have a hiking stove with you or know how to light a campfire in winter conditions. However, if you have no chance to make a fire, then scoop the snow into a pot and place it in a warm place – under your jacket or in your sleeping bag. After a few moments you will get a liquid from the frozen lump.

Treating water for drinking

Remember not to drink water that you are not absolutely sure is pure. Even water from a mountain river can cause diarrhea. What can be done to make the water drinkable? The easiest way is to boil it. You can get rid of impurities from the water if you boil it for at least 10 minutes. Another option is water treatment filters or special tablets that dissolve in the water. If you neglect water treatment, you will face diarrhea at best. Such an adventure can also end in serious poisoning

Main photo: Jens Johnsson/

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