December 4, 2022
sourcing water

Sourcing Water Out in the Sticks

Article Written By; Sally Perkins,

sourcing water


When you’re out on an adventure in the wild, or find yourself stranded unexpectedly in a deserted area, survival skills are a matter of life and death. Arguably the most important of these skills is the ability to source clean water: this is fundamental to our existence, even more so than food. Depending on the extremity of the environment, we can only survive without water for anywhere between 3 hours and a few days. We also need the water to be clean in order to be able to stay healthy.

Luckily there are a number of ways of finding or creating clean water, many of which are both more surprising and simpler than you might expect.

Water Purifying Techniques

1. Use a transpiration bag: this method involves collecting the water that transpires from plants. Place a stone into a plastic bag and, in the morning, tie the bag to a branch, so that it is weighted. As the day goes on, moisture is released from the plant and gathers in the bag. It really is that simple.

2. Boiling water: one of the most well-known and effective ways of purifying water is to boil it. This method requires you to have a pot and fire or gas stove to hand. Simply pour the water (from a river, lake, plant etc) into the pot and heat it until bubbling. Then wait for the water to cool and pour it into a container.

3. Collect rainwater: this is one of the safest and simplest ways of sourcing clean water. You can use any clean container you have to collect the water, as well as a poncho or piece of plastic sheeting. For the latter, simply tie the ends to tree barks, put some stones in the middle to create a dip, and allow the water to collect inside it.

Once you have purified your water, it is safe to drink, clean yourself in it or even use as ice – a great way of rationing water as well as keeping fresh food cool. In particularly hot climates in the wilderness, a refreshing drink of water with ice can cool the body quickly and get your temperature back within a normal range. 

Remember that wherever you source water from, you must always aim to purify it. To differing degrees, any unpurified water will contain bacteria that can cause you serious bodily harm. Of course, if you don’t have the means to purify the water and are dangerously dehydrated, you will probably have to take the risk. But otherwise, think ‘pure’!