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Outdoor Survival Tips: Finding Potable Water In Less Than Obvious Places



There is no feeling worse than that of thirst and not being able to have a drink of water. However, when you finally do get that drink, there is literally no better feeling in the world. The human body cannot last long without water to hydrate us. In warm climates, a person can die in a single day due to dehydration and overheating. In more hospitable climates, a person can last a little more than a week without water.

Stories from people who were on the verge of dying from dehydration claim the feeling is without a doubt, unbearable. The mouth feels like sandpaper, the throat just the same. Meanwhile, you feel as though the energy was being sapped from you, which is because it is. Without water, we are unable to process food into energy, nor is our body able to pass toxins through, which eventually builds up causing further discomfort. Water is literally the lubrication our bodies require to function properly. Without it, all our gears come to a screeching and painful stop.

So to help avoid a situation such as this, it helps for people to understand as many possible means to collect and store water as possible. These tips may never actually have to be used, but if they are needed, you will certainly be happy you knew them. So do yourself a good service and read on, and without further ado, here are some tips and tricks to know when you are in need of water while lost or stuck in the wild.


There are certainly a few things that a person should be cautious of when dealing with drinking water found in the wild. If you happen to drink tainted water, there is no doubt you are going to make your trouble double. So be careful, and follow these few simple rules.

–       Do not drink water with a sticky texture.

–       Do not drink water that is milky in color.

–       Do not drink water that tastes bitter.

–       Do not drink water next to a dead animal.

–       Do not drink water that is surrounded by fecal matter.

–       Do not drink water that has foam floating on it.

–       Do not drink water that smells funny.

–       Do not drink water that has been stagnant for a long time.

If Possible, Purify Water Before Consuming

There is little doubt that if this were an option, a person would use purifying options. But this is not always possible in a survival situation. But to be thorough let’s name a few of the more common options:

UV Lights: These kill microbial but do not clean the water of debris.

Boil: The most reliable method for making potable water, but does not clean it of debris.

Iodine Tablets: These kill microbial but do not clean the water of debris.

Pumps: The only method of killing microbial and cleaning the water of debris.

Useful Items For Gathering And Storing Water

When a survival situation arises, you are going to be left with whatever you were thoughtful enough to have had on you, or brought with you. With that in mind, whenever you do something where a survival situation can arise, there are a few items that are easy to carry and will be worthwhile when collecting and storing potable water. So if at all possible, try to have as many of these items on or near you. The same should be said for the purifying devices as well.

Canteens/Bottles: Perhaps the best containers to have, they are portable, durable, and will make up their weight in liquid gold… or rather, holding water. Makes collecting water easier as well.

Condoms: The smallest and lightest means to carry water. Though condoms are easily broken or torn. Also, filling them with water can be a hassle. So as a means to collect, they are not the greatest.

Water Resistant Cloth/Tarps: Gortex can be applied to almost any fabric and made water-resistant. These items can be used to both collect and store water if fashioned properly.

Spare Plastic: Plastic pieces can be used to create straws to extract water from difficult places such as crevices or slits in the rock. They can also be used to collect water, though storage can become difficult as often there is no lid or means to close it off.

Straws: When you see water in a place you can’t reach and are thirsty, you will without a doubt become upset and disappointed as it is so close, yet so far away. Having multiple straws will be useful in extending them when combined end to end to lengthen and allow them to reach deeper spots.

The Less Obvious Places To Find Potable Water

Plant Foliage: Plants often offer up a lot of water to drink, you just have to know how and when to get it. After rainfall, and the early morning dew often pools in the center of leaves, which can be enjoyed by slurping up. Though if water for later is needed, it can be poured individually, or gathered from a cloth and then being wrung out into a container.

If you have a plastic bag and time to wait, you can gather a lot more water. Wrap and tie off a bag onto a few branches and let sit there throughout the day. The bag will cause the branch on the inside to heat up, and the plant will release moisture, which the bag then collects. After about 12-14 hours, you can have a substantial amount of water to drink. 

Dew From Grass: There is a lot of water that is left behind overnight, which is left behind in the morning that can be enjoyed if only it’s understood how to gather it. The dew left on grass is one of the most valuable resources in this regard. All you need is some cloth wrapped around your feet and shins, and the desire to stroll through some fields. The cloth will pick up the water, which can then be wrung out into a container and put back on your feet. This can only occur in the morning, so the window to retrieve the water is short, but there is much to be had and enjoyed by the early bird.

Follow Other Living Creatures: When in a survival situation, you may not have the best understanding of the land you are in. But the animals and insects around you do, and well to boot. Often times you can follow bees, birds, deer, and other animals right to a water source. The only thing you must be sure of is that there are no feces or dead animals around the water, as that may well make you sick.

Rock Crevices and Cracks: Water often settles in the lowest places, which is often times the most difficult places to reach. So being aware that water can be stored in between rocks is all that need be known to keep an eye open for it.

Certain Trees: Obviously trees that produce edible fruits will contain water within the fruit. But certain trees, such as the bamboo, will hold water within their vines. Be sure you know the trees in the area you will be heading, and which ones are able to help you if you are ever in need.

Certain Plants: Certain plants are full of water; it just has to be drained. Leaves contain massive amounts of water, but it has to be pressed from the leaves. Others such as cacti and succulents can be squeezed directly into your mouth or container. Be sure you know the plants in the area you will be heading, and which ones are able to help you.

Animals: The hunting of an animal is difficult in its own right. But they are able to hydrate you if you have the stomach for it. Animal blood is rich in vitamins, minerals, and water. Fish, even salt-water fish, can provide the needed amount of water to sustain you. For fish, you simply cut a shallow hole in its side, and drink the water that begins to pool therein. For land animals, tap into your primordial instincts and drink the blood. It may be disgusting at the time, but it’s better than nothing.

Rainwater: The most obvious and best time to gather fresh potable water is during rainfall. Essentially using all the methods described to gather the water falling both during, and after it is over. After a decent rainfall, if you were properly prepared, there should be no fear of not having enough water.

Melted Ice and Snow: You may be inclined to just eat the snow and ice as you come across it. But doing this will only dehydrate you further as the energy it takes for your body to both melt the ice/snow, and warm it up enough for your body to absorb it, is significant. It is quite taxing on the body to accomplish this, so melting snow and ice first before drinking it is advised. If possible, allow the water to heat up by leaving it in the sun to make the process for your body to absorb it easier.