For all Adventure IQ activities, classes, seminars, workshops, etc. our belief that the basic building block to any survival kit is the pack with a hydration bladder that holds the minimum of 100oz of clean and drinkable water. If you have water on your back as your primary source, you eliminate many issues that will arise due to dehydration.
At some point though, you may find that you have run out of water, so let’s first explore resources of water. First some of the most obvious, and then move into more advanced methods of procuring water.
Almost any environment has water present to some degree.
Heavy dew can provide water. When I was on a survival trip in the pine barrens of New Jersey a few years ago, I was able to use this method to supplement my already low water supply. Using your bandana or other cotton material, tie around your ankles and walk through dew-covered grass before sunrise. I would wake up around 4 am for a nature call anyway and figure I could not only expel fluid, but could also use the opportunity to gain fluid. It also allowed me to get warmed up since I was sleeping pretty cold at night. As the material absorbs the dew, wring the water into a container or drink it on the spot. If collecting it, repeat the process until you have a supply of water or until the dew is gone. It is possible to get as much as a liter an hour this way.
Cracks, Crags, Crevices– When I was out of water in the Chiuauan Desert during my mountain bike trip I found small havens of water in Arroyos, small bowls or pockets of water that can add hours or even days to your life. Look around, water sometimes gathers in tree crotches or rock crevices. Again you can dip a cotton rag into the hole or siphon out with a field expedient tube. I often find these pockets in Idaho as well with all the cracks that the volcanic rock has created. A word of caution, animals also hit these areas so purify when possible.
Bamboo and Vines– Vines I am vaguely familiar with and admit that have been taught about bamboo but when I tried bamboo as a water source O.P. Schnabel park in San Antonio on a back trail I didn’t have any luck. In some areas you can find Bamboo. Green bamboo thickets are an excellent source of fresh water. Water from green bamboo is clear and odorless. To get the water, bend a green bamboo stalk, tie it down, and cut off the top. The water will drip freely during the night. Old, cracked bamboo may contain water. Some vines contain water, but get locally trained to understand better.
Let it Rain- I have had to create the immediate reaction habit to begin collecting water as soon as the skies open up instead of just ducking for cover. Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics. On a side note, when you build the habit of immediate collection, it will drive you crazy to see so much water falling from the sky and you have nothing to collect it in. Makes afternoon drinks on a patio in the spring very uncomfortable with your buddies.
When possible, purify all water you gain from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, boiling, or using a purification/ filtering system.