The nature of emergencies is exactly that: we never know it until we’re in one. This is why it’s crucial that we stock up on life skills, so we can come in prepared in the face of unexpected moments. In the great outdoors, knowing where to find potable water may just be your ticket to survival.
Why You Should Never Lose Sight of Potable Water
When camping or on a simple outdoor trip, potable water is a must-have on your survival checklist. While the human body can withstand not drinking water for around three days, the days that follow can be critical. Dehydration will kick in and can start affecting your memory, motor skills, and alertness. That alone lowers your chances of survival and can usher you into a life or death situation.
Now, you may be asking: How can I find potable water near me? There are several tried and tested ways specially selected for those who venture the great outdoors like hikers and campers. But before we jump into that, you first need to know the difference between potable and nonpotable water. Having this knowledge will make finding water to drink so much easier for you.
Potable Water Versus Nonpotable Water
The clearest difference between potable water and nonpotable water is whether they are fit for human consumption and use. In the urban setting, that’s easier to distinguish. Potable water is safe and is available through our faucets and can be bought easily in stores. Nonpotable water, on the other hand, is usually out of sight and kept far away from people. But in the great outdoors, knowing the difference can come in a little trickier. To take care of ourselves and our health, we need to be careful before we consume anything.
One way to know if you can use or drink water is through this guide.
How To Make Your Own Potable Water
The golden rule when drinking water you did not bring with you is to always treat it as if it’s nonpotable water. While it can be more difficult, it significantly lessens the possibility of encountering the adverse effects of drinking water that is not fit for human consumption. The safest way to approach this is to make your own potable water.
To help you do that, here’s a guide on how you can DIY your way into making water you can safely drink in the outdoors.
Find your source of water.
Successfully securing water depends on your level of preparedness and the resources you have. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can find a water source out in the open.
1. Catch rainwater.
While there are more elaborate ways to harvest rainwater, we need to be a little more creative when outdoors. If you have a basin with you or any clean container that you can use to gather rainwater, make use of those and take advantage of any rainfall. Another resourceful option you can take is tying all four ends of a poncho or a similar material to trees to form some sort of water bag, so you can cover more area as you catch rainwater.
2. Collect water from your surroundings.
If you are close to bodies of water such as streams, rivers, and lakes, you can easily collect water from those and follow through on our next steps to make them drinkable. If you have knowledge on how to collect water from trees and plants, you can also put that skill to good use by harvesting water from existing flora around you. Collecting dew drops is also an option you can take. It may be more time-consuming, but a little help can go a long way.
3. Dig a well.
This can be a little more complicated than the first two, but we still included it here just in case you have no other choice but to put in the hard work and dig up a well for yourself. If you happen to find a muddy area, chances are, there could be groundwater. Try digging about a foot deep and see if any water would come out. To give you more information, here’s a quick guide on how you can dig a well by hand.
Clean the water you collected.
Two important steps to ensure that your water is drinkable is through filtration and purification.
Here are some quick and easy ways to do it:
There are many surefire ways to make sure that your nonpotable water becomes drinkable through purification.
- One option is the use of chlorine drops which come very cheap, are easy to find, and are incredibly portable.
- Alternatively, people also use iodine, which you can buy in the form of tablets, crystals, and solutions. Both just have an aftertaste which you may not like, so if you’re particular about that, perhaps consider other options.
- Using ultraviolet light is also another choice people are increasingly using. Unlike chlorine and iodine, this will not alter the water’s taste. A drawback however is how battery-dependent it is and could be the least reliable among all the mentioned options considering the possibility of it breaking while you’re on your trip. Moreover, it cannot penetrate through solid particles, so you really need to make sure you filter your water well before using this.
- If these options are not available, another tried and tested way to make sure the water you will consume is safe is by boiling it. A good three minutes of boiling your collected water can kill viruses and bacteria. A downside however is that boiling doesn’t guarantee that chemicals such as pesticides can be eliminated. You can take this option if this is a risk you are willing to make.
When it comes to the great outdoors, we’ll never be one hundred percent sure of what we’re getting. This is why continuously learning hacks like this is useful. We’ll never know—these skills might even save our life one day.
Watch this video of The King of Random on how to make swamp water into a drinkable water.
Do you have any other ideas on how to have potable water anywhere? Please share with us your survival tips and tricks in the comments section below.