Essential Outdoor Skills - Sourcing and Purifying Water
At VSSL we believe that being prepared not only gives you peace of mind to better enjoy your time outdoors but can also help to keep your adventure going if things don’t go as planned. That’s why we’re committed to providing you with the best gear and the know-how to be properly prepared on any adventure.
The Rule of 3s.
You can survive 3 minutes without air (or in freezing water), 3 hours exposed to extreme temperatures (hot or cold), 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Once your shelter is built and signal preparations are in order, you need to source water. The likely places are the obvious ones such as lakes, streams or rivers.
The less obvious ones can be the difference between life and death. Use common sense to determine where water from rain might have a chance to pool before evaporating, such as the crooks of tree branches, pooled in leaves, and under stones in damp areas. If you see an animal trail, they often lead to a source of water, but if you follow it, be careful that you don’t lose your way back to basecamp.
If there is no wind, you can listen for running water possibly seeping from a hidden area. If you find a very damp area, chances are the cause is an underground water source. Dig a hole in a damp area to see if the water pools.
Water can be obtained from moss, nature's sponge. Squeeze clumps of moss to see if water can be released. You can also collect morning dew by scraping water from ground vegetation into your water bag (part of the VSSL water purification kit).
Utilize your clothing to collect rainwater by either using a waterproof layer to direct rainfall into a container or by using absorbable clothing to collect water to be squeezed into your water bag.
Regardless of the source, you want to make sure you’re drinking clean water. Most people don't know that gastrointestinal illnesses are one of the top 3 first aid issues for adventurers, most often caused by dirty water. Water purification is essential gear for the outdoors, and that's why we've partnered with Aquatabs and include their industry-leading purification tablets inside every VSSL CAMP Supplies.
You can also use the expandable bamboo cloth inside your VSSL as a filter and try to fill your water bag with sediment-free water before adding the provided water purification tablets. Follow the instructions on the bag!
The goal is to source 5 liters per person per day. 2.5 to 3 liters per day is essential just for survival. Obviously, the amount required is dependent on several variables including the size of person, weather, and the level of activity.
ON YOUR NEXT TRIP:
Think about possible water sources. If you’re camping, make it a goal to see if you can find less likely sources of water. Can you collect 1 liter of water from non-obvious sources? Give it a try!