How To Find Water And Purify It

Find Water And Purify It

Being able to find a source of water and then having the means to purify that water so it is safe to drink is easily one of the most important survival skills you can possibly learn. The reason this is so is because water is the most important thing your body needs. While you can survive for as long as three days without water, you will begin to feel the negative effects of dehydration (such as headaches and exhaustion) in less than one.

You may think that obvious water sources such as rivers, streams, and lakes are your best choices for finding water. That’s true, but what if you’re stuck out in the wilds and can’t find a river or a lake?

Learn About Different Sources Of Water In The Wilderness And How You Can Purify That Water

Water source #1 – Lakes, rivers and streams

find waterWe’ve already mentioned that lakes, rivers, and streams are your best water sources out in the wilderness.  Nonetheless, there are still some safety concerns to take into account here.  Never collect any water that is downstream of animal feces in the water, in an area close to a nuclear or chemical plant, or any water that looks excessively filthy.  Water from lakes and streams is also generally not safe to drink right out of the source, so you’ll need to filter and purify it before drinking.

Water source #2 – Rainwater

Rain flowing into barrel from down spout, selective focusAlmost all rainwater that falls in the wilderness will be safe to drink, meaning you can consume it without the fear of catching an illness or disease. When it does rain, set as many containers and water bottles out as possible to collect as much of the rain water as you can. You can also set up a poncho or tarp to collect the water and then tie up the four corners of it to use it as a water bag.


Water source #3 – Ground water

Ground water tends to be more available in valleys and muddy places.  If you dig a hole into the ground one foot wide and one foot deep, in a matter of minutes water will begin to surface.  You can collect this water either in a canteen or by soaking it in a cloth, but it’s very important that you both filter and purify it in case of contamination.


Water source #4 – Dew

rain drops on the leavesThe best way to collect the early morning dew is to tie cloths or bandanas around your lower legs and then walk though high grass and dense vegetation.  You’ll be surprised at how much water you collect in just a matter of minutes.  Then, ring out the water from the bandanas into a bottle and then repeat the process.  This is an excellent source of clean drinking water.


Water source #5 – Ice and snow

Never simply eat the ice or snow as it is, because doing so will lower your body’s temperature and can even lead to dehydration. Instead, melt the ice or snow first into a cup, and then purify it to avoid the chance of diseases.

Next, let’s discuss some different water purification methods.

Purification method #1 – Boiling

boiling waterThe most traditional but also the safest method of purifying water is to boil it. The reason why boiling water is the safest method is because it is the most surefire way to kill any harmful microbes or bacteria that could be in the water. To boil water, you will need a metal container that is fireproof, and then a fire. Boil the water for at least twenty to thirty minutes and make sure that the water is actually boiling during that time before drinking.


Purification method #2 – Purification tablets

There are many different kinds of purification tablets out on the market today, and they are considered to be one of the most essential items that your survival kit should possible have. Purification tablets make use of iodine to purify water, so avoid the tablets if you are allergic to iodine. To use purification tablets effectively, heat up your water and then drop in one or two tablets. Wait for at least half an hour before drinking the water. It should also be noted that purification tablets, while effective at purifying water, are not effective for filtering it, so they generally won’t work the best for water that is overly murky or dark.

Purification method #3 – Water filter

taking water from the riverLike purification tablets, there are many excellent and proven water filters currently on the market.  come in a variety of sizes, from large canisters designed to filter water for an entire family, to pocket sized filters designed for an individual. Filters are great for removing visible or murky substances from water, though they are less effective for removing actual bacteria and chemicals from water. That’s why it’s often a good idea to use a water filter in conjunction with either the boiling method or purification tablets.

You can also make water filters on your own from natural materials if you don’t have a survival filter with you. You’ll need to collect a birch bark cone, sand, charcoal, small pebbles, and grass. The charcoal is used to remove chemicals in the water, while the sand and grass will remove any visible particles.


To make a natural water filter, make sure that your cone is tightly tied with a small opening at the bottom. Then place small pebbles at the bottom. Next, place a layer of charcoal over the pebbles, followed by a layer of grass, and then sand. Place your canteen or bottle at the bottom of the cone, and pour the water through the filter so that it ends up in your container. If the water still doesn’t look clean, pour it through a few more times until it does.

Dave Steen

Dave Steen

Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family.

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