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WATER is your most important survival need!
Store up on some bottled water. There is no age limits on bottled water. Store it, bury it or use it. Remember, three days without water will put you at death’s doorstep.
Once your bottled water runs out, always remember, Filter, use Iodine, Chlorine or Bleach then BOIL if possible with any water you collect. You do not want cramps or the runs while trying to survive! Those days of cuping water from a waterfall or moving stream are long gone. Use any cloth available to filter with your charcoal from the fire if possible. Cheap and effective, I like Iodine if boiling is not available.
So many unknowns inside water. Have you ever heard of the brain eating amoeba? Why risk it, BOIL it!!
Always have at least one backup method for water purification in case one fails. This can be any combination of methods. I am the cautious type, so I always have two backup methods: water filter and 2percent tincture of iodine or Polar Pure iodine crystals. And I can always boil and if possible always do boil the water. If boiling is your backup method, make sure you have enough fuel and a Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter .
I like to carry an alcohol stove and a wood burner combo such as Evernew’s Appalachian Set (Light but costly!) or a trangia and swiss volcano. They all fit together and weigh very little in a backpack. Now, I am able to use whatever type fuel I might have my hands on. Trangia makes some nice kits and combined with the Swiss Army Volcano Stove or with a cat can alcohol stove makes a nice cheap little kit and between these it’s about all one needs on the trails. Remember in survival mode, you may end up with wood as your only fuel. It would be a good idea to include a stove that will cover that type fuel.
If you wish to make a cheap alcohol stove, which runs alcohol or better yet, “heet”, it amounts to no more than a few different cat cans or soda/beer cans and some hole punching.
A good link on Alcohol stoves can be found here at Zen Backpacking Stoves.
Fix the Taste Adding vitamin C (just a few drops will do) to iodized water completely eliminates any taste or color of iodine. You must wait until the iodine has purified the water before adding the vitamin C. The vitamin C in drink mixes like Tang has the same effect.
Ginger – If you like spices, ginger is a great way to add a “zing” to your water. If it is added to boiling water it is also a great way to clear your throat and sinuses during a cold.
Citrus - The same can be done with many citrus fruits and the water produced would be infused with vitamin C.
Herbs – Mint, lemongrass, and parsley are great for adding aroma and a hint of green to your water.
Chlorine can be used for persons with iodine allergies or restrictions. If you must filter dirty water, let it stand overnight for particles to settle out.
Simple and light inline filters now go down to .1 microns and filter up to a million gallons, such as the sawyers. You can find filtered (under .5 microns) backpack bottles now with built in filtering that will last up to fifty years on hold or about 150 real life refills in the wild per filter. cost about $20.00 to $30.00 with additionl filters running $10.00. Berkey comes to mind as one system. These are nice systems for short time use, READ their effectiveness when purchased!
For cost effective it’s hard to beat a bottle of Iodine Tincture or crystals and your $2.00 backpack bottle. Top cost effective and water effective, BOIL it and strain through a fine tightly woven material folded a few times. You don’t need technology, just common sense!
Water filters can be made on-site using local materials such as grass, charcoal (from burnt firewood), and sand. These filters have been used by soldiers and outdoor enthusiasts for many many years. Due to their low cost they can be made and used by anyone, including the poor, who often do not have access to safe drinking water. Regrettably such filters do little if anything to mitigate pathogens and other harmful constituents and can give a false sense of security that the water is potable. Even iodine wont kill everything , but most common. Boil and let boil a full minute or longer when available and for added safety sake, pour through a cloth folded on top of your holding container when done. Although, Sari cloth alone has been used for centuries thoughout asia, folded over containers and water strained upon collecting water. I still say “boil” and filter.
Setup rain barrels, nothing more than a barrel setting someplace to catch rain runoff. You can even do this in the woods with a small tarp tied on an angle runing down into a small barrel or container.
A primitive solar distillation system using a trash bag requires little preparation. The easiest way to capture evaporating water is to release it from the ground. To begin you must dig down between 12 and 18 inches under the grass. Your hole should be slightly smaller than your covering. You will use rocks, branches etc.to hold the edges of your tarp in place.
Place a small flat container in the center of your hole. This will be where water will collect once it has returned to its liquid form. When your container is in place, you will stretch your flexible material over the hole.
put a small pebble or rock in the center of the cover, directly above your container. The goal is to allow the flexible material to dip slightly directly above the container. Adjust the flexible material so that it doesn’t touch your container but is sloped on all sides towards the center of your container.
Constructing your solar distillation system will not take very long. Unfortunately, solar distillation takes between 10 to 12 hours to collect two cups of water from this type of a system. Ground recently saturated by rainfall will produce water faster.
Look up Polar Pure Iodine crystals and grab a bottle or three. Like all chemical treatments, it only kills living organisms. If the water is toxic, you are still shit out of luck.
Make sure your survival kit has a Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter to boil that water and cook that food. They work great and are very cheap!