Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dehydration - Where to Find Water in the Wild


Hello YouTubers! This is Muskrat Jim, and today I want to talk about DEHYDRATION.
A healthy adult can survive up to three weeks without food, but only about three days without water. Your body needs a minimum of 2 quarts per day, more if you’re exerting yourself or if the weather is hot or dry.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include:
  • Thirst and a dry mouth
  • Darker than usual urine
  • Less frequent urination
  • Confusion, dizziness, fatigue and irritability
Ignoring these signs, your symptoms could quickly progress to:
  • No urine output
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Fainting, reduced blood pressure, seizures, delirium and death
So it is VERY important to stay hydrated by drinking a minimum of 2 quarts per day. Recognize the signs of dehydration and take appropriate measures right away.
Out here, we don’t have the luxury of an unlimited supply of sanitized city water or deep clean wells. So we have to look for water wherever we can find it. And then we have to make it suitable for human consumption.
If you know your area through maps, aerial photographs or through familiarity, you can make your way to these lakes, rivers, streams and marshes.

But what if you don’t know the area you’re in? What if you’re lost?
  1. Well, water flows downhill, so you can start by walking downhill like the animals do. Larger animals need to drink in the mornings and in the evenings, so if you see their paths follow them downhill.
  2. Sometimes the surface water will have dried up. So if you see a dry stream bed, or plants that typically grow in marshes, you can dig there. Water will seep into the hole. It will be dirty, maybe even black, so you’ll have to filter it as best as you can.
  3. Rain can be collected using an open tarp or survival blanket. This can be laid in a depression on the ground or elevated and angled so the rain can flow into an open container.
  4. Rain or dew can also be collected from wet foliage by using a rag and wringing it out into a container or sucking the moisture directly from the cloth.
  5. If you’re on the seashore, you can’t drink the seawater without distilling it first, because you can’t filter out dissolved salts and other chemicals. Lacking distilling equipment, you can dig just above the high-tide mark. Dig until water starts seeping into the hole. Collect, filter and sanitize as you would any other surface water.
It’s important to note here that drinking seawater may speed up your dehydration because of it’s salt content. Also, drinking unsterilized surface water can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, both of which can greatly speed up your dehydration.
  1. In the winter, if you have snow, all you have to do is melt it. Fresh clean snow, like rain, doesn’t need filtering or sanitation.
  2. In the spring, when the sap is running, you can even tap a birch or maple tree and collect the watery sap.
  3. Plants in other parts of the world also have abundant sap that can be used for drinking water, like:
  • The Wild Grape vine in the States.
  • The Australian Water Root in Australia
  • And Bamboo in the tropics.
  • Coconut milk can also be used.
So as I mentioned earlier, surface water has to be filtered and sterilized, or distilled before you can drink it.
  • Filtered – to remove the dirt and cloudiness
  • Sterilized – to kill any germs, bacteria and other microscopic critters that would make you sick
  • Distilled – to separate salts and other dissolved chemicals.
In much of the world, where the sun is bright and strong, you can use the SODIS METHOD to sterilize water using the sun's ultra-violet rays. All you need is a clear container like a soda-pop bottle or a zip-loc bag and bright sunlight for a minimum of six to twelve hours.
In areas where winters are long, like here in Canada, solar radiation isn't as strong as it is near the equator, so I wouldn't trust the SODIS method to sterilize my drinking water.
So without commercial filters, chemical sterilizers, or a still,  you'll be left with boiling questionable water. Which brings me to a pet-peeve of mine…
In survival literature there’s a lot of bad information out there, so I feel the need to mention a few things:
  1. In a well-respected book that I won’t name, it says you can suck the liquid out of fish eyes for water. Fish eyes? Seriously?? How many fish eyes are you going to have to suck to make up your 2 quart minimum?
  2. Many other books talk about making solar stills by digging a three foot hole and covering it with a four foot sheet of plastic. A still this size in ideal conditions (bright sunlight, wet soil and air-tight seal) may produce a pint (500 ml) of water in a day. You'd need several of these solar stills to keep you from dehydration. Perhaps to augment other methods, but not on it’s own.
  3. A famous survivalist who doesn’t need to be named, says you can drink your urine. Urine is full of salt and toxins. It should be treated as seawater.
  4. Other so-called 'experts' say you should boil you water for at least five to ten minutes. If you’re like me, and you’ve ever boiled water in a small pot, you know that boiling for five to ten minutes will boil your pot dry. Just bringing it to a boil will cook any microbes in the water. Look at pasteurization… milk is heated to below the boiling point and that’s enough to sanitize it for human consumption.
Well, that was my rant. 
For more information on this topic, and to see how I treat my drinking water, be sure to watch my other videos:
  • My Compact Still For Treating Seawater
  • Beaver Fever: Pocket Water Filters and Aqua Tabs Demo

So until next time, Remember… Stay Hydrated and Survive.
This is Muskrat Jim, signing out.