Saturday, April 12, 2014
One of the things I like about winter in Canada is that we get LOTS of snow! This means that drinking water is abundant, you only need to know how to process it out of the snow we get.
As many of you are aware, a handful of fresh snow is mostly made up of air. That's right, a little bit of water and a lot of air. If you were to fill a pot with snow and set it on a fire, you would likely scorch the bottom of your pot.
The following are three ways that I like to use to melt snow into drinking water:
In the winter I carry a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle on a lanyard inside my coat. This keeps the water from freezing when it gets particularly cold outside. Whenever I take a drink, I scoop up some clean snow and put it in my bottle. The wide mouth makes it easy to add the snow. The heat of the remaining water in the bottle and the body heat from inside my coat are enough to melt the snow and replenish my water supply. It is simple, effective and is my favourite method because it doesn't require you to stop and make a fire. It also works in the worst of weather conditions.
If you don't have a metal container to slowly melt snow near a fire, you can make do with a bandana and a cup or other container. Simply open the bandana flat then fill the middle of it with clean snow. Tie or pin the four corners of the bandana so it holds the large snowball. Now, using a sturdy branch, suspend the bandana near the fire. Soon the heat of the fire will start melting the snow. Before too long, the large snow ball will start dripping through the bandana. Use a cup or other container to catch the dripping water. This method works well basically unattended. You can go about your business doing other things and just checking back from time to time to make sure your container is still catching the drips and not overflowing.
Putting snow on a black garbage bag (a.k.a. drum liner) in the bright sun will melt the snow to give you drinking water, but then it's difficult to get that water into a container. Because of this difficulty, I didn't add it to my video. Then my brother John told me about a simple improvement on this method. By putting the clean snow in a clear zip-loc bag on top of the black plastic solar collector, all your drinking water is conveniently made inside the easy-to-handle zip-loc bag! BRILLIANT !! So this method works if you're camped in a bright sunny location for a while and if it isn't so cold to re-freeze the water as it melts.