If you’re in the midst of a frightening emergency where you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, it can be tricky to find the balance between thinking positively (eg. “Someone will find me by nightfall”) and preparing for the worst (eg. “It may just be me, myself and I for the next couple weeks”). If you’ve already prepared yourself for a two-week stint, the prospect of waiting it out shouldn’t seem quite so bad.
But even if help is probably going to arrive in the next hours, or by tomorrow, it’s smart to start making a plan immediately. And one of your first priorities, of course, should be water and staying hydrated.
Now, ideally, you would have some kind of water filter or purification tablets with you, such as the LifeStraw Go or one of the other LifeStraw water filters that we carry.
But even if you don’t have the right gear, all is not lost if you can get a little creative. The following are a few tips to use if you find yourself in a tight spot and getting thirsty. They’re based on non-ideal situations and involve more risk than if you’re using a certified water filter, but they’re still good tips to know.
So here it goes:
- To stay as hydrated as possible, it’s important to prevent as much water loss as possible. To do this, try to find shelter, stay in the shade, rest and keep cool.
- Start looking for your next source of water before you run out of your current supply.
- Avoid fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol, because they trigger aggressive digestion, which uses up liquid. Instead, try to eat fruits and vegetables, which contain water.
- If you have a map, any water sources should be marked, so look to the obvious, first.
- If you don’t have a map, find an elevated location and look for indentations in the earth or tree tops. This could very well be an indicator of a waterway.
- Listen for the buzzing of bugs and mosquitoes. They like to hang around near water sources.
- You may be able to collect water from the surrounding plants, such as birch trees, which can sometimes be tapped for water like sap from maples.
- You can also dig for water at the bottom of dry creek beds or ravines.
- If you’re desperate for water and all you have is muddy water, you may need to make do with a makeshift water filter, using sand! Find some helpful instructions here, and remember that even with an added layer of charcoal to your filter, the water may not be completely pure of all dangerous bacteria.
There’s so much more to know about staying hydrated and finding and treating water to make it safe for drinking. For a deeper read on finding water in the wilderness, have a look here! And stay tuned for our next installment on another survival skill that is crucial to have if ever you face an emergency camping trip.
Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io