Wilderness Water Collection
Water Collecting Ideas
Use your ingenuity to come up with creative water collection methods. Improvisation is an imperative skill to have when you're in the wilderness. Learn to think outside the box. Put your ideas into practice. A gourd, tarp, rain poncho, hollowed out rock, piece of cloth or a bowl made out of duct tape could become effective rain water, fog or dew catchers. If you're specifically interested in rainwater harvesting, check out the wealth of information here.
Direct The Path Of Water
Use bark, large leaves, sheet metal, etc., etc., to direct a trickle of water on the forest floor, dew or rainwater into a container.
Use a tarp or other non-porous plastic sheet to collect rainwater or dew, then crease it to direct the water into a container.
Catch Dripping Water With A String
If you find a "drip" coming from a rocky overhang for instance, you could hang a string at the top of the drip, and then hanging the loose end of the string(good use for paracord, or shoelaces) into a container(especially useful if your container is a bottle). Give the drip time run down the string and it will collect in the container.
Moss acts like a sponge and when wet it can be wrung out into a container or straight into your mouth.
Tillandsia Aka "Air Plants" And Other Large Leafed Plants
In the American tropics you may find large trees whose branches support air plants. Air plants may hold a considerable amount of rainwater in their overlapping, thickly growing leaves. Sop up the water with a cloth, then strain the water through a cloth to remove insects and debris.
These bromeliads get all of the water and nutrients they need through their specialized leaves. Air plants use their roots only for attaching themselves to rocks, trees, shrubs, and the ground. Air plants are native to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Other generally large-leafed plants can also hold rain water among their leaves. Many plants are "V" shaped to direct rain water toward their roots. The interception of the leaves and the stalks sometimes form a bowl shape that holds rain water long after the last rain. Take the time to quickly glance at the bases of large leafed plants.
Collect Water With Cloth
Drag a bandana or other piece of cloth through the grass early in the morning or after a rain. Stop periodically to wring the water out of the cloth into a container or into your mouth. Be sure not to drag your cloth over poisonous plants.
Laying a cloth(such as a towel, sock or t shirt) out at night or during a rain will absorb the water which can then be wrung into a container or into your mouth.
*Bright Idea -
Keep a super-absorbant cloth in your survival kit
Collect Water From A Leafy Branch
Using A Plastic Bag
Transpiration is the process of water evaporating from the surface of a leaf through microscopic pores known as "stomata". The amount of water lost from the leaves depends on how much water is in the soil, as well as other environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and wind.
How To Collect Water From Leaves Using A Plastic Bag
On a sunny day you can access the water in the leaves of a bush, shrub or tree using a plastic bag, or other non-porous plastic sheet. Simply bunch together the leaves on a limb, and slip the bag over the end of the limb as far as it will go(leaving the limb on the bush). Seal the bag around the limb(try to make the seal as leak-free as possible) and wait.
This process may or may not provide much water depending on the environment (and might take all day), but if you're in dire need of hydration and you have the means, it's worth adding to your water procuring arsenal.
*Bright Idea -
Oven bags (turkey size) from the grocery store are great for boiling water with hot rocks, for enclosing plants using the transpiration/condensation method and for making a small solar still. Oven bags are made especially tough to withstand heat (not to exceed 400° Fahrenheit), so keep an oven bag as part of your emergency kit.
How Long Should You Store Water?
You can safely store water for six months to a year, depending on how it is packaged, or how it's been treated.
If it's commercially-bottled "spring" or "drinking" water, the American Red Cross recommends you can keep it stored for a year as long as the container isn't opened. Once the container is opened, use the water immediately.
It's much less expensive to store tap water in your own containers, it's recommended you store tap water for six months maximum. It's a good idea to label and date the water bottles or containers.
If you collect rain water for drinking, remember that algae need light to grow. Even the smallest amount of algae in water lines can fully or partially block nozzles and reduce water flow. Using black containers that sunlight can't penetrate will help to keep algae out of your water tank. Make sure to seal all gaps and cracks so that mosquitoes can't get in and breed.
How Much Water Should You Store?
In case of emergency, The Department of Homeland Security recommends that you store at least one gallon of water per person, per day and keep a three-day supply of water on hand.
The American Red Cross also recommends one gallon of water per person per day, but with a two-week supply for every person in your household. For a family of four, that's 56 gallons of water.
Credit For Content:
The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide - Creek Stewart
Department of Homeland Security
American Red Cross