How to Find Drinkable Water in a Survival Situation – Guest Post

Categories:Backpacking Advice | Camping Advice | Guest Post | Hiking Advice

When you are lost in the wild or simulating a survival situation, finding clean drinkable water is your first priority. An adult can easily survive for just a few days without water but can go for weeks without eating any food. To explain this, about ¾ of the human body is made of water. We lose about 1 gallon (2-3 liters) of water daily through sweating and urinating. This depends of course of the geographical location like temperature, altitude, physical condition and the activity you are doing.

Sometimes you may run out of drinkable water when camping or hiking in the mountains, deserts or forests. You can also die as a result of body dehydration due to lack of water yet it might be inches under your feet. This article will give you some survival skills which can help you reveal multiple sources of water if you’re found in such a life and death scenario.

How to find Drinkable Water in Snow Capped Mountains and Forests

If you’re a survivor in forested or snowy mountains that receives a moderate amount of water annually, the only successful way of replenishing water is through digging a “seep”. To do this, you must first look out for crevices or dry streams which are covered with dark green vegetations; the darker the vegetation, the more the chances of finding water underneath.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for water in mountains which experience a fair amount of rainfall, search for areas with damp or dark thick dirt; as they signify huge amounts of water lying underneath.

Dig a wide seep (about 2-3 feet wide) and one foot deep. Line the walls carefully with small stones to avoid too much sediments being stirred up by the movement of water. After you trap some water, use your shirt to filter the sediments away to remain with pure drinkable water.

how to make a seep

1: How to make a seep

How to find Water in Arid Mountains
Finding drinkable water in arid and semi-arid mountains won’t be an easy task for survivors. You therefore need to study some landscape tricks which will make it easier for you to trap water in areas with little rainfall. A great way to salvage drinkable water is through digging a seep in areas with dark green vegetation. Another trick is to follow a dry stream until you come across a bend. Digging a seep on the outside bend will help trap enough water since the force of gravity tends to pull more water running above the ground in-case of a rare rainfall.

finding water in dry creekbed

2: finding water in dry creek bed

Finding Water on islands:
If you’re a survivor stranded on an Island or even near a desert salt lake, there is a way with which you can survive but it will take time. Condensing salty water to make it pure for consumption is the way to go if you don’t find a puddle, coconuts or a small stream. To achieve this, find something on the beach you can use as a water container. The water container needs to be able to resist heat. Fill the water container with salty water and place it above your fire. The salty water will warm up and will start to boil. The steam coming from the salty water is clean drinking water because the salt doesn’t evaporate. Now you need to lead this steam to a separate container (can be a plastic bottle) to catch the now distilled steam. This will be a slow process but after some time you will get some clean drinking water.

using a fire to make fresh water

using a fire to make fresh water

3: using a fire to make fresh water

If you don’t find a metal container you can use this technique:
Dig a narrow pit then fill it with 2-3 gallons of salty water. Heat up large rocks on a fire until they become super hot before dropping them on your water. When the sea water on the pit starts boiling, cover the top with a cloth or a blanket (to trap the moisture) and let it become moist before rinsing the water on your mouth or a container for later use.


There are many other ways through which you can find pure drinkable water in the wilderness. If you know some and tried it, please let us know in the comments. One of these ways which also happens to be very common is keeping an eye on wildlife animals. Watching on animal tracks, animal feces, flies, birds and mosquitoes can clearly show you that there is a source of water nearby as most small animals never go beyond 100 meters from the water source. With this in mind, I believe that you’re now informed on how to track pure drinking water if you’re caught stranded in the wilderness.
Guest post by Nick from

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