An adult can survive only three days without water, making finding hydration a top priority during wilderness expeditions. The best sources are flowing water, such as rivers and streams. Lakes and ponds are acceptable, but they may contain contaminants from upstream.
In addition, a person can find water in man-made containers or natural vessels like hollowed-out logs and animal bladders. The ability to identify edible plants is also critical.
How to Find Water
Water is the first thing you need to prioritize finding in the wilderness. You can survive only 3 days without it, so make it your top priority to locate a source of clean water.
The best primary water sources are those that flow, such as rivers and streams. These provide a constant supply of water and can generally be trusted to be free of bacteria (since they are moving). Once you have located these, then you can move on to more stagnant bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.
Other water sources include mud, which can be surprisingly abundant in certain environments. A dry river bed, a gully or a depression in the terrain are also good places to look. You may also be able to distill water from vegetation, such as wet plant cuttings or even your own urine!
If possible, try to collect water in the morning. Dew covers the ground and vegetation in the early hours of the day, making it an excellent source for hydration.
Animals can also be a good indicator of the presence of water, especially birds. In particular, grain-eating birds like pigeons tend to gather near water. Also, if you see animal tracks that are heading downhill, it is a good indication that there is water somewhere nearby.
You should also be sure to check out any canyons or valleys that you are traveling through, as they may have a large amount of water in them. Finally, don’t forget to listen for signs of water, such as the sound of trickling or rushing waters. If you can, then it is always a good idea to walk down the path of least resistance in order to be closer to the source.
You should also keep in mind that not all water in the wilderness is safe to drink, so be sure to boil or otherwise chemically disinfect any water that you find. Additionally, it is a good idea to cover any water that you store in order to prevent contaminants from entering it. A cloth or lid can work well for this purpose.
What to Look For
Water is the single most vital resource in any survival situation. The average person can go for quite some time without finding drinking water, but they will eventually run out of it and become dehydrated. Dehydration can have serious consequences and is extremely dangerous. It can cause muscle cramps, nausea, and delirium, all of which will make it impossible to continue searching for food or water. Fortunately, with some knowledge and a little bit of resourcefulness, anyone can find water in the wilderness.
One of the best ways to find water is to look for puddles or other natural bodies of water. These can be found on big rocks, in the crook of a tree, or in valleys. Be careful, however, because puddles can be contaminated with bacteria or even contain animal droppings. It is always a good idea to filter and boil any water that you find before drinking it.
Another good source of water is to collect snow or ice. This is especially effective in cold environments or in the winter. Frozen water is often easier to find than fresh water, as it is usually more concentrated. However, you should not eat snow in the wild because it can lower your body temperature too quickly and consume precious energy.
If you cannot find any water, you can try to survive on berries and other vegetation that is edible in the wilderness. This is why it is so important to learn how to identify the different types of vegetation in your area before you ever head out into the wild. There are a lot of books available that can help you with this, or you can take a survival course taught by an expert who knows the area where you will be hiking.
You can also try to find water by following animal tracks. All animals need to drink, and they will typically travel near water sources at dawn and dusk. Beware, though, of flesh-eating birds such as vultures or parrots, since they get most of their moisture from the meat they eat.
How to Find Food
There are a variety of ways to find food in the wilderness. From berries to insects, leaves, and even fish. The key is to find the most nutritious foods that your body can eat without using too much energy. You should also eat foreign foods in small quantities to avoid getting sick. It is a good idea to carry a guidebook that explains what plants are safe to eat in the wilderness. These books are usually small and can fit into a pocket. You may also want to bring a knife or other sharp tool to cut and prepare your food.
The most common way to find food in the wilderness is by foraging. There are many different plants that are safe to eat in the wild, such as cattails, acorns, stinging nettles (if boiled), and rosehips. In addition to these, there are also ferns, berries, and other fruit that can be found in the wilderness.
Another option is to hunt or fish for small animals. This is a great way to get protein and other nutrients, but it requires more energy than simply finding food by foraging. You will need to actively seek out animals, which is why it is important to plan ahead and know what to look for. Animals tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, so it is a good idea to plan your hunting or observation trips during these times.
It is also a good idea to plan for emergencies by carrying extra supplies of food and water in case you become lost or stranded in the wilderness wherein a great beginners guide about MREs and emergency foods supplies can be helpful. This will help ensure that you have the resources you need to survive until you can find your way back home.
It is also a good idea to have the tools you need to make fire, which will be helpful for cooking food and keeping yourself warm. You should also have a set of basic survival gear, such as a backpack, water bottle, knife, and paracord.
What to Do
You can survive only three days without water, which makes it one of the top priorities for wilderness survival. Even a day hiker can be stranded in the wild, and many die from dehydration after just a few days. Fortunately, you can find food and water in most environments on Earth with some know-how.
The most obvious sources of water are flowing rivers, streams and creeks. Lush green vegetation is another good indicator that a water source is nearby. Watching animal tracks and following bird flight paths may help you locate a source as well. Animals drink at dawn and dusk, so their movements can indicate a water source nearby.
Once you find a water source, it’s important to purify the water before drinking. Streams, rivers and lakes may contain harmful bacteria and other waterborne contaminants that can make you sick if not boiled or disinfected before drinking. Look for a source that’s close to the ground and easily accessible so you can boil it.
If you’re in a pinch, you can also distill water by covering a piece of cloth with wet soil or plant cuttings and wringing it out. This works in temperate climates, as well as desert and freezing regions.
Aside from finding water, you’ll need to focus on procuring enough food to last a while in the wilderness. Thankfully, the wilderness is brimming with edible plants and creatures for the survivalist who knows where to look. If you want to learn more, consider taking a survival course from an expert in the area and invest in a book about identifying editable wilderness vegetation.