Why is Water Important?
According to the USGS, up to 60% of an adult human consists of water. It is crucial for life of all shapes and sizes, and without it you will die. Unfortunately, too many people do not recognize the importance of consistent clean drinking water, especially when they are out hiking or camping. This is something I had to be reminded of myself (the hard way), and it is a mistake I will never ever repeat.
In this post, I will go over exactly why it is crucial to have water with you while you are out in the wild and how you can get it in the event of an emergency or if you run out.
Please note, this information is simply based on my experiences and does not constitute advice from a professional.
How to Get Clean Drinking Water
Having water with you whilst hiking is crucial, but what happens if you have taken all the right steps and something unforeseen happened? Unfortunately, the unforeseen is an everyday part of being in the wilderness, which means you need to prepare for it.
One of the best ways to be prepared for a water shortage is to know how to properly collect and sanitize natural water. Before we get into this section, I want to point out that you should never drink water from ponds, rivers, or any other natural source without sanitizing it first.
Years ago this would not be a viable solution for water purification while mobile, but times and technology have changed. Portable water filters are now high-quality enough to be reliable in the outdoors as a means of water purification, which makes things a lot easier for us. Some great brands are Berkey (which has a portable model) and LifeStraw, which is made for the outdoors. You can check out a Berkey water filter review here and read more about the LifeStraw on Bear Grylls site.
Before miniaturized water filters were invented, outdoorsmen had to rely on traditional methods of water purification. The most common way is to get a fire going, collect your water in a pot or similar container, then heat it until it boils. The heat will kill the bacteria and other pollutants, and should make it safe to drink. Another common way also involves filtering, but using natural means, such as sand and silt. This is a less common technique, but one I plan on covering in a future post since I find it extremely interesting and potentially useful.
Signs of Dehydration
Before we wrap this post up, I wanted to quickly touch on a few symptoms of dehydration that I think it is important to keep in mind whilst hiking or camping. Bear in mind this is not an inclusive list (link to one down below).
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
- Decreased blood pressure
- and more
Above are a few of the symptoms to keep an eye out for while you are out in the wild. Additionally, here is a link to check out if you are interested in seeing a more comprehensive list: E Medicine.