Monday, November 19, 2012
Bivouac Backcountry Camping and Survival Skill Priorities - Finding Collecting and Purifying Water
*Disclaimer-Do not try to dispersed camp without the skills necessary to do so. Do this at your own risk
**I apologize ahead of time for some parts of this video. My camera was dropped and was working intermitantly during this trip.
In this video I walk you through a 3 day trip in the Allegheny National Forest. The area we were in was an isolated wilderness area that allows dispersed camping. I have previously made videos showing the important "priorities" as I call them when in a wilderness or backcountry camping situation but these can also be applied should you find yourself in a survival situation. Those 4 priorities consist of Water, Food, Shelter and Fire. This video shows some basic camp set up goes into detail on how we typically collect water as well as how we process it into clean drinkable water. I will annotate links to the other videos I have made previously as well as the other videos made while on this trip.
There are many ways to collect water, and the most effective way for you may very well be different for someone else. A lot of that depends on geographic location as well as what equipment you have with you. The techniques that I show are just my preferences so take them with a grain of salt.
We hiked in a little under 3 miles to where we decided to set up our camp. We chose our campsite based on prevailing wind direction, sunrise and sunset location (to maximize sunlight), firewood availability, and proximity to probable water source locations. Our first day was consumed mostly with clearing debris, setting up our tents, clearing an area for fire and gathering wood to last for the night. We had enough wood to last us through the night and get us started the next morning about an hour and a half before sun set so at that point we got the fire started and had a good bed of coals by the time the sun had set.
We woke up and ate a quick breakfast and then got to work. Our first task was to get the firewood stocked back up. Our location was great because we were positioned right between an area of hardwood and pine, so we were able to gather small dry dead pine sticks to get the fire started, and then transition to the heavier hardwood once we had a good bed of coals. Once the wood was stocked back up we stoked the fire a bit as we worked on some other camp tasks (links to those videos will be annotated). Once completed, we left camp to collect water which is where a majority of this video's talking points revolve around.
Our method for collecting water is very simple. We bring two empty gallon containers (we do not carry our entire water supply in for extended trips as that would be very heavy and inefficient). One of these containers is used to gather water from whatever source we can locate. That container is used to transport the water back to our campsite, where it is then boiled so that we may drink it. Once boiled, we transport the water in the other container, which only ever has boiled water within it to avoid contaminating the container.
Aside from collecting water from streams, ponds, lakes and rivers, there are other methods that can be used as well with just a few items.
This process is the evaporation of water from plants. We merely step in and collect it. Throughout the day, water will evaporate from the plants and you can easily collect water by taking a small plastic bag and wrapping it around a leafy branch. MAKE SURE THE PLANT ISN'T POISONOUS! Leave the bag on the branch all day and come back right before dark. The more leafy the branch the better, the more direct sunlight during the day the better. This will yield a small amount of drinking water every day, multiple bags would be needed to even come close to sustaining a person.
Condensation (via Solar Still):
This method would most likely only be necessary in a very arid region where water is very scarce. Again with simple components a person can collect water using natural processes that occur in the world. First you need to dig a pit and place a pot of some other item to collect the water. Then lay a platic tarp or bag over the pit. Cover the entire edge of the tarp on every side. Use dirt, rocks, whatever you can find, to hold the edge of the tarp in place. Then take a rock, it doesn't have to be big, but heavy enough so that the tarp will dip slightly when you place it on the tarp right above the pot. As the moisture in the ground evaporates it will be trapped under the tarp where it will condense. As it condenses it will roll down to the lowest points of the tarp (right below where you put the rock) and drop into the pot ready to drink.