Finding Water in the Mountains: Survival Tips

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you must know how to locate water while camping or hiking in the mountains. Water is, clearly, the most important resource in any survival scenario. While you can go without food and shelter for some time, not having water to drink for long hours can affect you severely. 

Dehydration can lead to fainting, vomiting, and clouded judgment, among others. The body can start to shut down in less than 72 hours, leading to death. Fortunately, finding potable water is easier than you think, and with just some knowledge and ingenuity, you can find it amidst the wilderness. Read on to know more.

Find Running Water 

Clear, flowing streams are your best water sources in the wild. Look around for mountain streams – the faster the water flow, the better it is. Running water doesn’t allow bacteria to grow and is well suited for drinking. 

Lookout for Groundwater

Groundwater is another good water source. Scout the region for low-lying areas such as depressions and valleys, from a vantage point. 

As water always flows downhill, you are sure to find rivers, ponds, and lakes as you walk down the slopes. If the water you located is cloudy, take some of it and wait for a while. If there is just dirt in the water, it will settle to the bottom, leaving clear water at the top for you to drink. 

Use your Senses 

Animals know where water is available, so be on the lookout for animal tracks in the soil or swarming insects; these often signal a water source nearby. Look around for such signs and when you come across a pool of water, check if other living beings are drinking from it or if there is green vegetation nearby. If animals can drink the water, you probably, too, can. 

You can find water by listening to the sounds of it too. Pause your walk and listen carefully to the noises around you. The sounds of water can be heard from even far away in quiet surroundings. Go closer to the sounds to find a water source. 

Muddy and Ice Water Sources

Muddy areas indicate that there would be groundwater available there. Chances are, if you dig about 1 foot in these places, you will find that the hole gets filled with water. 

As the water would be muddy, strain it with some cloth to drink it. If there is ice and snow around you in the mountains, you can melt it and drink the water. 

There are different ways to melt the ice. You can use a lighter or match to melt the snow, and if you don’t have these, you can use your body heat to melt the snow. Avoid drinking it frozen as it can drastically reduce your temperature and lead to dehydration.

Collect Rainwater to Drink

Rainwater is another easy source of drinking water. There are two ways to collect it. Just find an open space and keep a container there that can catch the rainwater. Next, filter it and drink. 

The second one is to spread out a plastic sheet or tarp and tie the four corners a few feet off the ground, to the trees. Keep a small rock in the center of the sheet to form a depression where the rainwater can collect. 

Apart from manually collecting the water, you can also find natural rainwater in the wilderness – in the depressions in rocks and the hollow stumps of trees. Keep in mind, standing water can get contaminated quickly so it will be crucial to purify it before you ingest it. 

Water from Vegetables & Fruits 

Several vegetables, fruits, fleshy plants, cacti, and even some roots carry a lot of water. It is helpful if you have some knowledge of poisonous and non-poisonous plants to identify the ones you can drink. 

Collect the vegetation that you find around you, put them in a container, and open them to drink the liquid. Coconuts, especially, are a great source of hydration. While sucking water from plants, avoid plant sap that is colored, thick, bitter, sour, or has an unpleasant odor – these are most likely not fit for drinking.

Purify the Water

Keep in mind, however, that no matter where you source your water from, don’t start drinking it immediately. You should purify and filter it as much as possible. Drinking water contaminated by bacteria or animal waste can lead to serious health complications; make sure to take as much precaution as possible. 

Anyone venturing into the wilderness should know how to find water in the various landscapes. The above are some of the best ways to keep dehydration at bay when stranded in the mountains. With some effort, you should be able to locate water to drink and survive till you find your way or are rescued.

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