Friday, May 6, 2016

Water...Life sucks without it


Water is an essential part of life.  So If you want to live, get real familiar with it.  Whether you're running back and forth to job sites, getting some exercise, or just lazing around like me, water will make everything a little better.  So, there's some statistics that says both the earth and the human body is made of about 75% water.  With that much water hanging around, why should you care where to find it, how to treat it, and how to safely handle it?

Where you get it

Like we said before, water's everywhere, but there's only a few safe sources available to us American humans.  The most obvious is the tap.  It's the government approved, most guaranteed way to provide water to the masses.  You could get it from the store, bottled water is a multi-billion dollar industry in America, and rightly so because many of us just don't trust the tap.  You can buy it in 8 oz bottles or up to 5 gals at a time.  This is great because the store is around the corner, and opened 24/7.  But what happens when it's not opened, and that tap stops flowing.  Where are you getting water now?

Of course, after watching and reading stories about places like Flint, Michigan, people might not be to excited about tap water. Even if you use filters, you can't prevent that much lead from affecting you and your love ones.


Where to collect water can be a book unto itself, but let's just talk basics.  As a reminder, basic purifying is necessary to make any of these methods potable. The rain catch, by far is the easiest way to collect water. All you have to do is to hook one of these devises to your rain spout and chill until you need it.  My mom swears by hers, for hear garden, lol.  The collection tanks can be gallon drum up to huge tanks. (Californian's please check your local laws seriously, I hear it's illegal during your drought.) 

Streams and rivers are popular spots to collect water as well.  Just be cautious for dead animals, animal waste, chemical run-off and human trash.  This method take a good amount of scouting but is the most abundant resource so the pay-off is huge.  Public fountains and wells,  usually have clear water in case of emergencies.  just be careful with the colored water, as it's usually treated with chemicals.  The dew method is really for survival situations because of its lack of efficiency.  Take a large porous cloth or large plastic tarp and lay it in a clearing before dawn.  Dew drops will form and you can collect a few cups for your morning tea.  You could also manually wipe the grass and leaves in your area but don't expect more than a cup.


When it comes to containers, the two is one, one is none rule usually applies.  Mainly, you need one to collect/purify and one to use.  Cross-contamination can get you just as sick as drinking directly from the stream behind you house.  The water bottle is the most noticed method of water containers out there.  You can find them in plastic, metal, glass or even clay.  
The most importation questions to help determine your choices are, can you clean it easily? Is it heat safe? How much water does it hold? Can you carry it easily?  For my tastes, I still believe the basic 1 liter military canteen, cup and carrier is the best bang for your buck.  Running between $7-$20, you get a high strength plastic container, a metal cup for boiling or food prep as well as a carrier that can attach to most belts fairly easily.
Another budget option is the Rubbermaid 32 oz water bottle.  Also consider a metal single-walled container.  
They're heat safe, can hold good volumes, and are dish-washer safe.  You may get a metallic taste to your water, but this is one of the only containers that can go straight from the stream to the fire.
They look like those old Kool-Aid container but it's strong with little bugger, just don't heat it up.


There are a variety of commercial filters on the market, and I have great confident that each FDA approved filter will protect you/us.  The styles are endless, most notable are the straw and bottle filters types.  Their designs are supposed to be so solid, that you can drink directly from them with no additional water preparation.  If you have a chance, check one out.  If you're interested in a DYI method, there are so many, I couldn't even count them.  I'm familiar with two or three we'll discuss here.  The cotton bandanna method is just stuffing/wrapping the top of one of your containers and using it to strain-filter your suspect water.  it's simple and you can carry one everywhere you go. The clean sock method is simply as well, using a couple pairs socks creates much more filter volume, increasing the effectiveness. Finally, lets discuss the plastic water bottle filter.  I'll be doing a how-to soon but for brevity, this technique can be created at almost no cost, by simply combining items you find in nature all the time.  
You'll need a couple disposable water bottles, sand, charcoal (real charcoal not match-light) gravel, cotton cloth, tape and a cutting tool.  
Remember to boil your water after you filter, if you use any of the DYI methods.


Boiling has been one of the methods that humans have used to safely purify water for centuries.  It's easy and if you have your handy cutting tool, a heat safe container, and some fire starting materials,
(cough, your can do it in any environment.  There's two methods really, put your container in hot coals near the fire, or heat rocks and carry them to your container.  The important thing is to get the water to healthy rolling boil for at least 10 mins before cooling and drinking.


Obviously be safe here, don't seriously put your health or safety at risk when you don't need to.  Filter your water, use drinking safe containers, carry hot containers with sticks or heavy gloves.  Also know which kind of rocks you can place near fire, so they don't blow up on you (we'll discuss in another article.)  Cheers