Water, an essential resource to survive outdoors. Part I
Water is a critical resource for life. When we are at home it seems water is just there all the time, making it easy to forget how valuable this resource is.
Once in nature, no matter if hiking, walking, hunting, or scouting, we realize how important water is, especially in dry, hot environments; furthermore, even when we are in areas with plenty of water, despite availability, not always this water is suitable for human consumption, making even harder to find the proper source despite the vast amount in the surroundings.
That's why is so important to properly calculate how much water you will need on a given expedition in order to pack with you a water supply large enough to cover your needs.
However, the aforementioned is possible only in short expeditions and small groups.
Due to its weight, it's not practical to carry more than a gallon of water, being that the amount one individual needs in one, at most two days. So, when you are planning to stay in nature for more than 24 hours, it will be necessary to be prepared in advance to take advantage of the available water in the area you are planning your expedition.
In this regard, there are several things to keep in mind.
First of all, be sure to have enough bottles to store the water. Related to this
matter, it will be necessary to count at least with a large, processing bottle and at least 3 storage bottles.
The processing bottle will be the one to put the water found in the water source. Once collected, this water must be processed properly as detailed in the second part of this series, and only once this step is completed, it may be transferred to the storage bottles.
It's critical to avoid contact of unprocessed water with storage bottles due to the risk of contamination.
Regarding storage bottles, it's better to carry two or three 1-liter bottles than a big one because, in case of a broken bottle, contamination, or any other adverse situation, not all of your water supply will be compromised.
In addition, it's easier to handle several small bottles than a big, heavy one.
At this point, it's important to remember that the most convenient material for storage bottles is aluminum because of its insulation, resistance, and lightweight.
Glass bottles are heavier and more fragile while plastic, even when lightweight, tends to be less resistant, especially in case of a fall or hit.
On the other hand, clear plastic is the best material for the processing bottle because it will be easier to handle it in a river, water pond, or creek, allowing at the same time to see the color of the water, presence of debris, as well any other particular condition of the water such as sediment.
Before going on your expedition it's important to check all your bottles verifying everything is OK and its use suitability.
Additionally, it's paramount to investigate about water sources in the area you are planning to stay, highlighting critical locations in both, your map and the GPS.
It's extremely important to plan a route that gets near to water sources at regular intervals, especially in dry, hot weather; otherwise, you might run out of water, jeopardizing your safety.