How to find water… not a question you want to be asking yourself when you are lost and suddenly find yourself spitting feathers because your mouth is so dry.
If you don’t understand the reference above, turn back the clock, find a youtube video of Sylvester the cat eating Tweetie the bird… Sylvester always found Tweetie really dry and would spit feathers after eating him.
It pains me to know there are those of you reading this who are too young to even know what I’m talking about and didn’t grow up watching this. We also only had 3 channels on our TV, and I had to walk to school uphill both ways… ok I’m kidding.
Regardless of your age, you should always know how to find water in a variety of different environments.
Another important skill is being able to properly sharpen a knife.
I address how to find water and how to sharpen knives in this short article, however if Survival Skills are something you are interested in, I have compiled some of the most important skills in an emergency in my book, Emergency Plan Alpha.
Here are three skills that can come in VERY handy in many situations and on many occasions. Practice and master them to be prepared for anything!
How To Find Water
After shelter and warmth, water is the most important thing you need to stay alive in a survival situation.
Whether you’re lost in the desert, trapped on a mountain, or injured in a forest, you need to know how to find potable water. Without two liters of water per day (minimum), you are at serious risk!
So how can you find good water?
- Look for a body of water. I’m not trying to insult your intelligence her and this one should be obvious! Sometimes it isn’t immediately obvious how to find water but there are clues Mother Nature will provide for you to make it a little easier.
Lakes, streams, rivers, and creeks can all provide you a good water source. To find bodies of water:
- 1) search for “low spots” in the terrain where water has cut through the land,
- 2) look for areas where the foliage is extra tall, dark, and green;
- 3) look for animal tracks that lead to water, or watch birds in the morning and evening; and
- 4) listen for the sound of running water.
- Collect dew. There will always be moisture on the grass, trees, and bushes in the morning. Though it’s not a lot, it can provide you with enough to survive for a few hours. Wrap absorbent cloths around your ankles and walk through wet, tall grass first thing in the morning. Wring out the cloths into your mouth for a nice drink. Listen, I didn’t say it would be pretty but you’re in survival mode now and you have to drink water from a dirty sock, then do it!
- Collect rainwater. If you’re fortunate enough to encounter rain, collect as much of it as possible! Use waterproof tarps, jackets, or other items of clothing to collect the falling rain, and store it in a bottle or jar.
- Find fruits and veggies. Fruits are an amazing source of liquid, and there are fleshy plants and veggies that can also provide you with fluid. Just be careful not to eat unripe fruits or veggies, as they can increase the risk of indigestion—which leads to highly dehydrating diarrhea.
- Collect plant transpiration. Plants let off water throughout the day (collected from the roots and transpired via the leaves). Wrap a bush in a layer of plastic and collect the moisture. It won’t be much, but a few transpiration catchers can save your life!
- Melt snow/ice. NEVER eat snow or ice directly (it can lower your temperature and cause hypothermia), but use your body heat to melt it (in a bottle) before drinking. If you have a container and warm clothing you should be able to melt the water quickly in areas such as your armpit
Note: ALWAYS sterilize water before drinking it! The chance of pollutants and contaminants in the water—rain water as well as running water—is too high to risk.
Sharpen a Knife
A sharp knife can skin a carcass, gut a fish, slice a steak, or julienne carrots with the same efficiency.
Whether you use kitchen knives, gutting knives, or a multi-tool, it’s vital that you learn how to sharpen the blade.
Thankfully, it’s a lot easier than you might expect:
Step 1: Start with the rough cut. If the knife is very dull, you need to grind down the edge to sharpen it. Use a coarse sharpener or stone, and hold the blade at a 13 to 16-degree angle. Push the knife forward along the sharpening stone, gently enough not to chip the stone or blade but firmly enough to sharpen it. As you push forward, pull the knife toward you to give the entire length of the edge an even sharpening.
Step 2: Alternate sides. Start with 5 passes per side, then evaluate the sharpness. Repeat until you have the desired sharpness, switching sides to ensure the sharpening is even.
Step 3: Determine your edge. For cutting and chopping, you want a heavier, blunt “V” edge. For filleting or skinning, you need a slimmer, deeper “V” edge. Sharpen the blade according to the task you’ll be using it for.
Step 4: Move to a finer sharpener. Once you have the shape of the edge you want, it’s time to finish the job. Use a medium to final grit sharpener to give it that razor sharp edge, following Steps 1 and 2.
Watch Gordon Ramsey teach you how to sharpen a kitchen knife like a world-class chef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k
Now as I mentioned from the outset, this is a very basic article on these particular skills.
If you want a good reference manual covering everything from Bug Out Routines, Meet Up Plans, detailed water supply information, shelter, weapons, training your dog, mob survival, communications and a whole host of other skills then you can check out my book Emergency Plan Alpha.