Now that temps are rising, and adventures are to be had, one of the most critical resources for safe adventure is drinking water.
I personally carry a YETI 6G Water Cooler filled to the brim in my truck all summer. Having access to water can truly be life or death when your day gets longer or the unexpected happens. That said, there are times the water you carry, away from your vehicle, may not be enough. So where can you find water, and is it safe? Here’s a few quick tips on the best places to source water in nature and if it’s safe to drink:
Natural Springs: Natural springs are a great source of clean, fresh water. They are usually found in hilly or mountainous areas and can be identified by the presence of vegetation and damp soil around them. If possible, collect water from the source of the spring, rather than downstream. If you are at the source of the spring, there is likely no need to purify the water, and it is probably safe to drink. That said, it’s always a good idea to purify no matter what.
Rivers and streams: Rivers and streams can be a good source of water, but they may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. It's best to collect water from a fastest-flowing part of the river or stream and purify it before drinking.
Lakes and ponds: Lakes and ponds can also be a source of water, but they may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Collect water from the center of the lake or pond, away from the shore, and purify it before drinking.
Rainwater: Rainwater can be collected using a rainwater harvesting system (Simply, place a large tarp out, with a rock in the center to pull the water to the center of the tarp. ) or by placing a container or containers outside during a rainfall. Rainwater is usually safe to drink, but it's important to purify it before drinking.
Melting snow and ice: If you're in an area with snow or ice, you can collect and melt it for drinking water. However, be aware that snow and ice can also contain harmful bacteria and parasites, so it's important to purify the water before drinking.
We mentioned water filtration and purification: No matter where you get your water from, it's important to filter and purify it before drinking. There are several methods to purify water, including boiling, using a water filter, or using chemical water treatments. In the Seventy2 Survival Systems, the included Sawyer Mini is a great small tool to carry to purify water anywhere. We highly recommend you carry one with you anytime you head out on the trails!