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The 8 Best Ways in Finding Water In The Wild

When you find yourself in an extreme situation in the wild and you have no knowledge of basic survival, it is crucial that you at least know how to get access to water. It does not matter if you have difficulty of getting food or building a shelter. As long as you are hydrated, you can make it out alive.

Regardless if you are an experienced hiker or an amateur, you have to know where a good, safe, and potable water can be found. Luckily, we have gathered a few tips on the best ways to find water in the wild and a guide to make the water potable and safe to drink.

Going downhill to streams, rivers and lakes

Readily available bodies of water are the most obvious choice. Firstly, it is important that you have a map so you can figure out which part of the wild that has a river, stream, or lake. However, if you don’t have one, then you have to learn how to use your senses. Awaken your senses and begin listening to the area around you to see if you can detect any indication of running water like a river or stream.

If you feel like your senses are failing you, then walking downhill would be your best bet. One thing you should know is that water flows downwards to the lowest point. Flowing water is much safer than a stagnant one like the lakes or ponds as they’re more likely to contain bacteria.

Animals and insects

Animal tracks are great indicators of water, especially if you’re on desert terrain. They are also easier to spot. If you happen to come across these tracks, it’s most likely that there’s some form of water nearby, otherwise, the animals themselves wouldn’t be able to survive.

You can also be guided by insects as they tend to swarm nearby. If you see any bees around, that’s a positive sign since they tend to hang out in areas full of flowers. Water is a source of life, and if there are living things around, it’s a good indicator that water is nearby.


Out of anything you find on the ground, rainwater is probably the safest to drink without purification. This is especially true in rural areas where the raincloud hasn’t travelled through pollution and other contaminators.

Out of anything you find on the ground, rainwater is probably the safest to drink without purification. This is especially true in rural areas where the raincloud hasn’t travelled through pollution and other contaminators.

Simply leaving your water bottle and other containers on the ground won’t be enough. Instead, make a rainwater trap using a non-absorbent sheet (like a poncho) and tying the corner to tree branches. Then add a small rock in the middle to create an indent which will catch a larger amount of rainwater and make it flow into your container.

Collect morning dew

Image by Salyasin from Pixabay

Walk through the vegetation with an absorbent cloth in the early morning ideally just before sunrise.

But before you do just that, make sure the area you’re planning to walk on has no poisonous plants. If the grass is low, you can use your ankles just by tying your clothes around it and take your steps on those low-lying grass while absorbing as much dew as you can. Once you feel like it has absorbed enough dew, grab a container and squeeze the cloth on top of it. Make sure that you are able to catch every single drop. Repeat the process until you have enough water. 


Water from plants won’t be abundant but in a survival situation but it’s enough to get by. When going for cactus, the prickly pear is one of the safest options as since you need to be careful with other kinds. Cut it open to eat the pulp or smash the pulp and collect the liquid. If you spot some coconuts around the area, choose the unripe green ones rather than the ripe ones. This is because the ripe ones produce coconut milk and this can be dehydrating as it’s a laxative.

Tree roots and bamboo can also be a good source of water in the wild. Just make sure you don’t keep the water from roots for more than 24 hours as it can start to ferment.


Snowy Mountain
Image by daisukeeee from Pixabay

If you’re in a cold climate like the mountains, look for the older freshwater ice that looks blueish. Ice that looks grey and opaque is salty and should be avoided.

Melt the ice before ingesting as eating ice directly does more harm than good since it lowers the body’s core temperature. It’s best to put the ice in a bottle and heat it with your body temperature or add it to the water in a container you have to speed up the melting process. The snow will sear if heated directly.

Plant Transpiration

A convenient and easy way to get water in the morning, if you’re surrounded by plants, is to tie a bag around a leafy tree branch (the more leaves it has, the more water you’ll get) and place a small rock at the bottom. When the water evaporates from the leaves it will accumulate in your bag. If you’re using a makeshift bag, place a container under the rock and let the water flow inside. But please make sure the plant isn’t poisonous.

Dig a well

This probably won’t be your first choice as the water can often come up muddy but in survival situations, it’s the only thing you got. Look for area’s flush with vegetation and dig below until you find the water source. If you’re in a dry region, this strategy can be a hit or miss. Look for dried up river and lake beds instead and find a depression or damp area. From there, try to dig a large hole that is a meter deep.

Advice to end on

If you are fond of the wilderness, you have to learn this type of survival. This skill is good enough to last you for days. But don’t forget to purify the water you collected if you have the resources. You can boil it or you can use a purifying tablet. Just make sure that you have a safe ready-to-drink water with you. Oh, and please don’t forget to bring a map and extra necessities. You never know what might happen and these things always come in handy!

Author Bio

Michael is a zealous blogger and writing has been his passion for a long time now. He loves to read and write about survival tips & tricks. Adventure has always been his passion and favorite hobby.
From mountain trails to kayaking, he’s always looking to admire new places with every new day. Find more about him at

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