THAT 3RD DAY CAN’T BE PRETTY!
As residents of Florida, three hours without water can be detrimental during summer months, especially if you have been exerting yourself like you do when you are hiking.
Our day hikes involve plenty of water. We each have a two liter hydration bladder in our pack and usually an extra bottle of water, just in case. We don’t mind the extra weight from our Hydro Flask bottles, because when we get back to car and know we are good to go, that ice cold water tastes refreshing!
We also carry a water filter in our day pack, just in case. During backpacking trips we also have purification tablets with us, aside from the filters. Let us explain though, that filters and tablets are useless if you don’t have a water source!
During a backpack trip last year, we didn’t use our hydration bladders because we used the room for our clothes, tent, food and such. We each had two water bottles in our side pockets of our pack and each had a plastic, collapsible water bottle hooked onto our packs. We figured that three bottles of water would get us to each water source that was indicated on the map of the trail. WRONG!
Let’s be clear, some water sources are truly for survival mode rather than water bottle filling along the trail. The risk of climbing down a straight sided sinkhole to get to the green slimy water is not happening unless it’s day 2 with no water! Being picky though, caused us to run out of water and dehydration symptoms started setting in. Again, in Florida heat, it is something that happens much quicker. A few of the symptoms we experienced was:
- Lack of urination
- Dark, discolored urine
- Lack of appetite
We finally came across a water resource and quickly filtered it and drank it down. We was fatigued and weak from the lack of water after just a couple of hours. Depending upon location and exertion level, that will very of course.
Some other signs of dehydration are:
- Disorientation / confusion
- Nausea / vomiting
Dehydration can quickly turn into more complex issues like:
- Heat exhaustion / heat stroke
If you start experiencing dehydration, these are some actions you need to take immediately:
- Find shade
- Sip water if it is available
- Elevate feet
Avoid making things worse by being tempted to drink alcohol, urine, blood or especially salt water sources like ocean water or ice.
In a true survival situation, where you are stranded until help finds you it is imperative that you know how to collect water. While you are running through your survival steps of signaling for help, creating a shelter and fire, be sure to also start assessing water resources. It may not be a creek, pond or other water body that provides for your need. Some other ways to collect water to filter is:
- Condensation in plastic bags
- Dew on leaves, your shelter or grass.
- Wild fruits ( be positive they are not poisonous)
- During desperate times, mash it from the roots of plants
- Melt snow / ice (don’t eat snow or ice it will make it worse)
Remember, it won’t take long for your body to become weakened from no water. Your mind will become confused and make matters worse. Finally, your organs will begin to shut down. By day three, it is way too late.
Practice collecting water, filtering it and know how to do these things before you need to know. Learn how to make a water still or other water collection devices. Try to create ways to boil water with limited resources. Practice and be prepared to survive until you are rescued. Research ideas and read survival techniques.
Share with us your techniques or tips for water resources. Have a mishap or story to share regarding water issues on a trip, feel free to share. Remember, we all learn from each others mishaps when we share the lessons learned.
This post is part of a series in wilderness survival for outdoor adventurers. The previous posts in this series are: Survival, 3 Minutes Without Air and 3 Hours Without Shelter. The next post in this series will be 3 Weeks Without Food.