Finding Water: An Essential Skill for Survival

Finding Water - An Essential Skill

Finding Water - Running Water


Finding Water is an essential skill for any outdoor enthusiast. At Southwest Discoveries, we make it a point to recommend a certain set of tools and level of preparedness before you embark on any outdoor adventure. Be it hiking trails in tucson, backpacking the great sand dunes of Colorado, or taking an adventure through scenic Sedona, finding water is an essential skill for all outdoor enthusiasts.

But how does one go about finding water when hiking in the desert? What about when you are surrounded by the ocean or lost in the wilderness? What do you do if you are not prepared? The body can only survive without drinking water for about 3 days. Knowing how to go about finding water, no matter the situation, can make all the difference in the world.

Our friend and fellow outdoor adventurer Julie Dobson over at has put together a terrific and thorough post on finding water in the wilderness that first offers up several tips on locating drinkable water sources, then delves into great detail on how to deal with the water from those sources from the best of sources to your last resort; including what to stay away from.

Finding Water - Boiling over fire


ding water in the wilderness, Julie’s best options are the obvious ones: rivers and lakes, with fast-moving running water from a river being the best source you can find, and snow. Though these are great sources of fresh water, it’s important to remember to include boiling and filter/purification using tools such as a Lifestraw® or iodine/chlorine tablets to ensure the water is safe to drink.

Julie’s section on how you go about finding water trough practical means when there are no Rivers or lakes nearby is truly educational: Collecting Rain Water, Leaf Transpiration, Digging for water, Condensing Sea water and making a solar still are covered in great detail, along with several photographs depicting each of the techniques.

An important section not to miss in Julie’s post on finding water in the wilderness is on water sources to stay away from and practical measure you can take to reduce your risk of dehydration.

You can read the full article by Julie Dobson, which we highly recommend, by clicking the following link:

Some Images used in this post are copyright© Julie Dobson and and are attributed accordingly. Used with permission.

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About the Author
Mitch Stevens has been leading hiking and backpacking outings throughout the southwest for over ten years. As a Sierra Club hiking leader, writer and photographer, he has promoted the enjoyment and conservation of our remaining wild lands. Born and raised in New York City, Mitch came to discover the great outdoors and fall in love with Arizona’s special places. Through his countless trips across the state and region, Mitch made it his mission to encourage fellow hikers and enthusiasts to protect the beauty of the desert. Now, he continues to embrace his fascination with the desert beauty by creating and leading multigenerational tours throughout the southwest. His experience coupled with his passion for the great outdoors make him a unique tour guide and outings leader.

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