never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.”
– W. C. Fields He didn’t have a LifeStraw. No, but water is an
essential part of survival in so many ways. Survival isn’t just about
avoiding getting your arms cut off, or drowning from a storm or radiated
from a nuke. Survival is really a balance between avoiding the
catastrophe and maintaining your own health. You’ll need strength and
endurance. And food and water are what will give you the energy you
need. So in this piece, we’re going to talk about five things. We’ll
- natural purification methods
- salt water purification and heating water to purify it.
- foraging for food and avoiding poisonous plants.
- freeze dried foods and proteins, cooking gear and ovens and bug out meals.
- water tablets/UV purification and water where there is no water.
Once you’ve read this, you’ll have a good handle on the things to deal with in any disaster when it comes to food and water.
PURIFYING WATER NATURALLY
to life threatening wound care, drinkable water is the first priority.
The reason why is that you cannot predict how long the disaster or its
effects will unfold. The store shelves might be wiped clean of bottled
water. And if for some reason the water supply is contaminated, how do
you get the water you need?
What if you don’t have water
purification tablets on hand? How do you naturally purify water? One way
is to find a tree with large leaves. Find a branch that’s in the sun.
Next, tie a plastic bag around the end of a branch. Over time, the
humidity from the leaves will attach to the inside of the bag and form
water droplets. It’s not a drinking fountain, but its drinkable water.
method is the Sodis method. You just take a soda bottle, and fill it
with filtered water. Filtered meaning water that has no rocks, debris or
leaves, branches, etc. Put the top on the bottle, and lay it on a black
metal surface in the sun. This will generate enough heat to kill all of
the bacteria in the bottle over 6-8 hours. But what do you do with salt
water? We live near the ocean and there’s plenty of water here. Just
not drinkable water.
So an interesting option is a salt water
distiller. These are not as complicated as you would think. There’s no
electronics either. Its a twist on the first method I shared with you.
Check it out. water tablets and UV purification water where there is no
water The next thing to think about is food. Foraging for food.
WATER AND FORAGING FOR FOOD
of the survival rule of 3’s is that you can’t go without food for more
than 3 weeks. For me that will be a problem because I’m running to
Wendy’s every 3 hours. But here’s the thing. If there is no way to get
food from stores then you may have to find it in the woods. I’m talking
foraging for food. So to get the process rolling, I recently added to my
BugOutBag a deck of cards called 52 Wild Edibles. Each card is
dedicated to one wild food item. And each card has some specifics about
preparation, warnings, and identification tips.
Also check out
Steve Brills work on wild plant foraging. He has a list of 14 plants
that are a combination of edible and poisonous plants. In this list of
plants, he covers cattail, dandelion, elderberries, mulberries,
juneberries, nettles, poison ivy and others.
And while you are
foraging, consider firemaking. Part of the strategy in foraging is
boiling leaves of some of the plants. So your ability to build a fire is
critical with food foraging. You can still forage without water though.
But that’s just one part, the next thing is..
FREEZE DRIED FOODS AND PROTEINS
mobile/light travel survival, you want the most impact from your food
at the lightest weight. That’s where freeze dried foods and proteins
come in. This combination gives you the biggest bang for the weight and
space taken up. The nice thing is that freeze dried foods only need some
water and they are ready to go. They are very light and contain the
same nutrients that non freeze dried foods have. You can get vegetables,
fruit, meat, dairy products (freeze dried cottage cheese!) and even ice
cream! Having ice cream that isn’t cold is a little odd though. I’ve
had it and it tastes very good. For energy, you want to avoid sugary and
energy type drinks or foods. They may bring you up, but there will be a
price to pay hours later.
Best bet is to get your energy in a way
that is as sugar controlled as possible. That’s because you’ll want
consistent and reliable energy for your body. The answer? Protein. And
the best place to get this is through protein bars. They are packed with
energy and are lightweight. And if you combine protein with freeze
dried foods, then you are in that much better shape. That’s because you
have more room to pack more food which will help you last longer. But
that’s just one part, the next thing is..
BUG OUT COOKING GEAR
of your food and water plan is to have something to cook or boil water
in. So what you’ll need is some kind of fire making capability or stove
if possible. To make fires, I use the UST BlastMatch. And for a stove,
I’ve got the MSR WhisperLite International. It’s for backpackers where
where MSR-brand fuel isn’t available.
So the WhisperLite can burn
kerosene and unleaded petrol (gasoline). Also, it burns “white gas” that
MSR and Coleman sell. Its an old design, but continues to prove its
self to many around the world as a reliable stove. The downside is that
you have to carry the fuel bottle with you. But in a rainstorm where you
might not have dry fuel and tinder, that might not be a bad thing.
let’s talk about your cooking set. Check out the GSI Outdoors Dualist
Cook set or the HaluLite. This set is non stick. That means it’s
healthier and comes with pots, cups and bowls. Also it comes with a
water sealed drawstring bag that you can use as a wash basin. Now if you
want to take things a step further, try this. Combine the stove and
cookset. The product you’ll want to check out is the Optimus Crux Lite
for your bug out meals. But that’s just one part, the next thing is..
WATER WHERE THERE IS NO WATER
fifth tip for survival/bug out food and water has to do with finding
water when you don’t see water. If you didn’t already know it, check
this out. The US Geological Survey estimates that there is more
freshwater located underground than in all of the earth’s freshwater
lakes and rivers. But you can find water above the surface of the earth
too. Here are a couple of places you can find it. First, from the plants
and the dew they produce. Here’s how you get it. Tie an absorbent cloth
around your ankles and go walking through high grass. Squeeze the water
out of the cloth and you’ll have a small amount of liquid to drink.
idea is the transportation well. Its simply a bag you tie onto the
branch of a tree with broad leaves. After being in the sun for a bit,
you’ll see dew begin to form on the inside of the bag. Second source of
water is from the ground. What you’ll be looking for are depressed
Also, look for dried up riverbeds, bottom of hills, areas
with lush vegetation. Dig some test holes about 4 feet apart. Make them
5-7 feet deep. As you keep digging, you’ll see water seeping into some
of the holes as you are getting closer to a water source.
you’ve got the framework of a water plan for your bug out kit. You now
know a little bit about foraging, freeze dried foods, bug out cooking
gear and finding water where there is no water.
So this week, as a
test, what you’re going to do is try fasting for the weekend. That’s
right. Here we talked about all this water and food, and I’m asking you
to fast? Yep. That’s because you might be going without food if you eat
your stores in the first 72 hours. Try fasting for 1-2 days just as a
test. This will begin to train you in the reality of what might be
coming down the road when or if disaster hits.