How To Find Water In The Wild

how to find water in the wild

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*How to find water in the wild*

If you ever get stranded in the wilderness, the most important thing you will always need is water. Yes good ole water. 

You see you body can last a few days without food, and shelter isn’t always the most immediate concern, unless the weather is really cold, or raining (basically if the weather condition is bad) 

But water… go 24 hours without water and you will feel extremely weak and lethargic. This will seriously limit your ability to do anything useful. 

Go three to four days without water and that’s the end of the road for you buddy. Your body will shut down. 

The skill and knowledge of being able to find water that is safe to drink in any situation you may find yourself is invaluable and luckily you’re about to get that invaluable knowledge free of charge, right here, right now. 

Read on. 

A Note To Consider – Always Filter

No matter which technique you use in finding water in the wild, no matter how “pure” or “unpure” you think your source of water is, there is always the risk of bacteria and other microbes being present in the water. 

Infact take that as the norm not the exception, that is why it is crucial that you filter water you plan on drinking. There are multiple ways to ways you can filter water to drink but I think the easiest and one of the most efficient ways is to use the Life Straw Water Filter made my a premium brand called Survival Frog.

It’s a slightly overlarge straw that has multiple filter layers. As you suck on the straw in one end, the water is pulled through all these filter layers and gets filtered, ready and safe for you to drink. 

You can read more about the product here. 

Method 1 – Start With the Obvious: Streams, Rivers, Lakes

When stuck in the wilderness or in an unfamiliar terrain, the easiest place to spruce water is from streams, rivers and lakes. Basically any water body. 

But please stay away from really polluted water. 

Its better to get your water from flowing water sources such as rivers and streams. Flowing water doesn’t allow bacteria to grow as opposed to stagnant water. 

Stagnant water (e.g. lakes and ponds) tend to have an increased chance of bacteria growing and multiplying within them. 

Also small streams is usually better than larger ones because large ones tend to have pollution from upstream. You should have that at the back of your mind also. 

How do you Find It 

If you find yourself in an unknown environment, how do you locate these water bodies we just talked about. After all you can’t magically sense where a river is if you’ve never been in that particular location. 


Actually you can but it’s not magic. 

Its just need to be taught how, which is what you will learn now. 

There are 3 ways you can located a water body even if you are not familiar with that terrain or even if you’ve been to that particular location. 

1.)Using your sense of hearing 

2.)Following Animals (Give me a second, I will explain) 

3.) Scouting Your environment 

Using Your sense of Hearing 

Try to be quiet, calm your self and your senses down and if there is flowing river or stream, there is a high chance you are going to hear it. We all rely heavily on our eyes for most of our day to day activities but this is one scenario where your ear can really be the game changer. 

If you can’t seen any rivers or streams around you, 

Hear them, let your ears guide you to the water. 


If that doesn’t work then you’ve got to go back to using your eyes and that is what the second method is all about. 

Observe Animals

Following the lead of animals can be a great way to find water for yourself as animals that live in a certain terrain tend to have a particular source they go to get their water.

You can observe animal tracks. Look at the ground for game trails and “carefully” follow them to see where their movements lead to. Hopefully, it will lead you to a source of water. 

You can observe bees. They typically stay within 4 miles of the hive, and the hive is always within 4 miles of water.

You can observe birds. When birds are heading for water they fly low and straight. When returning, they fly from tree to tree, resting often. Although you should pay attention to grain-eating birds like pigeons. Beds that eat prey tend to drink less often so they can be a poor indicator for finding water.

Scouting Your Environment

Water flows downhill so scouting your environment is a good way to increase your probability of finding water. If you notice you are on high ground, find your way to lower terrain, there is a higher chance you will find a source of water there. 

Method 2 – Collect Rain Water

If it does happen to rain then you’re in luck. Collecting rain water is an effective and probably even a more hygeinic option for finding water in the wilderness. 

This is especially true in the wild and rural areas as opposed to urban areas where pollution is rampant. 

But remember always filter your water. 

There are 2 methods you can use in collecting rainwater;

  1. Using a container or large bucket
  2. Using a Tarp

Using a container is as simple as placing a large container under the rain and allowing for water to collect in it. 

Using a Tarp is a bit more technical. Here’s how it works.

A Tarp – Which is a basically a large sheet of waterproof clothing – is tied on its four corners to trees so that it spreads out. You then place a small rock in the center to create a depression for water to pool.

You then make a hole/small cut on the depression so that water is funneled into any container you might have. Genius right.

Method 3 – Get Digging

If you happen to be on wet dirt or sand.

Or maybe across a big patch of green vegetation then digging a hole might be a sure way of getting water.

Digging a big hole in these circumstances allow water to slowly seep into the hole patiently waiting for your consumption.

Method 4 – Fruits and Vegetation

Lots of fruits and vegetation contain a lot of water, this is good news for you if you find yourself in a tropical environment.

Fruits and vegetation tend to be very abundant in tropical environments. You could just carry high water content fruit like oranges or watermelon and either eat them like that or crush them to squeeze out the water.

Either way you get the precious water your body needs.

Coconuts are also a very good option


The best way to ensure you have clean and healthy water to drink is to always have enough packed with you.

But ofcourse that isn’t always practical.

The second best way to be skilled at finding water wherever to are. This is a skill that could practically save your life, don’t take it for granted.

I suggested you practice using the any of the above methods to find water during your next hike. Hone this skill.

When the stakes are high, you’ll be glad you did.

You can either bookmark this page or click here to get a handy pdf delivered straight to your email. That way you can refer to the information on here while practicing your “water finding” skills.

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