One of the worst things that could happen when you’re out in the wild is dehydration. The human body is made up of around 60-65% water, and according to the rule of threes, you can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water.
Dehydration should be avoided because it would cause electrolyte imbalance. While that sounds like something a bottle of sports drink would fix, those types of drinks have the wrong mixture of electrolytes for people who were dehydrated over a long period of time. Electrolyte imbalance in itself is easily remedied by oral rehydration solutions, but cases of severe dehydration can lead to seizures, due to the electrolyte imbalance, or hypovolemic shock, which happens when the blood pressure drops leading to a drop in oxygen saturation in the body.
That said, one of the first things that should be prepared for any camping or wilderness trip is water supply. If the trip would extend to longer than usual, then it would be practical to bring a water supply, and would be best to take along a water filtration system as well. Knowing the location, like what plants and animals can be found there, and where potential water sources can be located. Having a printed out map placed in a waterproof container can also be beneficial, because gadgets can break or lose power at any time during a trip.
There is the belief that urine can be used to rehydrate a person. There are many reasons why this shouldn’t be done. The first reason is bacteria, while fresh urine from a healthy individual should not have any bacteria. Urine that has been stored away does have some level of bacterial growth.
The second reason is what urine is made out of. Urine is made out of water, yes. But urine also contains salt. These salts can further a person’s dehydration if they drink the urine and there is no source of water nearby to dilute the salts. This is just like drinking salt water, which goes without saying that salt water is not safe to drink.
There are sources of water in the wild, should a person be willing enough to look for it. But remember, even if there is water, it would not necessarily be safe to drink.
Stagnant water like those found in lakes and ponds can be riddles with insect larvae, bacteria, and other microorganism that could cause diarrhea or other diseases. It is important to always boil the water, maintaining the boil for 15 minutes, before drinking it.
Rivers and streams can be found trickling through your path. But before you drink it, you should always purify it (see boiling method mentioned above.) Flowing water comes from a source, and while you don’t have to worry so much about the same amount of microorganisms as you do in stagnant water, running water could always be carrying fecal material from somewhere upstream.
Fresh snow would be good to drink, as soon as you let it melt. Eating fresh snow would make your body go into overdrive to melt it, wasting your own energy and further weakening you. When dealing with snow, the best thing to do is boil it so that you can kill the bacteria, and you don’t have to put more stress on your body.
Rain is definitely a good source of drinking water. All you have to do is look up and open your mouth. But don’t forget to try and catch some rain in a wide mouthed container to save for later.
Yes leaves. As long as the plant isn’t a poisonous one, putting a plastic bag over some leaves can lead to moisture condensation. This might not yield a lot of water, but it’s better than nothing.
Tie a cloth around your ankles and walk through a field in the early morning. The cloth will absorb the moisture from the dew and you can just wring it out into a container and then boil it when you get enough water.
It might sound disgusting but it could also save your life. Mud is basically water and soil mixed together. You can filter out the water through a fine cloth and then boil it to make it safe for drinking.
There are more sources of water in the wild. Drink urine only as a last resort. Always know when to call for help and what hotlines are there to get you out safely.