42 votes

How to melt snow without fire or body heat?

If you have a clean black garbage bag with you (and if you don't, you really should :)), put the snow into the garbage bag, arrange it in a thin layer inside the bag, and lay the bag in the sun on a ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
34 votes
Accepted

Can you boil/decontaminate water with heat from a magnifying glass?

Let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations. The specific heat of water is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a particular amount of water by 1 degree C. This is 4.186 joules/...
Greg Hewgill's user avatar
  • 1,543
29 votes
Accepted

When hiking, is it harmful that I wear more layers of clothes and drink more water?

There are a couple of concerns to worry about, though neither is quite what your friends are saying: First is electrolytes - depending on how much/what you eat you might end up short. Electrolyte ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.4k
22 votes

Can a person picky about water taste use a hydration bladder?

I'm pretty picky about the taste of my water, I grew up high enough in the mountains that our tap water wasn't chemically treated, they simply filtered the spring water coming out of the mountains, ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.5k
21 votes

How to melt snow without fire or body heat?

A dark coloured water bottle strapped on top of your pack would absorb quite a lot of solar heat on a sunny day. Getting the snow in would be easier with a wide neck, like a bike bottle or Nalgene. ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 26.4k
20 votes

Had to drink untreated water: Any immediate action to avoid getting sick?

The best thing you can do to both ward off illness, and catch any illness so it can be treated early, is to schedule an appointment with your doctor, soon. When you request the appointment, make sure ...
csk's user avatar
  • 4,364
15 votes
Accepted

Can a person picky about water taste use a hydration bladder?

I've found lemon juice and baking soda works quite well. I've also found that different brands of bladders have more or less plastic taste to them. If all else fails you could look into using a ...
Nate W's user avatar
  • 2,624
15 votes
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What is the most efficient strategy to melt snow using a stove?

For maximum efficiency (i.e. melted water per used fuel) make sure the following things are always true: Always have some water in the pot. Never have only water in the pot. Having water increases ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
13 votes

Filtering fine silt/mud from water (not necessarily bacteria etc.)

While coffee filters would work great as suggested in a different answer I would probably just use something I was going to bring anyway like a handkerchief. That should work reasonably well, be ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 9,648
12 votes
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UK blanket bog peatland water - safe to drink?

EDITED TO ADD: Please also read the other answer by cbeleites unhappy with SX about the risk of heavy metal contamination. The information in my original answer (below) is still accurate regarding ...
csk's user avatar
  • 4,364
10 votes
Accepted

How to get drinking water if I am stuck below Matterhorn summit?

The solvay biwak is solely an emergency shelter. There is an emergency radio available. So if you sleep there without declaring an emergency (even if just to inform the authorities) you have to expect ...
imsodin's user avatar
  • 21.7k
10 votes
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Filtering fine silt/mud from water (not necessarily bacteria etc.)

Leaving aside your assertion that water in the high mountains is likely to be biologically safe. The answer depends on how big the particulates are. The smaller they are, the harder it is to find an ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 10.4k
8 votes

Obtaining drinking water from a glacier or icefield, in the absence of snow or reachable meltwater

Another answer talks about hardness. There is some relevance to that, but more importantly, ice is brittle, regardless of how hard it is. You don't need much of a tool to scrape or crack chunks from ...
Olin Lathrop's user avatar
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8 votes
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What is a good way to clean the inside of a water bottle straw while on a multi-day backpacking trip?

I would make an improvised bore snake with a piece of string or fishing line and a small piece of clean cloth and pull the piece of cloth through the straw just like you would a gun barrel. Everyone ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

How long can I trust the purity of water in a water bottle?

You are way over thinking it. Presuming the water in the bottle was properly clean, potable and microbiologically safe to begin with, and you're a normal healthy human, the water in the bottle will ...
whatsisname's user avatar
  • 10.7k
7 votes
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Vaseline or Teflon grease near potable water?

Teflon is a brand name. The scientific name is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Searching more I find there are food grade PTFE lubricants available. (Super Lube) Points making PTFE appropriate ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
7 votes

Can a person picky about water taste use a hydration bladder?

Most hydration bags, including CamelBak, are made from polyurethane. Even if you clean them well before using, they may impart a "plasticky" aftertaste or smell. Platypus bladders are made from Nylon/...
mrm's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes

Can a person picky about water taste use a hydration bladder?

I usually store my* Platypus empty, and don't fill it until I'm about to leave, in order to minimise the length of time that the water's sitting in it before I use it; I find that waiting until as ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 215
6 votes
Accepted

Could a steam juicer be used to desalinate water?

Yes, it can as what you would do is use heat to turn the salt water to steam and then collect the steam and turn it back into liquid water. It works on the same principle as a regular distiller, and ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Obtaining drinking water from a glacier or icefield, in the absence of snow or reachable meltwater

The Mohs hardness scale is a common scale used to describe the hardness (resistance to scratching) of different materials. The hardness of ice is between 1.5 and 6 Mohs. The hardness of granite is 7 ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 10.7k
6 votes

How can you identify whether brackish water is too salty to drink?

Just taste it. As in this answer, normal saline matches what you have in you at 9 grams of salt to a liter of water (this is 9 times as much as Gatorade). If you ever try to drink the stuff, its ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
6 votes

Filtering fine silt/mud from water (not necessarily bacteria etc.)

This is only a partial answer but if you’re not drinking the water immediately you might benefit from letting it settle, especially if you can find water near where you’re camping. From https://www....
mmcc's user avatar
  • 3,466
5 votes

How to find water in thick tropical forests?

Great question. As you noted the guide had native knowledge of that environment which helps a lot. In my local environment (temperature / boreal forest) I'd be decently equipped to find water in a ...
cr0's user avatar
  • 4,003
5 votes
Accepted

Are Icelandic deserts so dry I need to worry about drinking water?

This is from the well known trekker Andrew Skurka, who did an East/West traverse that would cross similar terrain to your proposed route. Question: I have asked around and everywhere I hear that ...
Tullochgorum's user avatar
  • 11.7k
5 votes
Accepted

When is improvised water filtration warranted for survival?

It depends on the timeframe, Dehydration will kill you within days, giardia takes much longer to develop and can be treated once you are out of the backcountry. People have died because they didn't ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar

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