You’re out hiking when you come across a neat looking trail. You follow it for a while, taking pictures, when you realize the trail is gone and you do not know where you are. You’re frantically trying to find you way out of the woods, walking hard and workind up a sweat, and you are really thirsty. Your short hike has now turned into a survival situation. This scenario plays out in National Parks and trails frequently.
There are numerous ways to find and collect water in a survival situation. When in survival mode, you want to do as little as possible to preserve fluids and energy. Transpiration is a very easy method which requires minimal materials and minimal effort.
What is Transpiration? Transpiration, in generic terms, is when plants ‘sweat’ the moisture inside them. The amount of water shed will depend on heat, humidity, sunlight and the amount of water inside the plant. The way that we can harness is this wonderful and natural occurrence is with the use of a plastic bag and the rays of that burning mass of gas called the ‘Sun’.
1. Find a tree or bush with as many green leaves possible. Avoid plants like poison oak, etc…
2. Use a plastic bag you find or one you brought with you, because you’re prepared, and place it around a big bunch of leaves.
3. Bundle up the open end of the bag against the main branch and tie off with rope, shoestring or whatever you have available.
4. If the bag is not naturally hanging low, tie a string to the branch and tie it to something low to the ground. This will allow the water collecting to pool in a corner of the bag.
5. Allow the bag to be exposed to as much sunlight as possible. This will heat up the plastic bag, the plants will ‘sweat’, and the water will condense on the inside of the bag and eventually drip and collect in the corner.
6. Enjoy clean fresh drinkable water that needs no filtration or purification!
Transpiration in Winter
We say find leafy trees – this can be hard in the winter. The good news is acquiring water through transpiration can be achieved through coniferous evergreen trees, and depending on the region you’re in, Holly and Magnolias, etc. Basically, you can benefit from transpiration anytime, anywhere. Keep in mind that the process of transpiration is slowed in the winter which will result in smaller amounts or drinking water acquired.
Go and Hydrate
Transpiration is a wonderful survival tool – and should you ever need it, it will save your life. If you can avoid needing it, even better! Always remember to pack plenty of water for your trip, and keep a line of communication available at all times. Also, when traveling into the wilderness, always inform someone back home where you’ll be, and how long you’ll be – then they can be ready to send in the cavalry.