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Backpacker Magazine – September 2012

Survival Lab: Emergency Water

Without a drink, a hiker can die in as little as a day. We tested three techniques for conjuring H20 out of thin air. Plus: 5 easy ways to stay hydrated in hot climates.

by: Ted Alvarez

PAGE 1 2 3 4
Pee Bottle (Andrew Bydlon)
Pee Bottle (Andrew Bydlon)

Dew Harvesting
RESULTS Sopping up dew yielded the most water for the least effort. Using a Buff ($20; buffheadwear.com), we got a cup from a shaded, saturated bush in a few minutes. Expect good results on cool nights in humid, wind-free climates, in areas with moist soil, and along damp depressions and stream channels.

DO IT Ignore advice about tying T-shirts to your feet: It’s easier to wipe your cloth-covered hand on dense, broad-leafed vegetation and grass. You’ll also sop up bugs, dirt, bird poop, and plant toxins; if possible, treat before drinking.

TIP In arid environments (high altitude, deserts), work fast when dew is present: Wind, dry air, and sudden temperature increases can evaporate it quickly.


PAGE 1 2 3 4

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I have witnessed transpiration bag method work very well. It seems a black plastic (garbage) bag draws more dew in the sunlight quicker than the clear plastic bag. Consider one caution while choosing different tree/bushes to bag. You might want to avoid black cherry (Prunus serotina) as it off-gasses hydrogen cyanide in levels that may be detrimental to humans. I do not know if there is sufficient data in this area presently. reference: TOXICOLOGICAL PROFILE FOR CYANIDE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, July 2006

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Lijiang is located in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, has a long history, beautiful scenery, majestic natural environment, the descendants of the ancient Qiang, Naxi hometown.
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